ND5 XS2 and Naim nDAC

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen that is the Naim forum :wink:
For me the NDAC is still a great source on its own, upgrades are not essential to enjoy it.


Glad it worked out for you …

Thanks for sharing your recent journey :+1:
It’s really helpful to others (like me) that are contemplating future moves and options, to follow these things and benefit from the learning.

I guess that’s what makes this forum.

Enjoy the music.



You can put an external psu on the NDX2’s streaming section.

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Lots of Naim owners are using alternative DACs on ND5XS2 . The nDAC with 555PS is pretty formidable. And same with NDX2. The latest Naim streamers offer a great streaming platform but the DAC can be improved upon with an external DAC. I may consider going down the route of ND5XS and use the NDS as the DAC. Or something else?


I’d be interested to know how the nDac compares to the NDS when used with an external streaming transport. Pretty similar I would guess.

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The NDS should be better than the nDAC hence why it was never listed as an upgrade to the 1st gen streamers.
The NDS has optimisation such as the suspension system and can also use both power outlets from the 555 PSU.


I don’t buy these simple better or worse comparisons, they are different. Personally I would choose NDAC/555 over NDS. Both are vey good, but they have different strengths. To me the NDS is more refined and smoother, but the NDAC rocks.


That makes sense on the CD555, NDS and ND555 have two burndies to make full use of the 555PS. The NDS is a very well built piece of kit.


*Hi everyone, also my main source is nDAC + XPSdr, for local transport and from nas I use UnitiServe and it is for internet streaming ND5-XS2, DC-1 cables and powerline. I confirm that ND5-XS2 used as a transport is truly formidable, remember to disable the analog outputs, and to leave the DSD stream unchanged (for files from external memory) in order to reach NDAC in post mode.


Nice to know about that.
Thanks for sharing :+1:

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How to make it work that way, please?

in the naim app
setup icon:
output settings
digital bnc selections
native pcm selections

PS: in the previous version of the naim app the option to convert the dsd to pcm was indicated for the bnc output, now only ‘native’ is indicated is the same function.
nDAC accepts up to 128 dsd files in dop


Hi, I am considering purchasing an XS2 but I’m concerned so many folk seem to just use it as a transport. Is the DAC that poor? Would I be better off picking up a transport for about £1000-1500 and adding a s/h NDac/v1 or Chord Dac and saving some money?


I don’t think it’s a case of the DAC being “poor” (it’s excellent for the money) just that the streaming front end is so good, and DACs like the Naim DAC are available second-hand for under £1000 - remember this DAC uses similar tech to the DAC used in the Naim NDS - taking the combination to an even higher level, and you can go even further with upgrades such as XPS or even 555PS, so there are upgrade options going forwards.


It’s also at that point a c. £3.4k streaming source, not a £2.4k one. Compared to other 2.4k streamers I believe the reviews are very positive.

The combination is probably more disruptive to the NDX2, which at over £5k is being compared to various ND5 XS2 based combinations at over £2k less… which is an excellent reason Naim would be reluctant to release a standalone DAC-less streamer IMO :slight_smile:

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If your budget is ND5 XS2 sized then I think it’s definitely worth auditioning.

I’m coming to a similar point budget wise, currently running a c. £1k streaming source (at second hand prices, Primare NP5 transport and Hugo mk1 DAC, plus ifi plug). I would be fully prepared for my current combination to do some aspects of SQ better than the ND5 XS2, though will obviously reserve judgement until I’ve actually listened to one!

The practicality though is going to be very much in favour of the Naim streamer when compared to separate devices. Plenty of people here also point out that Naim paid particular attention to the details of the electronic interface between transport board and DAC, something you lose control of with separate boxes.

The process to listen to music with my current setup involves turning the Hugo on, tweaking it’s volume, opening the Primare app to turn the NP5 on, opening BubbleUPnP and selecting the OpenHome renderer, then browsing to the music I want to listen to. It’s a right faff. It sounds great.

I won’t buy purely on practicality terms though. From the sound of it (plenty of folks on the forum talking about design decisions, I suspect at least a few likely had beta access, and therefore know for sure rather than just speculating) Naim decided to concentrate on SQ with the ND5 XS2, removing anything not categorically necessary to achieve that, hence no screen, and I wonder if even the ability to improve the PS was a victim of that. I think about that, the ND5 XS2 is Naim concentrating on SQ for the money above all else, I would be surprised if it sounds awful :slight_smile:

As soon as my local dealer has a ND5 XS2 to listen to I shall be going for a listen.

…having said all that, you already have a good Chord DAC, and I assume like the sound, I don’t think it is necessarily an easy decision. I would get a demo, but definitely consider usability and packaging of your end streamer, be that one box or three.

Thanks for your response. I agree with a lot of your observations and practicality is important. I do like the sound of the chord Dac but I want to tidy up the lounge so moving away from a laptop and HDD makes sense. However, I’m not going to invest £2500 if it doesn’t offer some sq improvements. If Naim went to great lengths to optimise the relationship between dac and streamer I wonder why folk then immediately add another box and lose that relationship? I will, like you, audition hopefully soon and make my own mind up.
Once you have powered everything up what is the Primare software like? My other option is to go down the Nova route as with trade in I wouldn’t be paying much more if I pick up a refurb. That way I think the amp section would be better than the Supernait mk1 so I could get improvements across the board :thinking:

Because their owners are inveterate fiddlers !? :smiley:

I think the new generation of DACs are actually likely very good, and reasonably priced. I do wonder what Naim’s next set of DAC technology will look like architecturally.

All my items of Naim kit are very solid items. I don’t expect my NP5 to last as long as any of it, or be easily repairable. The Hugo is also nicely made, switches are very small and fiddly though. There is a premium to pay for thick metal cases and a “Made in the UK” badge, applies to Chord and Naim. Lots of things to consider as a consumer

The Primare software is good and does have options to integrate (cast) to Qobuz and Tidal etc. as well as UPnP servers. I use BubbleUPnP as I also use that software on my Naim UQ1 and have got used to it. So the ease of use argument is also, well, complicated X)

If you want more detail on the NP5 I might comment on your other thread to keep this one on topic :slight_smile:

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I totally get where you’re coming from. I bought a new ND5 XS2 knowing full well I couldn’t be tempted to upgrade with an XPS because I’d always be thinking that it could sound better, but now I find out that adding an nDac would ‘improve the sound dramatically’………that age old term ‘night and day’ was also used. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view and bank balance, all 5 of my HiFi shelves are full!

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Reading this thread has even made me think of a new 2nd hand nDAC but I’ve decided to delete my dealers phone number instead. :flushed: