Ndx2 + dac

I ve a curiosy. Why some of you, for example @Simon-in-Suffolk are using a separate dac connected to the ndx2?
As far as i know the internal one is outstanding

Simon has been a long time fan of his Chord Hugo which he used with his previous NDX. So no surprise he has continued with his Hugo and swaps it out from time to time to just have the NDX2, for various pieces of music he likes.

It is good, but there are better/personally preferable alternative DACs that can take advantage of the NDX2 transport control.
Naim give you this choice on how to use their streamers…

Gazza indeed, though to be honest now I have settled down with the NDX2 I use it solely with my Hugo. If I want @ different presentation for some particular tracks with that PCM1704K sound I spin a disc on my CDX2

Expensive solution to get the best sound?

If you are referring to my NAC552… yes it is expensive, but absolutely worth it… and allows you to appreciate the subtleties and nuance with different DACs and transports…makes your realise what an outstanding transport the NDX2 is, and what a game changed it is compared to the NDX… and feeding the Hugo… I have not heard that DAC sound better… absolutely first class with the NDX2 and 552… but then perhaps like a few (many?) on this forum I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time sitting enjoying my recordings…


Nope, I am referring to your NDX2+Hugo combo? This is rather unusual.

It would be interesting to compare the NDX2 as a transport to other transports that do not come with an integrated DAC.

I understand that Naim has put a lot of efforts in isolating the transport from the DAC stage of the NDX 2.

This suggests that a pure transport could, in principle, have advantages over an integrated transport + DAC, both in terms of costs and in terms of sound quality.

Possibly, but not sure… the greatest separation between analogue stages (I assume that is what you meant) and transport circuitry is with the ND555, where the latter is screened.
It’s worth noting that with the new gen streamers, you can only configure them to be optimised as digital out (transport) or analogue out (audio out) but not both. You do this in setup and I assume it optimises the configuration of the SHARC processor to suit.

So part of the ‘DAC’ stage of the NDX2 is used in digital transport mode … I don’t think you can be too simplistic about these things… some people thing the whole DAC stage is redundant when using the NDX2 in digital out transport mode… that is not the case… what is not used are the final physical converters, current to voltage converters and analogue filters

Another reason could be they would then be both powered up from the rails. I was told by Naim that for best SQ only activate those input/ outputs you are using, as they would otherwise all be powered. This applies to Nova, Star, Atom and the new streamers…with my ears I admit to struggling to hear any difference. There does seem to be a logic to the advice based on the Naim belief in power supply stability.

Thanks a lot to all. I have a dac v1 and i consider it excellent but i’m curious about chord. I m really interested of qutest and it is incredible to me imaging that it plays in the ndx2 league

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I have used both the ND 555’s DAC and the ND 555’s Digital BNC output to a Chord Hugo 2.
Both solutions produce excellent results. I ran the ND 555 for several months using its own DAC before, out of curiosity, I tried the Hugo. I was surprised to hear how well the Hugo stood up for itself. I now have to admit I have difficulty moving away from the Hugo. I have had a demo with the Chord Hugo TT2 replacing the Hugo 2 and thought that really opened things up further, and there are plans to spend more time with the TT2 in line. Likewise looking forward to seeing what a Chord Hugo M Scaler might bring to the set up, inline before the ND 555 and after by taking the Digital BNC output into the M Scaler and into one of the Chord DACs. I’m fortunate enough these days to be able to sit and listen to music everyday and hearing what the latest technology can do makes for an additional part of the pleasure.

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Indeed, Naim transports with Chord DACs have become an increasingly popular combination for many. I think the synergy is superb. It’s all about the music!

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Do you think that naim transport with chord dac produce better result than chord dac usb connected?

As other Forum members have said, it’s about synergy, presentation and the individual’s own perceptions/preferences. The Chord Hugo is an excellent device and I’m sure that the Qutest is an equally accomplished DAC. Last year I was the happy beneficiary of the rush of NDS owners wishing to upgrade to the newer, superior range of Naim streamers. I’ve had my ‘new’ old NDS/555DR for a few months now; couldn’t be happier and continue to marvel at its ability to inject energy,cohesion and vitality into every piece of music that is played. Prior to that I had a Chord Hugo (1) which I ran directly from my Unitiserve. For sure the Hugo has aspects that even the NDS cannot match but based on my own experiences and preferences I would choose to run the NDS on its own rather than using the Hugo to perform the DAC function. By all means experiment and see which option floats your boat! You won’t know what is best for you until you try it.



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Absolutely it’s about preference, setup and how we enjoy our music. I upgraded from NDAC and NDS(DAC) to Hugo, but others would and do do things differently. (We had pages about this with quite interesting views from many with preferences either way using real music as references on the old forum)
What I would say the synergy with NDS and NDAC works better with lower spec NACs… I found to appreciate the Hugo it really started only at the 252 level and came into its own with the 552. The NDAC/555PS however works wonderfully with the 282 but the Hugo I found is less convincing with the 282.

Finally I still think there is a unique place for the CDX2… and in its admittedly slightly narrow peak window not even the ND555 or Hugo can match it… so it is also about having choices, hence why we have those inputs on our NAC.

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I would agree with the previous two posts, your own ears and how the music sounds to you makes for the primary choice.
I have had Hugo1 and 2, and I had not thought about this before, but, yes, I only found the Hugo 2 fitting into place once I had the ND 5555 and NAC 552 combination.
And on the CDX2, that, too, has found new life with the ND 555. I’m not using the player as I believe Simon does, analogue out, but as CDX2 version 2 with BNC digital output. Just in the past couple of days I have discovered it is sounding wonderful in this combination. For example, I had been struggling with Kim Kashkashian’s recent ECM Bach release as a stream or download, it felt a little unreal, a little harsh round the edges now and again. But the CD from CDX2.2 softens the harshness and somehow seems to reveal more internal nuance in the playing, a gentler musicality. I was not expecting this, and I am still in the process of working back and forth between CD and high resolution play to see if my first hearing holds out, either way, it is all good for the musical fun.

Ok Simon… I’ve recently added a 552 and an NDX 2… I’ve got a Hugo TT that I have been avoiding putting back in my rack because I was planning on selling it and have been quite enjoying the NDX 2 bare since picking it up in late December.

But having read how much you enjoy the NDX2 / Hugo combo… Despite my attempts to resist… I’m now officially caving. Tomorrow I’m pressing the Hugo back into service. Looking forward to hearing it.

Please do and I also would be interested in your findings. Like you I pulled my old redundant Hugo out of the drawer and connected it to my NDS hoping to get a ‘something for nothing’ improvement but unfortunately didn’t get the results that Simon has. The sound is precise, airy and good separation between the instruments but without the engagement and sing-along factor that the NDS has and which I enjoy immensely. I’m wondering if I have a sub-par Hugo?!

Do you know whether there are differences sound quality wise between ND5XS 2, NDX 2 and ND555 when used as pure transports in, e.g the Hugo 2?