NDX2 (with/XPS power) vs nDAC + ND5XS2 (planned)

Hello, Naim community,

My current configuration is
Pre: NAC82/ Nap180/ Hi-cap/

Roon + RME UC. or / Wiim Pro

SP: Rogers LS5 (celestion twitter model)

Cable /
Mcru no.75 for Power block, Amp and Hi-caps
Mark Grant 6mm for speakers

I’m planning to switch source players in the future.
Can anyone tell me which configuration is better tonally?

I’ve seen a lot of opinions here on the forum that it’s best to stick an NDAC in the NDX2, but I feel like it’s a double spend… TT

I am waiting for a used item on ebay but it is very difficult.
My music style is 50% classical, 30% jazz, and 20% light pop.

I’ve read in some articles that the combination of NDAC + ND5XS2 has more low-end and overall balance than the NDX2. Is this true?

Kind regards,


That’s not it at all!

Both the ND5XS2 and NDX2 are very capable streamers in their own right. I would guess you’d be very happy with either.

Two price points - the ND5XS2 can’t be upgraded with external PSU. The NDX2 can take a PSU, although a bare NDX2 is still excellent (as it should be for the price).

Some people choose to use these streamers into an nDAC. For the ND5XS2 it improves on the DAC, bringing the combo close to NDX2 (and with option to improve further with PSU on nDAC). When using NDX2/nDAC/PSU it tends to be a personal (or system) preference for the tonality it brings. The nDAC gives more bass, darker sound but more detailed in some ways.

Search the forum for nDAC vs NDX2 there are lots of threads.

If you decide to go the nDAC/PSU route then an ND5XS2 is the perfect cost effective transport. It shares the same streaming board as the NDX2 (and indeed the new NSS333).


If you intend to use an XPS with the NDAC that would make it a clear winner to my ears.
If you are thinking of ND5XS2/NDAC (no XPS) compared to NDX2/XPS to might be a closer race, and you would need to listen carefully for yourself to find which you prefer.


as you already have roon I suggest NDS + XPS.
With NDS you have a combo of streamer and DAC at the level of NDAC, so you save one box
XPS is needed as NDS doesn’t have internal power supply
buying all second hand, at the same cost of a new NDX2 you get a top level source, better than any option

I have NDX2/XPSDR into 52/SC/300DR in one system, though I used it without the XPSDR for a while.

I have ND5XS2 (no nDAC) into 82/HC/250 in a different house. I did some mixing and matching before shipping that lot off to sunny Tasmania. If I changed anything in that system and could tolerate more boxes, the change would be adding an nDAC, but so far I have resisted.

I think @IainO is dead right. There are several threads worth reading, but the NDX2 is a very good player made much better with its PS (more depth, more detail, more sudden attack, more grip on bass). The ND5XS2 is much better VFM than an NDX2 and a pretty good player in absolute terms, but noticeably less good than NDX2 into my 52 for SQ.

With the 82, the gap between the 2 naked players was non-zero but really not huge - until we put the PS back on the NDX2.

Several people have commented that the a naked NDX2 is not significantly better than ND5XS2 plus nDAC, and that ND5XS2 plus nDAC plus XPSDR is slightly better than a naked NDX2, though different.

Few (not none) rate ND5XS2 plus nDAC plus XPSDR as being just as good as NDX2 plus XPSDR, and very few think the 3-box option is completely outclassed.

There are many here that stress Source First, and with reason. However, much though I like 82 (and the very comparable 282) plus 180, I am not sure you will find that 3-box option or NDX2 +XPSDR much different, and you may well decide that ND5XS2+nDAC or naked NDX2 is as far as you need to go.

A case can even be made to get ND5XS2 first, then add nDAC, and then leave PS options alone until you have swapped the 180 for a (serviced) 250.

VFM is also relevant. nDACs are not always easy to find but they are real bargains at £1K or sometimes even less. 250s are easy to find and also bargains - but do get one that was serviced in the last decade or so or priced accordingly. ND5XS2s are great value at under £2K on eBay - an NDX2 s/h will cost twice that. An XPS looks to be just over £1K but an XPDSR still looks to cost well over £2K.

It is also worth thinking about box count. Even if ND5XS2 + nDAC + XPS is the best VFM and ND5XS2 +nDAC + XPSDR is second best in sound-per-pound, and even if you find either beating a naked NDX2 into an 82/ 180 (or 82/250) by enough that you notice, do you want 3 boxes as your source? And do you care about remote controls and screens?

Finally,@Guido71 is not wrong in rating the old NDS for SQ and VFM. However, if you want Qobuz supported, I think you may need something more modern.


Would an NDS need a bridge for Roon? There’s no native support.

Unlike the ND5XS2/NDX2 which are roon endpoints?

Yes it would.

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Ndac+555ps,without any doubt, both in terms of the musical image and in terms of cost/benefit.
This also involves the purchase of a burndy cable
sxps +digital interconnect dc1
which must also be taken into account in the general cost.


Yes because then you have decoupled the streamer from the DAC, as well as adding a large external power supply to the DAC.

It works very well for me. :slightly_smiling_face:


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