HDX questions

Trying to figure out if an HDX SSD is the right piece of gear for my requirements. I’ve read the specs on the Naim website but there are still a few things I’m not clear on:

Does it connect wirelessly to the router?
And to the NAS?
Does it function as a straight CD player?
The WAV conundrum - are HDX ripped WAVs universally playable on other devices? Seems to be conflicting opinion about this.

Hi, you need a wired Ethernet connection for an HDX and a NAS. If you can’t run an Ethernet cable all the way back to your router, you can connect the HDX and NAS to a switch. Also connect a wireless access point to the switch, and that will connect it to your router over WiFi.
It’s possible to use it to play CDs, but given that you only have to wait 4 or 5 minutes for it to rip one and store it, I don’t see the point in using it as a player.
If you want to use the rips on other devices, it’s best to store in FLAC, as the metadata is then compatible with other players. It also reduces the file size for storage.

Thanks for the reply. So a switch connects physically to the HDX and NAS, and the WAP? This is a bit more faff than I’d anticipated. Have to have a think about the FLAC/WAV conundrum too, as that’s workable but less than optimal, although I tend to use wavs (by computer) with no or minimal metadata.

I wonder if a more modern hard disk network player plus DAC would be a more efficient solution.

At one point I had a CD5X and an HDX, the HDX was adequate as a CD player, but the CD5X was significantly more musical. I’d use the HDX to play a disc is f someone brought one round, but otherwise I’d do as Chris suggests and just rip.

If you choose to store FLACs, you can set the HDX to transcode to WAV on playback if you prefer. Also, once you have transferred the FLACs to other devices for use elsewhere, there’s nothing to stop you from converting these copies to WAV if that works best for you.

Perhaps, but at current used prices, the HDX is a pretty decent option. There are plenty of alternatives though. Do you already have a suitable NAS? If so, you could run a server on it and buy a used Naim streamer such as an NDX or ND5XS, which are also cheap now that replacement models have been released.

I think an HDX could be a reasonable option if the price reflects the hardware.

I ran an HDX-SSD for a few years. Originally, I had it and the NAS wired to a wireless bridge The HDX played everything wired, and just used wireless to connect to the internet. It worked fine. Some time later I ran a cable through the house so that everything was wired. As expected, this had no effect on sonic performance.

When I got a dedicated streamer (NDS), I used the HDX as a server. As well as a ripper, CD player etc. It was a useful multi purpose component. Then it broke down with a corrupted boot sector, because essentially it’s a Windows XP machine and at some point they all need attention.

While The HDX was back at Naim, I installed Minimserver on the NAS where our music is stored. The improvement in musical enjoyment was so pronounced that when the HDX came back from Naim to my dealer, I didn’t want it. I part exchanged it in part payment for a SL full loom.

While it is a useful multi purpose tool, a NAS and streamer can give more performance for less money. Also, for some obscure reason, Naim use a propitiatory ripping method which doesn’t handle WAV files the same as all other platform independent methods. This forces users to either lock into Naim for a Streamer, rewrite the tags if playback is required on something which isn’t Naim, or adopt the FLAC format - which may do you fine but sounds inferior to my ears.

Lastly, the NDX emits low level EMR. When Jason from Naim visited us to rebuild our system and install a repaired 552, he sited the HDX-SSD on a high shelf away from the Fraim. He said that ideally, the HDX should go somewhere else in the house, providing it was still in WiFi range for the the control app.

Prices may seem very attractive now. But the technology was clunky five years ago. If you buy one I would advise that it has been dealer or factory checked, , refurbished if necessary and reset to its default configuration.

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HDX ripped WAV files can be played on other streamers using MinimServer however metadata is limited to Artist/Album. If you need anything more detailed then best to rip to FLAC and transpose to WAV on playback.
I use an HDX in a second system and it sounds excellent, particularly with an XPS PS. A Naim service including a replacement mech is c£400 which is not too expensive especially as you can now pick up a used HDX for c£1000.

