Ndx2 + dac


good luck… I set to turquoise level, use a highline interconnect… use a Gotham 75ohm coax…
interested to hear your results…
It’s a shame you are not nearby (at least I don’t think you are) and we could compare notes and systems…
I did have a vinyl junkie friend around last weekend who was quite surprised at the ‘naturalness’ and was curious how a ‘digital’ system could sound like that…with nothing drawing attention to itself… he was also appreciating the ‘air guitar’ factor the Hugo brings in such a set up … with great get up and go… the Ramones were rather satisfying :grinning:
And I was enjoying a few Bad Religion albums yesterday… I defie anyone not to sing along or nod their head in time …its grin inducing.



I have no experience of ND5XS 2 or NDX 2. Before the ND 555 I had the nDAC. I used to use a Bryston BDP-1 output to nDAC and to Hugo2 and I always preferred the nDAC. So now it all seems a little backwards to me that the Hugo 2 has taken on new life coupled with ND 555. Not what I expected. I think Simon said something about a Hugo responding better to the improved signal provided via the new Naim Streamers. I think there is something in that, maybe that is what I am hearing.


Natalie Merchant - Ophelia

Continuing this feast of music and rugby. Her second album, this time the young voice. Heaven!

Whoops wrong thread! I’m playing into nDAC using Audiophilleo USB to spdif from Innuos Zenith Mk 2. I never knew nDAC could sound as good. It just goes to show the important of ultra low jitter on spdif. CDX2 couldn’t touch this by a mile!



Hello Blackdog, i am not sure to have well understood. You prefer your nd555 with the chord hugo connected to it? Thanks to clarify me.


Hello Frenchrooster,

A good question. I would not unconditionally say I prefer the ND 555 with the Hugo. In fact, this afternoon, with Bruno Philppe and Tanguy de Willencourt CD [CDX2.2] of Brahms and Schumann I find myself happier listening to the ND 555 DAC output rather than BNC digital out to Hugo. There’s more space and sweetness. I think another poster said something like this earlier today. I would say I am happy to have the choice of internal DAC or Hugo, sometimes i prefer one, sometimes the other. The Hugo sounds a little constrained in comparison today. But last night, the Hugo was sounding fantastic when streaming the new Mahler 3 from F-X Roth. I think there are too many variables at play to say clearly that I prefer one over the other. I might be more decisive once I have heard the Hugo M-Scaler and/or Hugo TT 2 in the system but for now I would say it is interesting to have a choice of employing the Hugo.


Thanks Blackdog, its more clear now. Do you listen also to some rock or jazz? hugo on nd555 may be ( or not) less involving vs nd555 alone?


Yes, I listen to rock [Dylan, Natalie Merchant, Lucinda Williams] and jazz [a lot]. All of that has been sounding deeply involving from pure ND 555 and with ND/Hugo. I think sounds are good with the H2 but I think they will be more so with the recent Hugo technology in line. I’m hoping to have an M Scaler in a week or two and I will report then on how things have changed.


Thanks, I guess in a few months we will know more about the capabilities of ND5XS 2, NDX 2 and ND555 as transports! Anyway, it is nice to see that the new Naim streamers are so versatile although I would like to see a pure transport (and an nDAC 2) in the pipeline.


But do remember about a third of the ‘DAC’ stage is used in the streamers in digital output mode (what some of call transport mode). Therefore dismantling and removing parts of the DAC so the streamer simply disables it’s analogue outs and only has its digital outs and the resultant careful redesign is going to be costly and limit product flexibility… it will make no sense at all.
Remember the components used are relatively trivial in cost, it’s the design and implementation that has costed and needs to be recovered. Therefore it’s possible a streamer with no analogue outs could end up costing more… so really makes no commercial sense.


Well dacless transports seem to make sense to companies like dCS, Auralic, Sonore, Allo, etc. But of course, Naim will know what makes sense for them in much the same way as we know what makes sense for us!


