NDX2 or NDS/Roon to stream Qobuz/Tidal - which gives best SQ?

Hi Simon
What psu do you use with your NDX2?

I’m going to listen to the NDS tomorrow.

I will compare ‘272/555DR’ to ‘NDS/555DR/272 as preamp using internal psu’.

One complexity of this comparison is that it includes 2 major changes at once:
the 272’s streamer/DAC VS the NDS
the 272’s preamp without VS with 555DR.

So the SQ of the 272/555DR should be better because the 272’s preamp has the 555DR on it.
But at the same time the SQ of the 272/555DR should in theory be worse because the NDS should beat the 272’s streamer/DAC.

Just trying to think how else to compare it without those two changes happening at once?

Also, it will depend on the effect of the analog cable used to connect the NDS to the 272 too.

Unfortunately, the dealer doesn’t seem to have an NDX2 demo unit to compare the NDS with.

In the end, of course, if I buy the NDS, I won’t use the 272 as a preamp off its own internal psu, except as a temporary measure. I’ll either buy a SH 282(/Hicap DR) or an SN3.

So I’ve got to consider that while trying to decide whether to get the NDS too!

By the time I’ve bought a NUC and a Sonore upnp Bridge and low noise psus for them I will have spend the same on the roonified NDS as on an NDX2.

So the question is - will the NDX2/555DR or a maxed-out NUC/Sonore/NDS/555DR sound better?

The streaming board in the NDX2 is technically better than that in the NDS - but the DAC chip and analog section and other aspects of the NDS build are technically better than those of the NDX2.

But has anyone ever compared these on sq?

And surely no one has compared them since the recent FW upgrade.

NDX2 as a transport. Consider adding an outside DAC (ie Chord TT2) and you have a remarkable system.


Yes, but is it more remarkable than what I’m considering?

Also, I don’t want to buy a streamer/DAC for £5k and add a £7k psu to it, then not use half of it and buy a completely different DAC and expensive cable and leave the DAC unused that I just bought brand new - which is what you’re suggesting I do.

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However I feel that the Qobuz integrated into the Ndx2 will sound better than Qobuz on an additional streaming bridge connected to a Naim streamer. I think to remember that people were saying that on Qobuz integration thread.
The second thing is that you will run a high end streamer ( nds/ 555dr) with a preamp on the level of the 202 ( bare 272).
Not the best balanced to my feeling.
Bare ndx2/ 282/ 250 would be my choice if I was you. ( if budget is taken into consideration).

But I love the 555DR!

Then of course the 555DR wouldn’t be adding as much to the NDX2 as it does to the 272 or the NDS.

Also, I think that in my room with my speakers and at the low volumes I enjoy the budget is best spent on the front end.

I’ll have a look for that Qobuz integration thread…

I will read your future feedback on nds/555dr/ 272 vs 272/ 555dr with interest.

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Hi Jim, I use the NDX2 powersupplies built in.

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Indeed, if you look at the white paper for the ND555 the NP800 digital board is a significant part of the electronics design… and that is where major gain and advancements were made… this includes, digital I/O, clocking, RFI management, LVDS, DSP, etc as well as the network front end.
I asked Naim about the benefit of a streamer minus the analogue DAC board… and the answer was something along the lines that the cost difference would be minimal for a massive loss of user flexibility… so it hasn’t been done.


I’ve mentioned this in another thread, but if you’re looking for a reasonably cheap but simple solution you can try a innuos zen or zen mini server. Instead of Bubble it uses Logitech Media Server and you can install (with a click of a button) a LMS to UPnp bridge on it. And control it via iPad or Android. You can also use the built in 4 or 8GB ram to cache the stream before serving it to the NDS over Ethernet. This is how I’ve setup the Zen Mini to stream Qobuz, Tidal and Radio Paradise FLAC to my SuperUniti. It sounds as good as local files, sometimes I think even better. And I’ve not even added the LPSU to the Mini yet…


By ‘Qobuz integration thread’, do you mean one of the current threads where users are reporting their experience of native Qobuz on the NDX2 from the recent FW upgrade?

If so, there are too many of these for me to easily find where they discuss why Qobuz integrated into the Ndx2 sounds better than Qobuz on an additional streaming bridge connected to a Naim streamer such as an NDS.

So does the unit download that SW and use it to unpack Tidal flac files and send a upnp stream to an NDS or 272?

Or does that only work on files that you’ve stored on it?

Yes the LMS to UPnp bridge software is a plug-in for the LMS server. And it works for local files as well as with Qobuz and Tidal. Not sure about Tidal Master (MQA) as I’ve not tried those.
The NDS or 272 (just like my SU) should receive the stream via uPnp with metadata displayed on the units. The only thing it can’t do is control the stream with the Naim remote or app. As it’s just receiving the file.

Thanks Tom.
I might get that just for my 272 (if I keep it) - or for an NDS, if I get one.

But I suppose there would be less/no call for that if I get an NDX2 (or a 372, were such a thing to materialize).

Yes I guess with the NDX2 you wouldn’t necessarily need the zen server. Unless you also want to rip all your CDs on it and use it as an alternative to a Core.
It can also run Roon as core or end-point if you want to go that route.

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So when you play Tidal or Qobuz files, what app do you use?

So do you have native Tidal on the SuperUniti?
And do the same files played from Tidal via the Zen/LMS-to-upnp SW sound better than those files played via the Naim app/native Tidal?

Hi Simon

So which do you think would sound better for ECM (i.e. very well recorded acoustic) jazz?

Qobuz via the Naim app on a new NDX2/555DR?
Qobuz via Roon on a new NUC into Sonore upnp Bridge into a 2018 NDS?


(I know that you preferred the Naim DAC/555 non-DR to the NDS/555 non-DR, so perhaps the NDS is just not your bag? Did you ever own an NDS?)

Really? Where did I suggest something like that? On the contrary, I have argued that you should keep your system as it is for the time being and wait a little bit!

Sorry! I didn’t mean to quote you there.
Someone else suggested that in post 27.

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