Naim NDS - still a good used buy?

Question for the hive mind. Is the Naim NDS still a good used buy?

I’ve noticed that the used prices on these have been driving down quite recently. They’ve been regularly dropping under £3K and quite a few now have been advertised at the £2.5k mark. Even more remarkably a couple of units sold over the bank holiday weekend on eBay UK, a really lovely one from the main dealer Acoustica in Chester sold for a pitiful £2.1K and a few hours later one sold for only £1500! At these prices I’m kicking myself for not bidding.

But the question still remains, is it still a good used buy?

It comes down to:

  • It still sounds great.
  • Its online streaming capabilities are what they are, so no Qobuz and most likely some other limitations in the future. Just fine for local streaming.
  • Its wifi is not great, so use wired if possible.
  • It’s not as slick wrt to firmware updates as the new streamers.

I believe you will find all possible arguments if you search for threads about NDS and NDX2 :smiley: Such as:

And probably more as well as similar threads

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Is it a good buy?
As a DAC yes… as a streamer probably not, unless you are mostly limited to home streaming… which if you are really into recordings can become very limiting

So getting a modern streaming transport such as a NDX2 and feeding an NDS could be a good solution if the ND555 is too much of a stretch.

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Why not just an ND5X2 with the same streaming tech? (Or even something like a Bluesound Node 2i if you use the digital out anyways?)

As above there is so much information and comparison already on the forum.

I can’t comment on how it stands against the competition or the newer streamers besides a demo against the ND555.

If it meets your functionality needs then it’s an incredible player for the money.

To get the most from it I have a 555PS and a SL Interconnect with this combination I have no desire to try anything else, it simple sounds great.

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The firmware on the NDS is stable, nothing breaks or is broken with firmware updates.

In a Roon system, it just becomes a DAC with an Ethernet input.

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I can’t afford an NDX2 right now so these dropping to a sub 2K price point is starting to make sense.

It would be in a Roon system for me too and I presume that’s still enabled with something like a Sonore UPNP bridge.

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I didn’t say it was. I said,

It’s not as slick wrt to firmware updates as the new streamers.

On the new streamers, a firmware update is just to press a button in the app and that’s it. On the old ones, you need to download a file and install it manually. This may or may not be a problem for the OP but he should be aware.

In a Roon system, it just becomes a DAC with an Ethernet input.

Not without making it so manually. Again, may not matter for the OP (in particular if he adds a streamer frontend) but is something to be aware of.

and other threads

This is how I’m using my NDS, Roon Nucleus + Upnp bridge, very easy to set-up and works very well.

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You can do if you don’t want the more advanced usability controls and display of the NDX2.
I assumed for a transport those aspects are important, or at least they are for me which is why I choose the NDX2 as a my transport, I don’t like to be bound to an Android or iOS device… but sure the ND5XS2 would technically drive the NDS.

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Although the NDS cannot be used with Qobuz, it does work fine with Tidal (or at least it did when I had one). It’s still a very good player and at the prices the OP has indicated, I’d say it’s a steal.

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Running the new ND5XS2 through my 5 year old NDS has breathed new life in the system,great combo

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I have three ways of using my NDS with Roon.

  1. Roon bridge on a dedicated music server from the Audiostore,
  2. LMS2UpnP on a dedicated RPi running RooExtend; the RPi replaced the software running on a MacMini, and
  3. Apple TV / Sony TV that used to have an optical digital input into the NDS.
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£1500 for a NDS, my god thats very telling isn’t it.
Good sound buy at that, as long as you have a power supply for it.
Just use it as a dac only is the way to go with these really, that means more boxes, more messing about, but at these prices its got to be worth it?
Just horrible for the guys that paid a lot for them, but then thats life as they say, as trade in on these now is going to be very poor, if they even want it. Door stop anyone lol, sorry couldn’t resist it.
So as long as you are happy to pay for roon, and the tec to run it, a NDS as dac only has probably just become the cheapest way to go, to get a decent quality

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Well… the dac in the NDS ( PCM1704) was released in 1998. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good, but it’s old. There are plenty newer, much cheaper dacs with just about the same or better specifications. You can buy a complete unit new for just a few hundred pounds/euros that will technically perform just as well.

I’d say it’s not worth the money at the price point mentioned (+/- 1500 gbp). The only reason i can think of why someone would get one today, is because it matched nicely with the rest of the boxes in the rack.

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Surely with better specifications, but how does the sound compare with an NDS.

Ah oui oui! :chicken:

Well… a DAC has to sound linear and neutral, that’s also what the critics lauded about the NDS when it was first released:

They use a lot of words to come to this end conclusion:

The NDS may not reach out and grab the attention. It does not attempt to advertise traditional Naim qualities too loudly, and at times there is almost a subtle understatement that invites one to participate in a musical event. It is certainly neutral almost to a fault, subsuming itself into a good system without shouting its presence. These are all positive virtues, pointing towards a near invisible, grain-free, low coloration replay that allows all kinds of music to breathe freely.

So that means that any modern DAC that sounds neutral and has low-noise would basically suffice. :wink:

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Yes but that’s not the only thing, if it were then all DACs would be the same, because this one is easy

I tend to agree, at £1500 plus a power supply its not cheap really, but the NDS was very expensive and to see them now at these prices is quite shocking, as it was the flagship product just 5 years ago i think, trade in value on these looking at the last 2 sold, probably means less than £1000, if they even take it.
But its still a good dac and in the naim world it still has a place, especially if you have means to power it and roon it, if not then probably pointless.

But the question was, is it still a good buy?
I guess that depends on your requirements, for me then NO its not, but it just might provide a cheap solution for some in the naim world, especially if they have a cd555, etc, to try streaming and keep it all naim, as its never been as cheap to give it a go

I don’t understand why folks are saying that you need to use it with Roon. Why not just a local server (for CDs and downloads) and, if the OP wishes, Tidal as a subscription remote streaming service?

FWIW I cannot see any benefit of Roon unless it provides a service like Qobuz, Tidal or Spotify.

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