NDX (original) with XPS-DR vs ND5 XS2

I haven’t seen this topic covered before, so thought I would ask. I have a chance to pick up the latter at a reasonable price, meaning I would have to sell off my NDX/XPS combo. Given all of the info out there regarding the two, I’ve seen no comparisons between the two, so wondering if anyone has compared them or owned the former and switched to the latter. My reasoning is mostly due to wanting to own the second-generation streaming board and Qobuz capability; I also intend to use it mostly as a transport, with 70% streaming (Tidal/Qobuz) and 30% local. Again, most of this inquiry is based on SQ, not necessarily functionality.

I’ve just replaced an NDX (acting as a transport) with an ND5 XS2 (as a transport). I can quite honestly say I haven’t heard any change in sonics, but I’m delighted with the additional functionality - native Qobuz, Chromecast et al. Plus the additional optical input.

Working flawlessly on the latest firmware.

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Encouraging. Did you use an XPS PSU with it as well? That’s what I’d really like to know…whether the newer streamer, even though ‘entry-level’, SQ-wise is subjectively equal to or better than an NDX/XPS?

No, I used the NDX as a solo transport. The power supply would have no effect in that instance.


I suppose I didn’t know that. I thought it worked regardless if one had an external DAC or not. Thanks for enlightening me.

When I visited the factory I asked a similar question except I was enquiring about NDX/XPS DR vs NDX2.

The opinion was that they would be very close and they couldn’t pick a winner without having a detailed audition.

This leads me to speculate that an ND5 XS2 would be behind an NDX/XPS DR.


Well, I was hoping for more comments to make a better decision, as I didn’t want the deal to get away, so went to have a listen to the ND5 XS2 (albeit at a dealer with different equipment, etc.—not ideal). Without the benefit of switching between the two units in a/my home environment, I can only say it sounded quite good listening to Tidal and ‘like’ tracks/albums I’ve become quite familiar with having time spent with my NDX.

After a couple of hours, I left and decided to pull the trigger on the ND5 XS2. I really like the prospect of the improved streaming board and native features missing in the 1st gen streamer. Since it will be used mostly as a transport, I really think it is a wash to a hefty degree; plus all of the rummaging through past threads for days on end leads me in that direction as well (XPS comparisons be damned).

I appreciate those who chimed-in on this, as this was not an easy decision for me, especially as one who has really only just begun a journey in the streaming world. I’ll post my impressions when the XS2 is up-and-running. Thanks!

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The ND5XS2 is a fantastic unit IMHO. I run mine as a transport to the nDAC but I’ve never had a NDX(original) so I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to comment. I’ve heard that the new ND5XS2 sounds at least equal to a bare original NDX. I went 6 months running the ND5XS2 in DAC mode and it punches well above it’s weight. If you plan on using this unit in transport mode the new streaming board is fantastic. Having access to all the new firmware updates is worth it IMHO. I look forward to hearing your impressions.


Yes on the NDX and NDX2 external PSUs can make a difference in transport mode, but on the NDX2 it is marginal. On the NDX it was more significant … for me at least.
The ND5XS2 has no external PSU choice of course.

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I appreciate your insight and candor! Much of what you’re saying is why I am taking a chance. Thank you!

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Thanks Simon!
Out of curiosity and interest, I pulled the XPS last night in an attempt to get a feel of what it may be like listening to a Naim streamer without a PSU but utilizing the Rega Saturn-R DAC. I do not claim to have refined hearing, but will acknowledge that I can tell slight and discernable differences in presentation when something is added or detracted in my system, even if I am not exactly adept at articulating such. Admittedly, I could not really tell much difference between the NDX with or without in this instance; if there was, it was very minimal and seemed to affect the bass the most. With the XPS, especially on electronica/techno tracks, it was most noticeable with regard to an overall tightness and ability to listen without straining to hear said tightness/tautness. In other words, a slight smear was detectable. Otherwise, rhythm, openness and punch was about equal, something I was really dreading losing by giving up the NDX/XPS combo for the ND5 XS2. It appears this is not so, so there may be something to marcusman’s and others’ comments in them being close performance-wise as a transport.
I’m glad you commented, as it was many of your past ones influenced some of my decision. Cheers!


I’m not familiar with your DAC, but swapping that and the NDX out for a NDX2 with your XPS DR would be one fine system. The XPS DR on the NDX2 is quite a significant lift in SQ. It would be delightful with the SN2 and HiCap (which is my set up).


Unfortunately, the green display gave up on my first generation ND5XS (extremely dim and unreadable). Seems like the colour screens have their issues too :disappointed:

I wonder if in the future, Naim might not bother with screens … just like my ND5XS2 :grinning:

With the new ND5XS2, I definitely don’t miss the screen and the Naim App works great for settings etc.

Considering that I’m using it as a transport (with the original Hugo), there seemed little point going for the NDX2… a screen “version” to use solely as a ‘transport’ wasn’t for me and not much point paying for something I didn’t need (colour screen … at more than double the price!)

Furthermore, from my seated listening position, I’d probably need binoculars to even read the screen … if I was close up to it, then things may be different.

The lack of the option for adding an external PSU didn’t influence me either, since I’m using the ND5XS2 as a transport.

When I’m ready to upgrade, I’m sure Naim will have released a newer model to add to their range of products… which incorporates their latest ‘know how’ (different DAC technology) … so it seems a little ‘wasteful’ (for me) at this stage to go for the NDX2 (at this time) to change yet again at some point :grinning:


I thought of that, but on the second-hand market I’d still need quite a balance of funds to afford the NDX2. At some point in the future I have no doubt I’ll acquire a loved NDX2, but for now the ND5 XS2 will have to suffice. Thanks so much for your perspective!


Thanks Mr. Frog.
I think my thoughts mirror yours in many facets here. Obviously many have their priorities and some find the color screen to be indispensable…I cannot disagree; but for me I rarely used the NDX screen at all (so I know what you’re saying), except when I had to initially set up wifi, toggle or reset things if it froze, which I haven’t had to do in some time. Thanks for your thoughts. I’m feeling more and more encouraged by my decision.

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If you’re using a Naim streamer as a digital transport into a DAC of your choice, an ND5XS2 is the right decision to my mind. I hear no significant difference between it and the NDX2 using the SPDIF out, and once you add an XPS to that, it’s a lot of money.
Moving to the new streaming platform is also a good sound quality move for many as it gives you access to Qobuz 24 bit material which to me sounds a lot better than Tidal. Then there’s iRadio with an increasing number of lossless FLAC stations.


Enjoy your new ND5XS2! It’s the most interesting Naim streamer of the second generation and a device that I would definitely consider if I hadn’t already a good streamer for my nDAC!


Thank you ChrisSU!
I think you’re right the more I weigh the pros and cons of these potential directions for me. I’m glad to hear your experience. To your point, I will likely switch to Qobuz for what it offers, even though I do enjoy Tidal. That is a decision I WON’T have a problem making. :grinning:
Thank you!

Thank you for the comment, nbpf! I am getting more and more excited for arrival.

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And you should be!

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