First time poster - looking for at bit of input and check on next step thinking.
My first step into Naim was a Supernait 1 that I have now had for years.
After some time I added a Ndac between my modified Sonos connect and the Supernait - a nice upgrade to the build in dac of the SN.
After a few more years I added a HiCapDR which I found another very worthwhile upgrade.
Lately I upgraded my Dynaudio focus 140 to Dynaudio Contour 20.
Now taking my system to the next level I am thinking to add a ND5XS2 to replace the Sonos. I use only Tidal and internet radio.
Is this now really the best next step? I never had an “end game” i mind and budget wise I don’t want to stretch further at this point than a used ND5XS2 that I can purchase for approx 2k EUR.
I use a DC1 between the Sonos and Ndac, Naca5 speaker cable and home made power cables into a wireworld matrix 2.
Appreciate all input and thoughts.
Hi @CPH. There are some swings and roundabouts with substituting Connect for ND5XS2. If you wish to sync the system with other Sonos devices, you may end up leaving it connected, and depending on how you are feeding the Sonos now, the Naim may prove inconvenient despite its additional flexibility. If you are not too concerned about ‘hi res’, sound quality improvements will depend on how much better the Naim is as a transport compared to your modified Connect. Is the wired coax connection demonstrably better than optical? You might find that you get more improvement at the analogue output by using an external power supply on the nDAC.
Thanks, good input and worth considering. I have other Sonos components around the house but would be fine loosing the Sonos interface in the lounge and just use the Naim app for this room.
Hi res is certainly interesting. But Sonos nor Naim handles MQA which os the hi res format used by Tidal. Fundamental is the ND5XS2 a much better transport?
Against a modified Connect? My guess would be not much better, but you’d have to try it yourself to know if it’s ‘better’ to your ears. What’s the modification?
I suspect you’d get ‘better’ sound with a PS on the nDAC, but that’s based on ‘received wisdom’ rather than first hand experience.
I replaced a standard Connect with an ND5XS2 and am very happy with it. I connected the Connect (sorry) to the ND5XS2 with an optical cable so I could group the main system if I wanted to, but found I never did so the Connect is now in a box upstairs.
I considered driving an nDAC from the Connect; what tipped me towards the ND5XS2 was the added flexibility, including Roon Ready, and the expectation that the new generation Naim streamers would outlast the Connect, which the Sonos ecosystem might be leaving behind. That and the fact that I didn’t want to get sucked into nDAC power supply upgrades…
Hi, if you go for an ND5XS2 I would recommend keeping the NDAC and using the SPDIF out on the streamer if you don’t mind an extra box on your rack.
I would also suggest trying Qobuz as an alternative to Tidal as they have quite a bit of 24 bit material that sounds very good.
As you use internet radio, you will probably like the lossless FLAC stations that Naim streamers now support. They sound loads better than the lossy MP3 and AAC streams used by most iRadio stations.
Absolutely, but you would expect that. The modified Connect addresses some of the obvious shortcomings of the stock Connect… I have one… but the architecture, stability, interfacing, digital and powerline decoupling in the ND5XS2 is way way better.
Now you may need a high end system including DAC to appreciate it… but it is there…
the Naim obviously handles higher definition media than the relatively humble 44.1/16 format… and much new material is released at these higher definitions, especially 44.1/24 and 48/24 which the Sonos can’t handle being limited to 16 bit.
Even an older nad5x/nx would give you great usage ,compatibility and massive sound upgrade.
But since you’ve got a good budget lots more can be had, a superb transport ,reliable and future proof would be ideal.
Sometimes good deals on dCS bridge come around so be patient.
If you want to scratch the itch now I would ditch the crappy Sonos and investigate the likes of Allo coax. bridge+ linear psu.
Just keep the cable.
Not expensive and easily resellable.
Thanks again for your inputs.
My Sonos connect had a modification done by Dr. Gert Wolk - I don’t remember it all but believe it is similar to other mods out there. A nice upgrade when I had it done by the way. It is also now outdated as it can only run S1 and not the newer S2.
Qobuz I cannot get as I live in Denmark. But really like the idea of hi res internet radio that the ND5XS2 offers.
Besides the features I see the are some for and against the upgrade of the streamer as transport as I have the Ndac already.
So guess it is also a question of getting the never / better options that the ND5XS2 can deliver vs. potentially upgrading the amp for better sound quality instead.
I was running Sonos into an nDAC + 555PS into a 552/ active Naim system, and had the same dilemma. I eventually bit the bullet and went for the ND5 XS2. My short answer, the Naim streamer is better and to me it was worth the cost. But, the gap between the Sonos and Naim streamers was narrower than expected. My streaming source is the higher resolution version of Tidal.
My brother and a close friend, both with virtually identical systems, also replaced a Sonos with the ND5 XS2 (into nDAC + XPS DR) and are very pleased.
One last comment, and this may not be helpful, but adding the power supply was a bigger improvement than adding the ND5 XS2. Sorry.
I took a rather circuitous way of getting where I am now (satisfied) via streamer, power supply and DAC. Though I’ve never owned the Sonos, I can only guess the ND5 XS2 would be superior given your setup and goal as transport. I use the ND5 XS2 as a transport with a Chord Qutest DAC, an Uptone JS-2 LPSU powering the Qutest (though have a Paul Hynes SR4 on the way for that duty). Digital SQ is unlike anything I’ve owned (including a few nice Naim/Rega CD players if enjoyment is any indicator from memory). I love the plethora of higher-res Internet radio options, and use both Tidal (HiFi) and Qobuz services. The ND5 is also about the simplest device to use via the Naim app, which is an interface even I could consistently get along with.
My response, though, is more in the realm of how much happiness this streamer has brought rather than logistics, which very well may be more beneficial to you in all honesty.
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