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.
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!
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
Afte that you could look at an XPS for the nDAC
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.