Your thoughts please: currently running ND5XS (with Silent Angel ethernet with additional power supply) on SN3 (moved up from SN1 last December) with Neat Momentum 4i and contemplating upgrading the streamer. Looking at many options like such as ND5XS2 (NDX2 out of budget, even pre-used) but also Auralic etc. Currently seeing a 2012 NDX for half the price of a new ND5XS2. Would this be a sensible move or would I be better off otherwise (also considering a future speaker upgrade)? Any response much appreciated.
Welcome to the Forum. Yes, I think that would be a great upgrade at a really good price, provided you are happy with the older streaming technology. Also check that the screen has been replaced recently.
The only “issues” with the older technology I am aware of is that is not a fast, and occasionally the ND5XS get stuck (especially with Tidal) and needs a hard restart despite being on the latest firmware. I wonder though whether SQ-wise it holds it ground against a 2022 model from a more affordable product line.
Are you connected using Ethernet? Anyway, there is a huge range of options, but if you want the Naim style, this is a good way to go. I’ve only compared the Uniti2 and Uniti2Qute against a Nova in terms of the older and newer streamers, you just get better sound quality as you go up the range. I have a NDX2 on my main system, and it is superb - that would be an ideal goal, but if not affordable, the NDX is a great option and matches your SN3 aesthetically.
I’d tell ndx would be good as a dac, and should work good right today as a streamer. However, it is built on previous technology, which means you will have to upgrade it I gues in a couple of years.
What if you try a preloved nd5xs2?
I’d stick with what you’ve got for now and save up for an NDX2. It’s a great combination with the Supernait 3 and has all the latest tech on board including Qobuz and high resolution internet radio. If that really is impossible I’d take a ND5XS2 over a first generation NDX.
When the NDX was a current product I would certainly have recommended it as a better match for your amp than the ND5XS. In terms of overall sound quality I would still recommend it in preference to an ND5XS2. However, you have to balance that against the fact that an old model has more limited support for streaming services and is old enough that you might have to spend some cash on getting it serviced. Certainly check its service history with Naim before you commit.
An ND5XS2 is still a step up in sound quality over its predecessor as well as offering improved support for online services etc. Remember that you would lose the screen, remote control and PSU upgrade option.
My choice out of the two would be the ND5XS2 over the NDX. I then would set aside monies to upgrade to the NDX 2 down the road. If your working with a good dealer you will most likely get a good trade in allowance when the time comes. With technology constantly changing I tend to choose the latest gear when it comes to computers and hi-fi streaming.
Clear advice and preferences. So far no suggestions to go for external DAC and/or PSU XP5 XS with existing ND5XS, nor alternatives like Auralic, Lumin, Rose, or using Melco or Innuos between ethernet switch and ND5XS. Does that mean that keeping it simple with ND5XS2 might be that best option SQ-wise? (Lack of a display is not important, lack of power upgrade options and remote are regrettable but acceptable.P
To me, a move to the previous generation NDX is more sideways than upwards. As others have suggested, I’d go for the NDX2 as there is a future potential to upgrade it with a PSU. On the other hand, an ND5XS2 is a fine player and would make a fine transport for an external DAC for a different upgrade path.
Where do you see yourself going in the future ?
Having a plan of where you want to end up will help guide you to where you want to go, especially with the most cost effective upgrade path.
There is a plan, although with quite a few questions. I decided to start the upgrade path from SN1 to SN3. HiCAP DR will be connected soon, but I wanted to get really familiar with the sound without first. I have already added the Silent Angel ethernet switch with PSU, which was a nice upgrade. Next I was thinking about a power block (may be even Chord PowerHaus but preferable more affordable), power cables (still using Naim original). After or before the cabling a streamer upgrade (depending on availability of pre-loved products). And eventually speakers and cables (still using NAC A5 from 2007 but with new plugs). Wrt speakers thinking about the whole range discussed on the platform such as Harbeth, Dynaudio, Kudos, Audiovector, etc., etc.
Can’t advise on the streaming but on speakers (at new prices) those Neats will take some beating. The usual suspects in addition to Neat (Orchestra?), are Dyna, Kudos, Focal, Harbeth etc but personal preference is the only measure and home demo essential.
In terms of supported services that’s true, but when they were current products I recall finding that the NDX was a much better sounding streamer than the ND5XS, so for anyone who is happy with the services it supports I think it could be a good choice, especially now that used prices have tanked.
I never heard an ND5XS with a PSU upgrade, but it could be worth a try as a relatively low cost upgrade. You obviously need an extra shelf to put it on, and I can’t help thinking that a used NDX would cost no more once you sold the ND5XS.
The external DAC upgrade is the route I chose to take, and all Naim streamers support this by providing an SPDIF digital output. Again, you obviously need space for an extra box in your rack, and there is a huge choice of DACs out there.
If you choose to stick with Naim a used NDAC is a great option and would raise the performance of your ND5XS to well above NDX level.
Can you get HiRes 24/96 and 24/192 signals down the SPDIF digital output between your streaming source and your outboard DAC as i seem to recall that SPDIF is limited.
SPDIF is fine for up to 24/192 via coax cable, which is what you would use from a Naim streamer.
Actualy, there is always an option of the external dac. Say, Chord Qutest.
I’d suggest at least demo-ing a Chord Qutest as external DAC as a first step. I upgraded from ND5XS to an NDX a few years ago, and it was a real step up. Then added Qutest and pleased with result, though the internal NDX DAC is excellent too. The advantage with getting an NDX is that the DAC is better than in the ND5XS2 and even if the streaming platform becomes unsupported in a few years, you’ve still got a v good Naim DAC that you can use with an external streaming platform.
Good to know, my Panasonic DP-UB9000 4K Bluray Player SPDIF coaxial and optical outputs are limited, by design, to 16/48 and to get 24/96 and 24/192 from my Pure Audio Bluray Discs i have to use the players HDMI outputs.
Why didn’t you just attached Qutest to nd5xs? The digital output and techtology inside are the same.