NDX letdown

Hello to everybody.
I have recently bought an used , updated NDX.
My CD5 was broken and when it came back, I did some comparisons, and I “heard” no SQ differences between them; but when I added a PSU to the CD5, then the combination blow the NDX away! There’s no match, really.
So I thought that maybe I’m not using the NDX in the proper way… sorry if maybe this subject has been treated a thousand times!
I have been using the NDX with Spotify (worst SQ), Tidal (better) and Flac files through the USB input…
Is a NAS going to better the SQ a lot? I’m really ignorant, as far as streaming is concerned! :slight_smile: I thought that a local file through USB would be the same SQ than a NAS through ethernet…
Would Roon give another increase, as far as SQ is concerned?
Thanks for your help,

Did you also add a PSU to the NDX and compare? Or did you just add the PSU to the CD5 as the opening post states?

Did you have both the CD5 and NDX plugged into the pre-amp at the same time?

You need to make sure that the ground switch on the NDX is set correctly if you have multiple sources connected to the pre-amp.

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I’m surprised its so dramatic that you have used the ‘blown away’ description
I’ve not heard a CD5 in an A/B comparison situation
I changed from CDX2 to NDX & the difference was not ‘better’, but ‘different’.
The CDX2 is rock & roll, NDX is more refined

In my experience the web streaming services do not give the best quality.
FLAC or WAV from USB is OK, but its not a great UI experience, that said the SQ is about the same as ethernet.
After trying the web streaming services I now only play from NAS (& iRadio) over fully wired ethernet LAN. All music is either ripped CD’s or bought FLAC 16 or 24 bit transcoded (played as) WAV & a few DSD
This gives superb quality, not necessarily ‘better’ than CDX2, its just different & with most music more satisfying.

When you say its updated, what do you mean, does it have 192kHz board & 4.7 firmware?

The CD5 PSU will be Flatcap or HC & does not connect to NDX, NDX needs XPS or above


I went to a Naim demo at my then dealers when the original range was launched. Have heard them numerous times since and I think ultimately the streamers below the NDS simply didn’t work that well. I got very bored with people telling me the NDX was pitched at the level of my CDX2. No chance. Not even near. Different only in the sense of having a primitive unrefined sense of PRaT and a consistent lack of engagement. Not a surprise for me that it also can’t compete with the cheaper CDP.

Some years later I attended an evening of A/B comparisons at the home of a friend. Had gone to great lengths with his NDX. Added Fraim; added an isolation platform; power supply; switch etc.

Plugged in my bare CDX2 and “blew it away” is once again the phrase.


The NDX is a super player, used bare or with a PSU, I enjoyed mine for many years and don’t recognise the comments above from my experience. In found UPNP produced the best results which is how the unit was originally designed. You do not need an elaborate or tweaked network to get good results.

One thing that has caught people out is the ground switch on the NDX. If the NDX is the only source then it should be set to Chassis, otherwise floating. Try setting it to Chassis and disconnect the CD player and any other sources from your pre-amp.


I’ve just added the psu to the cd5, but later. At the beginning I didn’t add the psu, so to make a comparison with both in the same conditions

It’s in the “floating” position

Sorry, I am confused now. In the OP you wrote, “I did some comparisons, and I “heard” no SQ differences between them; but when I added a PSU to the CD5, then the combination blow the NDX away! There’s no match, really.”

So I thought that without the PSU, the CD5 and the NDX sounded the same. Then you added the PS to the CD5, and this sounded better. Did you compare it with the PS added to the NDX? Otherwise, all you might be comparing is the effect of adding a PS

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Something’s not right, your network is not ideal or the player is buggered for a NDX to not be as good as a CD5.

It is a very weird world where first generation streamers out perform a classic CDP which still outperforms many new streamers. Remarkable really. People hear what they want to hear I guess.

Talked to three Naim dealers in the past 2 years who all quietly said that Naim made some obvious misjudgements with their first generation of streamers which they have very much fixed with the second generation. At the time they talked the talk and blew those trumpets but…they knew.

