ND5 XS2 v NOVA v NCS 222 Streamers

Quite simply, how do the above streamers compare? I know the ND5 XS2 is not a preamp streamer, and the other 2 are !

Did you mean ndx2 rather than nova?

I mean it as written.

The three are different approaches. The ND5XS2 is just a streamer. The NSS222 is a streaming preamp, while the Nova is an all in one streamer, dac, preamp and power amp, just add speakers.

So it’s an apple, a pear and a banana.

What are you thinking of doing?


Assuming your question leans towards comparisons of sound quality, with the streaming component, in each…

For a question like that, best advice is to spend about an hour in a Naim stockist, listening to as little as one or two favourite pieces of music, on each item mentioned.

The answer comes to you pretty quickly.

FWIW, having gone around that loop, preferred ND5 XS2 (with other Naim pieces) to NSC222. Everyone concludes differently, according to a host of variables including SQ, budget, listening room, other items already owned, future intentions and end game system objectives, etc, etc.

Good luck


Just found this thread, you started in Streaming Audio…

Looks like all the obvious options were adequately explored for you. Some good advice in there from several experienced forum members.

So, wondering, if you are searching for comparisons on SQ ?
Can you revisit that dealer you mention?

Whilst we could talk about it here - in HiFi Corner - its probably much better for you to hear for yourself. Playing the same test track between the three options will quickly illustrate the differences.

Best wishes


Personally having heard all three streaming I would say the streamer section of the 222 gives the best SQ. However, it is a lot more expensive and whether you think it is worth the additional expense is only a decision you can make. As others have suggested, I think you need to go and listen to all three and discuss with a reputable dealer which would work best for you taking into account where you think you would like your system to end up.

I got a Nova early this year to see how the modern (vs. my NAIT2) Naim sound signature would get on with my speakers. I just fell in love with it - it’s a fantastic single box solution and swiss army knife of HiFi allowing you to do as much or as little as you want, except for adding power supplies.

I loved the Nova so much it tugged at my heart a bit when I traded it in, but moving to the 222/250 (and later 300) was a no-brainer of an upgrade for me, and one that’s certain not to disappoint anyone else who does the same.


I take all comments gratefully ….
As in my other thread, my current setup is an ND5XS(not 2), Nait 5i, and Totem Arros.
I have opted for a used Unity Nova as a temp till I can afford a 222 and 250. Just wondering when reading reviews of ND5XS2 how it compares to the (used)Nova I am buying, and ultimately the 222/250 which will be my endgame.
As an aside, any thoughts on new speakers with the upgrade path in mind ?

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Does the ND5XS2 have a DAC?

Yes nd5 xs2 does have a dac.


All separate Naim streamers have a DAC built in, and have both digital and analogue outputs.

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I also went from Nova (a temporary move) to NC222/300/250.

Once I got the Nova installed I forgot any theoretical comparisons to alternatives, as I knew my destination. The Nova makes great music, so sit back and enjoy it until you have saved the money for your end game.

I don’t know your speakers but if they work well with the Nova then keep them and see how they work with your end game system before considering swapping them out.

Just my thoughts.


quote=“JMC, post:8, topic:32294”]
got a Nova early this year to see how the modern (vs. my NAIT2) Naim sound signature would get on

Nait 2 does have the modern Naim sound signature! It IS the original modern Naim signature (of course with the Nait1)!! :slight_smile:

That’s exactly why I liked the NC and now also the Nait 50 which are taking it further but in the same direction and spirit as my Nait 2 (to my ears at least)


It is interesting how we all have different ears @garcon, but I get what you mean to a certain extent.

From the Nait 2 to almost all of the black boxes is certainly a different sound, one that didn’t appeal to me alltogether. The sole exception for me being the Nait XS3 which I really like.
The Nait50 (yes I’ve finally heard one live!) as nice as it is, takes that a little too far in the other direction for my taste again. Perhaps I should add “for now” it was simply too much all at once after so long with the Nait 2. Following your account I’m curious about the New Classic series in that respect.

I should invest in more audition time with the Unitis (Atom, Atom HE, Star, Nova) and the New Classic to better form an opinion on all of these. But I guess I’m sort of done again for now within all the old paradigms of separate boxes.

Will follow all stories here with great interest though, I can’t remember when there were so many possibilities and different avenues!


I think that’s a very insightful post and, funnily enough, curiously close to my thoughts in many ways. For me the NC introduction this year was a lot more than a bunch of new updated models. It made me go back to the core of what I need and value in hifi and what is most important in music enjoyment for me, so the Nait 2 as the essence to the NC as something to carry it forward in as simple an outlay as possible.

Not in the same order:

The XS3 - totally agree. I didn’t really consider the XS3 when I was going for the integrated and just got the SN3 (big bold sound). When once later, just by chance, I heard the XS3 at a dealer I thought to myself - wow, this sounds so very good, lighter but so good! I had the SN3 and my decision made already but if I had both the SN3 and XS3 back then in front of me, I am not sure what I would have chosen (and if it’s now may be I do:))?

Unities - I would single out the Atom HE as a “cleaner” approach (and incorporating the DAC but especially preamp in recent implementation) as when you get the all-in-one versions with the amp section included that changes things, brings in SQ limitations and makes for a different presentation from that in the NC.

Nait 2 - I agree it remains not fully 100% replaced but I hear the Nait 50 as very similar and clearly better in almost everything that I like about the Nait 2 but missing on some old fashioned immediacy and excitement there…

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Not entirely correct. ND5 X2 is a streamer and DAC.
222 is a streamer DAC and preamp.
Nova is, as you say, an all in one.

This is relevant, as it means the streamer part (what the OP asks) can be compared between the Nova and the ND5 XS2 by hooking up the XS2’s digital out to the Nova.

The DAC of the Nova could be compared to that of the 222 by hooking up the analogue out of the Nova to the 222 (which doesn’t digitize its analogue inputs).

But I don’t see a way to do a fair three-way compare between these devices.

I’m not able to do that , but would be very interested to hear what other have found ……

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Just to be picky: would this be a real 1:1 comparison? If the streamer can kind of buffer at will from the network source, while a serial digital-in is kind of more timing sensitive? :wink:

Not sure I fully understand what you’re saying. Both the Nova’s and the XS2’s streamers can do that, right?