ND5 XS2 VS NDX 2, my impressions

I have been listening to my new NDX 2 for a few hours. I plan to give my impressions during the following weeks as the NDX 2 burns in.

Right now, out of the box, the NDX 2 sounds smoother and more refined than my fully burned in ND5 XS2 (that I have owned for 5 months). The ND5 XS2 sounds great, but a little rough compared to the NDX 2. The NDX 2 sounds more authoritative with more slam. The music is more “there” than with the already very good ND5 XS2.

I look forward to the coming weeks with my NDX 2!

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I too just went to an NDX2 from an ND5Xs2. I’ll throw in some observations when I feel I’ve got a handle on it. Too soon now, it just arrived two days ago, ND5XS2 is gone.

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I am going to follow your reports with interest. I am not in the market, yet, for an NDX2, but I am about to get an ND5XS2 for a home demo. I plan to use it with Chord Qutest, and have seen favourable comments that the digital sections perform very similarly between the two units. Any comments would be appreciated.

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Old cloth ears here demo’d both last year, and I heard very little difference between the two - certainly not enough to justify the extra wonga. I went with the ND5XS2 and haven’t looked back.

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So, that’s what I’m running. Nd5xs2 with Qutest. Green filter if you’re really interested. And it does not disappoint. Given that the front end of both streamers are pretty much the same, your extra money would be going on the remote , display and the DAC.

Actually, the analog output stage on the NDX2 is discrete electronics. It is better than the one in the ND5 XS2.

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I should hope so for nigh on three grand!

I forgot, it also has the Classic series build quality, which is a step up from the XS series.

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The power supply in the NDX2 is slightly larger I’m sure. Regardless I look forward to following this thread. I do wish Naim would release a new standalone DAC so I can stop thinking about a Qutest.

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Ok, so I am experimenting and jumping between tracks. I am very impressed, and trying some hi res stuff for the first time and I am a bit addicted to it already. I have never really messed with the filter settings, having read a tech report that concluded that the white and green were nearly identical with only the warm filters applying a roll off at HF. However, the setup is really sounding good, full of crisp timing and nicely weighted bass. I have been fiddling with speaker position because I thought that I had been having a little booming at a certain frequency. I think that is now fixed, little moves of toe in etc finally paying off, so today will be a chance to really explore what this setup is giving me.

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OK, so I’m about 3 days in with the NDX5, coming from an ND5XS2, probably 12-15 hours of listening. I know it will run in further, hopefully improve more, etc. But I think I’ve got a handle on about 90% of what it does better/differently than the ND5XS2, Caveats: in my system, in my room, in my opinion. First, to get this out of the way: It’s not twice as good as an ND5XS2. I think we all know that as you move up the audio performance ladder you pay dearly for smaller and smaller incremental improvements. I didn’t expect it to be an order of magnitude better, and it isn’t. But, “Hi everybody, my name is Joe and I’m an audiophile…” My bottom line: Differences and improvements are small, but significant, and I’m glad I made the leap. Note: I’m running bare with a Supernait3.

These are the fractional but clearly audible improvements I consistently hear across a wide variety music:

-Resolution: it’s more detailed, more musical information is getting presented. Small, subtle details in the mix are more easily discerned; this is presented in a smooth and musical way, not the dreaded “etch.” This (higher and better resolution) is the biggest change I hear compared to the ND5XS2.
-Noise: It seems quieter, noise floor lowered . Blacks are blacker.
-Dynamics: Transients are quicker and cleaner. Peaks in the music kick a little harder and faster, more jump factor. This could be related to the noise floor being perceptibly lower.

What sounds the same:
-Sound stage and imaging: This was excellent with the ND5XS2 and remains the same.
-PRAT: Same, and good.

That’s it. But one pet peeve: The display. I think Naim really dropped the ball on this. For me, it’s useless. It bugs me because it has to be a significant contributor to the overall cost and it could be so much better. I’ve had streamers that allowed options to scroll artist and track info continuously (very useful) , show file resolution and IP info, different meters, colors, time/date. etc. This display does nothing that is not easily repeatable on the app. Looking at a dinky album art display from across the the room is worthless to me. Rant over.

So, my take: It’s a winner and seems the optimal mate for a SN3, which is what is was designed to be.

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Out of interest, is there actually a better build quality between models? I would assume that build quality would be of the same level regardless of models.

Are the materials used for the casing different or the fixings, are their wider gaps between the joints, for instance? Or is it simply down to the quality of the components?

As an ND5 owner, it’s not an issue for me, but I am surprised if what you say was the case.

The build quality on both models is great. It’s just better on the NDX2. Like all classic series models, the sides top and bottom seem to be made of one solid piece, rather than several pieces with joints on the XS series. The walls also seem thicker and better damped.

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After 3 days of listening, the words I can best use to describe the NDX 2 VS the ND5 XS2 are “refined” and “smooth”. Dare I say it, more analog.
Now, back to some more listening! :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’m also currently running an NDX2 in to a SN3 both without additional PSU’s.
I’ve no regrets making the move, having lived with the ND5 XS2 for about a year I did enjoy it and appreciated the clutter reduction and meaningful feature set and native streaming intigration. I did find myself hitting its limitations here and there, it was mostly more than capable but it has it’s limitations as expected given its price point relative to the rest of the range and target system.
I would add that once you add an XPS DR or if you’re feeling flush a 555PS DR to the NDX2 you find the gap widen between it and the ND5 XS2 by quite a bit, going beyond that to an ND555 to me is best kept for pre/power based systems.
I’ve found even going from a 3 box system with a SN2 + HiCap + ND5 XS2 to a 2 box setup with a SN3 + NDX2 I prefer the latter and wouldn’t go
back or allocate the funds differently.
I also added IsoAcoustics Gaia III feet to my speakers and that made a nice difference to me.

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I previously had the ND5SX2 and for me the upgrade to the NDX2 was subtle. External psu blew my socks off.

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Yep I tried the ND5XS2 with the chord qutest and the BC1 NAIM bnc cable I think it was. I think I’m the only Person in the world that cant hear a difference. I didn’t hear what added value the Qutest brings. Which in of itself could mean the ND5 dac is plenty fine. But then lil Rega CD Apollo sounded way better without the qutest.

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Glad to hear. Have an ND5 on home loan. I heard the NDX2 and the ND5 at length in a decent demo room. Preffered the ND5. NDX2 was meatier and more analog sounding for sure. I Preffered what I perceived to be more detail from the ND52XS and they were both through Kudos Titans standmounts, so decent speakers and Rega Aethos amp. Yep deffo preferred the smaller bro…

‘Trust your ears’ might be a bit of a cliche here, but…

When the Hugo first appeared, people started selling their £10k NDAC/555s and buying this thing that cost only a tenth of the price, and sounded better. Just to see what the fuss was all about, I bought a second hand Hugo for £500. It did sound a bit better than the DAC in my NDX, so I kept it, but to my ears it wasn’t a game changer.

There has been some speculation here as to why people’s opinions vary so much, including the possibility that some Hugos (and other Chord DACs) sound better than others. Either way, perhaps you should count yourself lucky, to have saved yourself the expense of another HiFi box.

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I auditioned the NDX2 vs ND5 XS2. I thought the difference in SQ more than justified the price difference. However the addition of an XPS DR made such a huge difference in SQ that I happily increased the expenditure to far in excess of what I originally intended.

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