ND5XS and nDAC

I have been reading up on the benefits of the Naim DAC and it seems to be universally loved. There are quite a few recent posts singing its praises when plumbed into a ND5XS2. I have 2 questions:

I am running an ND5XS plus XP5 psu and this in turn feeds a NAIT XS-2 with Flatcap XS. I understand that adding the DAC to the ND5 will deliver an improvement in SQ. (I recognise that this is completely subjective, but the overwhelming quantity of votes in its favour would suggest that it’s not mass hallucination.) My thinking is that if it does deliver, then when at some point I do upgrade to an ND5XS2 or NDX, then the nDAC will still be useful. The other option is sell the ND5XS and XP5 together which will pay for a nice pre-loved ND5XS2 and add the nDAC to that. This seems to be a much favoured option. Just thinking aloud here… My question is, does the XP5 negate any benefits that the nDAC may give or do they all work in harmony? Let’s not even get sucked down the rabbit hole of PSU upgrades to the nDAC.

My second question is; I also have a CD5XS CD player. Is it possible to plug in both the ND5XS and the CD5XS into the nDAC and select the appropriate input on the front panel or remote? This then assumes that the output cables from each device can be removed as they are rendered redundant.

Thanking you all for any thoughts or views.

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I would suggest that you use the XP5 to power the NDAC if you get one. Most would go for an XPS or 555 if anything, but as you already have the XP5 it’s probably worth a try.

Your CD player can also be connected to the NDAC. You can use the buttons or remote, or the Naim app with system automation, to switch inputs.


Chris, thanks for that. I wasn’t aware that the XP5 could power the nDAC. If so, that’s good news as it brings a little more flexibility to the table.


I used my CD5XS into nDAC (eventually with XPS). I subsequently added a MacMini as an additional input to the nDAC by way of dipping my toes into the world of streaming. The CD5XS/nDAC was a fine CD source. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.



If you buy an Ndac, adding an ND5XS2 doesn’t make sense. The ND5XS2 is basically a DAC with streaming capability, the cost of the streaming section is probably less than 20% of the value; the rest is DAC, which will be unused.

You could buy modern high quality streaming bridge (Primare/Ifi PS for £600 or Lindemann for £1000).

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I bought an nDac with a non-Naim PSU about 6 months ago to attach to my ND5XS. The upgrade in sound quality was phenomenal. I swear I have gained another octave at the bottom end and yet the bass is tighter than it was previously. I haven’t tried the nDac without the external PSU as they were bought as a pair but I’d agree with other comments here. Get the nDac, attach the PSU you have to it and you won’t be disappointed.

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Thanks for that. Interesting viewpoint (which I would have thought was heresy around these parts; expect a mob brandishing burning torches and pitchforks tonight :laughing:)
That very much makes sense given the number of people who advise using the ND5XS and variants thereof as a DAC. It makes me feel better about keeping the ND5XS and just augmenting it with the nDAC.


Thanks. That does seem to be the general experience. Is one allowed to ask who the manufacturer of the third-party psu is?

It’s a TeddyXPS.

If you search the forum for ND5XS, XP5XS and DAC you’ll find various threads discussing options.

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Ah yes, the ever popular…
Thank you.

Thanks for that. Don’t I know it… It has been 5 days of combing through various combinations of ND5XS, XP5XS, DAC, nDAC, etc. much to my wife’s chagrin. :grinning:

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I’m sure even the most extreme Naim zealots wouldn’t claim, other hifi manufactures aren’t able to manufacture high quality streaming bridges. :innocent:

I’m sure the NDXS/Ndac will sound very good. After all when the Ndac was first released, it was being fed by 1st gen Naim streamers and used with NAC552’s. So the combination obviously isn’t a no no.

I’d aim for an ND5 XS2 + nDAC and keep an eye out for an XPS DR to add to it later, beyond that you could swop in a Supernait 2 and even add a HiCap to that at some point.
I ran a similar setup myself with a NAIT XS2 + ND5XS2 and CD5 XS. I had my CD as a transport and used a Naim DC-1 digital coax to the digital input on the ND5, so lacked the nDAC but as you already understand, many have combined these products with positive results.


I have an early ND5XS running into an nDAC/Flatcap. The ND5XS occasionally needs restarting due to lack of response and the screen has just faded this weekend. If you’re getting one second hand it might be worth checking if the screen has recently been replaced.

Thank you for all your replies on here. My takeaway from all of this is to find a good used nDAC, keep the ND5SX and CD5SX and run them both though the nDAC. As Fatcat points out, with the nDAC you are only using the ND5 SX as a streaming transport and as it does this very well, it doesn’t make sense to change up only half a level to a ND5 SX2. I will also try running the nDAC via the XP5; it will be interesting to hear what difference that makes.

The trick now is to chase down an nDAC… There are a few around (and yes, I spotted the one on 2ndhandhifi) but it seems impossible to find anything post 2013 and even that’s a rarity. Most seem to be 2010 models and the price seems to be creeping up. A good sign I suppose.

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I occasionally have issue with connectivity on my ND5SX, but I put that down to my router. I would just make sure that you are running the most up-to-date firmware. I updated mine about six months ago so resolve another issue with Tidal and it made a huge difference.

With regard to the screen, I would just turn it off. That lurid green is all a bit 1980’s :laughing: As Naim have removed it from the ND5SX2, it would appear that even they don’t see the need for it.

The ND5XS2 is much better in this regard especially if you stream content from Qobuz/Tidal etc.

Naim put a great deal of effort into redesigning the streaming implementation in the 2nd gen. models, and this is reflected in the greatly improved performance, as well as functionality, of the ND5XS2 compared to its predecessor. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that it’s so popular as a streaming transport.
Yes, there is some redundancy in using the streamer and not the DAC, but that’s always been the case with many Naim products. Using a separate power supply upgrade has long been popular, despite the fact that it makes a big chunk of the internals redundant - certainly a much bigger part of the original box than a DAC chip and output stage. Important though these are, they are not a huge part of the internals of a streamer compared to the streaming board, inputs, SHARC DSP etc. which all remain in use then you use the digital output.


My ND5 XS also played up a bit when streaming Tidal. Sometimes it would need to be power cycled to reconnect. My NSC 222, on the same network, which has replaced my ND5 XS, has no such problems. It was one reason I wanted to upgrade to the newer streaming platform.