ND555 with external DAC

I recently received some copies of hi-fi+ which had fallen foul of post Brexit customs arrangements. The November 2021 issue had a review of an Ideon Absolute DAC, costing £31k. It ended up being ‘one of the best DACs in the world right now’.
I fell to wondering whether any of you has experimented with using the ND555 digital output with an external DAC and with what results?

Blimey that’s an expensive proposition

What’s wrong with playing ND555 as it is ?


Absolutely nothing! But you know that we are an inquisitive bunch, or we would never have reached this height of madness. I am being entertained night after night by my system but there is always the what if……?
That said, it sounds so good to me right now that maybe it’s time to stop dreaming ….

If one believed that a 35K computer was necessary for downloading files from the internet, why would one waste two thirds of it on a completely useless DAC and analog section? Surely there must exist an audiophile computer for that price that is dedicated fully to this monumental task.

Get an S1, it will calm you down for a while :grin:


I only wanted to know whether anyone had tried an alternative DAC with the ND555.

Well if you put it this way, I’m sure someone did :slight_smile: Though it’s probably irrelevant what the streamer is before the DAC. I assume a 31K DAC is competently designed.

Obviously then, you didn’t try it. I only want to hear from someone who did.

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Many did.

The ND555, NDX2 and the ND5 XS2 share the same streamer plateforme.

You would get more answers by changing the title of the thread.

Some forum members use the NDX2 or ND5 XS2 with Chord Electronics DACs.

Using the ND555 as a streamer would not make much sense for two reasons:

  • For the price of the ND555 + PS555DR, there are much better streamers.

  • Feeding the Ideon Absolute DAC via S/PDIF would not make much sense, given the S/PDIF limitations.

Thanks Thomas, but what I have is an ND555 and I want to hear from anyone who may have used one with a different DAC. Nothing more.

When it comes to the streaming part, there is no difference between an ND555 and an NDX2 or even an ND5XS2.

If you have two PS555DRs then yes, in that case there will be a difference as you will have a dedicated power supply for the digital part. But if not, then there is virtually no difference between the ND555 and the others.

Of course, if your goal is to evaluate a new DAC, then yes, it is a great idea to use the streamer part of your ND555. You can then compare the two DACs: Naim and Ideon

But, in my opinion, it is difficult to outperform the ND555 + 2x PS555DR.

I’ve been there. To do better, not just different, I had to put 60k.

The ND555 + 2x PS555DR is a really good DAC/Streamer.


Can’t you borrow the Ideon from the dealer and try?
I am curious on this. And the idea that the Nd555 and Nd5xs2 perform similarly as transports is not proven. The streaming platform is identical but the implementation is much better in the Nd555. What I believe at least.
For now, reading the forum regularly, I found only one member who has compared Ndx2 with Nd5xs2 as transport, feeding a Chord Dave.

In your case, personally, if I wanted to upgrade from Nd555 with twin ps, I would more look towards the Statement pre, or sell the Nd555 and 2 555 dr to get a better streamer, like DCS Vivaldi, MSB , or perhaps Iinn Klimax Organik.

As I said, I am not looking to change anything. I am merely curious, as we all are here.
If there were a dealer in Ireland I might (or might not) borrow the DAC, but the simplest (and cheapest) starting point is to feed off other peoples’ experience.

I had a Rega DACr to play the rips on my Core while I waited for the ND555 (initially I expected a replacement for the NDS once the Atom etc were announced, I never liked the NDS). Somehow I never got round to trying it fed from the ND555 once it had arrived and I’ve given it away now so sorry can’t help. :grin:

If I’d heard it, and preferred it to yours, what would be your next course of action?

Probably falls into the “not interested” bucket :wink:

That would depend on whether you could convince me that it was a substantial improvement. After that I would pray for a Lottery win, given the stratospheric price.

Why would I want to convince you of anything? It’s not MY money :slight_smile: (So, if I said it was very, very, very good indeed … you’d buy it on spec with your once-in-a-lifetime lottery windfall? )

No. I have less and less appetite for poking and prodding the system because it sounds so wonderful. And it should. It’s taken a long time to get here and its been carefully built to work in the intended room.

For me, the need to look for past improvements has been driven by a dissatisfaction with the musical presentation, even if I was not consciously aware of it. I’m sure I could have a system which sounds different, it may even sound better. I’ll probably be OK until I next visit the dealer!