[NDX2] Sound-quality at lock and variable position

Will there be a difference of sound-quality between the locked and variable position in my NDX2?

For now i use a SN3. So the pre amp part of the SN3 is giving it’s sound to the signal.

As far as i know you can control the sound with the NDX2 when it is in variable modes (no system automation). People say you need always a pre amp, so i have the SN3 (+ for control etc…)

But when i connect the NDX2 directly to a power amp, does the signal be the same as i connect it to a pre amp? (where the signal is getting it’s pre amp character)

I believe the variable volume option was an Apple authorisation necessity. It is not recommended though. Much better sound using a pre-amp. Keep it on fixed and use the SN3 remote in with System automation activated.

I can confirm through personal experience that the variable output will sacrifice quality, particularly at lower volumes. It sounds ok at high volumes but as you drop the volume it seems to loose detail, presence and drive, and it all sound a bit flat. Keep a proper analogue volume control in the chain if you can.


Yes i do still use a pre amp.

But when i use a non naim setup and i will use the variable controle of the NDX2, will that be a poor sound instead of the locked position signal?

For example: pre amp - NDX2 - power amp. Pre amp volume control fixed (it can be moved but i don’t do because it has no remote controle) So i want use the variable of the NDX2 to control the volume. So it still goes threw a pre amplifier.

Thats why i want to know if the signal of the locked vs variable will be the same or not.

As i understand i can turn my pre amp quite low and must turn my NDX2 in “higher” volume so the signal/sound will be ok/normal as the locked signal??

If you put the NDX to fixed (locked) as has been advised, you don’t get to choose the level, it just is what it is and you adjust your pre-amp level to suit your listening needs.

I understand. But the pre amp doesn’t have a remote so controlling the volume on a distance is not possible. I like to do that with the NDX2 (with the naim app off course).

If you do that, you must accept that it will not sound as good.

What does “pre amp - NDX2 - power amp” imply there? Is there some intent to run the pre amp through the NDX2? Sorry if I misunderstood!

You can do what you are wanting to do and run the sound through a pre-amp as well as using the variable out put, but as I said, you will lose some magic when the volume goes lower on the NDX2. It’s not really ideal and was very noticeable to me. Then again, I was using it to drive a power amp only with no pre amp. The best thing to do is try both for yourself.

I think he means NDX2-PRE-POWER. Only with NDX2 set to variable. So with 2x volume controls. Due to the fact that his pre amp has no remote. If I understand correctly….?

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I’d only recommend it if it’s a temporary option.

Thanks for posting this.
Had been stumped by why my newly acquired preloved NDX2 was sounding underwhelming (less good than the N272 I’d upgraded from).
Volume was set to Variable.
Moved it to Fixed and I’m now starting to hear why the NDX2 has so many admirers.
Lots of happy listening ahead.

Mine took a while to really come on to song too. Had a few “Is this it?” moments, but now a few months in and it sounds magic every time. Give it time.

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Yes, the right chain.

A pre-amp where the NDX2 + power-amp is connected.

I’m gone try it. i’ll let you know the experience.

Maybe you know the pre-amp, music first audio (TVC)

I just test the variable and locked position in the NDX2.

There is NO difference between variable and locked!

I just test it this afternoon. Maybe tonight in another listening setting there will be some difference, but for now there isn’t :slight_smile:

The MusicFirstAudio Baby V2 + pass clone class A + (source=) NDX2

If the variable is at max vol then it will be the same, but as you reduce the volume this is done digitally by reducing the bit length in the dac so therefore reduces resolution.

The use of a pre amp may help here. Try the test again at low volumes at night time. That’s when I heard the difference.
On another note, I am sure I’ve seen your speakers somewhere before on here or another forum. They are DIY right?
What design did you use? Or did you design them yourself?

Just connect the SN3 again (complete). It’s more complete.

I test:

  1. MFA + camp amp + NDX2 variable + locked
  2. MFA + power-amp SN3 + NDX2 variable + locked
  3. SN3 complete + NDX2 locked (incl. system automation)

1… excellent and smooth sound. Pure class A. No difference at 100
2… thin and no prat. OK but i think no match.
3… excellent and full body

In coming weeks i will test longer. Those MFA + camp amp (class A) is also a great set. Then in locked position so no concessions.

Yes they are DIT. It is the Via vivace model 2012 (latest model)

You have seen them here on the forum=> DIY with naim :) (are there more ? )