Naim NDX2 or ND5 XS2 ~ longer term choice?

Hello everyone.

I am new to this community. After many years of owning very high end separates, from a number of companies at a never endless cost, now in my late 50’s, I decided to prioritize both my listening habits and budget count by selling off a few very esoteric pieces and start over again with more affordable gear.

So far, I have purchased the SuperNait 3 and a pair of PMC Twenty5.24 loudspeakers, yet I still need a good streamer. I took a complete flyer on these components based on reviews alone as I simply do not have the time to visit hi-fi stores many kilometres away and also I have found hearing gear at a dealer actually tells me very little about what they might sound like in my personal space at home. So far, so good as I only have an older Sony CD player as a reference but feel I made a good choice.

The natural / easy choice would be another Naim product for a streamer as I feel the sonic character of the SuperNait 3 will likely be voiced similarly with other Naim products which will provide a continuity of sound throughout the entire system.

I have done some extensive reading on the ND5 XS2 and the NDX2. From what I can ascertain from the reviews alone, the NDX2 would seem to be more advanced, yet that comes at a premium price to get there. I have always been a believer in making the stretch if it is truly worth it, yet the whole point of this new exercise was to find the best “values” in the product line which help keep budgets in check. (You know where this is going my friends ! )

My question is simply this. Apart from a small TFT screen on the NDX2 ( which I really don’t care about much ) and of course, some better parts and engineering which would justify the cost difference, would the NDX2 be worth that stretch keeping in mind, it is twice the cost of the ND5 XS2 ? The 555 is out of the question in my budget.

I only want to do this one more time, therefore; do not want to get an ND5 XS2 home and after 2 months be thinking " I should have just saved a little more and got the NDX2 " OR, over-purchase with an NDX2 when an ND5 XS2 may have done the job and beyond just fine

Because I do not have time to go and personally listen, this question carries a lot more weight for me as I have been lucky this far my blind purchases on the SuperNait 3 and PMC have ideally worked out. I am depending on some feedback from anyone out there whom may have been considering this same situation and compared the two sonically.

Any light you could shine would be welcomed…

thank you

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Only your ears can tell you if the NDX2 is worth twice the cost since the laws of diminishing returns apply. However, the NDX2 will sound noticeably better than the ND5XS2 and I would recommend spending the extra money if you can afford it and go for the NDX2 as in my mind it is a more natural partner to your SN3 amp.

Also, I know you’ve said that you want to keep the cost down, but with the NDX2 you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the option of upgrading with a power supply is always open in the future should your circumstances change. In my mind, this is the better longer term option.

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This is good advice and my internal thoughts on this as well. Having just come out from 3 components with a retail price of approx. $20,000.00 Canadian dollars each, you might say I have been a bit spoiled by a certain level
of expectation.

I am now on the path of “ sensibly priced sound “. Hence the SuperNait 3. Being budget conscious is practical and the right thing to do always, yet if that budget constraint forces the purchase of something you are less than pleased with overall, then I have always felt it is a better decision to save a little longer and make the stretch. Will the NDX2 be twice as good as the ND5 XS2 ? No. I already know that answer, but I think it will bring a satisfied level of listening to the table in which I will not be questioning the move. At least this has always been my experience with just about everything in life be it a new car, dress shirt or audio. I do not mind paying some extra for the “ more right “ product , yet under-purchasing has always left me feeling a bit blank

Thank you for your input my friend.

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I would get the NDX2 and be done with it.

In the Naim hierarchy the NDX is in the classic series like the Supernait, the ND5 sits in the lower XS series, albeit it punches above it’s weight and isn’t out of place with the better amp.

If you feel the need to upgrade in the future the NDX2 can be upgraded by adding a power supply, normally the XPS2, although the 555 is an indulgent alternative. This does help future proof things further whereas the ND5 would need to be changed over.

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I would get the NDX2.

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NDX2 is the natural partner as folks have said and yes the ND5 XS2 punches above its weight. Likely depends on your long-term goals. If you plan on changing to separates or adding an additional power supply, then the NDX2 makes more sense. If you plan on staying put you’ll be surprised at how well the ND5 XS2 plays with the SN3. Again final choice is up to you and I’m sure your dealer can assist.

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@vinylbrother I was in the same situation although only upgrading from a Nova, I went for the NDX2 with a SN3, like you I knew it would bug me later and I’d end up upgrading and costing me more if I went for the ND5. Also as said above, you have the psu upgrade option later if you want too

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Another vote for the NDX2. It is significantly better than its baby brother. I wouldn’t hesitate if I were you.
Best

David

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I also struggled with this choice, and in the end I chose the NDX2 because I wanted to leave open the option to upgrade with an external PSU. That is in fact what I did, adding a XPS within a couple months, and it provided a very significant improvement in sound quality in every respect. I also like the remote and use it quite a lot.

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yep the screen and remote are nice to have too

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I went through this a similar decision process (helped by this forum - see Advice on new 2 box system? ) earlier this year, albeit with a SN2 as the SN3 had not been released.

