Future Naim owner


I am about to buy my first Naim kit since I have started this Hifi hobby of ours in 2014. In the past, I have owned gear from Simaudio, Devialet, Hegel, Rega, Yamaha, PrimaLuna and NAD. But there was always something missing.

Recently, I bought a used Moon 600i that I didn’t like much. Not enough punch at low volume, otherwise very detailed and natural, but overall boring. I asked my dealer to lend me his Naim 5si demo unit just to check if my system (or my ears!) was in cause.

Surprise. I liked the Naim 5si better… I was tapping my foot and I was smiling while listening to my favorite music. Sources were a Bluesound Node 2i (use alone with its dac) and a Moon 260D cd/dac (much better sound but I know the 5si could do even better).

So I sold the Moon and I am now looking at my options with Naim. Here are my choices right now:

  • Used SN2/ used nDac, mac mini 2012, Samsung UHD TV and Apple TV 3rd gen (via optical) as sources;
  • Used SN2/ used ND5 XS2;
  • SN3/used nDac;
  • SN3/used ND5 XS2.

My speakers are GoldenEar Tritons 7 (anyone with these speakers can jump in with there thoughts on the match between GE and Naim?). I will change them in the future, but not right now. I want to focus on the amplifier and the source first. I will then choose the speakers accordingly. The match with the Triton 7s and the 5si was good I think.

I listen to a lot of compressed rock, punk, post-punk, electronica and indie 80’s music. Not all the time. Maybe 30% of the time. The other 70% is the same genres with better recordings. So I would prefer a kit that is smooth, somewhat forgiving and easy for long listening period. I don’t want any brightness, edginess, listening fatigue, etc. I have tinnitus and I have to live with it…!

I use mainly Tidal Hifi and Masters, Deezer Hifi and Internet radios as sources. I have some hires files on my Mac too. I have a few vinyls but I don’t have a TT right now. Not a priority.

So that is it! I wanted to have some advices, suggestions, etc, from experienced Naim owners before I make my decision.

And sorry for my bad English and grammar in general, French is my first langage!



cough Qobuz cough (24bit/192 kHz) :wink::grinning:

Salut bienvenue!

I have no knowledge of your speakers but of the options you list I would recommend the ND5/SN pairing.

Good luck.



I would go * Used SN2/ used ND5 XS2;

And sorry for my bad English and grammar in general, French is my first langage!

Never mind, lots of non-native speakers here (no pun intended on Focal). Welcome! We share the same music interests, but I can’t comment on any of the components really. Judging from what I read off reviews of the GE’s it seems to me that with your preferred sound signature, you should hang on to them.

Welcome to Naim, Guillaume.
I’d suggest that your 2nd choice, SN2 and ND5 XS2 both preowned, would be your best route to begin with. The SQ would be as good as any of the choices, and because of the reduced cost it would leave you with some funds for other possible SQ improvements.
One I would suggest is a Hi-line 5 pin Din to 5 pin Din, to connect the two units. Preowned of course.
I’m not a high-end cable guy, but I got an excellent price on one and it made a heck of a difference. Quelle surprise!

I have an SN2 and an NDS, and they are both excellent.

And BTW, i didn’t notice that your language was anything but perfect. However, there will be a short grammar test that you’ll have to pass …


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I have the ND5XS2 paired with a Nait XS2 and that is a very pleasing combination so I imagine with a SN2 it will be that little bit nicer.

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Hi Guillaume
If sound quality is your priority, I do not agree with the other posts that the ND5XS2 is your best option. The NDAC is a superior DAC to the one in the ND5XS2, and with the right source, has the potential to sound much better. I would say that the sound quality is more on the level of an NDX2 than an ND5XS2. However, the Naim streamers are versatile, and you probably would not need the Mac Mini. With the NDAC you would need to keep the Mac Mini or some other device as a digital transport, so you would have more boxes and more cables.
(I do agree with the Qobuz suggestion - I find it sounds better than Tidal.)

Bonne chance!

Thanks for the suggestions guys. And the French nods!

Unfortunately, Qobuz in not available in Canada, yet. They just partnered with Quebecor for a new streaming platform called QUB (France and Quebec artists I think, not my cup of tea). So there is hope.

The SN2 / ND5 XS 2 combo is the more sensible choice in term of money and versatility.

But I am leaning towards the SN2 / nDac right now. It would be even cheaper and I don’t mind using this kit until I swing for a NDX 2… maaaaaybe?

