NDX2 or ND5XS2?

@PEFGis thank you so much.

I think your conversation might be in the wrong thread @david1111 and @anon4489532

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I’m coming over rather faint, does anyone have any smelling salts?

During lockdown I decided to do some upgrades and because of the inability to listen at local Hifi emporiums also brought the opportunity for more home listening. I auditioned the Nova, ND5XS2 and the NDX2. The Nova was simply connected into my speakers , the ND5XS2 and the NDX2 were connected (bare) into a SN3. I was ambivalent about the cost - if the tangible benefits were there to make it worthwhile I was prepared to stump up with the cash.
For my listening tests (whilst I have decent hearing myself), there is always a chance that I may have had a degree of subjective bias - so I listened and then roped in my sons (in their 20’s) and all appreciative of different music genres (from classical to mild rock to DnB). These were our joint observations:

Nova: A beautiful unit - with a sweet sound - detailed, not harsh and oodles of definition. Especially good for low/medium listening levels. Lacked a bit of clout at higher volumes though!

ND5XS2 (with SN3): This combo raised the bar somewhat. The definition was the virtually the same as the Nova, but more open with greater bass definition, not a huge change, but you could tell that the SN3 had better control on the sound - more texture and a 3D effect on the sound- more authority and reserve - it made you relax and feel confident it was in full control …and get absorbed by it.

NDX2 (with SN3): Equally confident and the texture of the music really comes through in the the same way as the ND5XS2. But here’s the thing: I could tell that the ND5XS2 was marginally better than the Nova but I couldn’t discern much difference between the ND5XS2 and the NDX2. When I roped in my sons to do a blind listening test - I switched between the units they could barely discern any difference. One preferred the NDX2 but the difference was slight.

One thing that discounted the Nova for me was that connecting my turntable through it offered a clinical slightly thin sound. The SN3 brings back the warmth. I couldn’t help thinking that the SN3 synergy with either the ND5XS2 / NDX2 made the biggest difference - with either of these two streamers.

So, after careful consideration I went with the ND5XS2. Don’t miss the screen - it’s too far from my sitting position to be of much use anyway - love the app and the control on all my apple devices - that’s sufficient for me… The NDX2 might have the edge here to some but the cost delta just doesn’t justify it to me…I know other’s may disagree.

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Thank you - a cracking analysis . I listen at low levels and totally agree with your views on the Nova. Mine has Powerline, Witch Hat and I am happier with it than other Naim set ups that I’ve had.

I have a turntable and a Graham Slee phono stage, a Reflex with power supply , I don’t have any problems listening to it . Those these days for music it is my least used source

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Do you remember if you set the grounding switch on either the ND5XS2 or the NDX2?

If both units were connected to the SN3 simultaneously without setting the ground switch on one of the units to Floating then the sound could have been compromised which may have contributed to the fact that you didn’t hear much difference between the two units.

No - each unit was connected individually - the interconnects were just switched between the units. There was little discernible background noise with either (very faint if you put your ear right up to a tweeter) but in all other respects seemed like a fair test.

You may be able to tease something extra out of the NDX2 with extra attention to connectivity ,and maybe an external power supply, and if it really made a marked contrast in SQ justifying the extra outlay, I’d upgrade … for me (us), the NDX2 is excellent …but so is the ND5X2.

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I’m disappointed now, I like the sound of a Butler.

Just put one on my Upgrade List…

DG…

That is very similar to my experience. The ND5XS2 is a magnificent piece of kit, and a relative bargain in the world of Naim.

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Probably not the most expensive thing on your list!

I have had both and they are excellent pieces. On reflection I would go with the ND5XS2 with external DAC over just the NDX2.

I ran my ND5XS2 with a TT2 and the NDX2 with a Dave, I have now moved away from Naim streamers & Chord DAC’s but they paired well together.

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Totally agree, we loves ours and when auditioned @ TomTom the difference to the next model up the range was not justified in cost. IMO of course (sweet spot Naim)

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Love my Nova too! Some day I must try the power line.

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It transformed my Nova , in about thirty seconds I agreed to buy it . It was a very discernible upgrade

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Hello @Chocky . I was thinking about pairing my ND5XS2 with a decent DAC. I was skimming through various threads and your comments caught my eye. If you have the time and patience, I’d be grateful if you could tell me why you’ve moved away from main streamers and Chord DACs. No rush. And usual terms and conditions apply…your room, your ears, your brain, your minutiae etc etc :slight_smile:

I’m at a bit of a crossroads with my Naim nDAC and Naim ND5XS2 you see…

Have you tried pairing your ND5 XS2/nDac with your SuperNait2? The ND5 is an excellent streaming platform and many (not me, I use MScaler/Qutest) love it with the nDac. Maybe the problem is the XS not allowing it to shine? Just a thought…

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Hi @PEFGis, Both Naim streamer’s are excellent pieces, I just fancied a change and I also wanted to lower my box count. Chord DAC’s on the other hand just did not connect with me emotionally, again nothing wrong with them they were just not for me.

Do you have a dealer that can lend you some DAC’s to try?

Significant improvement and one of the few upgrades for a Nova.

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I can’t recommend enough.

One of the best upgrades I have done with Naim

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Hello Chocky. Thanks for the update. Yeah, I understand all you say. Blimey. DSM/3. Very nice indeed. It must be tough at the top :smiley:

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