NDX2 vs nDAC

I’ve just had an NDX2 at home for a few weeks and have been comparing it with my current HDX/nDac combo.

Initially I thought that it sounded great and I could hear more details and so from a pure ‘hifi’ perspective it was an improvement but as time went on I found that it wasn’t as musical as the HDX/nDac and I found myself getting bored halfway through songs. I swapped between NDX2 and HDX/nDac for a couple of days at a time but each time I came to the same conclusion.

I was wondering - am I the only one who doesn’t prefer the NDX2?

Did you try NDX2/NDAC?

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Yes but I preferred the HDX/nDac

So even as just a digital transport, you preferred HDX to NDX2? Interesting!

I’m surprised as a digital transport you didn’t prefer the NDX2 but can understand the nDac being preferable to the NDX2.

When I visited the factory I asked the question NDac or NDX2 and even the designer couldn’t speculate which would be better, same with bare NDX2 vs original NDX/XPSdr so it’s not necessarily a black or white answer.

The next thing to try is a 555ps on the NDac!

Interesting the designer’s comments here. I do agree that it doesn’t all seem to be black and white :grinning:

Asking the obvious thing: is this NDX2 fully run in?

Yes it was around six months old

The NDAC uses the PCM1704K DAC chip as used in the ND555 and NDS whereas the NDX2 uses PCM1792. The HDX is different again using the PCM1791A.

It would not be surprising to discover that the NDAC sounds better than the NDX2 given that the NDAC uses the same chips as its flagship products.

Of course there’s more to a DAC than the chip it uses but it gives some indication as to the level that Naim intend these products to work at.

Indeed, I suspect several Naim designers and engineers would have their heads in their hands sobbing reading that… the HDX transport is soooo crude compared to the advanced refinement and engineering in the NDX2 / ND555 (and ND5XS2 for that matter) digital transport mechanisms.
When I borrowed an HDX a few years back to use as a transport with my NDAC… I was thoroughly disappointed… perhaps my dealer’s model had a fault… I decided to use a NDX as transport instead.

Indeed the CDX2 use the PCM1704K converters as well. The PCM1792A as used in the NDX2, is currently one of the best TI DAC chips currently being manufactured, and is pretty advanced bit of kit. Of course the converter only accounts for a small part… implementation of DSP oversample and digital lowpass, clock, interfacing, current to voltage generator and analogue low pass filter and output stage has significant impact as well.

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I wouldn’t say that it’s that black and white comparing nDAC to the NDX2. Before I got my NDX2, I had CD5XS and Uniti Core as my main sources, both with digital out into nDAC with 555PSDR. The nDAC with 555PSDR presents an organic, almost analogue sound stage. When I got my NDX2 I experimented with NDX2 into nDAC with 555PSDR, compared to NDX2 with 555PSDR. After lengthy listening I preferred NDX2 with PSU. I sold on the nDAC. I didn’t feel that nDAC was adding anything to NDX2. The inbuilt NDX2 DAC is no way inferior to the nDAC, just qualitatively different. I know others here use the NDX2 as a transport into outboard DACs, including Chord DACs. Personally, I find the NDX2 with 555PSDR is a great combo. The benefit of Naim products is you can configure them in different ways according to taste and budget. There is no one size fits all.


Well, it’s good to hear that the nDAC is still good…as there’s one sat in my study, still wrapped up.

Streamer is going to be my current Raspberry Pi 3B+ / IQAudio Digi+ HAT, running MoOde software. Although as we’re about to receive this year’s company bonus, I can already hear the call of an Allo Digione Signature :smiley:

I think I’d agree with this - the NDX2 didn’t sound bad it just didn’t sound as musical to my ears as the nDac but I can see why others like the NDX2.

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Was that with both pieces of kit 'bare ’ ?

I tried both bare and with XPS-DR

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NDX2 realy comes alive with a 555PSDR from my experience.


With MinimServer + upmpdcli + shairport-sync running on the RPi that hosts the DigiOne Signature and a direct connection to the Naim DAC via BNC-BNC, you get a very small, low power UPnP server + renderer solution, a Roon endpoint and access to Idagio, Qobuz, Tidal, internet radio, etc. No need to go for a NDX2, especially if the sound quality is not significantly better than with a Naim DAC. A further advantage of the nDAC is the number of inputs.

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I’m owner of naim dac + 555ps (not dr) connected to naim unitiserve through naim dc1. In your opinion if I replace unitiserve with an ndx I will have an improvement. I could use unitiserve like server upnp.

NBPF, how do you find the nDac for classical music? I’m tempted to change my simple Chord Mojo by an nDac.