This is a preliminary post as I have yet to purchase either the ND5 XS 2 or the Uniti Core. My last post was about deciding between a CDX2 and CD5 XS. This was decided for me as the warehouse in Australia only had one CD5XS and Flatcap XS 2. Being the last ones, I did not hesitate and bought both.
My first post on streamers is about the Uniti Core. Is the Uniti Core able to store Hi Res Blueray discs? I have two Pure Audio 24 bit 96kHz discs and I am wondering how I can save these and recall them for later playing. My computer is an iMac. One of the discs belongs to my wife and the artist is George Michael, the other is an interpretation of Handel’s Messiah by Hogwood on Decca Blueray sound pure. I have yet to open the Twin CD/ Blueray package.
Would anybody have any ideas please? Again, this is a prepatory question to help me decide on my hardware selection.
The short answer is you can’t rip a Blu-ray Disc directly to the Uniti Core. But you can download his-res files onto your Mac then copy them onto the Core. There are also ways to rip and convert Blu-ray Discs to audio files on a Mac and then copy those to the Core, though when explained to me, it seemed a bit of a drama, so I haven’t gone there.
But happily, you can connect your Bluray audio directly to the ND5 XS2, or via a TV, and play the music that way.
My suggestion is that you just get the streamer for now. Set it up, get used to the way it works. You don’t need a Core for that. The new streamers have Naim’s UPnP server built in, so you can just put your music files on a USB drive and you’re done, at minimal extra cost. You can decide later if you’d prefer to add a NAS for around £300, or a proprietary ripper/server for thousands. I do not agree with your dealer that you need a Core to get the most from a Naim streamer, despite the fact that I’ve been happily running a Unitiserve for years. If sound quality is your priority, I would go for an NDX2 rather than ND5XS2 & Core for a similar price.
I appreciate your advise and I feel more comfortable with purchasing and using a streamer by itself to start off with. I also appreciate you get what you pay for. ND5XS2 sells for $4,000 AUD where the NDX2 sells for $8,000 AUD. I have not studied the specifications of either item as yet. Would you be able to inform me of the major differences between the two please?
I am also thinking of purchasing a Pioneer Blu-ray Player as we have a Pioneer Plasma TV from about ten years ago. I am hoping to play some Hi-Res music via the Blu-ray player via and input on the streamer. Whether it be a optical input or a coaxial input. I do not know at this stage.
Hi Paul, the main advantage of the NDX2 is simply better sound quality, but of course, the best option is to listen for yourself and decide if it’s worth it.
The functionality of the two streamers is identical, with the following exceptions: the NDX2 has a colour screen on the front, and a remote control. It can also be upgraded in future with an optional external PSU such as an XPS.
All these items are sitting in a warehouse somewhere as Naim decides who is going to sell the products going forward. All dealers have cleared or returned their stocks to the warehouse and everything is being sold online at the dealers website but not available from their shops. The sale goes to the 31st of May and I do not think I could raise the necessary $8,000 AUD to purchase a NDX2 in that time. I have just spent $7,000 AUD so far when I include the price of the headphones yet to be purchased. To ask my wife if it is OK to spend another $8,000 AUD plus power supply. Might be asking for too much.
I think I best wait and save and if the price goes up. It goes up. Or possibly there is another model in the wings ready to come out?
Whangarei, Northland. Buy in Auckland. When I bought the NDX2, the delay was the boat from the UK not being allowed to berth in Australia because of bugs on the boat. There is also not much stock help in Australia and NZ for higher end stuff and it’s sold on order, which isn’t great for demos.
You can use the NDX2’s internal power supply perfectly well. As there is provision for an external supply, that gives future proofing for the best sound quality, but it’s by no means a must do upgrade.
Paul, we are very good at spending other people’s money on this forum! My point, though, was merely that if you’re considering an ND5XS2 and a Core, I think you’ll get better sound quality for similar cost with an NDX2 and a cheap USB drive or NAS.
Point taken. After spending almost $7,000 I will not be rushing out soon. I will follow your advise and confirmed last night that our Apple Music Family subscription is working.
When I do take the plunge I will be streaming music from the iMac. All the other sources of music look like extra expenses that I do not require at the moment. I will be happy with my CDs’ and will most likely sit-down and load them onto the iMac for streaming at a later date. For now I will upon its arrival will enjoy my CD5 XS and Flatcap purchase. Which I am grateful for everyone’s help in choosing.
With the help of Forum members we have solved my audio and streaming requirements. Whilst I am saving for a NDX 2. I am also considering the purchase of a Pioneer Blu-ray player to go with our Pioneer 50" 1080P plasma TV. The TV is still working and for my eyes has a very fine picture and I cannot justify replacing it just yet for a 4K or even 8K TV.
I have not posted a link to the Pioneer site in fear of it being removed. Though may I ask Forum members what multi disc Pioneer Blu-ray player they would recommend to go with an NDX 2, NAIT XS 2 amplifier and 508 Pioneer plasma TV please?
The Blu-ray players are quite affordable when compared to NAIM equipment. Though I would like some that both answers my audio requirements to be compatible with an NDX 2 and our TV please. We do not have a surround sound system. Though this cannot be ruled out down the track.
