Naim ND5xs or Chord Qutest or Azur 851N

Hi guys. I’m happy owner of Nait XS2. I would like to get the best source for my system , the budget limit is about 1300€. My thoughts are used ND5xs, or new Qutest or Azur. My main concern is SQ. If you have any other suggestion , please let me know. Tnx.

FWIW - I ran a Nait XS 2 with a ND5 XS for a year or so and thought it was excellent, the music was streamed from a NAS and TIDAL. The speakers I used at the time was a pair of ProAc D2’s and Ovator S-400’s.

No experience with the Qutest or Azur so will not comment.

Good luck with your decision.

1 Like

At a minimum, listen to both. At least on the same or similar amp you own and preferably at home connected to your own system. Unfortunately it can take more than a brief listen to 3 or 4 “wow” demo tracks at a dealer or showroom to get a feel for these sort of products sound, and they differ quite a bit. Even a quite expensive product may not suit your listening preferences or listening environment.
They aren’t exactly like for like products, one is a bare bones DAC with the Chord “signature” sound, which leans toward being smooth and analogue in presentation, The Cambridge product I have no personal experience of but it does more being a transport/streamer that also has a DAC.
I own both a Chord Mojo and Hugo2 and listen through them frequently, mostly on headphones but I’ve used both on NAIT based systems and they marry well.
I’d also be inclined to look at a Chord Hugo2 and then you can add their new 2yu streamer add on (a better version of the Poly they did for the Mojo, which is a good Roon endpoint I find). Another minor plus is that it’s compact, has an internal battery and half decent headphone amp, and can be moved around or used on a laptop or with headphones.


I’ve learnt that qutest is the dac part of Hugo2. So you have positive experience with naits and hugo. That’s great to hear.

Yes and I’ve owned various NAIT’s including a XS-2 and an XS 2.
If it was me listening to both side by side, I’d expect the Qutest to win you over more on presentation and fit with your NAIT, however you’d need to have a PC/Mac or seperate transport to feed it, whereas the Cambridge Azur is closer to features to the Naim ND range previous and current generations.
If the appeal of the added features of a Hugo2 aren’t of interest you could look out for a used ND5 XS 2, they are going for around £1600 UK for units which will be well run in typically and not be that old at all.
I’ve run one over the past year from new on a Supernait 2 and enjoyed it.
I’ve also run it as a transport in to the Hugo 2 but it’s running standalone and using it’s internal DAC again now.

I have a Mac , for me the most important is SQ ( i suppose DAC).

So the streamer/transport would be your Mac.
I’ve done similar and ran it that way for a while.
I still do the same at work to headphones.
I use Audirvana as a player/library and that has integration with Tidal and Qobuz and my local library on my MacBook internal drive.
That then goes over USB to my Mojo (typically) which I tend to run off its battery, then on to headphones.

If you want something that is sat on a rack with your NAIT look for a used ND5 XS 2
If you like the idea of portability and headphone use, I’d take a serious look at a Hugo 2.
You can use that in multiple configurations over time as well including bolting on a dedicated Roon Ready Streamer module to it which adds Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Sound quality and what is “best” is a personal thing.
Experience has taught me to trust my gut and my ears first and foremost, so do demo/loan these shortlisted options where possible, it will help.
The Hugo2 and Qutest will sound very similar as the Qutest is basically a stripped down variant of the Hugo2 but sacrificing a lot of what I would class as useful features, always plenty bubbling up used as well.

1 Like

I had an ND5XS, and now have a Hugo 2. For me, it’s a no-brainer — Qutest plus something like Allo USBridge Signature. In the past I also had an XS2, but not the Hugo at that time.

1 Like

Chord qutest

I use Auralic Aries G1 as the streamer with the Quetest. Sounds wonderful!

Another big thumbs up for the Qutest.

1 Like

This has got me thinking. If I download Audirvana or something like that onto my MacBook Air and plug that into my Qutest via USB B I’ll be able to stream Qobuzz and Tidal? Excuse me if that’s blindingly obvious but I’m a total numpty at this kind of thing.

I don’t see why you would need to use Audirvana for that.

I do that at work with a Chord Mojo.
I pack my laptop, Mojo/Poly, USB cables and headphones and wire it all up when I get there.
I use Audirvana as it puts all the music in one place amongst other things.

Elaborate please. I’m not going to buy an NDX or anything like that, so I’ll need something to give me access to Qobuzz or Tidal. I’ve tried Spotify and that was so dire I can’t see myself bothering with that. It’s easier just to plug the iPhone into the 252 directly and use Amazon music. Can you download Qobuzz directly?

Yes you can!
There’s an app for iOS and Android phones/tablets and a desktop version for Windows/Mac OS
Getting the audio from the app to the amp either direct from the device or via a USB DAC.

Ah. Thank you. I’ll look into that then.

You should be able to set the sound output on your MacBook to USB and play straight from the Qobuz app. Maybe it would work better via Audirvana, I don’t know, but I’m sure it will still work without it.

Thanks, will give it a go.