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

Hi JimDog,

I cannot give you any advice about comparisons with ndx2 or other options, but I can tell you a bit about my NDS/555dr which I had from new about 5 years ago. Primarily I wanted to perform some very light-touch dsp on the fly, to tame a room mode - this got me interested in Roon. At the time, I was happy with the Sq of NDS and had no desire to upgrade to an ND555, considering the outlay and my preference to upgrade other elements of my system. I eventually ordered a Sonore upnp bridge at about £200, it’s just a raspberry pi but with the sonic orbiter software set up and ready to go. It works great with NDS. I cannot tolerate flaky solutions for streaming and if this were unreliable, it would be out for me. However after 12 months use, I am really happy with it. It IS possible to upset the software by rapidly stabbing at the track skip buttons on the Roon iPad app. If that happens, resetting the bridge software takes a few seconds. Otherwise is it a quite robust solution. Since last year I have done a fair bit of work optimising the digital side of things, paying attention to the server, switch, Ethernet and power cables, equipment support etc. As a result, I am now enjoying Qobuz with no discernible sq difference compared with my own local files. I have been pleasantly surprised at just how much performance can be extracted from this legacy streamer which is surely something of a bargain at current used prices. For those starting afresh with streaming or not wanting to tinker with servers etc, I can fully understand the attraction of a new source such as ndx2 or nd555 or indeed some other dacs.


Here are the steps I used to set up my Zen to stream to my superUniti. It should work the same for any of the Naim streamers.

1 . Go to innuos settings and choose UPnP streamers.

  1. Then go to System and under Networking you should see the IP address. Copy that address.
  2. Now paste it into a browser and also add :9000 at the end.
  3. You should now be in the LMS web interface.
  4. At the top right you will see an icon of 3 dots. That is the settings - Click that and navigate to server settings
  5. You should now be in the server settings and at the top you should see Basic Settings, but if you click that you get a long list of other setting.
  6. Near the bottom you should see Plugins
  7. You can see all available plugins in alphabetical order. Look for UPnP/DLNA bridge and tick that.
  8. Hit Save Settings
  9. Navigate back to the list and at the very bottom you should now see UPnP/DLNA bridge. Go into that. (If you don’t see it - restart the zen)
  10. You need to enable it by ticking the Running box and I believe I left everything else as it was. Except I changed the Max sample rate to 192000 and Player Volume to 50 maximum (just in case)
  11. At the very bottom of the page you should see your Naim streamer - tick the box to enable it if it isn’t already.
  12. Restart the Zen server
  13. Go back to the LMS Main page using that same address you copied earlier with :9000 at the end.
  14. At the top left you should see Zen music player, tap that and you should now also see your Naim streamer. Choose it and I think you are good to go.
  15. You can use the web interface to test and play music, but ideally you want to get the iPeng app and use that as a remote. You will need to choose you Naim player in the iPeng app as well if you end up using that. Or Orange squeeze if your on Android.

Hope that helps.

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So the test was interesting.

The demo room had a pair B&W 8-something speakers that apparently cost over £6k new.

They fired a stream of thin, brittle, metallic noise at my ears - tonally reminiscent of the speakers that come free with a PC.

We only had 1.5 hours to do the tests, so by the time the Naim gear was set up and I tuned into the speakers it was too late to swop them.

Also, the set up of the gear and the room was very poor, giving overall SQ that was less than half as good as what the equipment is capable of.

But relative differences were discernible, using a range of tracks inc. Three O’Clock Blues by Clapton and BB King; Paul Bley ‘Mazatlan’; Stenson ‘War Orphans’; Led Zep, electronica, etc.

I compared in this order:

  1. 272/555DR
  2. NDS/555DR/282/HicapDR
  3. NDX2/282/HicapDR
  4. NDX2/555DR/282/HicapDR

All with 250DR.

SQ from the 272/555DR was similar to NDS/555DR/282/HicapDR.
The latter gave slightly more detail.

