NDX vs ND5xs2 as a transport to external DAC

I’ve added an external DAC to my NDX with non-Naim power supply and delighted with the sound. I’ve tried it with and without the external power supply and if there’s a difference is so slight my over 50 year old years can’t detect it. My NDX is connected via Ethernet so no drop issues and I have all my cd’s ripped to the Core, I use Tidal and listen to some internet radio stations such as Radio Paradise, FIP, Naim, Linn Jazz etc.

What I’m wondering is if there is any difference in sound quality for streaming either from Tidal or internet radio from the NDX vs the ND5XS2? I’ve read some info on the forum about buffering capability from the legacy streamers vs the new but given that I’m connected via Ethernet wondering if there would be any improvement.

Appreciate feedback from anyone who’s compared the two as transports only.

Thanks in advance.

There are some older threads about this. A few users have compared and if I recall correctly they consistently found the ND5xs2 to be superior as a transport delivering less piggyback noise over the interconnect.

For what it’s worth, the digital output on the ND5xs2 is the same as the NDX2 and I think @Simon-in-Suffolk actually did this change up from the original NDX. Perhaps he can elaborate on his findings.

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Thanks @feeling_zen I’ll do some more digging in the forum and hopefully @Simon-in-Suffolk can add his experience with this as well

The NDX is fine sounding, the ND5XS2 is very good sounding, albeit different character.
The latter plays cloud streams really well, in fact as good as the ND555.
The NDX can struggle cloud lossless streams.

Given the choice I personally would go for the ND5XS2


I agree with Simon, an ND5XS2 would be a great choice. You will also benefit from native support for lossless FLAC streams from Radio Paradise and other iRadio stations. When Tidal release their recently announced 24 bit FLAC subscription you should have the option to use that too, or move to Qobuz.
There is no remote control or front panel display on the ND5XS2, neither of which would bother me, but some like the use of a remote control as well as the app.

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Thanks @Simon-in-Suffolk Given that I’m using an external DAC the main difference between the two would be how it handles feeds from the cloud to feed the DAC. I haven’t noticed any drops or lag with my NDX as I’m connected via ethernet but there must be some difference in how the two are processing the cloud streams if you’ve noticed a difference in sound quality. I’m starting to see some used ND5xs2 on the market lately I might give it a try.

I have gone a slightly different route, after much researching I have purchased the Primare NP5 Prisma Streamer as a new front end to my old NDX.


Go NDX2, you get a lovely remote too.

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interesting @Alphapix I will do some research on it

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Thanks @IainO . I love the look of the NDX2 screen but I’m using an external DAC. The price difference is quite a lot for a screen and remote.

Yes the ND5XS2 was developed to focus more of its budget on SQ over usability features … fo for a Naim product you are getting more SQ bang for your buck compared with comparable products.
Also there was a lot of learning over the first ten streamers with respect to network and streaming noise mitigation.
The NDX was good for it’s day… but the ND5XS2 would outperform it with the possible exception of only using TOSLInK into the NDX

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We use an external DAC too.

The remote and screen are lovely (and better than having to dig out the app to control) and used NDX2 are falling in price.

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Great points @ChrisSU thanks for your input. I have a remote with my NDX and don’t use it so that’s not a concern of mine.

In my opinion the NDX2 remote is an abomination and best avoided, unlike the original NDX remote. Likewise the screen: it’s a nice idea to have a colour screen but the implementation is mediocre. Get the ND5XS2 and you won’t have wasted any money on either of them, just use the app.


Thanks @ChrisSU I see from your profile that you have an NDX2 so appreciate your advice

I do like the screen and I do rely on it a lot. The remote is ok, I don’t like to be tethered to a phone or equivalent. But you do pay for both of those.

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:joy: complete tat, sorry Naim, I’ve seen classier gnomes but concede it is handy to quickly pause a track then hide!

I bet your Proac’s are loving your recent upgrades… (Sorry OP for the diversion, I’m a ND5xs2 user if that helps and I love it)

Hi Simon - would that apply to an NDS as well? Would hooking in an ND5XS2 (to the NDS - making it a dac) likely improve TIDAL sound quality in addition to eliminating the legacy streaming gremlins? Many thanks

Well you’d think so but starting to lose patience with Naim tbh. If I can resolve I’ll let you know. Think your set up is fab :+1:. Enjoy.

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