Heresy Warning! Anyone using an NDX 2 with McIntosh amps?

Hello,
First post & I’m sure to incur wrath, derision, what-am-I -thinking responses, but here it is.
I traded in a Cambridge Audio CXN V2 for an NDX 2 a couple of weeks ago. Wow! How impressive is this network player? I love its musicality. Reminded me a bit when I had a Linn Sondek LP12 Ittok/Asak a long, long time ago back in the UK. Intention is to add XPS or 555 Power Supply later on.
I’m using a McIntosh MA352 integrated amp and it sounds fabulous. Speakers are Magnepan 1.7is. I prefer the sound using the NDX 2 over the Chord Qutest with SBooster LPS.
Question: Does anybody else use their Naim Network Player with a McIntosh or a non-Naim amp? If so, what are you pairing it with and what challenges have you faced in getting it to sound its best given no amps have DIN connectors, which I believe are the naim preferred option.
Many thanks,
Mark

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It is a lovely streamer, isn’t it?
I cannot answer you directly, since I haven’t had experience with McIntosh since I owned the MC275 eons ago; but that said, I cannot imagine why it would be considered Heresy, and also why it would present a challenge to make them sing together, DIN aside (which isn’t the only way to skin a cat—you could go DIN-RCA if it’s really a concern). That is a great Integrated you have, IMO. The NDX2, I have to believe, will sound great with like-level amplification.

I just came off a similar set of streaming components (but with ND5 XS2, Qutest and Paul Hynes SR4-12 PSU), and with the addition of the XPS-DR it has really been a treat. The past week has been a smile-inducer.

Anyway, I say no heresy and no worries. Enjoy! Oh…and welcome to the forum!

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No heresy at all. You have a wonderful integrated and there is no problem in having a Naim streamer with it.
You just need a Din to 2X RCA cable.
I have that, from Naim Nds to my Ear 912 pre.

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DIN->RCA isn’t better than RCA->RCA

Thank you!
Currently going RCA to XLR, but curious if anyone has managed to get a quality DIN to XLR cable.
As for the Qutest, no contest on the naim sounding better on acoustic, classical, or vocals, but pretty much a dead heat when it came to electronica, with perhaps the Qutest having a tighter bass. Getting a PS Audio PowerPlant 20 and will see if the same tonal and presentation differences remain.
Cheers!

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I’d think Chord (maybe a Shawline or other) makes an excellent DIN-XLR.
Also, there’s something in your statement about the Naim/Chord comparison for sure. It is pretty amazing on electronica/trance/chill, etc., especially. The Naim also does classic and alternative rock with a drive that’s preferable to the Chord, but not by a wide margin. It just gels; I don’t think too much about what’s going on versus the Chord, whereas I find myself picking apart many of the ‘cool’ things it’s doing, which in this hobby can be distracting and defeats the purpose of just listening.
Funny, I have a PS Audio Stellar P3 and dedicated 20a lines, and I can tell you straight-up everything remains, but really raises the transparency while lowering the noise floor to virtually non-existence. It is spooky what these two additions have done to my system. I’d be shocked if the P20 didn’t do this for you tenfold.

If you are using an XLR input on your amp it will be balanced. The NDX output is unbalanced, and it’s generally not a good idea to mix them. So you could just use a regular DIN to RCA cable. You could also use an RCA to RCA cable as the NDX2 has this option too, although Naim generally recommend using DIN where possible.

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Wow… you get a serious bling factor with that amp! Love it :slight_smile:

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Ha! It’s those blue meters when the lights go down…once you have them…Wife is a total convert! :slight_smile:
Makes absolutely no difference to the sound, but somehow it just feels better sitting there with them as you listen to music.

Getting a dedicated 20amp AC line with 10 gauge installed in the next week or so, so hoping that & the P20 make a fundamental improvement to the sound quality. Live in a townhouse and we share our AC line with 6 other houses. Everyone is working from home, many with children, wi-fi everywhere…

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Yep, pretty much nailed my reason for my post since I couldn’t find an easy solution online so wanted to reach out.

If this is a long term setup you could have the cable that was supplied with the streamer re-terminated with RCAs to fit the amp. Alternatively there are cable suppliers who could make up a suitable cable easily enough.

Prefer the XLR over the RCA on the Mac, so that is the goal. Have never come across a DIN output so prompting the post for what others think or have done in similar situations connecting to a non-naim amp. Looking at Cardas Clear or possibly Clear Beyond but very $$$.
Also discussing with dealer who we purchased both amp, Maggies, & NDX 2 from with whom we have an excellent relationship with and would purchase the cable from them.

What is it that you prefer? If you have other sources with balanced output of course it makes sense to use them, but McIntosh give you both options so that you can match the connection type to the source, so I’m not sure why you would mix them up.
Of course there is no harm in trying different options, even those that are in theory not optimal, but then you have to take a chance on expensive cables made to order.

Hi Mark,

Welcome to the forum!

I would love to hear your system. I got VERY close to buying an MC275 twenty years ago but ended up buying an EAR534.

I think the Qutest + SBooster is a VERY capable DAC. Glad the NDX2 is floating your boat.

M

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Fair point! as I am using Audioquest Sydney RCA, but Cardas Clear Sky XLR, so not a like-for-like comparison.

You will not use optimally the Ndx2 with XLR, as the Ndx2 is not balanced.
Chrissu is right here. The best is Din from Ndx2 to 2X RCA.

Thank you both very much! This is the information I was searching for. Now ‘just’ getting the right cable :slight_smile:

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I also had Chord make up some custom Shawline cables to be able to link my AV amp to my NAC282 and to be able to bi-amp my centre channel using a NAP100 - excellent service and quality.

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I use an ndx2/xpsdr into a nac282 that feeds my MF Nu vista 300 power amp. An amp that is significantly upgraded.
Why? Mainly because I have always used MF gear. And the power amp is the last of that gear. I’ve only ever connected in a nap140 as a power amp. And whilst ok, was really outclassed by the MF.
Yes, if I ever moved on the MF power amp, I’m sure a nap 250 or 300 is where I would start.