Naim DAC or NDX2?

I am currently using a Primare NP5 into my 272 (with 555DR power supply). I use Qobuz and a local NAS for my streaming - all of which is controlled by Roon.

I am pretty happy with everything but now looking at my next move. I tend to move quite slowly with my updates and I am approaching the point where enough is enough.

I’m not interested in the new models.

I am probably going to upgrade the preamp to a 282 or 252 in time. I wondered if anyone had compared a budget(ish) streamer into a Naim DAC with an NDX2 (either one would be powered by the 555)?

Define “enough is enough”. Insert smiley face emoji here.

Can’t comment on the 555 ps option but during my last upgrade round, i demo’d the ndx2 against my existing nDac with a few different transports.I felt the ndx2 was a little more controlled but sacrificed the fun element. It was clear that the nDac shows the weakness of it’s source transport so I view them as a pair when comparing. I opted for a bryston transport and nDac in the end.

Hang on Matthew.

You’re using a Primare NP5 in preference to the 272/555 streamer? Is that because of Roon or something else? Which is fine by the way, your system, you can do what you want. Just curious!

I use the NP5 to get Roon and Qobuz. I found the work-around quite clunky… There also seemed to be a slight improvement with the sound which was a nice bonus.

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Being an ex NDAC /555PS (non DR) as well as a current NDX2 owner, I say the NDAC is the better performer… its not the most insightful of DACs in terms of subtle details like ambience, reverbs, choral etc, but it’s fun and has huge scale.
However it does need a good quality digital source to sound its best. Bizarrely sensitive here… so a low quality source might have you wondering what the fuss is about. FWIW Naim improved this on later products. The NDAC also IMO performs better with that extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ the non DR 555 PS over the DR version… but I realize non DR 555PS are like hen’s teeth now.

The NDX2 analogue output (albeit without external PSU in my setup ) is good and competent… but lacks in my opinion verve and passion summonable up from the audio that can be found elsewhere. An external PSU almost certainly sharpens it up a bit, but it’s not in the same league as the NDAC/555PS (non DR)
As far as preamps, I was an absolute fan of the 252 DR… it was so natural and unforced, it let the music in the audio breath.

The 282 is very capable and fun, but drives a more exaggerated presentation.

So if you can get a non DR 555 PS then go with the NDAC, and get at least a competent digital source, with a good quality clock, and perhaps consider TosLink… this would sound good with a 282 HiCapDR DR and amazing with 252 DR.

If your 555PS is a DR variety I would lean more to the NDX2, and perhaps focus on the 282 HiCapDR… those two probably have a better synergy… with the NAC injecting a bit of spice into the audio.


Thanks Simon, that’s all very useful information. My 555 is a DR so your comment about the non-DR is very interesting.

The NDX2 is about 3 times the price of the DAC second hand which also comes into the equation. The DAC seems particularly good value for money at the moment - almost good enough just to try and then move it on if necessary.

What do you consider a good source? I like the NP5 as it can be tucked away and there’s no redundancy with. I’m aware that it probably sits in the budget/mid-range section of the market.

I kind of feel like a broken record but must write this here too. It’s just so good it can’t be overlooked. I haven’t heard the Primare so this is in no way a comparison but you should audition the Lindemann Bridge II if you are looking for a competent streamer for you Naim dac. I use it with an NDS/555PS DR and it is very good.


You are not going to like this - an NDX2 is great digital streamer source. :grinning: … the ND5XS2 is not at all far behind… and some can’t distinguish between it and the NDX2 as a digital output streamer (as opposed to an analogue audio output streamer where the differences are more pronounced). Outside of Naim I think there is a good selection including from people like Cambridge Audio, Cyrus and Arcam who make some very good products indeed. I would be inclined to go for an established brand as you know you are most likely going to get good support… which is probably quite important with internet based audio.

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I find it interesting that folk can’t distinguish between an NDX2 and ND5XS (huge difference when we compared so pushed the boat out & bought the NDX2) but they can hear the difference between various feet/cables/chopping boards etc.


Why “or”?

Just get both :laughing:

But seriously, a used nDAC and a used ND5XS2 would give you a very capable streaming source given you’ve already got 555PSDR.


He was talking about Ndxs2 and Ndx2 used as transport only, into digital out.


If you are comparing the DAC/analogue output of course you would expect to hear differences. The SPDIF output puts the signal through virtually identical circuits on the ND5XS2 and NDX2, so I don’t think one would expect significant differences. When I compared the two at length a couple of years ago I could not reliably tell them apart, so my advice would be to go for the cheaper option if you can live without the screen and (horrible!) remote control.

One might even speculate that the absence of a screen and remote could reduce potential electrical interference which may affect the sensitive analogue circuitry.


Fair enough but ‘distinguish between’ suggests both alternatives sound the same whist an IKEA chopping board offers significant improvements for some. As I say I do find it strange, audiophilia.

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I am also doubtful about the same sound quality of both transports.

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And I do like the screen and remote.

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There are many threads worth reading on this.

Most people (I am one) reckon the NDX2 is better than ND5XS2. Those who have tried it reckon that ND5XS2+ nDAC is about as good as NDX2, though they do not sound identical.

Both NDX2 and ND5XS2+ nDAC benefit from an external PS.

To me, that PS uplift is modest with 82/HC/250 but much more noticeable with 52/SC/ 300DR. That also applies to the (bigger) difference between naked ND5XS2 and naked NDX2.

For many of us, the best choice may come down to how many boxes we want, whether we care about the screen, whether the nDAC is actually available and total cost.


@Matthew There are lots of threads about this. Have you done a search?

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I’ve done a search and couldn’t one comparing the DAC and NDX2 - loads comparing ND5 and NDX as transports but that wasn’t the question.

And many more from putting “NDX2 ND5XS2 nDAC” into the search box.