ND5-XS or ND5-XS2 for local music collection only

Good Afternoon,

I am just getting back into the hobby and have a Naim XS2, Flatcap, and B&W 804s
from 2009. I was going to look for a second hand CD-5X2 but they are hard to find
and I am probably better off with a streamer anyway. I can get a used ND5-XS for
$1,000 or ND5-XS2 for $2,100.

I’ve ripped all my CDs to the computer so I can play music via USB drive in my car.
I would want to use the same 256GB USB stick idea to play locally from a streamer.
No Wifi subscriptions for me. I have what I want. The new music is dreadful.

If I am only streaming from USB, would I notice a big difference between ND5-XS and
the ND5-XS2 with what I have ? Over the next 2 years, I want to divert my budget
to getting a second hand Naim XS3 or Snait-2 for better bass grunt then upgrade to
better speakers. Spending for a NDX-2 would take away the spending for better
amp/speakers so I want budget for all 3. Oh yes and get better cabling from stock.

Thanks for your advice…

The ND5XS can’t deal with a music collection on a USB drive, so for that you would need the Mk2, which also sounds better.
The older model will work well if you run a UPnP server on your network, and a NAS to do that would cost around £250. Bear in mind that the older tech may need a service, spares may become unavailable and you will likely need a wired Ethernet connection as their WiFi performance is poor.


Excellent. Very helpful. This rules out the cheaper option:
“The ND5XS can’t deal with a music collection on a USB drive”

I like the idea of loading up a local usb drive with music and not
doing the WiFi connect/drop/reconnect game. I don’t have an
Ipad but I imagine it would be perfect for drilling down into folders
on a UBS drive to select songs.

Do local WAV files on USB sound better than from a SAN or WiFi
since you get rid of timing issues when pulling data over a network?
Or is jitter no longer a thing these days? As an added wrinkle, I am
somewhat wondering if I should sell my Naim XS2 and get the 1-box
Nova instead of the Naim XS2+ND5-XS2.

I have only tried it once but I could play music from a USB stick plugged into my ND5 XS.

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Yes the old model ND5, NDX & NDS will play from USB drives (sticks) but it’s just a basic featureless play. The unit screen & control point (phone or tablet) show the track info only.

It does work, and USB sound quality is good on 1st gen streamers. The limitation is that it’s only designed for a memory stick with a few tracks on it. The second gen. streamers will scan the USB drive, and allow you to browse it in the server input where you can see artwork, and browse by album, artist and genre tags. Without this, trawling through a complete collection via the USB input would be pretty tedious.


Thanks. I wondered if that’s what you meant, but the OP might have read it differently. Good to have clarity :grinning:.

Why is that?

The only reason I could possibly have for not using Naim’s own cables on anything NDX2/SN3 level and down (above that preferences can come into play) would be if there is a NACA5 stiffness-related unsolvable (corner) problem to the home decoration.

Otherwise just enjoy the synergy without the cable worry.

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Yes, you are right. Thanks for the great explanation.
If I go this route I would have to go for the ND5-XS2.
Is there an ND5-XS3 coming out to match the Naim-XS3 ?

Unlikely that there would be an ND5XS3. There could possibly be a separate streamer in the pipeline to fill the gap below the 333 (which replaces the NDX2) but Naim will only announce details shortly before the scheduled release date, so we can only guess.

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