Naim NDX2 or ND5 XS2 ~ longer term choice?

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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I lived with an ND5 XS 2 > XS 2 system for awhile and it was wonderful, I also lived with a NDX > SN 2 then NDX 2 > SN 2 for awhile and those combinations were sublime. You are right about the upgrade itch that can come into play. At this point in time I do not envision moving to a SN 3 with the SN 2 only being a couple years old and I do not intend to add a TT.

My goal is not to go above a four box system so eventually I may add the HiCap DR to the SN 2 and that will be it. So currently and for the retirement years ahead I hope to keep it as simple as this, having added the XPS DR this past September.

Edit: btw, whatever you decide I believe you will enjoy it, good luck with your decision!

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For what it’s worth, spent a fair amount of time listening to both the ND5 XS2 and the NDX2. While the NDX2 was an improvement over ND5 XS2, in my view it was an incremental, albeit noticeable improvement, over the “entry level” model, akin to going to a 192/24 version from 96/24 version of a high quality recording. Part of my thinking in opting for the ND5 XS2 was that, unlike amplification, streamers are a comparatively new technology and that whatever I bought was more likely to be superseded by a materially better model in the future. (I also view the display on the NDX2 was a distraction.). I have had my ND5 XS2 for a year and have no regrets.

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That 2nd shelf is just waiting patiently for the HiCap.

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…yes, that shelf is waiting patiently, yes, time and patience. …oh ya, money, time and patience.

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All these feaures are provided by the ND5 XS 2 as well and the streaming platform of the ND5 XS 2 and of the NDX 2 are the same, to the best of my knowledge.

The DAC of the NDX 2 is slightly better than the DAC of the ND5 XS 2 and they both are at most as good as the DAC of the old nDAC.

Considering that one can buy a second hand nDAC for about 1/6 of the price of an NDX 2 (and front-end it with a more flexible and future proof streaming platform for negligible money) the added value of the ND5 XS 2 and of the NDX 2 seems rather modest to me.

The NDX 2 is still a nice device but, given what one gets for the money, its relatively unpolished software and recurrent display freezing problems, I would opt for a less pretentious and more inconspicuous ND5 XS 2. Just my two cents, of course.

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