ND5 XS2 and Naim nDAC

A couple of weeks ago I posted a topic seeking advice on whether my best upgrade was a Chord Hugo or a HiCAP DR (HiCap DR vs Chord Hugo). I received a couple of alternative suggestions to consider an nDAC. Having gone down that route I thought it would be useful to start a new topic with appropriate heading that might be better found by others considering this!

Having spent a week with the nDAC connected to my ND5 XS2 I can say I am very happy with it. Having disconnected it for the last 2 days and reconnected it again this afternoon I wouldn’t want to be without it. Obviously a subjective opinion based on my ears, my (awkward) room and my setup but I am really impressed what a relatively small sum has added to my system. Never very good at describing these things but the following words come to mind - smoother, better separation between instruments, wider soundstage. Enough of a change to make me want to find more time to relisten to all my music.

I still think the ND5 XS2 on its own is very good and I would be happy with just this. But having now heard the nDAC and what I think other upgrades would cost to see such a benefit I have to say a big thanks to those who suggested the nDAC - thank you!


Now you just need to save a few quid for a 555PS for the NDAC and you’ll be done :open_mouth:


Yup, I can vouch for that!


The ND5XS2 has the latest streaming platform with an NDAC and 555PS you will be approaching ND555 levels. And certainly as good as NDS with 555PS but benefiting from modern technologies and latest streaming platform. 3 boxes but all good. I believe the NDAC is an improvement on NDX2 DAC. Let’s see what everyone else says. This is based on what I’ve heard on forum!


Also based on what I’ve heard in my sitting room! :grinning:


@willbonnet Run away quickly from this thread!! @ChrisSU, @JimDog and others will spend your money for you on a 555PS lol. Just kidding!
I’m very happy to hear you are satisfied. I also run the ND5xs2/nDAC and love the combo.


Glad to hear that @JimDog. Perhaps if I want to upgrade my NDS to latest streaming platform an ND5XS2 with NDAC is way to go.

I’m okay as I am but NDS does have limitations. I have the 555PS so wouldn’t cost much to swap out.


I’ll swop the nDAC for your NDS for a month and see which is best!


I kind of like my NDS. I understand I can add an ND5XS2 to it, using the NDS as a DAC.


Can you bypass the streaming section and run DAC only with a NDS? I’d think that would be the way to go.


Oh dear. I’m so sad but I’ve become so satisfied with my nd5xs2 that I’ve lost my desire to add any further boxes.


And @Dan_M . Yes the ND5 XS2 works well with the NDS and you can control it thru system automation.
Nows not a good time for me, but I’ll be doing that at some point. (And replacing my Israeli units with a 555PS).


You’ve got to know when to hold 'em know when to fold 'em know when to walk away :grin:


An interesting proposition there. A new ND5 XS2 in New Zealand is around $6K and a used nDAC around $2K, so $8K plus the 555PS. A new ND555 head unit is $38K (without the 555PS). So that doesn’t seem to make much sense. Even a bare NDX2 is $13K.

It’s hard to believe that the ND5 XS2/nDAC/555PS is well ahead of the NDX2/555PS, although I haven’t done the comparison. I mean, if it was close to a ND555, I’d be trading in my NDX2 for the ND5 XS2/nDAC, have cash to spare and be close to the ND555……

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Think this is the main reason I’ve stopped reading some of these threads. Seems no matter what you invest in there’s always something bigger and better, it can be a bit demoralising.


Just because it costs alot more money doesn’t necessarily make it better. My understanding is the NDS, nDAC and ND555 use the same DAC. ND555 has an improved version of it.

The NDS sounds in between sound quality to NDX2 and ND555. Thus the NDS with ND5XS2 will sound better than the NDX2 and have the latest streaming platform. The nDAC and NDS are similar in quality so an nDAC with 555PS and ND5XS2 should outperform an NDX2 with 555PS.

You would have to do an A, B and C comparison. I have compared NDS and NDX2 both with 555PS and NDS wins. Problem is NDS doesn’t have latest streaming platform. This is why owners are adding the ND5XS2.

Hope this makes sense.


My understanding is that they all have the same chip, but there is a lot more to how they each perform. Adding the ND5 XS2 to older streamers and the nDAC is obviously a great option. But, on the other hand, one would expect, or hope, that when Naim release newer versions of streamers they would not only have better usability options with the streaming platforms, but would also sound at least the same, if not better, than previous versions. Off course, presentations may differ and finding the one you prefer is the best outcome.

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I was fortunate enough to attend a Naim demo and ND555 is well ahead of an NDS. All tracks played were CD rips from a Core with one exception where they played a hires track at the end of the session. After hearing what the 555 could do with 16/44 I wouldn’t be too worried about hires. :grin:
While chatting to Jason Gould suggested that a bare NDX2 is better than nDAC with an XPS PSU (non DR).
My XPS is now a DR version so that brings it forward a little…

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Agree it may well come down to preference of presentation and as already mentioned I think the ND5 XS2 is still great on its own. But, having lived with the nDAC for the last week it definitely matches my preference!

Less happy about the suggestion of a 555PS - will be sometime before I can try that! On the other hand, I wonder whether it might be better to spend that instead moving towards a 282/250… will try to stay focused on just enjoying the music for a while longer.

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Hi Mike,
Indeed, it is hard to believe, and hear, equipment that costs less than 4 times the top of this line, by Naim, delivers the goods … (from a comparative experience I did)