But the 272 preamp with the benefit of the 555DR maant that there were significant hanges to streamer, DAC and preamps between each of these conditions.

The NDX2 was a big step up over both the above. And the 555DR gave a it a lift, but it was not the huge lift that the 555DR gave to my 272 - again, presumbly because it only applied to a streamer/DAC and of course not to the preamp in this condition.

So I didn’t buy anything.

And it has killed my desire to get an NDS.

This was obviously a far from ideal test of the NDS - but whether it makes sense or not, I’m ruling the NDS out from my upgrade options.

This makes the possibility of a revised 272 even more of interest - not least because it confirmed how good the new streaming platform is, but also because it reminded me that the user gets the absolute maximum benefit of the 555DR PS when it is working simultaneously to irrigate one’s streamer, DAC and preamp with extra power.


At least you will save your money Jim :smile:

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Yes - I’m struggling to get rid of the stuff at the moment…

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Yes, I’m not surprised, which is why the NDX2 and SN2/3 is such a good match.

Interesting comparison, thanks Jim. I think your’e right the wait for the new 272 is tempting.

Yup - one other positive result was coming home at 11pm through the storm after a marathon of driving.

I took my 555DR out of the car (they didn’t have one in stock for the test) and set it up again in the system, poured a glass of sauvignon blanc, and listened to Paul Bley ‘Blues for Red’.

It was really good to be home.


Long day but at least you ruled out a purchase that you wouldn’t have been completely satisfied with.

Yes. It simplified the ways forward by 1.

And it reminded me how much I enjoy my system as it is.

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Just to clarify. Are you saying the bare ndx2 was clearly better than the nds/555ps dr?

Yes - it was in that room with those speakers set up as it was to my ears.

But as it was such a sub-par arrangement, I wouldn’t try to make any general claim that others would always get that result.

I’d love to have brought it home and tested it back here, but then I’d have to have bought it off them and then paid to send it back if it didn’t seem the best way forward.

And at home all I could do would be make it sound much better - I’d not be easily able to compare it with an NDX2 without sorting that out as well within 14 days.

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Something was wrong with the nds. Some reported here that nds is still a bit better vs ndx2, and reviews also.
Nds/555dr/ 282 should not sound similar to 272/555dr.

But I wasn’t at that demo and it’s your ears. Your tastes. I can’t say more.

I wonder what was wrong with the speakers to produce that effect? 805D3 bookshelf studio monitors (£4750 plus stands) and 804D3 floorstanders (£7000) are award winning speakers with big reputations.

I own the 804D3 plumbed into a NDX2/SL/252/scdr/300dr config and they are the total opposite of thin, brittle and metallic. Really sparkly highs, beautiful timbre’d mids and deep and tuneful bass.

I had a set of the bookshelf 805D3 before and they were lovely things with a really emotive sound.

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They were floorstanders.

The room was echo-y.

The speakers were just sitting on a hard floor with no plinths or spikes or isolation devices.

And I’m not a fan of B&W.

And - who knows - there might have been something wrong with them.

But obviously that doesn’t mean that your speakers don’t sound amazing in your room.

As mentioned above, I was amazed at how badly the whole thing sounded.

It brought home me how important set up is.

FR, as mentioned above, I’m not making a general point about NDSs.

I strongly expected it to sound much better, as detailed above.

And the test sound was so bad that it doesn’t stand as a general test in any way.

So I wouldn’t read any more into it than what I’ve said above.


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Jim as a stop gap why not try the Node 2i into your 272 I think you will be surprised how good this sounds, all I listen to now is Qobuz via the 2i.

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Did you say you’re using it via spdif?
Does it have an spdif out?
What cable are using?
I only have a pretty average Chord Shawline spdif cable (RRP £200) that I was given.

Can it output upnp?

Mark Grant HDX1 coax RCA phono to BNC using input 1 on the 272 but you also have the option for TOSLINK.

The 2i can connect to a range of services including Amazon HD and local NAS streaming, also Radio Paradise via the 2i is CD quality with full info on the artist playing.

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