NDX (original) with XPS-DR vs ND5 XS2

I’m a little confused here. Why would Naim want to complicate their own players by splitting them into two different boxes, on top of their optional PSU upgrades? Also, why would Naim want to promote their end users to use their gear with non-Naim electronics?

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It would actually be a simplification rather than a complication. The current generation of Naim streamers is, as they say, transitional. It is the last to use PCM17* chips. Naim have to readily come up with innovations unless they want to give up on sources.

For their next generation of sources, Naim have to decide whether they keep DAC and streaming board integrated in all their devices (as they were doing before introducing the nDAC about ten years ago and as they currently do with the last generation of streamers) or whether they also offer DACs with separated streaming boards as other companies, e.g. Chord, do.

Giving the possibility of buying separate DAC and streaming board would make more sense to me.


The ironic thing here of course is that Naim discontinued their nDAC just as they launched their new generation streamers. I think from the outset Naim discovered that keeping the transport as close to the DAC as possible was one of their key decisions in bringing us that famous Naim sound signature from their source components. History and recent decisions tell me that this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Naim tend not to follow the herd. More emphasis tends to go on the PSU, unlike most other companies.

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I suspect the decision as more to do with marketing than anything.

Take my situation which is similar to @david1111 and many others. I have an NDS with a 555DR which is an exceptional source but runs the old streaming platform. It’s Naim’s second best streamer which can be maxed out with 2 555DR power supplies if you’re feeling flush.

Internally compared to the ND555 there are more similarities than differences apart from the next generation streaming board which is where the main improvements are. This part is a completely new design and all the better for it.

The price to change from NDS to ND555 is considerable, likely to be around £11k so a shoebox sized streamer priced around £2K would be very attractive to me if I could have the new platform paired with the DAC etc. of my existing NDS.

The trouble is that this would take the performance of the NDS within a whisker of the ND555 and will have saved me £9k into the bargain. In the context of my system an NDX2 would be a downgrade even paired with the 555DR but also the ND555 in itself is probably too much of a source until other improvements are made, e.g. 282 > 252 or 552. In other words sound wise the NDS is more than sufficient, it was used to showcase Statement before the ND555 was released.

So no doubt the streamer would fly off the shelves it would do so at the expense of sales of their next generation streamers.

Fortunately I have overcome the feature limitations of the old platform by ‘Roonifying’ my system with a UPNP bridge so I can move on and not worry too much. If I hadn’t taken this route I do wonder what an ND5 XS2 would sound like feeding the NDS DAC.


It will more than “suffice” enjoy

Discontinuing the nDAC was a logical step given that they were not offering any transport and that, after about 10 years of production, the demand for the nDAC was likely to be low.

The innovative bit in the second generation streamers is the streaming platform which I understand comes from StreamUnlimited. StreamUnlimited also supplies dCS and many other manufacturers, thus I am not sure that Naim are not actually following the herd in this area.

The innovation that is due now is a new DAC architecture. This might or might not profit, in terms of sound quality, from having the DAC and the streaming boards in separate units.

From the point of view of functionality, separating streaming and DAC concerns certainly make sense, as owners of the first generation of Naim streamers have learned the hard way.


Thanks for your thoughts here guys. @nbpf & @trickydickie. I’m probably a bit out of my depth here but it’s interesting discussing these things all the same. Everyday is a school day. :slightly_smiling_face:

For me personally - my biggest uplift came from adding the XPS DR to my NDX 2. Bigger than going from CD5si > ND5 XS 2 and from ND5 XS 2 > NDX 2.

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I’m running a bare NDX2, it begs the question of whether I would get a better bang for my buck spending €4500 on a DAC rather then on an XPSDR?

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Hi Hollow,

maybe you can discuss this with your dealer? Personally i wouldn’t Frankenstein your NDX 2, the DAC inside it is good enough. Maybe you can home demo a XPS DR? I think that a NDX 2 combined with the XPS DR is a formidable source component indeed, world class, way beyond our integrated SN3’s capabilities, even so it’s still sensational, even with the SN3 next in the link.

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I don’t think it’s quite that simple.

The NP800 card inside the new Naim streamers is unique to Naim, and it not the same one that DCS, Cambridge audio and Arcam are using.

As you well know, it’s also about implementing things like power supplies, and galvanic isolation…


Boy, do I agree here. Thanks guys. This is somewhat intimidating and enlightening at the same time.

This was always my conundrum as well until very recently. After having both available for my NDX, I felt the DAC for that particular legacy streamer benefitted the streamer more than the XPS-DR.

Sure, I know that the NP800 is not an off-the-shelf product and that Naim and StreamUnlimited have been closely collaborating in designing the card.

I m also aware of the importance of PSUs, having invested in the JS-2 and in the LPS-1.2.

It’s exactly because of the fact that putting together a good Ethernet to SPDIF transport is not so easy that Naim should have offered the NP800 in a pure transport.

This would have sent a positive signal to owners of nDAC and NDS, avoided significant losses of value in the second hand market and prevented users like @trickydickie to move outside of the Naim ecosystem.

Of course nDAC and NDS owners can upgrade to new protocols and technologies by buying an ND5XS2 and many have chosen to do so.

Still, I believe that nDAC and nDS users deserve something that is better suited to their needs and that Naim have failed to deliver, in this respect.


… “that could be used to empower Naim’s legacy gear (like my NDS, and the OPs NDX, and all the 272s out there).”

You must have read my post a little too quickly.
There’s a ton of slightly annoyed Naim customers out there whose digital products have been made obsolete. All the NDX’ers, and 272’ers could just add it to their unit. they love their 272’s.

Spot on!! I have exactly the same components as you, so a new-tech, streamer-only, is what we need.
And I’ve read so many quite annoyed NDX owmers, who purchased just before the NDX2 was released. Naim could win all these customers back, and anyone with the excellent nDac or 272, could add streaming to it.
Cheers. I hope they’re reading this!
Hey, I gotta go answer the phone … it might be them …

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I don’t understand. Why are are they obsolete?
Why is my CD5i from 2006 obsolete? or Sharp getto blaster from the eighties obsolete? Can you please explain?

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Please read @trickydickie 's post above. #29.
That was all that I meant, td just said it better.
I apologize for using the word ‘obsolete’.

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One thing i will say - most of it is in the PSU - in my experience.

There are some aspects in the new streamers that are the same as the original NDAC, such as the low pass reconstruction IIR filter using Analog Devices SHARC assembler… but some of the biggest advances with the new streamers has been better control and management of interference and digital noise which had ultimately had held back the performance of the NDS… and prompted the development of the ND555 streamer that subjectively was to sound at least as good as the CD555, which Naim felt the NDS didn’t achieve apparently.
The NP800 streaming front end module boards along with use of LVDS helped with some of this whilst improving network performance and interface limitations of the first generation streamers.
It’s telling to see the NP800 streaming modules are common across the current streamers, albeit the shielding and decoupling of them improves through the range.


please check the market, hi-end streamers aren’t cheap.

Look at the prices of Auralic G1, Moon Simaudio, and DCS network bridge

The auralic doesn’t even offer Chromecast, and only works with an Apple device. Unless you switch it to pure UPNP mode and use Bubble Upnp. Not something I want to pay 1900 GBP for.

I think you will find the ND5XS2 is fairly priced, and besides, the audio board switches off when the digital output is enabled

The only regret you may have is why you invested so heavily in the streaming solution you are using, as I find the Nd5XS2 so much better in all aspects.