Naim newbie & a couple of questions

Hi there. I am a complete newbie to Naim (slightly more experience with hifi overall) having this week picked up an absolutely mint 5si for a bargain on a well known auction site.

I set it up yesterday and I can certainly hear a big difference compared to the old Onkyo mini CD/receiver I was using as an amplifier.

My current set up is:

Pro-ject Debut III Audiophile S > Pro-ject Phono Box > Nait 5si > Monitor Audio Radius 90

The R90’s were inherited from my dad when he upgraded his system at home, along with some QED Micro cable. It sounds fine but I know I need better speakers, more on that later.

I primarily use my system for listening to records (mainly rock & metal) but I would like to add some Bluetooth streaming capability (i.e to the 5si) and have been doing a little research. I am considering the Arcam rBlink and the two Pro-ject Bluetooth boxes (E and S2). Two questions, would any of these suit the 5si’s inputs and would I need a further DAC between the bluetooth receiver and amp? Any other options? Budget is <£200

Next, on to speakers. Only considering reasonable small (no larger than 170mm wide) bookshelf speakers. I am aware that Neat and PMC are often mentioned when it comes to Naim but they would be out of my budget at the RRP prices. Short of secondhand options for Neat and PMC, are there any other brands/models I should consider?

Thank you in advance.

Does it have to be Bluetooth? I only ask because of all the streaming options available - upnp, Airplay etc… - Bluetooth would, by a long way, come last. Mainly because it’s the poorest sounding option and unless you are very close by Bluetooth connectivity can be hit or miss at the best of times. Given the choice between Bluetooth or something like Airplay, I would go for the latter every time.

What device(s) are you thinking of using for the streaming?

Hi Richard, thank you for the reply. Doesn’t specifically have to be Bluetooth and I only use iOS based devices (Macbook Pro, iPhone etc) so could stream via Airplay.

Only thought of BT as an affordable medium.

Welcome Rico; enjoy the ride - it’s fun. If you’re looking for affordable though I’d move away quickly before you get sucked into power supplies, amps that come in two boxes and Ethernet cables that cost more than a decent bike. :skull_and_crossbones:

Well, with Naim the quality of the source is important. No matter how good the amp and speakers, any deficiencies in the source are all the more exposed.

On your sort of budget I’d be looking at maybe something like an Arcam irDAC or airDac. Or perhaps an old Airport Express via optical Toslink into a decent affordable DAC.

Another alternative, if the MBP is close by, would be a DAC like the Audioquest Dragonfly Red or the new Dragonfly Cobalt, directly wired from DAC to the NAIT. Or maybe a secondhand Chord Mojo is within reach. To this you could eventually add a Poly add-on unit for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and network connectivity.

I have an old Airport Express and Toslink so that seems to be a good shout.

Do you have any recommendations for a decent affordable DAC that would play nicely with the 5si?

On a related note, do the inputs on the 5si accept 2V line level input voltage?

Any thoughts about speakers?

Thank you for your help so far.

Absolutely. Naim’s own digital sources are rated at 2V, which is the old Red Book standard.

If you already have an Airport Express then there are lots of decent affordable DACs available secondhand that fall within your budget and will take a Toslink input.

Look out for something like an Arcam irDAC or, if you can stretch the budget a bit, a Rega DAC. The aforementioned Chord Mojo is an excellent sounding unit, in spite of its portable size and battery power.

Chord Mojo supporter here. Chord dac into Naim amp is wonderful.

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Would the headphone out of the Mojo be ok with the line inputs on the 5si?

Yes. I had a custom cable made 3.5 headphone to din for my Nac 72. I use a Allo Digione streamer into the digital coax in of the mojo. It also has an optical and USB port, but I have not used them.

It is a way of getting very good fluid music for normal money.

Any thoughts on this WXAD10 Yamaha product?

Hi Rico and welcome! About bluetooth:

Bluetooth is a “lossy” format. It’s akin to other “lossy” formats such as mp3 and AAC files. Some of the data is eliminated, and that results in lower audio quality.

We always recommend using “lossless” audio files - .wav, .flac, etc. For this same reason, a networking format that is less lossy that Bluetooth, nor not lossy at all, is much better.

Airplay would be better, that’s for sure!

Thanks Bart. I think I will strongly consider that little Yamaha box that allows Airplay as well as the Mojo solution.

Yamaha is 1/2 the price of the Mojo, at the best prices I can see.

I think your NAIT will need something that performs on a higher level than the Yamaha. But who knows, I haven’t heard the Yamaha, maybe it sounds astonishing for the money.

I have the Yamaha unit. I use it to feed our conservatory system.

It works well, very reliable and sounds OK into what is very much a second system (Bose lifestyle, OK please don’t laugh).

I wouldn’t put it anywhere near a decent Naim system unless it was just for internet radio or Spotify. It doesn’t have the potential to be improved as there is no digital output.

I’d only be using it for streaming/internet radio.

I find these Yamaha streamers to be very good in terms of the range of streaming sources they can use. The problem with the WXAD10 is that it has no digital output, so you have to use the built in DAC, and I really don’t think it’s up to the job in a Naim system. What I do think is worth considering is the Yamaha WX-C50, which is very good for the money, but also has a digital out, so you can add a better DAC in future.

Hi Rico – and welcome! I can heartily recommend the Topping D10 DAC, which is well within budget.


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