There is still the SN 2 vs SN3 question that is killing me. Is the SN 3 that much better? It would be a 1300$ CAD price difference for new units… Or 2500$ CAD if I get a 4 year old Supernait 2 on the used market…

I read that the nDac is sensible to the source quality. Is a Macmini 2012 via optical good enough? I also have a Apple Tv 3 rd gen with optical put. I could swap it for a Bluesound via coax or optical, though.

Or just get a ND5 XS2, haha… But the nDac is supposed to sound really good. Is it more forgiving than the ND5 XS2, though?


SN2 vs SN3
nDac vs ND5 XS 2

That is were I am right now… Any more suggestions and advices are welcome!

I always forget that « language » has an extra U in English…


Another alternative, rather than buying an NDX2 later, is to use an ND5XS2 as a digital transport into an NDAC. Naim streamers make excellent digital transports using their SPDIF output into an external DAC, and to my ears the more expensive NDX2 does not sound significantly better when used in this way. So you could stagger the cost by buying the NDAC now and the ND5 later - or the other way round.
Pity you can’t get Qobuz. I guess we all just assumed you were in France.


That is an interesting idea! One more box, but I could deal with it (maybe not my GF though, lol).

One question: is the nDac, paired with a Supernait 2, more or less forgiving than a ND5 XS2?

I don’t think you’d notice a big difference between the SN2/SN3 at this point.
And the nDac is definitely a great sounding bit of gear, but if you want to stream, a Node 2i isn’t going to provide a great source for it, whereas a Naim streamer would.

So it depends where you’re heading with this. Some members have added an nDac to an NDS XS2 and loved the new SQ. So you could start with an SN2/nDac/and your Node 2i, and add a Naim streamer when you can. Or eventually sell the digital off for an SN2/NDX2 combo.

And if money’s not an issue, then go SN3 instead of SN2.

I suggest the SN3. You’ll end up upgrading to one so in the short term more money in the long term less. Use your Node2i into the SN3. Then upgrade the Dac when feasible. Maybe a Chord Qutest. Then the streamer, or a Streamer with a really god Dac built in

This idea that the Node 2 is so much inferior I wonder if this is based on actual listening using ndac. I was surprised when I compared local played cd quality files using either ns01 or Node I first generation. The node was much closer to the ns01 than I would have hoped based on original price.

Nd5xs2 / Ndac is sounding better than Nd5xs2 alone.
However I personally don’t know if Mac Mini / Ndac is better than Nd5xs2. Not sure.
SN3 is a bit more refined and with better soundstage vs SN2. But SN2 has a bit more grip and can better drive difficult loads.
So SN3/ Ndac or SN2/ Nd5xs2 ? Difficult choice. Perhaps the price would be an answer…

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I think that I will go with the nDac and figure things out later on the streaming front.

The only thing that I have to be sure now is which amplifier will be more forgiving of bad recordings. The SN3 or the SN2? If the SN3 is more refined, is it smoother too?

Should I even go down to a XS2 or XS3? Would they be more forgiving if they are less resolving?

I want the Naim PRAT first. Details are less important. I want to be able to listen to music for hours without fatigue. While having a fun, engaging and musical sound…

You can go into search part of the forum, some threads on SN2 vs SN3.
If you can find a second hand SN2 and Hicap, it will be better vs SN3 bare, for sure, and more fluent, smoother, opened, because the Hicap is a great upgrade on SN.

My recommendation would be for a “Used SN2 & used ND5 XS2” or if the dealer has one a used NDX 2.

If you are leaning towards eventually going with a TT then SN3 would be the recommended move.

My experience is with the SN2 and NDX 2 but did start with a Nait XS 2 with a ND5 XS and have been quite happy with the integrated amps and streaming products from NAIM.

Good luck with your decision…

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Bienvenue, @GBouillon!

All the Naim ND boxes add Naim App-control of the SN, if that appeals to you.

SN2 + ND + Naim DAC + Mac (plus maybe a power supply or two, later) give you options and quality in abundance.

That would be my goal, in whatever order the attractive deals arrived on each piece — and they will come!

I run a Mac Mini with Audirvana+ into nDAC/555PS and love the results. That said, my NDX-FM is in constant daily use for FM, Spotify and UPNP, (all thru nDAC) because the quality is still excellent, and usability is easiest.

Best of luck!



The nDac won’t play music on its own really; what you are going to “feed” it with?