ND5 XS2 and Naim nDAC

JimDog

It’s not that these aren’t good questions but all of them at once…

Philifa clearly likes his nd5 xs2 and clearly found the addition of ndac to be positive what I would like to know is what changes are heard when an ndac is added to an nd5 xs2.

Very difficult to describe changes in sound.

I have mainly used ND5XS2 into Naim DAC/555DR (sometimes with a CHC Powerblack cable on the 555DR).

This adds a lot of extra energy into the system (literally).

It gives a lift in clarity and sounds better to me.

But the bare nDAC sounds very good too.

And the ND5XS2 sounds very good in the first place!

All good.

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I agree entirely about describing sound!!! For me when auditioning the nd5 xs2 and ndx2 I thought the ndx2 had slightly more energy and warmth in the lower frequencies. But the difference to me was small and wasn’t evident in all tracks played. Money no object I would have gone for the ndx2.

For the audition I used tidal and Apple Music and wish I had been using qobus which now that I have started using it is far and away my favourite streaming service in terms of sound quality.

Simple comparisons I would like someone to try would be ndx2 with and without ndac compared to nd5 xs2 with ndac.

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Yes :grinning: :grinning: The external DAC will be better than a PSU

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I do wonder about architecture of systems. My primary system -cd3.5 and nd5 xs2 - means two dacs or three if I use an external dac for the xs2. Surely one is the answer!

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I subscribe to that same idea.
It would be great if Naim had a decent USB DAC in the current range. It provides for a useful “building block” in any system development.

I cannot recall the thread now, but basically I think Naim’s view is that once you’ve engineered a DAC, adding the streaming board is not much more expense. So they effectively see the ND5 XS2, NDX2 and ND555 as DACs with streaming chucked in for “free”. I really wish I could find the source for that sentiment, and how long ago it was mentioned, but I think that makes any separate DAC, or streamer, unlikely :confused:

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The Ndac was £2,500.00 when discontinues. (or thereabouts).

The ND555 costs about £13,000.00. So that’s over £10,000.00 for the streaming part.

there’s a lot more to a dac than a dac chip

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Aye, I’d love to find the reference, will have another look over a cuppa this afternoon!

Though the ND555 has more to it than just being an NDAC on a sprung chassis I think :slight_smile:

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No, much more to the ND555. You have all that mass loaded sprung suspension system with the boards mounted in brass bases. That’s just for starters…

If anything I would say the opposite. The streamer is not just the streaming board itself, but also the various wired and wireless inputs, controller, buffers , and the Sharc DSP. All of these remain in use even if the streamer digital output is used.
Naim had little choice but to discontinue the NDAC as it uses a discontinued DAC chip which they still use in the ND555, and they bought all remaining stocks in order to maintain production of the latter product. It will be interesting to see what they do in future, and whether they have the resources to successfully implement an alternative DAC architecture which would be a major departure from their current tried and tested designs.

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The hardware is one thing but I bet that the software costs more than building the streamers.

I tried to edit my post and it’s deleted itself!! , oh well! anyway , I was trying to point out that the firmware/software updates have had a positive affect on sound quality and I was a bit gutted that naim never did another firmware update for the ndac .

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I couldn’t find the post I recall in the end :’( The closest I did find was one from @Simon-in-Suffolk (sorry to mention you specifically!) but there are quite a few threads about separate Naim DACs and streamers, plus reasons why Naim aren’t likely to make either in the near future.

I don’t give up though, will try a few more times this week to see if I can find it :smiley:

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You are absolutely correct - I found the thread I was thinking of, and it was specifically a post from Simon in Suffolk!

Once you’ve engineered the transport, adding analogue out isn’t much more expensive.

Phew. That took me hours X)

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“The Naim ND5 XS2 - buy yourself the ND555 streamer for £2.4k - add your own DAC! Or use the bundled one free!” :wink:

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Have just connected a preloved ND5 XS2 via DC1 to my nDac/555PS/Vertere interconnect into 552/500. Will report back in a few days :wink:

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I bet this will be very enjoyable!

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