Naim HDX or ND5XS


Just joined the forum although started down the Naim route 40 years ago!

System: Naim CDX, XPS, 82 modded to run 10 power rails, Supercap, NAT03, HiCap / Headline, Roksan Xerxes 20, SME 309, Benz Micro Wood and Shahinian Compass.

All Naim components have been recently serviced rather than changing - cost of new replacements was frightening!

I want to add digital radio to my system to replace the NAT03 which can’t access all the stations I want, the two routes I am considering are:

  1. ND5XS with the radio module to replace the NAT03 or
  2. HDX with radio module (secondhand) to replace the CDX and the NAT03, I understand the HDX can be powered by my Olive XPS.

Both would give me the option of streaming.

My question is whether for CD replay would the HDX/XPS be inferior to the CDX/XPS either using it to play the CD’s or to play the ripped CD’s which I read is the better option.

Any advice on the two approaches?

Thanks SimonW

Hi Simon, the HDX is the more accomplished performer of the two, but perhaps not in terms of its iRadio. For example, the better quality BBC HLS streams do not work on the HDX, but they do on the ND5XS.
Remember that both of these units are discontinued, and while I’m sure Naim will continue to support them as far as they can, it may be hard for them to guarantee that they will continue to run any particular service indefinitely.
I can’t help thinking that you might be better off with a DAC that will take a USB or SPDIF feed from a computer or phone if you want a cost effective source if iRadio.

By the way, just to be clear, the ND5XS has iRadio that I was referring to as standard. The DAB/FM module is an optional extra on many Naim streamers. DAB sounds rubbish, and you’re better off sticking with iRadio. FM is much better, but no match for the sound quality of your NAT.

In pure performance terms I’d most likely take the CDX+XPS - it can thrill in ways that the HDX can’t quite reach. However, the HDX is a delight to use and also performs very well too. It just depends on what you want. Bear in mind that both are getting on in years, but there’s probably more that could go wrong with an HDX. Conversely, the CDX uses the VAM1205 mech and that’s in very short supply these days…

As for radio, if you’re happy with FM stations and your aerial is up to it then the NAT03 will perform appreciably better than the DAB/FM module in either of the other units.

Thanks for all the advice, not as straight forward as I thought. If the HDX is going to be a compromise on the CDX then I probably won’t go down that route just to get a few radio channels that are not on FM. The CDX was serviced by Naim last year and had a new transport so should be good for a few more years. I hadn’t appreciated that I radio and DAB were worse than FM through the NAT03. What I might try is getting a 5 pin DIN to 3.5mm lead and trying my Ipad with Radio 5 through a spare input on the 82. I mainly want to listen to Radio 5 in the kitchen where I have a pair of Linn Local speakers powered by my old NAP 140 which also runs of the 82.


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