Nds vs Dcs Bartok

Hi everyone,
has anyone ever compared the Naim Nds with a DCS Bartok? what sonic differences between the two?

There is a thread all about the Bartok here:

1 Like

True but it is not easy to find out whether the thread is relevant for comparisons to the NDS, among other because of the fact that the search engine overrides the standard (Ctrl-f) function of the browser! I would really like to see detailed comparisons between Naim streamers and other devices …

1 Like

NDS/555dr and NDS twin power supplies, against Bartok, simply goodbye NDS.
But as above, big thread to read through, and in the end its up to you what you want


my nds is not going
with the 555ps, I think the gap is even greater.
anyway I should try it soon, and I can tell you

1 Like

Run twin power supplies and feed it with a better streamer and it might then be on par or even better than the Bartok, but really why would you spend all that to try and inpove it, when you can spend less and get better results

I already have 2 twin power supplies (not naim) if I have to put a 555psdr, too expensive even 1 only.
And as a streamer better than the nds? could it be a Melco?

Well guessing what power supplies you have, i also had them i think and a thead about them on pink fish, anyway the NDS dac isn’t that different from the ND555, its the streamer board, that really lets it down.
You could go melco and go USB out of the melco, so you can use the steamer and its storage, quite a few options and having never tried the streaming side in my melco, i cant give any views on it.
But for me in the end, having all these boxes to effectively just do one thing was bugging me, so sold my NDS/555DR and the other power supply and went off in search of a much better option.
I would still say a Bartok, will be better than the above, but it depends on what you want, the NDS dac is just not capable of extracting all the info that the Bartok can, now if you want to hear more of the detail in the tracks, then for sure you will forget about the NDS in a second, but some like the sound better, some not, for me i want to try and hear all the music thats on each track, just like real life, rather than a different version, caused by different components adding colour, or just not capable, but as said we want different things

1 Like

It’s not only a matter of more details vs less details. DCS and Naim have not the same presentation, but I will not say that Nds is coloured and DCS like real life.
Naim is more organic and there’s more a feeling of a whole, all instruments are articulated between each others, it gives a real coherency.
DCS is better on strictly hifi criterias, as details, soundstage, dynamics, separation of instruments.
I have more the feeling of the “ why” with Naim and the “ how” with DCS.

Bluesfan compared different streamers vs his CDS3/ 555dr he wanted to replace. The Nds/555dr can be even better sounding vs the CDS3, if the network is well improved.
He tried the Bartok, Bartok/ clock, Rossini, with and without clock, MSB, Dave. He found the Bartok too gentle sounding vs his CDS3. Only the others were clearly the streamers he could buy, to replace a CDS3.


I heard the ND555 vs Bartok once at my dealer show room, and thought the Bartok was significantly better.

That was also the opinion of my dealer and those who were in the demo room at the time.

The amount of extra detail the Bartok could extract is very noticeable. Loss of detail doesn’t make music more coherent as some here would like to argue. A loss of detail is loss is loss of information - which directly contradicts the source first approach.


It’s your opinion, I shared mine. Who is right? Nobody :laughing:


for my taste, there are three basic parameters, dynamics, details and soundstage.
as far as the network is concerned, I still wanted to improve it, putting a better nas like Melco, I just have to choose which model, I also find it with a possible future Bartok.

True. Although it would be more telling how many have left the NDS for the Bartok vs the other way around.

1 Like

If you are not ready to buy a second hand 555dr, better perhaps take a Bartok. Bartok is better I feel vs Nds/ Israeli ps. The Nds shines really with a 555dr .
Bartok is more detailed and have better soundstage. The dynamics are given by the 555 dr, so without it, you have not really an Nds.
Bartok doesn’t need also such efforts on network upgrades as Naim.


It doesn’t tell a lot. The Nds is an old platform, doesn’t have Qobuz, and the Bartok is a one box and more elegant solution.
And as I said, it’s my preference, my taste. I am not saying that one is better or not in absolute terms.

As an alternative, try a Sonore opticalRendu with decent linear power supply and Chord DAVE. I would certainly prefer that over a Bartok on the basis of the Bartok auditions that I have had. Add an M Scaler in there and the game moves on significantly in terms of emotional engagement in the music.

I would also go MSB Discrete over Bartok, even in the UK. In the USA, the case for MSB must be even more compelling.

Then there is Meridian.

Lots of good choices out there.

Best regards,


As said lots of ways to go these day, as the game has certainly moved on a lot since the NDS was designed, its still an ok dac, but thats it really and only really worth investing money into power supplies like the 555dr, if you intend to stay with naim and go ND555 or wait for the next model to come out, if not then move on, lots to try.
But if you do move on, then you really should go try as many as you can, and also have upgradeable in you mind as well, as the likes of dCS and MSB, do atleast offer a much longer product life span, than others do and in this fast changing market thats a big plus, as no one knows whats just round the corner and spending say £10k or more on a new product only to find its replacement is much better a year later is only going to hurt, your pocket and your enjoyment

I actually think DAC design has gone way past the point of diminishing return. Looking at the measurements of the latest DACs, improvements are made in areas beyond what’s really audible, so I doubt there will be another “game changer” on the horizon.

Wasn’t talking about dacs so much, but its still great if they can also be upgraded, rather than thats it, but then take the dCS, they keep on giving new filters and maps to choose from, i have 3 different maps and 9 different filters i think right how i can choose from.
But i mean new streaming platforms and the like that keep on coming out, it nice to know that your manufacturer is willing to implement these as they cone along and quickly and that the product you own can actually take the upgrade just by a free download

Personally I omitted to talk also about filters. As in Dave or DCS. It’s another reason for me to not take such products. I hate that.
I know myself and would be tempted to think very often: is it the best filter I choosed, maybe try another one?
Some play with that filters like with VTA on an arm, changing them depending on the albums they are listening too.
For me the next will be an Nd555 or something like the last top server of Antipodes, connected in spdif to the Nds dac.

1 Like