ND5 XS2 - still a smart choice?

Hello all,

Seeking opinions on the ND5 XS2:

  1. Is a 2019 streamer still a smart buy in late 2023?
  2. If you own one, has the lack of remote or any kind of on-unit controls been an issue or irritation?
  3. Say you’re using it with Roon, and go to the Bluetooth or Airplay settings on your phone, can you override Roon and switch to the other input without going into the Naim app first?
  4. Assuming that the money is not the prime consideration, is the sound quality difference to a Bluesound Node X or a Cambridge Audio AXN10 a substantial one?

Thanks so much.


I’ve never felt the need for a remote. You don’t need to go into the app for airplay but I do if I want to use Bluetooth (I don’t have roon so I don’t know about that specifically). It uses the same streaming platform as the recent releases so should stay current for quite some time.


Hi Gavin
I certainly can’t answer ALL of your questions, but what I can say is that it is a fabulously musical device.
I am sitting here listening to it now and thoroughly enjoying the experience. I bought mine just a few months ago.
I also have an NDX2 on my other system and suffer no issues with the lack of controls on one and not the other as I have never needed to use the panel controls of the NDX2 either.
The Naim APP has never let me down and provides all the input and functionality I have ever needed.
I would buy with confidence :blush:


I agree with @QuickSticks. I have recently (last month) purchased an ND5XS2, which I am using in a bedroom system with an SN3. The lack of remote is irrelevant. I also own an ND555, which does have a remote, but the remote is pretty useless as everything is controlled through an iPad or iPhone. The same is true of the facia controls and the screen - they’re pretty much redundant on the ND555 (I have the screen set to OFF), so they’re not missed either.

When I first got the ND5XS2 I plugged it in the main system in place of the ND555 just to see how it worked on Ethernet. OK, it lacked a bit of the refinement of its bigger brother, but it really didn’t disgrace itself at all.

As a final point, I’m using it over WiFi in the bedroom as there’s no wired Ethernet upstairs. This too is fine. For the money I think the ND5XS2 represents a real bargain.


I never use the buttons on my ndx2 or pay much attention to the screen; so I would be quite happy if it was just a box with an “on” light like the nd5xs2. I still press stop in the app when I’m done.

  1. Yes. But I’ve not heard the NC streamers.
  2. No.
  3. Don’t know.
  4. Yes. I compared sound quality of a Bluesound Node (2i?) to ND5XS2 and the difference was that the former wrecked the Naim sound for me, whereas the latter (especially into nDAC) was a great step up from my 272.

The SQ per £ is so good in part because the ND5XS2 has no screen and remote.


This says it all. :+1:


I have my TV plugged in via optical. It would be handy to switch inputs on the ND5XS2 between streaming and optical without going through the app (which is slower/fiddlier). This is about the only reason I’d want a remote.
The Naim app works ok (I use it on iPhone), but it’s quirky and commonly used UX elements (such as volume) aren’t always visible. For some reason the Shuffle play icon is almost impossible to distinguish on from off. Search is a bit unreliable. It’s too easy to mix up search and filter results. I could go on. It’s not the worst I’ve used but could be a lot better.


Thanks all for the input so far, much appreciated.

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For an ostensibly simple task, media control can be very hard to get right.

Do you do photography? I’d love to find a replacement for the Adobe Lightoom subscription, but every time I look, I find a new way that the photo cataloguing interface can be gotten wrong.

It really does!!

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If you want more, just let me know and I can also endorse one. :wink:

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I haven’t experienced any of these issues, except for the small and easily missed shuffle button which sometimes catches people out.


I’ve got one, I’ve never really thought about the lack of remote as I use Roon through my Mac or phone. I also use the Naim app to control it, and Apple Airplay for podcasts etc. I’ve never had any problems with it at all.

One of reasons I bought it rather than an integrated amp/streamer is that it’s one single function item to replace if technology does surpass it. My SN3 will still be fine.

Answer to question 3 is yes btw.


Absolutely brilliant device, sweat spot price point, reliable SW, smooth detailed, the whole family love it! A very smart choice indeed.


Most people don’t rate mags such as What Hifi nowadays as they tend to be a bit one dimensional, or ad driven.

However, the ND5XS2 is still the What Hifi best premium music streamer for 2023, even with all the new competition.

The streaming board in the ND5XS2 is used in New Classic boxes, so longevity of software support should be no concern.

As for question 2, we have the NDX2 primarily because SWMBO wanted a remote. I tend to be using Tidal Connect, so I wouldn’t care if the remote wasn’t there, as I’m using the iPad anyway and volume control is a couple of presses away.


This is where exactly I am. I have a SN3 which I bought precisely because it’s maximum analogue, which if my Dad’s 1980’s Luxman is anything to go by, could be an amp for life. The digital smarts will no doubt come and go. I first got back in to HiFi after the Sonos S1/S2 debacle made me question the longevity of anything “smart”.

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The info re. the New Classic stuff is most reassuring, thanks.

It’s great! I have the TV on optical, CD transport on coax and stream via ethernet. I rarely use Bluetooth and USB. Selecting source via the iPhone app is no issue and the Nac202 remote handles the volume. I already commented that theAudiolab CDT6000 sounds better than the CD5Si.


I have just bought an ND5XS2 and set it up on 52 Supercap 2 and 2x 135s.

I will be using it as a transport through my NDS which I will be using as a DAC.

The NDS is away for repair.

What can I say about the ND5XS2? Brilliant connectivity out of the box. Set up Qobus account straight away. And it sounds very clear, detailed and impressive for the money.

Not the depth of an NDS but you wouldn’t expect that.

I am pleased with my purchase and can recommend buying one. Mine is 2023 but used. Very very good piece of kit.