Nd5xs2 vs Allo Signature as transport

I am contemplating whether an Nd5xs2 as a transport into a Naim DAC would be worth the money. Would it bring better sound than an Allo Signature with Shanti PS into the Naim DAC?

I sure enjoy my Nd5xs2 into a Naim DAC! I found the DAC recently 2nd hand so it’s still fairly new to me but I’m over the moon. I can’t really compare the Allo as I’ve never heard one, but the ND5XS2 is an outstanding transport.

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I stream FLACs from a Synology NAS thtough my Allo USBridgeSig+DigiOneSig+Shantii+MoOde via DC-1 to my nDAC+XPS.

Does it compare to a ND5? Don’t know, don’t care. Sounds superb for six hundred quid for the Allo, the grand I paid for a s/h nDAC, grand for the s/h XPS and the hundred fifty for a s/h DC-1. But we’re still talking three thousand for my cobbled together “streamer“.

Now obviously, if I had bought all the items at “new” prices (thus making up the equivalent of the one-box ND5) then (and I’m guessing/estimating now) the costs would be in the same ball park at around four thousand. (2.7k for the nDAC, 400 for the DC-1, 600 for the Allo kit.). And I forgot to mention that I have an olive XPS hanging off the nDAC, so add another couple of thousand for the PS, so as new we’re heading rapidly towards 7k…so it **** well should sound good! :smiley: :smiley:

The star of the show is unquestionably the nDAC, the Allo merely shifts the bits around…oh, and the software just works.


I had a very similar journey with 2nd hand products. Tremendous value for sure.

I think where my rambling was leading to is that the nDAC is a superb performer, and if you already have one then the Allo provides a great, and modestly priced transport, provided you can live with putting it together yourself, and the lack of a display*. interestingly, much like Naim kit, the quality of the PSU feeding the RPi has a significant Impact…

*although I think I can add a display as the USBridgeSig does have an HDMI output. More experimentation needed, after I have finished potting-on some more tomatoes :smiley:

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Funny how with most things with audio, it comes down to quality power.

Agreed. I and a few others on Pink Fish & DIY forums had been playing around with RPi streamers, including power supplies - the DigiOneSig needs two isolated supplies ( known as “dirty” and “clean”), and we tried many combinations of SMPS, LPS and even battery packs. Before the Shanti came out, our weapon of choice was a Cuinas Audio ISO-PS, which In my view gave an SQ uplift equivalent to adding a Hicap to a preamp; quite astonishing for an all-digital kit, feeding the nDAC.

So PSUs do matter…now .where have we heard that before?

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You had the Bluesound node before. So now you have bought a Naim dac and searching a good transport ?
I would recommend the Innuos Zen, or Zenith. They made good quality server/ ripper. With an usb/ spdif converter into Ndac, you can have a very good source.
Buying an Nd5xs2 without using the internal dac is a bit wasting money.

In the search section, you can find some infos.


Hi FR, You mentioned a “converter”. Does the Zen(ith) not have a S/PDIF output?

I haven’t bought it yet but contemplating to buy one. I had one on trial with the Bluesound. But I think the node as transport didn’t use the full potential of the ndac. The sound was OK but I think the node didn’t cut it as the transport as the sound uplift wasn’t huge compared to using the nodes own dac. After everyone’s comments about the nDac I expected a bigger uplift in sound. I assume it has to be because of the transport and not because of the quality of the nDac.

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If I do a quick calculation:
A Digione Signature + Shanti will set me back about €500, a membership to Roon to make this userfriendly (this is in my opinion mandatory with the Pi solution) will cost another €500 so that’s a €1000 for this solution. I also would need a server to run Roon which will probably be at least another €400 so that would bring the Digione Signature solution to €1400 total.
I am able to score a very young ND5XS2 for €1900 which makes the difference €500.
What would you do if you look at this situation?

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Don’t really know much about Roon. What’s the thinking behind your comment that Roon is mandatory for a Pi based solution? And why would you not need Roon with the ND5?

If you want Roon, you need a subscription and the hardware to run the Core, regardless of whether you have a Naim streamer.

Because the Naim software is already very user-friendly and looks good. I think the pi software solutions (NON ROON) are all a bit meh…

With a Naim streamer I wouldn’t run Roon as I like the Naim software

Hence my calculation

Sounds like that ND5 is the one for you then. :smiley:

Afte that you could look at an XPS for the nDAC

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Fellow Allo Digione Signature / USBridge Signature / Shanti user here. Nothing much to add but thought I’d say hello.

I use mine as a Roon endpoint using Ropieee as the music playback software. All very solid and reliable. Music server is an intel NUC (In a fanless case) running ROCK, i.e. the put it together yourself version of a Roon Nucleus.

I think not, because some use usb/ spdif converters with the zenith and Ndac.