NDX2 to replace my CDS3?

Some weeks ago I had a NDX2 on home audition. I demoed it against my CDS3 by switching one for the other i.e., using the same shelf position, 555psdr and SL din cable.

What I learned was that streaming is not that straight forward as I had thought. Initially my Synology NAS was connected to an apple router in a closet and the ND player connected with a demo Chord Shawline the last meters from a wall outlet in my listening room (apartment has hardwired ethernet in the walls). Not even close to CDS3!

After reading up on the forum I changed upnp server to minim on my Synology NAS. I moved the NAS to my listening room and connected it and streamer to a Zyxel switch. Hmm not so bad, but still not there!

Found out that the Shawline was directional, slight change.

Next, bought a small Netgear switch that I had seen dealers use, ok thats not bad. Started experimenting with what ethernet cables I had around, settled on cheap Belkin 5e (5 meter with screen) in favour of the Chord…

Still I felt the NDX2 was more a sideways move than a clear upgrade even if there were differences. The ND with a more solid and straight forward presentation and the CD with more separation of individual tones an instruments, possibly due to better resolution of higher frequencies? (A bit like the difference between CDX2/555 and CDS3/XPS if you can relate.)

So, I returned the NDX2 thinking that I probably need a ND555 to improve on all aspects of the CDS3. But lately I started to question this:

  • No Cisco 2960 switch…
  • I used Aiff (XLD CD rips) and no transcoding
  • What about a music Server Melco/Innous etc.

What do you all think, would any of this have changed the outcome?

with a cisco and better ethernet cables you will gain another 15/20 % improvement.
The nds is a bit better however, and cheaper now.
When i bought the nds/ 555dr, connected straight to the router, with cheap cable, my past cdx2/ xps2 was punchier and more engaging.
With the cisco , audioquest diamond ethernet, linear ps on the unitserve, the cdx2 is easily surpassed. I guess the cds3 also. But perhaps not night and day with cd files. With good hirez, the nds must be very easily better than cds3/555dr. ( with the additional tweaks).


Thanks for the insights Joppe. I am on a parallel path to you and conducting similar trials.

The Audiostore Prestige 3 server with integral SSD seems to replay music with more life and a better sense of drive/rhythm/timing than when the identical music files are pulled off the Synology DS716+ NAS drive. In both cases, we have been using Roon (Roon Core running on the Prestige 3) into Chord M Scaler + DAVE.

For reasons that we don’t fully understand, cd files ripped using the AIFF codec also sound clearer, with more air, life & engagement than the same files stored as uncompressed FLAC. We have noticed this with the Prestige 3 server using both an ND555/555PS and the Chord combo.

There is definitely more to this streaming lark than meets the eye.

Do keep us posted on your progress.

Best regards, BF

Bluesfan, do you feel that Dave/ mscaler has the same prat and involvement as your cds3? You seem to prefer this combo to the nd555?
For myself, i will listen on tuesday the linn ds3 and the dcs rossini.
I will report. However the dealer has no high end naim electronics, just the SN2. So i will have to imagine what it would give in my system. The dealer sells essentially linn products.

Frenchrooster, thanks for your feedback. You are right NDS could be an option, I have only heard a few songs of it vs. NDX2. Once at a fair, both using xpsdr, then I felt the NDX2 had a slight edge. I also compared them very shortly at dealer returning the NDX2, then I thought the NDS had some of the qualities I missed at the home demo, but based on this short comparison I would say on similar level overall.
Before, next home demo I will make sure I have acquired a Cisco switch.

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Bluesfan, if possible I would like to keep the solution to two Fraim shelfs. So if I would add a sever to a Naim solution I would prefer a Ethernet based solution hiding the server a few meters away in a non hifi shelf. I assume even if the Chords are not full width they require a shelf each? How did you connect your boxes?

Did you experiment with transcoding from your NAS, or did you only use Roon?

Hi BF,
The ND555 and the Chord combo are both excellent.

The Chord combo comes across as having particular strengths in handling the leading edge of transients (hence a higher perceived dynamic range), in resolution, sense of scale and casting a huge and stable 3D image of the musicians.

The ND555/555PS has a beautiful, effortless sense of musical flow, more so than the Chord, and encourages you to sit back and take in the whole performance rather than focus on particular aspects of the performance or individual players.

In terms of prat/involvement, both better the CDS3/555PSDR to these ears, though will only do so when the server hardware & controlling software are right. So I’ve heard the Chord combo sound relatively lifeless, flat and sluggish when fed by an Auralic Vega G2 running Auralic’s own software (using an Innuos Statement server), yet sound much more in-time and involving when controlled by Roon. Replacing the G2 with a DCS Network Bridge improved matters further (again running Roon). How or why this happens is beyond my understanding, but it is there nonetheless.

The Naim vs Chord technical approaches do sound different and one will appeal more than the other to different people but both are excellent.

Hope this helps, BF


Hi Joppe,
The Prestige server is equivalent (but not identical) to a Roon Nucleus+ with a storage disc (either SSD or HDD) inside it. Hence, it can connect to your streamer via an ethernet switch, or it has its own dedicated second ethernet socket (a bit like the melco one but probably not as good), or connect via a USB cable. Ours is placed under the TV, several meters from the hifi racks.

The home trial of chord was via a 2m long USB cable with the server acting as both Roon Core and Roon End Point. We would not do this permanently, preferring instead to separate the Roon Core from the End Point. So we may buy a Sonore Rendu or DCS network Bridge if we settle on the Chord combo.

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Set the Synology NAS server (Minim or Assett) to transcode AIFF to WAV on playback and you may just find what you’re looking for.

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The NDS is the spiritual successor to the CDS3. They share similarities in presentation, although the NDS is considerably ahead of the CDS3 in some areas, as would be expected. The NDX2 was supposed to hit NDS levels of performance. Technically it may do. But there are a number of subjective reports which suggest the NDX2 is not a NDS beater for musical enjoyment.

Cables, switches, and all that are a matter of trial and error. Some will sound different, some won’t. What sounds better to you is not predictable.

Blythe, In retrospective I wish I would have spent more time investigating how to enable transcoding with minim while I had the NDX2 on demo. But I didn’t, mainly due to all other hassle with switches and cables which took some time to get sorted as well. Also, I think the built in Synology upnp server was set to transcode, but I felt that minim had an edge so thought maybe the new streamers was less sensitive to being feed with aiff. I have now realized that I need to instal an app on my Mac and set up minim from there.
Have you (or anyone else) compared using transcoding from aiff on the new platform? I would much appreciate reading your experiences.

To me, transcoding from FLAC to WAV made a subtle but definitely noticeable difference and just made the music more enjoyable. I believe I had one or two tracks in AIFF but really can’t be sure as the bulk of my music is FLAC, so that’s what I concentrated on.

i have the majority of my tracks on aiff format. A slight preference vs wav for me.

Sorry, but it’s not 100% clear to me if you prefer wav or aiff?

i prefer slightly aiff, on my nds/ unitserve combo.

So, 1-1 so far for aiff vs. aiff transcoded to wav.

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a vote for flac to wav, wav sounds better but if you use your music on other devices, in my case a DAP and phone, storing music in flac is much more flexible.

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