ND5XS2 to be used as Transport Streamer, NDS to be used as DAC

I have pretty much all Naim system apart from LP12. Naim streamer using NDS as DAC and 555PS using Naim amplification means system integration to me.

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Nothing wrong with a NDX2/555PS. Best bet is to listen in your home if possible. It normally comes down to box count.

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I was talking about App volume control etc etc

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I’ve bought the shelves now. May as well go with extra box and see how it goes.

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Thanks I LOVE it to death. Took me awhile to get here but I’m happy.
Good luck with your decisions.


Not worried about any of that. Lol. ! System synergy would have been more appropriate for me to say!

So effectively I am going down same route as you although using the NDS as DAC. I like the idea as it means I can always change the DAC in the future or use the ND5XS2 in a secondary system. It gives future options as well as serving current needs.

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It sure does. I figured if my nDAC needs repairs I can still use the ND5Xs2 as it’s still a really good Streamer/Dac. I think you’ll love the NDS.

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As you have a NDS and 555PS, I think the ND5XS2 is the way to go if you are happy with an extra box. You get the system synergy, which I think is really important and the system automation.

The other route is a ND555, since you have the 555PS - likely the best streaming option, but at a significant cost.

I’ve just replaced a NDX2/555 for a ND555, and it’s in another league really.


what issues are you having with your NDS mate? i used to have loads of problems with mine but very rare these days

That will be an interesting shoot out but would the Vega not be the more direct comparison, the Altair being more like the 222 (in functionality)?


I tried a posh Auralic streamer (with no DAC in it) vs. ND5XS2 into nDAC.

The latter won for me by a mile.

The Auralic wrecked the Naim sound for me.


Multiple issues with stresming platform being outdated. Won’t play Tidal or Qubus. It’s good with internet radio. Spotify and Nas drive.

People have suggested Audivana, Roon and other software and subscriptions as workaround. That’s not really my thing.

The NDS ia at Naim having screen replaced.

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The photo stage and in-built memory of the Altair attracts; and using a fixed output level. If I like the Auralic sound I can try the Vega.

Good luck, should be a great sounding setup. Big fans of the PCM1704 here, nDAC sounds fabulous with Tidal max.

We’ve wondered about replacing nDAC with NDS but, as I’ve said on other threads, in the end it just seemed like too much hassle.

Splitting streamer and DAC into two boxes removes the need for any fancy network switch (to our ears) and provides a degree of future proofing.

Going by forum threads the NDS sound signature will be closer to nDAC than NDX2. They do sound a little different (we spent a long time determining our favourite between NDX2/555 and NDX2/nDAC/555).

The ability to use system automation is really handy too.


Since we are only talking about transport, an Auralic (streamer only) will give you a cleaner (it’s almost all about the noise suppression) signal than the ND5XS2 to go into the NDS, which in turn will give you the quality and sound character.
However, probably more than anything, you are choosing the interface and the App, and while both are good, in my experience the Naim one is more stable and easier (nicer) to use. It probably goes for the hardware as a whole too, and Auralic behaves more like a computer (a bit like Melco which is worse), while Naim is a straight piece of hifi.

I tested ND5XS2 vs Innuos pulse into my ndac and went with the Innuos but there is very little in it and I can see how many may prefer the synergy with the former. For me the Innuos was more detailed without being more fatiguing and the app is way better.

The innuos stuff is a very good shout as the app is about the best one at the moment, plus you can get some very good deals on it.
It also sounds good, well it has every time i have heard them.

But i can see the logic in the ND5XS as well, but maybe for the same money it would be better just investing it all on a streamer with a great power supply built in, rather than one which has the dac costs built in to it as well.
I guess that’s up to you to go try, or just go get the naim and don’t worry about it all.

Interesting - how did you determine this?

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you know, by using both