Well there are ‘transports’ and ‘transports’. The Naim streamer ‘transport’ contains many elements for increased capability and performance that lesser transports won’t contain. Some of these elements are contained within the front end of the ‘DAC’ stages and use the SHARC DSP processor. In other words the analogue and digital outputs from the Naim streamers both take advantage of this.


According to https://www.naimaudio.com/sites/default/files/products/downloads/files/ND%20555%20White%20Paper%20Final_0.pdf, the only input that the digital board (streaming card, controller, SHARC and I/O) needs from the DAC board is from the clocks. I guess that the internal design of NDX 2 and ND5XS 2 will be similar but I might be mistaken, of course. If the digital boards of the new Naim streamers only require clocking inputs from the DAC boards, then it should be easy for Naim to come up with a dacless transport, perhaps one that can be driven also by external clocks. The board with the analogue filters would of course also be absent, leading to further simplifications and, potentially, better performance and lower production costs.


Correct the NDX2 and ND555 internals in this area are similar - although the latter is enclosed in a screened case around the digital interfacing. The ND5XS2 is similar but uses a different firmware branch - probably because of the very different control logic

Given the areas we are discussing here was where the vast majority of the product development took place in the latest generation streamers - I very much doubt anything here is very easy if it is rearchitected or significantly changed or even changed much at all.

It will cost more development time on top of what has been occurred - for a product for most likely a smaller market - so a cutdown streamer with the analogue outputs removed - could end up costing more than its equivalent streamer with audio outputs.


To the OP. No idea why somebody would use this just as a transport. The majority of the money being spent is the DAC architecture. As others have pointed out, the streaming board appears to be identical in the ND5XS2 and NDX2.

If I wanted a powerful streaming only device, I’d buy a DCS Network Bridge. That has tons of control and customization options for total control of your music. Other than that, there are other options out there as well.

The only other reason would be to have the little screen, and to have everything running via Naim.


For my own curiosity as I’m looking to upgrade as well… I just zoomed in on pics of the ND555, NDX2, and ND5XS2… and the streaming boards look completely identical on all three.

So outside of the 555 placing shielding around the board, they appear to be the same in all 3.

Hope this helps.


I reintegrated my TT back in my rack… using the NDX 2 as a transport. It sounded lovely… but for my ears the NDX 2 has a little more presence and grunt… in a good way. The TT May be a wee bit more refined… but it’s really just a wee bit (to my ears). Not enough to justify running the NDX 2 solely in transport mode.


Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. The streaming card at least should be the NP800 also used in the Uniti range.


My fairly brief experience of the NDX2 so far [just started home audition] is that (1) it is fabulous; (2) on adding in a high-line to my set up it began producing a wonderfully beguiling, beautiful, musical, emotion infused presentation of my music which was, for me, outstanding.
The dcs bridge is brilliant and it transformed my Hugo-1. But the Naim on its own is better for me. I haven’t finished assessing things and I’ve got my Hugo connected via the digital output of the NDX2 so I can quickly compare the two. Still staggered at how lovely is the NDX2 :kissing_heart:


And the NDX2 gives you the choice… not sure of your NAC but you just might find NDX2 into Hugo into 552 jaw dropping… doesn’t get too much better than that :wink:
But if not the NDX2 has mighty fine audio outputs.


For users who are mainly intersted in using a Naim streamer as a transport for an external DAC, a crucial question is whether the ND5XS 2 is, as a transport, as good as the NDX 2 and, by extension, whether the NDX 2 is as good as the ND555.

Another interesting question that, to the best of my knowledge, has not been very much discussed in this forum, is that of how well the new Naim streamers implement the Chromecast and AirPlay protocols. For example: can we expect a ND5XS 2 to provide a significantly better S/PDIF output than a Chromecast Audio?

The question is particularly relevant as many internet streaming services are not directly supported by most streamers, including the Naim streamers. A good example is Idagio that I meanwhile prefer to both Tidal and Qobuz.