Importance of Media Streams

Hello everyone,
Following my post, I have a question:
Assuming I continue to hear a CD using a CDS3 as a source, without copying the whole CD to NAS,
On the other hand, I want to enjoy good quality streaming media for applications such as TIDAL / SPOTIFY / ON LINE RADIO.
In this case what is the relative advantage of media streamer such as ND5X2.
Is it not possible to settle for more modest media streamer, and not necessarily from NAIM?

It’s of course entirely possible. But it won’t sound like a Naim.

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You can use your phone and a £20 Chromecast Audio if you want cheap. It’s a very versatile device that works well with many different streaming sources. Or you can pay more for something that sounds good.

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Hi Ditton,

One of the advantages of buying a solution from the higher end, read more expensive, HiFi suppliers is that the better ones have put a lot of time and effort into sorting issues such as grounding and electricity quality. If you choose to go down a cheaper route you can get excellent sound quality, but IME it takes a lot of time and attention to detail. With the likes of Linn, Naim and dCS et al there is still plenty of room for tweaking, but at least the basics have been sorted. In the meanwhile you risk impacting the sound quality of your current system. Of course, your choice will also be bounded by budget and expectations.

Going with a NUC, RPi, Sonore, SOtM or other solution IS an interesting journey, in my case one that took me three years, and in the end I decided that my interest was far more in simply listening to music; and, I went through a reasonable amount of money in widgets & power supplies.


Very true, when I had my Olive system I dabbled with streaming using a Sonos Connect and then a Cambridge Audio Streamagic but neither sounded brilliant I then found a NDX ex demo.

The NDX was in a different league entirely as it should at the price my Naim CD gathered dust as it was no longer used.

My only source now is a Streamer.

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I bought an Arcam rPlay to evaluate internet streaming and found it very good but a different sonic signature to Naim. It was by no means poor though and worked well above its pricepoint.
I continued to use it as Digital transport when I bought my nDAC/XPS. It was only replaced when I got an ND5XS also just used as transport.

I only lost 100 quid or so when I sold it such was the demand for the rPlay.

Thank you for your comments.
But, as I wrote, I’m aiming for a quality Streamer that will fit the audio level of the rest of the system components.
Still, are there any significant differences between the existing streamers?
Obviously the default is NAIM …

If you’re looking for something that rivals your CDS3, an ND5XS2 would be the bare minimum from the Naim range, and you would really be looking at an NDX2 (possibly with PSU upgrade) to match it.

About £20,000 is the difference between the streamers. Whether it’s significant or not is down to your pocket.

The ND5XS2 is a sensational streamer. The only way to determine whether it has a relative advantage for you is to go have a listen to one. That’s what I did, and compared with other streamers, including the NDX2, it’s also amazing value for money.


The CDS3 was one of the best CD players ever built by Naim and together with it’s power supply cost around £10000.

Whilst cost doesn’t always equate to sound quality, the ND5XS2 at £2000 will be unlikely to give a sound quality approaching the CDS3 in my opinion.

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