Somewhat against the consensus of views here, after a demo and a home trial, I selected the ND5 XS2 in preference to the NDX2. To my cloth ears, the NDX2 sounded slightly better, but it really wasn’t much of a difference - YMMV, especially given your history of esoteric kit! This wasn’t a choice forced by a constrained budget, but for me the difference between the two was not at all sufficient to double the price - to borrow your phrase, it would have been an “over-purchase”. I also had in the back of my mind the speed that streaming tech is evolving, and if I was going to want the latest bells and whistles in 3-5 years, I’d prefer to take the trade-in hit on the cheaper box. I appreciate that this may not be a factor in your decision.

I haven’t suffered a second of buyer’s remorse, and am very happy with my choice - good luck with yours!

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Back when I had my SN2, I had ordered a NDX2 but unfortunately my unit was dead on arrival at my dealer. (They has just been released - so waiting on a replacement unit took some time as Naim was ramping up production). As a result, my dealer gave me a new in the box ND5XS2 to use in the mean time.

My comparison of the two is that the ND5XS2 has a rougher sound. When listening through my Sennheiser HD800S headphones the differences were quite stark. The ND5XS2 has a raw, edged sound, you could also hear artefacts in the stream.

In comparison, the NDX2 is silent, smoother with music having a flowing - real, quality.

I’d compare it like looking at a non aliased typeface on a computer where you can see the block edges and then looking at the same typeface rendered as aliased.

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Many thanks to all whom have chimed in…

The general consensus seems to be at least unanimous.

Without committing treason, might there be any other suggestions for a streaming device outside of the Naim product catalogue that some of you may have found to work well with the SuperNait or general Naim house sound? At this point, i am pretty much convinced on the NDX2, yet open to suggestions…

thanks

OK. Get the NDX2. It’s all the player you’ll ever need.

G

Its a great streamer, add the xpsdr at a later date…it takes it to a whole new level,enjoy

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I am not convinced of the added value of Naim streamers over, e.g., a Naim DAC or a Chord DAC fed by something like an Allo DigiOne Signature. But I have never demoed an NDX 2 or a ND5 XS 2. If I had to choose between them without home demo, I would probably go for the ND5 XS 2 and leave open the possibility of adding a better DAC later. If you are after a one box solution and not interested in further upgrades, the NDX 2 is perhaps a better choice. Good luck and enjoy your new system!

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At the defence of the NDX2, it brings Roon, Airplay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Chromecast, Tidal streaming and soon QoBuz. It’s both a UPnP receiver and also a UPnP server and can play also from a directly attached hard drive.

It has a 32-bit/384kHz DAC, which is a higher quality one than that found in the ND5XS2 with various inputs including coaxial SPDIF on RCA and BNC connectors, and a SHARC processor with 16x integer upsampling feeding Burr Brown chips used solely for D to A.

A five inch colour display can show artwork or artist and album info.

A nice new generation Naim zigbee based bidirectional remote control that through the NDX2 can act as the centre point for full system automation through the one remote control.

It provides both wired or wireless streaming, analogue output via RCA phonos or DIN.

It has the option to add an external power supply.

It also adds digital inputs to your pre amp or integrated amp’s analog inputs.

It will play all the usual formats up to 32/384 (24/192 via the DAC inputs) PCM and DSD128.

The NDX 2 has a network card that was developed to route digital signals in the quietest possible fashion.

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Is it really out of the question to listen to these expensive boxes before you make your choice? There’s no way I’d be prepared to make a blind choice based on recommendations on a forum. I accept that we have it easy in the UK, and getting to a decent dealer to listen, and then home demo equipment is accepted practice, but even if you have to take a bit of time to do this, I would consider the effort worthwhile.
FWIW I do think the NDX2 is a significant step up from the ND5XS2, but the other consideration is whether or not you might want to upgrade them in future. The NDX2 can be upgraded with an external PSU, unlike the ND5XS2. However, another popular upgrade option with Naim streamers is to run them as a transport into an external DAC. If you are going to consider such an option, then I would not bother with an NDX2, as you will likely find no advantage to the more expensive player when used in this mode.

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…with the NDX 2, you will love it and it will entice you do more, so the XPS DR power supply will be added and you will find you have a fine three box solution… then again you may have added a HiCapDR to the SN3 and made it a final four box solution… well unless you add a TT and another PS.

The beat goes on…

I would go with the NDX 2 since it does sound fantastic without and even better with a PS.

I am bias as my system is NAS > XPS DR > NDX 2 > SuperNait 2 > NAC A5 > NAIM Ovator S-400.

Good luck with your decision

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Thank you all.

I sincerely appreciate every position of advice. One thing I might have failed to address / mention that DOES put a very different swing on the responses given is ’ the end goal ". The goal in all of this for me is to find the one product that will satisfy and stop there. Although the NDX2 can accommodate upgrade, it will NOT be my intention to do so. ( Famous last words of the audiophile . LOL )

My number one priority in all of this is to find a product that in its stand-alone position, can provide me with the highest quality sound and functionality. I do not have the slightest intent on moving on up the line after a couple years, adding PS’s or any other devices which will incur further costs of upgrade

I have already come out of a 5 box, near 80,000$ system recently and have no intention of starting a whole new crusade only now, with a Naim product line. That said, it would appear to me that the NDX2 might be the worthwhile stretch to acquire that tidy 2 box system and be done with it.

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