I have an ND5XS2 which is outputting to a SuperNait 2 + HiCap DR. I also went through a similar thought process to the one you describe. I wanted a ripper/source device and had the Uniti Core on my list along with a few other options including a Melco. I’ve not felt the need to buy any yet and instead ended up getting a Hi Res streaming account on qobuz and connecting my CD5XS over coax to the ND5XS2. As others have suggested, I’ve also connected an SSD drive over USB directly to the ND, so by reusing what I already had and using Chromecast from iOS apps like Spotify and Qobuz, have a very capable setup. I previously had the original ND5XS and this is significantly better in sound quality and feature set. I did consider an NDX2 and also auditioned an ND555, yes they are more capable but they are also relative and at their best based on the system they are joining and for me the new ND5XS2 was the right balance between cost, features and overall sound quality. I’ve not been disappointed so far or left feeling I wish I’d spent the extra cash on a NDX2.
I have heard the names of Chromecast, Spotify and for a first time Qobuz. Qobuz advertise Hi Res files as part of their gig. Though unfortunately not available in Australia.
Chromecast is and I might use this to watch the football which only televises live games to a phone or pad device. This is a great tip.
Spotify, I was unable to find anything which indicated that it had HI Res files. Could you please tell if this is the case.
We already have a Netflix and Apple Music Family subscription and I would like to stay there if it is possible. If Spotify contains the music I like and is in HI RES I might give it ago.
Thank you for your advise on the ND5XS2. This is a lot more appealing on the wallet and as my system to be an entry level to High End audio. I might be over capitalising in NDX 2 and optional power supply. The former is more affordable at this point in time.
Apologies for not being clear on formats of the various streaming services. Qobuz is the only service offering streaming in a standard Hi Res format. Whilst Tidal offers higher quality content also it has an emphasis towards using MQA as opposed to FLAC. Spotify does not provide any content at CD or higher quality today. The most extensive library today is Qobuz, however the library is not a one stop shop so I still use Spotify and Apple Music in addition to more traditional media. I would encourage you to output the spdif coax from the CD5XS to the ND5XS. I setup like this as a stop gap
but I’m still happy listening to CD’s and my player is well matched to my system and a capable transport. I may get a ripper/server at some point but for now I have all I need and it sounds good to boot.
Based on your setup you could also consider using Audirvana (or similar Mac app) as a player/library manager on your Mac and then streaming from there directly to the ND5XS2 using UPnP. You’ll find quite a few apps support Chromecast and where it isn’t supported you can set your Mac to send its audio to the Naim streamer using Airplay (although limited to 16/44.1 playback regardless of source resolution) Chromecast and UPnP playback support formats at higher resolution, if you expect to want to playback DSD files then USB or UPnP is the way to go. You’ll get a lot of debate about quality of the different inputs, USB not as good as Ethernet, Wi-Fi better than USB and so on but in my experience at least I’ve found the streamer to be more than capable with all available inputs. I’m using BNC Coaxial from the CD5XS, USB rear port for SSD drive and the rest is currently handled over Wi-Fi. I could probably spent another £1000 fiddling with it and maybe getting it to sound a little better but to be fair it sounds pretty special as is and is such a simple product you canmt go wrong really, I’m actually glad it can’t be PSU upgraded like my old one could be. If my system was a pre/power system with Supercap level PSU’s I’d likely lean towards an NDX2 and in fact for my system it’s probably a closer match in the XS, Classic, Statement sense. However when I tried an NDX2 I realised that I’d eventually have to add an external PSU and perhaps Lumina DIN IC to feel I was really getting it at its best. In comparison I demoed a decent breadth of music on the ND5 and whilst it lacks some of the grip and timing elegance of the more expensive NDX2 (especially with an external PSU) I didn’t feel it was doing a bad job and in fact compared to my old Gen 1 ND5 sounded far more composed and capable and had much better feature support and compatibility such as Chromecast and Airplay meaning I can now stream from YouTube on my phone and have the audio output via the ND5 for example. I imagine like me once you have it and start hsing you’ll realise it can do everything you want it to without having to really add much to it and sound great in the process. It does take a while to bed in and sounds a bit bright and thin for the first 100 hours or so but after an initial settling in period it has a very natural and engaging sound. Mine is connected via 5 pin DIN HiLine to the NAIT with any unused outputs disabled in the Naim iOS app. I also use the Naim iOS app to control input switching and volume on the NAIT.
I had a peek at the NAim Website and have quoted the first two paragraphs on the page.
"The ND5 XS 2 uses our innovative new streaming platform with an expanded feature set. High-res UPnP™ streaming, AirPlay, Chromecast built-in, Bluetooth (apt X HD), Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Roon compatibility, internet radio and multiroom streaming – alongside digital and USB inputs for conventional connections – make this versatile player the ideal partner for one of our integrated amplifiers.
Carefully selected and matched parts, an oversized toroidal transformer, decoupled PCB boards: the ND5 XS 2 benefits from classic Naim engineering and fastidious attention to detail to ensure that it delivers natural, engaging sound quality from all sources".
Bolding the text is my addition to draw attention to this phrase.
I think, for the moment this might be all I want in a digital streamer. I have also learnt DSD is SCAD by another name and that the ND5SX2 will be able to decode our pure audio discs via the digital input at 24 bits/96kHz. The rest of the information glazed my eyes over because I did not understand it. Though the gist is that it is capable of so much more. That I can live and grow with it. It will be a suitable source for my NAIT XS 2 integrated amplifier.
The other point of interest is that all three NAIM streamers use the same DAC, “Notably, and in common with Naim’s other two network players, the NDX 2 and ND 555, the ND5 XS 2 contains its own D/A processor, based on a Burr-Brown PCM1791A DAC chip”. A quote from Stereophile on line review.
I think the ND5XS2 might be the streamer for me. Even though there are better ones.
Thank you again Forum members for helping me come to another HIFI component conclusion.