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’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.
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.
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.
£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
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.
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.
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