Keep nDAC or buy NDX2?

Hello all,

I’m really struggling here. I love the sound of my nDac. It’s always done everything right for me. That being said, I’m trying to figure out what’s next to upgrade my streaming. I’m concerned about getting on the full streaming/dac single unit upgrade cycle. If I buy and NDX2, I’ll want to change it eventually as things keep changin. If I keep my ndac, I can always just upgrade a separate streamer every so often while keeping the sound of the 1704 I’ve come to love.

(I recently home demoed a DCS Rossini, and either couldn’t tell much difference or picked my ndac when my wife and I were switching)

As I’ve mentioned in other threads, I’m looking at Innuos zen mini to feed the nDac, and putting the rest of the funds on an XPS DR to add some lift. I can inexpensively add streaming and upgrades every few years as tech changes.

Or do I just trade in/sell the ndac and get an NDX2 and worry about upgrading again in so many years.

Has anybody else gone through this?
What pushed you to the final decision?
If you stayed with the nDac, what did you add for streaming?

Thanks all. :sunglasses:


Hello JohnnyTT

I went thru a similar dilema last year with my NDX and DAC V1. Was planning on buying an NDX2. After much reading of this forum, I decided to go full in on streaming and bought theUnity Core and ND555/PSU555 so I would not be constantly upgrading. I had no vinyl setup and only a handfull of CD’s. Very happy with the choice. I went a bit over budget, however.



I am currently enjoying an NDX > DC1 > nDAC (XPS non-DR with Power-Line). It is a very capable streaming source.

I too would like to keep the nDAC.

Has anyone compared the NDX 2 > nDAC to the ND5 XS 2 > nDAC?

Personally, I am leaning towards buying an ND5 XS 2 (and hope for an nDAC 2), but currently there are not a lot of reviews of the ND5 XS 2.

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I’ve been through the same dilemma too. Having owned nDAC powered by 555PSDR, with Uniti Core & CD5XS as sources. I really liked the organic sound of the nDAC. After buying my NDX2 last year I experimented with using the digital out into nDAC still with PSU added. However, comparing between the sound presentation of the NDX2 + 555PSDR, I found the nDAC was just colouring the sound and adding another layer if that makes sense. I’m now using the NDX2 + PSU with Core in uPnP mode and can say it’s an improvement over nDAC. I have SL interconnect from NDX2 into the pre which also made a jump in SQ. I sold on the nDAC and CD5XS


Thanks for the reply.

Would you say the NDX2 is more detailed? Or just an all around better performer?

Im going to do a direct comparison soon. My original dealer is just frustrating with gone demos. Luckily I found another who I think it’s a bit smarter with this.

I heard no difference between the HDX-SSD/XPS2 and the NDX./XPS2. Putting the DAC on the HDX and moving the XPS2 to the DAC made a worth while difference. I think the DAC is about as good as it gets before you get to NDS level. Your ears may think different.

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@JohnnyTT I would say the NDX2 is an all round better performer to nDAC and certainly gives as much detail. The nDAC added more bass weight and sounds darker, which to me sounded artificial compared to NDX2 with the PSU. I’d certainly recommend a home demo of the NDX2 if you can. I’m reluctant to use NDX2 as a transport only given the investment and the quality of the internal DAC.

Thanks. Yes, i would never use the NDX2 as just a transport. That’s a waste knowing in the boards are the same as the lower series. Also, I’ve demoed a few different transports at dealers… from cheap to expensive. I’ve yet to hear any significant difference. Not money well spent.

Thanks for the advice on the sound comparison. Helpful.

Interesting, this comparison sounds similar to the one I did with original NDX vs Naim DAC. While NDX sounded more energetic and sparklier, Naim DAC had better bass performance with smoother sound but still better resolution than NDX. NDX did sound lot of fun though but had more raw sound, it simply didn’t match Naim DAC.

I’d be surprised if the new NDX2 wouldn’t be at least on par with Naim DAC. Also I’d never buy it just to use as transport. If you want Naim streamer as transport, go for the ND5XS2 or even the original one.

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I also used HDX-SSD, DAC, XPS2 for a long time. Borrowed a NDX2 over a weekend and tried the DAC, XPS2 on it but preferred the bare NDX2’s fresher more detailed presentation. But I think it comes down to your preference, both sound very good. So I am thinking about buying a NDX2 and convert the old psu to a XPSDR for use with it.

From what I’ve heard (although not with my own ears), I would expect the NDX2 to be ahead. And maybe by a sizeable margin. The NDX2 appears to offer something exceptional for its asking price. As does a used NDS.


Has anybody done this comparison and kept their nDac?

I am always on the lookout for a S/H NDS but they are very, very rare in my part of the world.

The NDX2 is looking more and more attractive as an upgrade over my n-DAC as the weeks roll on by…

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You could try a Audiophilleo USB to spdif converter into your nDAC. By all accounts it will dramatically improve the spdif into the nDAC. You then have the freedom to choose whatever way you fancy to drive your music into the DAC. Best to use the PurePower option as well. You then have one of the lowest jitter spdif devices available at that price point (£1k).


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I was lucky enough for my dealer to let me have and NDX-2 for a home demonstration. I currently run nDAC-XPS fed by a Mac, and was looking for a better streaming approach. I borrowed a Core and the NDX-2, and I was thinking was that the Core into the DAC/XPS (though its coax connection) would be as good as the NDX-2, and much cheaper. I spent some time comparing the Mac against the Core, both into the DAC/XPS, and whilst there are differences I’m not sure either is better. Maybe the Core, but it’s very close. The Core is certainly more user-friendly than a computer, but that’s the main advantage. I then connected up the NDX-2, “naked” (no XPS), streaming from the Core (so using the same files) over the network and feeding the 52, no nDAC. Much to my annoyance, the improvement is immediately apparent and very significant. It’s not even close. I’ve ordered an NDX-2.


I’m buying an Innuos Zenith mk 3 2TB SSD and the Audiophilleo + PurePower. It not a lot more than the cost of a Core with the same 2TB SSD and it runs Roon with embedded TIDAL. The Audiophilleo has been a revelation.

I’m glad you are pleased with the NDX2. Enjoy! I did not even want to try the NDX2 in case!


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am in same predicament as have old NDX with XPS fed into NDAC wondered if would be much difference and whether to swap out the XPS for a 555PS first before NDX2 (not demo’d/heard the NDX2 at all) interested in peeps experiences

I had an NDX2 on order and used a DAC V1 for control. Decided to put both feet into the boat, traded the NDX I had and the Dac V1 and the CD5xs in for an ND555/PSU555 and went streaming all the way. That took care of the very high quality DAC in the ND555. Its been the best move for me, but only if you can swing it. Saved a lot of money by doing it right the first time and not doing it in stages.


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Naim digital boxes need to be kept away from preamps in particular. With lots of air round your boxes you might be surprised!


You did it the right way. You get the new tech, plus the old dac chip we all love.

Unfortunately that’s a stretch for me.