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The HDX actually doesn’t have to be in WiFi range of anything. It connects to the home network with ethernet cable and the control app on a phone or tablet connects by WiFi to the same home network, normally to the router or a WAP. So you could put the HDX anywhere assuming you are connecting it to the rest by upnp.


Good point David. Memory playing tricks on me.

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I don’t have a NAS so would have to factor that in. The HDX (or whatever else) needs to be within easy distance of the pre amp, so wiring it to the router isn’t an option.

Now looking at a Uniti Serve and DAC as a possible alternative, or maybe just an NDX and I’ll use a computer to rip CDs. Would the former offer better sound quality? Not easy trying to figure all this out!

I’ve never made a direct comparison myself, but others have said that HDX and NDX have very similar sound quality.
An NDX would certainly be worth considering. Either way, you will need a NAS. With an NDX, you need to run a UPnP server on the NAS as well as storing your music on it. With an HDX or Unitiserve, you really need a NAS for backup.

The DAC is a significant performance boost for the HDX. And it can be further upgraded with a range of power supplies. A US/DAC should, in theory, perform at the same level. In practice? Don’t know.

If you are/were considering the HDX-SSD you will have to factor in a NAS. Unless you are going to use only USB drives, which kind of defeats the object.

Like Chris, I have listened to HDX and NDX. I thought they were identical in their performance. If I was starting from scratch and I was looking for X level performance, I would go NDX/NAS and add the DAC when possible. I don’t know what the first generation NDX is selling for. Not much, I would think.

However, in your position I wouldn’t be looking for X level performance because the prices now being commanded by the NDS make it the bargain of the year, or possibly decade. The additional cost of a power supply is significant but it is a brilliant streamer and it will happily work with a common or garden NAS. running Asset or Minimserver. Or maybe hold back until next year until prices drop even further.

Sorry if I’ve expanded it a bit too far. If you can possibly stretch for the NDS you’ll probably end up spending less money in the medium to long term.

Yes, there are lots of streamers out there at bargain prices these days. Then again, for a really simple solution, I reckon an ND5XS2 would fit very nicely into the OPs system. Then you don’t need a NAS, as you can run your whole library off a USB hard drive hidden behind it. You would need to use a computer to rip CDs etc, but it eliminates the need to buy and set up a NAS altogether.

I’m compared all of the above numerous times.

I bought an NDX when they were released but got bored of it withing six months. To my ears the bare HDX is much more musical than the NDX which sounded a bit sterile in comparison. The HDX used prices are currently cheaper than NDX but obviously HDX doesn’t have the functionality of an Internet streaming service like Tidal but if you are happy just to rip your own CD collection then at current used prices the HDX is good value.

Both of these units though sound much better when a Naim DAC was added as an upgrade, and the Naim DAC sounded better when its digital signal came from NDX or HDX than from a Unitiserve.

NDS used prices seem to have settled around £2.5 to £3k - I’d be surprised if prices dropped drastically next year. There was a glut of NDS units for sale this year as people traded them in for an ND555 however most NDS users looking to upgrade to ND555 will have done so already by now.

Bloody hell! That’s crazy value for money. I thought they were in the £4-5K range.

Well, they ain’t going to get more expensive. I know what I’d be doing. Even if it required a bit more saving up.

So another option could be NAS + Minimserver + DAC? Assuming that Minimserve can be controlled by a computer/tablet.

Or skip the DAC and get an NDS + NAS?

Ultimately I want the quality to be at least as good as my (vintage) Roksan Xerxes.

It depends what your budget is.

The NDS + NAS will give great sound but don’t forget that with the NDS an external power supply is mandatory so your minimum price on the used market would be around £4k for NDS + XPS2

Minimserver is a UPnP server, and you need to stream to a UPnP streamer from it, such as an NDX or NDS.