Ndx2 vs nDac

Interesting, I spent quite some time in my dealers demo room trying to decide which way to go, and neither of us could hear significant differences between the two streamers. I admit that we weren’t using a 552 though.


I don’t agree that the NDX2 analogue out is lacking. There are many other dependencies to take into account, including cabling and system, setup etc. I use my NDX2 with outboard 555PSDR, SL interconnect into 552, with 300DR. It’s definitely not lacking in my system.

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Seems like a shocking amount of money to pay for a network transport Simon. Have you tried anything else as a transport to your Chord dac? Just curious is all. I get it though, your money, your system, your ears.


i said with what I am used to :roll_eyes:

I am not saying its a bad analogue player…

The same as saying I find my old 282 lacking compared to my 552 - if it wasn’t it would never have got my 5552…

Yeah tried manyl DACs, Nsaim, Chord, Audioquest, Audiolab yada yada yada.go back over the many years on the various Naim forums where I have discussed such things

If you find a streamer a lot of money then that is a personal view. Naim streamers work in two distinct modes, either Digital out or Analogue out - you choose in setup how it internally configures itself and what capabilities are enabled or disabled - it can only work in either digital or analogue modem but not both at the same time. I think the NDX2 is superb when configured in its digital output mode for my purposes which is why I bought it. The vast majority of the streamer is used for either mode - with the converter and analogue filter and output stage simply being used for the analogue output. … i use the analogue out as a resilient option should I need it - a benefit of using Naim.

I also prefer the decoupling my DAC from my streamer front end - always have done - right from the early days with my NDX ->NDAC/555PS

Got your point, thanks for the explanation.

Hmm, maybe what you’re used to in your system, e.g NDX2 without PSU, hiline and 250.2.

As I indicated, the performance of the NDX2 analogue out is vastly improved with outboard PSU, better interconnect, different amps (in my case 552/300DR), etc.

Please don’t assume that the NDX2 analogue out ‘is lacking’ just based on your system setup and experience!

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As I introduced at beginning of this topic, I bought the NDX2 to replace the ND5XS + nDAC that are both out of production. My expectation was that NDX2 + 555PS would completely outperform the previous configuration… I was really surprised when I felt that NDX2+nDAC+555PS was playing better than NDX2 + 555PS.
Maybe if I didn’t compare them I would be fine with NDX2 + 555PS, that of course is already an outstanding combination. But after the comparison I had to admit that nDAC was adding something more and something better.
I’m also a little bit worried about that. What is going to happen in the future as it seems nDAC firmare will not evolve?
Should I find a new DAC or should I go back to NDX2 + 555PS?


I would just stick with what your ears tell you is best. I can’t say I’m surprised that the NDAC sounds better than the NDX2 DAC, so if you can cope with a 3-box source, I’d say keep it. Of course, those of us who have chosen Chord DACs at least have the benefit of one small box instead of two full sized ones.

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I had the same dilemma when I first got my NDX2. At the time I was also using CD5XS into nDAC with 555PSDR. I also experimented with the NDX2 into nDAC. The nDAC is still an outstanding DAC despite being an older model. The PCM1704 chips are still used in the ND555. Personally I prefer now to use the NDX2 DAC with the analogue out directly into my 552.

I agree with @ChrisSU if you like the NDX2/nDAC/555PS combo and you’re not interested in Chord DACs then keep it, as long as you don’t mind the full 3 boxes.

Well, this is easy: If your ears prefer the system with the nDAC/555PS then stick with that and enjoy it.

And then, if the nDAC gives up the ghost, get a NDX3 or whatever it will be called down the road.

True, but I also find the same thing with a Statement as well as my 552 and also ND555. Please don’t tell people what they should assume or think. I was relating my experiences. I respect yours even though it differs from mine, please respect mine. You can read about it if you like, I have described it often enough over the last decade.
End of.


Hi Chris,

I appreciate you may be talking about the digital out, but for those looking to audition a NDX2 vs a ND5XS2 (analogue out) one can hear the difference between the two even with a Supernait2.

Just plug in a good set of headphones and you can clearly hear that the ND5SX2 has a raw chunky sound. You can even hear artefacts in the file. The NDX2 however is much smoother, cleaner with edge detail. Sen HD800S and the like will do the trick.

Then we can respectfully agree to disagree.

This forum is a great source of sharing knowledge but it is also unfortunately rife with sweeping statements (which I find really annoying).


That is something we can then both agree on…

Using the analogue out, I agree, the differences are clear, but I was specifically comparing the digital out into a Chord Dave in this case.

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Thanks ChrisSU. Agree with you a Bongoman.
I’m keeping the 3 boxes.
Just a question.
You talk about Chord DAC.
I assume in your opinion it sounds better the nDAC.
Why did you move on Chord for the DAC?

which SPDIF cable do you use Chris from the NDX2 to the Dave?

Hi, I never bought an NDAC. I’ve heard it sounding very good in a couple of systems with a 555PS, but at full price that’s over £9k on top of the NDX I had bought, and I really didn’t want the extra boxes either. There are those who sold their NDAC/555 and bought Mk1 Hugos to replace them though, which caused quite a stir at the time. Lost of stuff on the old, archived forum about this if you’re interested.
I jumped on the Hugo bandwagon later, and bought a used one just to see what all the fuss was about. Unlike some people, I wasn’t completely blown away by the improvement it bought over the NDX DAC, but at £600 for a used one, I definitely thought it was a very worthwhile move. (It also made volume control on a Naim preamp so much easier as you can dial down the output level.)
Then I spotted a Chord Dave on sale at a dealer for a rather attractive discount, got a home demo, and kept it. This, for me, was a real step up from both the NDX internal DAC and the Hugo. It also meant that I could sell my 282, as Dave can drive a power amp directly, and I felt it sounded just as good direct into my 250DR. So I sold the NDX and 282, and raised more than enough cash to buy an NDX2.


I started out with a Naim DC1, but it’s too long in my small rack, and getting even remotely sensible cable dressing is impossible. Used a cheap (possibly Gotham) cable for a while to tide me over, which was OK but needed an adapter as one end was RCA. Recently replaced that with a Mark Grant HDX1 which has been running for a couple of weeks now. I might put the DC1 back in at some point, just to see if it sounds any different.

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