NDX2 vs ND5XS2 + Qutest

Very happy with my ND5XS2 plus Chord Qutest external DAC, combined with SN3. Would a ‘bare’ NDX2 as source beat this? Discussed in other threads but therefore i put it now as simple as possible. The young preloved market never ceases to be interesting :).

1 Like

I think you’d need to demo to hear the differences. I have ND5XS2 used as streaming transport into NDS and 555PS which is used as the DAC.

For me, my combination sounds better than an NDX2 with 555PS.

I have also had a ND5XS with external DAC several years ago and I would imagine that would be on similar level to what you have with ND5XS2 with Qutest.

Your other option is to get a higher grade used Chord Dac such as TT2.

Thanks! Interesting and I seldom thought of the possibility of another DAC (TT2). Listening is important, but not always easy to compare apples with apples. Especially with these combinations of i.e. external DAC/power supply/switch. But you are right!

The ND5XS2 is a great streaming transport. I bought one as I wanted latest streaming platform with the sound of NDS.

Yes it is really a fine transport. On the other side, an external DAC is another cable and another power supply. But if one would switch to a bare NDX2…what upgraderitis would come up after some time… again an even better external DAC… etc…

A lot of your decision is going to rely upon which house sound you like better; Naim or Chord. I compared an NDX2 directly to an ND5XS2/Qutest a few years back in my home and preferred the NDX2. The Qutest isn’t the most exciting/involving DAC out there while being good at other things. Even those who love the Chord sound agree that the Qutest is quite relaxed and lacks excitement. I found the NDX2 to sound more natural and have way more PRAT.

The NDX2 can also be improved with power supply upgrades in the future, if you so choose. You could always consider swapping the Qutest for an nDAC instead to get more of the Naim presentation.


Thanks, that gives me another angle to look at it. Cheers.

If you already went down this road of having a Qutest I would suggest you try adding the Mutec MC3+ USB reclocker. This lifted my nd5xs2 + Qutest to a new level. Definitely better than bare NDX2.
I had a SN3/Hicap DR/ND5XS2/Qutest + SBooster and WH Phantom speaker cables so a very similar set up as you have.
It’s a relatively cheap upgrade and will show you new levels of what your Qutest is truly capable of.
Try before you buy is easy to arrange.

1 Like

I’d want to compare with moving up the Chord DAC line, though that said, if the reclocker improves Qutest that makes a lot of sense to try.
Personally I think keeping DAC and the “transport” separate is beneficial, as it means you only have to upgrade one part at a time. Second to speakers, DACs are most significant in providing the character of replay, so once you find the best for you, you may never want to change. With online streaming the time may come when whatever front end you have can’t be modified to keep up with developments, so might have a need to change where the DAC won’t.

1 Like

The issue here is the lack of signal ground

Please make you nd5xs is connected to you sn3 via din cable

Then it will hopefully provide the signal the sn3 needs

And to answer your question I don’t feel the ndx2 beats the qutest but I prefer the chord sound

We might be in touch at a later stage this year :slight_smile:

1 Like

Have a similar setup (Innuos Zen into Qutest) which I got when moved away from ND5XS. What improvements did you notice with the addition of the Mutec pls?

I’m up for the usage of Naim as a full streamer currently (even nd5xs2) as a) you can benefit from the native super lumina din interconnect b) proper digital cable is 1k+ and power supply cable for the dac another 1k+

You can read my findings here :slight_smile:

1 Like

Not sure what “proper” digital cable is? But regardless, if these tweaks make a significant difference - and not everyone agrees they do - then those are potential future upgrades at moderate(?) cost, bringing further benefit IF theIP prefers the Chord sound, or otherwise decides that a separate DAC (there ard others, including nDAC) is beneficial.

there will be always a topic whether to go separate dac+source or the full streamer. In the upper price segments there’re obviously nss 333, then dcs, playback design offers both options, AN and Lampizator - only dacs etc. Qutest imho is not yet there in the purely dac performance ladder to be really bothered. I would personally go for TT/TT2 upgrade in case one prefers Chord sound.

Or if the Chord sound is not obligatory, maybe try a Weiss 204 DAC.

1 Like

I tried ndx2 + sw1x 3 dac, great sound

I changed from an ND5XS2 to an NDX2 plus XPSDr. Very significant improvement so far at 10 days. I am not a fan of external Dacs and reclocking. For me, it’s just more to get compulsive about. For me, the less I can tweak, the less stress I have and the more I am into the music.


Exactly the doubt i am in