NDS vs NDX2

Currently using an NDX gen 1 with TP XPS into non-Naim amps and speakers. Fed from a NAS transcoding local and streamed files to WAV.

Never heard an NDS (but did listen to an ND555 before lockdown - stunning but stretches the budget just a tad!). Also caught a very brief listen to an NDX2 and I was quite impressed although difficult to judge in a different room, different equipment etc.

So, the NDS and NDX2 are both available around the same price ex-dem or used. Which, in your optinion naturally, would you go for?

I understand the streaming module in the NDX2 is quite a way ahead of the earlier efforts used in my NDX and the NDS but i’ve a workaround for that which could be used with an NDS.

They do a similar job but are quite different in a number of ways as you highlight yourself.
I currently own an NDX2 and have owned both an ND5 XS and ND5 XS2.
The NDX2 will enable a number of features natively and be controllable from the Naim iOS/Android app that whist possible on an NDX or NDS require additional hardware and more setup.
So then it comes down to which would sound the best regardless of how they were being fed, either from a local NAS or through a bridge device pulling streams from the Internet.
I’d anticipate that the NDS is at its best fed with 2x 555 PS power supplies. If however you would be reusing your existing XPS (is that a DR version?) then the difference between the two would not be so clear, rather more different than better per say.
I can certainly vouch for the NDX2 as being a very capable streamer that is easy to setup and use and supports all the connectivity and services I need for the foreseeable future.

To me:

NDX(1) + XPS DR is similar in capability to a bare NDX2.

NDS + XPS DR is way ahead of NDX(1) + XPS DR

NDS +555PS DR is better again.

An NDS will outperform an NDX2 as it should do given the additional price and power supply requirement. It has much in common with the ND555 (suspended chassis, same DAC, fully utilises a 555ps etc). It does lack the better streaming architecture of the newer streamers so works best with local music from a UPNP server rather than streaming services. There are ways round this which allow a reverse proxy such as BubbleUPNP server or Roon to be used which overcome these limitations.

If you can live with the reduced functionality of the older streamer then the NDS is an extremely good buy, it’s Naim’s second best streamer.

When I have heard the ND555 and NDS (which I own) I also find them stunning. NDX2 is nice and ahead of an NDX(1) but I don’t feel it’s game changing in the way the move to ND555 and NDS is.

The only concern is that you don’t have a Naim PSU so you should try before you buy.

All valid points here, and the differences will mostly come down to choice and quantity of PSU’s involved in the system.

1 Like

There is a thread in hifi corner. Seems pretty well accepted that the NDS performs better if you are ok with older tech/platform.

Gary

1 Like

Thanks for the replies, something to think about.

I have a PSU, not Naim, from the Middle East - not sure on forum etiquette about mentioning it. I believe I could use this on the NDS and possibly an NDX2. I need to look into it. If that is the case then I could replace my ‘bare’ NDX with an NDS using my existing PSU. As mentioned, I already have a NAS/server setup delivering Qobuz hi-res to my existing gen 1 NDX with great results.

Is the NDS similar to the NDX in the way earlier batches need updated boards to handle 192/24 and DSD files?

I would listen to both, but one thing worth bearing in mind. The NDX2 / NDS comparison was done early doors and the NDX2 sound has improved with firmware updates. Let your ears decide.

1 Like

I believe you will find the forum rules are that you not allowed to mention non-Nam Power Supplies for use with Naim equipment. You would be reminded that this would possibly damage your equipment and possibly invalidate any warranty on repair of the equipment.

From the Forum Rules section:

We do not permit discussion of modifications to internal components of Naim equipment and this also extends, at the Moderators’ discretion, to products from other manufacturers. This also applies to discussion of companies who undertake unauthorised modifications to Naim equipment.

Modification extends to the use of 3rd party or home-made power supplies and any cabling that carries DC power between Naim equipment.

This rule applies especially to the case fuses fitted within our equipment. There is a blanket and strict ban on such topics and it includes euphemistic phrases that ultimately reference such practices and attempt to circumvent the restriction.

3 Likes

If you go for the NDS + 555PS, you basically buy a DAC with a very expensive PSU that you will have to front-end with a transport for anything but local UPnP streaming.

