Naim HDX vs NS01

Hi all,

Bit of advice here. My “modern” system is based around a SuperUniti (which recently had its display changed). It’s really great and Naim tell me that it won’t need a service for around another 4 or 5 years.

Primary sources are a Marantz K.I. Pearl Lite CD/SACD player and an Oppo BDP-83SE BluRay player. I am also running a Tascam SS-R200 solid state recorder and a Tascam DA-30MkII DAT through it. Speakers are “oldies but goodies” Castle Howard S2s.

I have somewhere south of 1,000 CDs, mostly classical but other genres as well from rock to jazz. There is a portable 500Gb SSD (reformatted to FAT32) plugged into the SU’s front USB socket with FLAC ripped CDs on it (courtesy of dBpoweramp).

I am, however, looking at a more elegant, one-box solution to CD ripping and storage and have been looking at the HDX and the NS01 (both of which are currently available on eBay within budget).

Another (pretty) expensive option might be the new Uniti Star and an external drive or a Nova plus a Core. But, and this is a big BUT, the new Unitis do not have a coax digital out whereas the SU does and this for me is important for recording classical radio broadcasts to either of the Tascams.

So, between the HDX and the NS01. I have read on here that the HDX in basic form sounds better than the NS01 in basic form. However, there is a Naim DAC going on eBay at the moment, as well as an HDX and an NS01. Cost wise, I should be able to get the NS01 and the DAC for the same total price as the HDX.

Apologies for the rambling preamble, but any advice and/or thoughts greatly appreciated.

Best wishes

The HDX is far superior to the NS01 in performance, however, both are getting on a bit now and parts and support must be starting to become a bit of a problem.

A more modern alternative might be a Core and a Naim DAC. This actually what I use and they work really well together.

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Thanks Richard, that’s really helpful.

So clearly the difference in sound quality between the HDX and the NS01 is night and day. The HDX I am looking at has been upgraded to 2TB and was serviced by Naim this year. Maybe a call to Naim might give me a better idea of longer term serviceability.

The initial problems with the Core were obviously sorted.

One of the reasons for going HDX was the match with the SU. I think I will definitely try to get hold of the DAC, though.

Naim’s ripper/servers are hopeless when it comes to metadata handling for classical music in particular, and sadly the Core is even worse in this respect that the older models. If this is remotely important to you I would suggest that you look elsewhere, although to be fair this issue bothers some people more than others. That aside, if the price is right you might like using them. Also consider a Unitiserve as you won’t need the DAC in the HDX.
As an SPDIF source, the Core with its linear power supply is a good option in terms of sound quality if you can live with its limited functionality.

Just avoid HDX/NS01/02/Unitiserve at this stage. They are only going to go one way, inside is an imbedded XP motherboard running ddr2 ram which should give you an indication of their age.

Unless you can find for like a couple of hundred quid, its just not worth it.


Hi Chris

Cheers for that. I’d read this about the Naims and metadata viz-viz classical music. Another option might be one of the Innuos range.

I think that part of all of this is that I like the idea of a high quality hard disc player! I also like the idea of a screen so I can see what’s playing!

I had a HDX for a while and I thought it was a great bit of kit (only sold as went ND555). As an all in one solution it works very well. Yes the tech is old, but as long as it works so what ? If the one you are looking at has just been serviced by Naim it should have 10+ years of service in it so if you look at cost over time, even if you throw it away at end of it, for the sound and ease of use I think it is a bargain. Just my opinion

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Hi Gary

That’s a very good point, although bear in mind that you’re talking to someone who runs B&O tangential record decks, Nakamichi cassette decks and a Sony Elcaset, so not fazed by older technology (although fully aware of the risks!).

Hi biddler

Thanks for that - I think it could be worth a punt when all is said and done.

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As you are happy with using dbpoweramp to rip, have you considered just putting the music on a nas and streaming over the network to your SuperUniti? Buying a superseded box do do the same thing seems a little questionable.

Hi hungryhalibut

I think I prefer the one box solution and a direct connection to the SU the old fashioned way. Internet here a bit flaky and the HDX would be more elegant.

Bear in mind that streaming over the network generally sounds better. The internet strength isn’t relevant as you use your home network, ie intranet.

Okey dokey, good point, although whether these ancient lugholes would actually notice the difference is a moot point!

Update. Well, I managed to nab the Naim DAC on eBay for c. £860, which I thought was reasonable. It appears to be in good nick.

I have emailed the vendor (a dealer) about his HDX but still awaiting a reply. At a buy-it-now price of £1,750 (but make an offer), that’s steep, although it has been serviced and I should be able to reclaim the VAT on it.

In the meantime, however, an Innuos Zenith 2 with a 2TB HDD has surface for a lot less. That plus the Naim DAC (via the USB connection) could make a pretty awesome ripper/server and I believe the metadata organisation on the Zenith is better (uses Roon, I think).

This is fun!

Just bear in mind that the Naim DAC does not have a USB input, i.e. you would need a USB to Spdif converter. The ZenMini however, has a Spdif output that can be connected to the Naim DAC without a converter.

The Naim DAC has two USBs, one on the front and one on the rear :slight_smile:

Might be a bit off-topic, but I still have good memories about my HDX. A wonderfull one box solution and my first steps into the world of streaming audio …

The USB inputs on the Naim DAC are for connecting an iPhone or iPad to it.

They can’t be used to stream from a PC.

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You can’t plug the Ndac into usb of the Zenith 2. You will need an usb to spdif converter.

Nice to hear, Klout :+1:

Well, more money spent on the Bay. After some more research, I decided to go with the Innuos. I made a mistake: it was the Zen, not the Zenith, which would have been quite a bit more. Got it for £775.00. So, dent-in-the-credit-card wise, combined with the DAC I have paid less than the asking price of the HDX on its own.

Okay, so sonically I don’t know how the Innuos + Naim DAC + SU will compare to either HDX + DAC + SU or HDX straight into the SU, but I think the Innuos has a more user friendly/mature interface plus you can rip to WAV or uncompressed FLAC.

Now I just have to get myself a second ethernet cable.

Thanks again for all your replies, guys :+1:

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