Well, what kind of misjudgements? We all know they misjudged the pace of development, hardware requirements and software upgrades, but obviously none of these matter here.

Personally, never heard a CD5 nor an NDX, so I can’t judge. Nevertheless I still wonder if the OP compared them both with a PS, I still cannot tell from the posts.

Your preference for the CD5 could, at least in part, be down to the way in which it presents the music which is quite different to the NDX. Like most of the entry level Naim boxes, they have a fun, bouncy sort of sound which is part of their appeal. Once you are used to this a higher level device like the NDX can sound a bit dull, despite the fact that it is more accurate and detailed. I would suggest that you just listen to the NDX for a couple of weeks and get used to it. Then return to the CD5 and see if you still prefer it.

Also check the age of the NDX. Some of them are over 10 years old now, so possibly in need of a service.


How do none of those matter here?

That aside it sounded mediocre at best. A Node 2i is wat ahead of it for example.

Well, you like what you like, but I have to admit I’m a bit confused by the results if I’m to be honest. I owned the CD5, CD5i, CD5X, CD5XS and so forth—all eventualities of upgrading within the Naim ecosystem. My first foray into streaming was with the NDX, and I later added the XPS-DR. I honestly have a difficult time believing even the 5XS would best the NDX all thing being equal, and I loved that disc spinner. On top of it, I didn’t even particularly care for the NDX (most of that owing to its peccadillos and non-native Qobuz), but I couldn’t deny its performance. Like it has been mentioned, all of these are certainly voiced differently; it seems you like the CD5’s voice better. All of my comments are contingent on everything being set up optimally, though. I’m a wired Ethernet guy, so everything coming upstream (isolation, LPSs, etc.) matters big time to me.
A NAS might be better with the NDX (miles ahead in SQ versus USB stick); Ethernet even better. I’ve never had experience with Roon, but hundreds of thousands can’t be wrong, right? That is, maybe experiment with it if you’re convinced that you’re keeping the NDX. Otherwise, IMO, move on from the Naim legacy streamer and pick up the streamer of your choice after lots of research. There are so many combinations and choices out there it’s dizzying, but worth exploring.
Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am sooooooo glad I gave streaming a chance. I was initially really intimidated, then frustrated. With a little patience and time set aside to read up, and some reconfiguring my system to get what I ultimately wanted, it has been more rewarding than I ever could’ve imagined. CDs? I put them in the same category as 8-track tape. :wink:
Just kidding. Like I say, perhaps after you’ve fiddled with it enough to the point you still like the CD5 better, then more power to ya. Nothing wrong with that.


Because the OP was unhappy about the sound and nothing else as far as I can tell.

I was wondering what the dealers said were the misjudgements. If it’s just the things I mentioned, it’s not new. (And if one is happy with the features, it still works for what it can do.) If they thought there were some sound-related misjudgements, it might be interesting, at least nothing I heard before so explicitly.

The 2i is not bad, but should not be competition for a device like the NDX. If it is, oh well. But like I said, I can’t comment on that, and not everyone agrees that the NDX sounds poor, like always


Thanks jmtennapel

I will try, thanks. Without exaggerating, it is at the same level as the cd5 (reading flac files from the USB input). The cd5 with the psu is far better. Most likely the Ndx with its dedicated psu will be at the same level as the cd5 + PSU.
Maybe I had too high expectations, or as I said earlier, I’m not using the Ndx in the proper way

Yes, like you say: without psu their SQ is the same (maybe I didn’t explain myself well when replying).
I was a bit letdown because I thought that the Ndx should have a superior quality Dac, in comparison with the cd5… So this is why I asked… Besides adding a psu to the Ndx, maybe I’m not exploiting its potential

Thank you, I see. Personally, I would have expected that a bare NDX sounds better than a bare CD5, but on the other hand in essence they both read the same digital data and have a DAC. I have heard neither and cannot really comment. Good to see that a PS makes the CD5 so much better, and I’d think it would be interesting what a PS does for an NDX.

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