For that price, I would consider alternative streamers like the dCS Bartok and/or Chord DACs. Or a nDAC + 555PS for a much lower price.

I do not see the point of buying an NDX2 if minimizing the number of boxes is not your primary concern and you are after the best DAC quality.

I personally would not buy either but, if I had to, I would go for the NDX2 without any doubt.

Interesting question.

With the NDX2 you are getting the latest technology in terms of the streamer card, built in Roon support, latest WiFi, AirPlay etc
But are you getting the best SQ?
You are also imposing a ceiling.

The best SQ is the ND555 with 1 or 2 555DR PSU but so expensive.

If you go with the NDS, you have the XPS type PSU (which will work with a blanking plug for the 2nd power input) and you can then add the XPS Plus from the same manufacture for the NDS Analogue Power feed.
You can also add a Sonore UPnP Bridge to give Roon integration, which gives better UI, better Tidal integration, Qobuz integration, MQA support etc.

1 Like

I should have given more detail in my opening post.

When I said I use ‘local and streamed’ files I meant all my CDs and SACDs are ripped and stored on a Synology NAS. This NAS is also running BubbleServer, Asset and Minim. Bubble gives me access to Qobuz hi-res and transcodes all FLAC to WAV on the fly. Lumin or Kazoo apps on an iPad allow me to access the Qobuz stream on my NDX.

I understand the NDS which I’m interested in will allow me to do the same thing so, while I see your point when you say it’s a glorified DAC and PSU needing a front end, this isn’t quite the case - the NAS/Bubble/openhome app is my front end.

I’m not in the market for an NDS/555DR so comparisons to a £10,000 DCS are interesting but not really relevant in this case.

Tidal: tried it, subscribed for a couple of years, got fed up with issues when I got the NDX (which Bubble finally solved) but I cancelled it at the beginning of the year. I’m not an MQA fan but I get that others are. The lack of MQA with Naim isn’t an issue for me. The NDX2 would leave me without it too so a moot point.

Lack of Roon endpoint is a different matter. I need to give this some thought but, to be perfectly honest, I’m the kind of listener who selects an album, presses play and lose my self. Displays on screens turned off, iPad closed, just listen. I’m not sure what Roon would offer.

2 Likes

Thanks for this, just did a quick search for the ‘plus’ you mention. Looks just about ideal!

Thanks also to the earlier poster who mentioned a recent thread - a quick search of the forum has revealed a wealth of information with all of my questions (and questions I didn’t even know I had…) already answered.

In this case, the NDS is certainly a valid proposition. I would expect it to work with your front-end in much the same way as the NDX does, but you’ll have to check, of course.

Still, all other things being equal, I would probably go for a second hand nDAC rather than for a second hand NDS.

That said, I never heard the NDS and it is possible that I would think differently if I had done so. As you, I have heard the ND555, albeit in a much better system than mine. I have had subscriptions to Tidal, Qobuz and Idagio, the last two for more than one year. I eventually cancelled all subscriptions.

1 Like

I know. I have a NDS with a 555DR, so an upgrade path with a second PSU is possible.
But a whole 555DR for the Analogue circuitry leaves much of it unused, so the XPS Plus is a much better ‘value for money’ solution, and 1/5 of the price.
I did suggest it to Naim, at one point, just offering a 555DR-A and a 555DR-D (as an upgrade to the XPSDR as well).

1 Like

Apologies if I’m missing something blindingly obvious but I thought the 2 x outputs on the 555PS power the 2 circuits on the NDS.

It does, and that’s how I have the NDS/555DR,
the potential upgrade is to separate the feed to the Digital and Analogue circuits and make it from separate PSUs.
The NDS or ND555 with twin 555DRs is covered in this forum and regularly seen by Naim at show demos, etc.

But a 555DR is circa £7k (€10k), so the 2nd is a big cost upgrade only to have all the supplies for Digital circuitry unused. So one just for the Analogue circuits is much more cost effective.

Of course. Blindingly obvious. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Anyone know how close an NDX2 with 555DR is compared with the old NDS? Sonically I would imagine the NDS edges it but is it close?

:+1:t2:

When i heard them, the NDS is ahead, and there is something musically about the old Burr Brown dac that the NDS uses i like. But not sure i could live without Qobuz natively.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.