ND5XS2 with or without external DAC

Am interested in the ND5XS2 to replace my existing 272 (with TXPS). Just wondering if existing owners of ND5XS2 are using with external DACs or not. If yes, which make?

Some advised that the SQ of the ND5XS2 is similar (or marginally better) to the 272. Obviously, the NDX2 will be better but I have a budget to adhere to (having recently bought the 252 + SCDR).

Would appreciate some insights so that I can make an informed decision.

I listen mostly to Tidal and NAS.


I’d think at a 252 level, you would regret not going with the NDX2, you need the better source.


Yes, I think so too. It would be far better to wait a bit and get the NDX2. An ND5 and dac would likely cost as much as an NDX2 anyway.


Source first. Forget the ND5XS2. Why get a ‘cheap’ source with an amp like yours? Doesn’t make any sense. Wait and get an NDX2, or get cheaper amps with an ND5XS2

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Thanks all for your valued comments. Looks like I’ll be enjoying the 272 for a while longer.

@Simon-in-Suffolk runs an NDX2 and Hugo 1 into his 552. Somebody else wrote recently that his Hugo 1 was at least eye-level with his NDS… So I don’t see why an ND5XS2 (as a transport) plus a top-notch DAC (a Hugo or something else) should be inappropriate for a 252. Obviously, one might not like the Chord sound – but that’s a different issue…


I have a Qutest on hand and may try using the 272 as transport. Something to try next week. Thanks.

If you like that combo, an ND5XS (with new streaming technology) and Qutest might become rather attractive; or something like SOTM 200, Project Stream Box Ultra or Allo DigiOne Signature instead of Naim as transport… Any of those combinations is well below 5K; and you might like it more than an NDX2…

I am actually feeding the Qutest by SoTM sms-200 Ultra Neo :rofl:. The third source is Oppo UDP-205. I have 3 sources feeding the 252. Just wanted to streamline. Letting the 252/SCDR burn-in at the moment before deciding which to keep.

And how does this compare to the 272 plus Cuddly Toy as streamer only?

I prefer this over the 272. At the moment, the order of prefernce is the Oppo 205, Sotm/Qutest and then, 272. But I am sure things will be different once the 252/SCDR settles.

I am surprised that you like the Oppo the best – Rob Watts and Naim will cry… :rofl: But, as you say, let the 252 settle in; and then explore your options carefully. There are so many different ways to skin a cat in the digital world, where one might not need to spend tons of money to get the sound right… :grinning: Personally I am amazed by the sound my small Hugo 2 produces…

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I’m hoping Naim hasn’t given up on a Standalone DAC. New Naim DAC = More DC-1 Cable sales

Do they have enough “old” DAC chips for this? Of course, they might pursue entirely new avenues, but then the DAC in the new streamer would look old rather soon after their release… :roll_eyes:

My hope would be a new DAC chip/FPGA maybe that elevates the entire line of new streamers.

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