ND5 XS2 Sound Quality

20 hours only?

Give it a month

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100% agree with you. 20 hours is really not enough IMHO. I still have my Oppo 105 that was my primary source for years and at first I did think the Oppo held its own but over a short period of time I realized the ND5XS2 just sounded better overall. Just more musical and more depth and I could listen for hours at a time.

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An unexpected result I guess. It would be interesting to understand why, but not easy quantify. Not sure I buy the ‘matched ADC/DAC’ explanation, unless it’s simply referring to fixed conversion rates. There’s a lot of DSP between ADC and DAC(s) in the crossover. Even then, I would expect an equivalent result feeding it a 96/24 (which is the internal rate of the crossover if I’m reading the specifications correctly) stream.

There’s plenty of things I don’t understand though. This might just be one more!

I think the matching DAC to ATC is to do with filters, nog conversion rates, though it is a subject I know a huge amount about. I don’t think that DSP between the ASC and DAC alters the effect of that mirroring - in analogue replay terms perhaps a bit like RIAA de-emphasis, but without a clear universal standard so every cutting machine driver and head/preamp design does it in their own way.

When I started investigating active crossovers I also bought an ATC analogue one (EC23), which had similar 24dB/8ve rolloffs to those I used on thd digital one, and fully user-tailorable XO frequencies and phase as well as levels for each speaker driver. I compared the two, and difference in sound, if any, was negligible. I settled on the digital because it allowed the flexibility of a bit of extra DSP to assist with the worst of room peaks.

Ok, interesting. At another tangent then - correcting for the artefacts added by the recording ADC and taking account of the characteristics of the DAC on playback is one of the features (I’m trying to choose my words carefully here) of MQA, with the aim of achieving end to end (ie analogue to analogue) fidelity across the whole chain. Best not to go down that rabbit hole… :wink:

I shall go and do some reading…

Yes, I’m aware of the claims. MQA of course also involves a compression precess that I understand is lossy, and is stated by some to introduce artefacts that may be audible. That lossy compression part of the process seems to be attempting to solve a problem that in the most part has been overtaken by time with bandwidth limitations of the past gone except for people in fringe internet speed areas, and even for them it is not clear that there is any real benefit.

As for the ADC/DAC filter matching, whilst it may indeed allow greater fidelity to the original recording as mastered, that would be the case onlywhere the MQA process is ‘informed’ of the original ADC characteristics and if somehow that identifying information is transmitted to the DAC doing the second stage unfold (it may or may not be, I have no idea). Aside from that, I am led to understand that within the recording studio there sometimes, maybe often, will be have multiple ADCs associated with multiple instruments or microphones, not necessarily all the same. In such cases I cannot see how the supposed correction coild be achieved.

I suspect the mathematics stacks up - albeit beyond my pay grade - but the marketing was lacking… :no_mouth:

It’s the ‘marketing’ that is doing the heavy lifting IMO…

That was supposed to say “though it is not a subject I know a huge amount about”!

I borrowed a Bonn N8 Ethernet switch and very much to my surprise the change for the better was quite noticeable. I was skeptical that an ethernet switch could make that much difference, but it did for the ND5-NX2. Micro details in all frequencies are greatly improved. A more pronounced improvement on the Naim than Oppo. Naim now sounds much better.

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Hi Rob,
I too was very sceptical about an internet switch making a difference particularly if you do some research on the web but totally agree there is a significant improvement to be had.
Whilst pleased with result having to rely on a third party piece of kit to get product working optimally does not reflect well on Naim engineers or marketing machine.
Just my view - ymmv.
Glad you got there in the end!

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Wouldn’t reputable manufacturers offer their own switches if they believed it was that critical to sound quality?

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I do not see why, do you want them to make routers as well? A router, an ethernet switch, cables, and HiFi components are all parts of a chain.

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I have ndx2 and it sounds better than it did when i got it, some sources like qbuz sound much better than some others like tidal. I have everthing hardwired and use an english switch8. Give it some time and keep experimenting with sources and files.

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The ND5 XS2 has many more hours on it and I have now purchased the Bonn N8 and everything sounds fantastic. I am very happy with the sounds I am hearing and now I am listening to music again, not my hifi.
It is a strange thing though that some days my hifi sounds spectacular and other days not so much. I am thinking this more due is my Physiology/ Psychology and not my system. Does anyone else feel the same?

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There’s been a VERY animated discussion running for some time on PFM about this subject of switches. One side claiming to hear differences and the other side supposedly proving through scientific principles that it’s impossible for them to make any difference at all. Any differences heard being caused by Expectation / Confirmation Bias etc.

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Yes, I have probably read them all, I also started a Facebook discussion on the subject as I was a complete skeptic from the outset. I watched all the youtube videos and read all the science and remained a skeptic up until I borrowed one. The difference for me was noticeable. Far more than an upgrade to expensive Nordost cables. The change may very well be differences heard being caused by Expectation / Confirmation Bias etc. We can all trick ourselves. But I had borrower’s skepticism, not purchaser’s bias. But I did purchase the same product I borrowed quickly.

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That has been my experience too.
Whether a network switch improves SQ probably depends on your router and streamer/DAC compatibility.
The issue I have is that there is no OEM guidance that these variables may significantly impact performance of their product.

When I had my ND5 XS2 a mains cleaner made a big difference to the sound quality. Does your transformer hum? This is an indicator of among other things DC on your mains supply.

No magnostriction DC in my AC in my house power. I have Nordost QB8 star grounded distribution and and Qkore 1 Earth. Dead silence up to 3/4 volume. I never listen louder than 1/3.