New Digital Transport/Streamer

I’ve been using my ND5XS for several years, feeding Chord Hugo (original) and preferred the sound to the Naim’s internal DAC.

With advances in digital technology and the improved Naim streaming platform, I was going to replace it with either the NDX2 or replacement ND5XS2 (since I’m not too bothered about a screen).

I’m aware that certain members still prefer the Hugo to the internal DAC in the Naim players (even on NDX2!) - though there does seem some redundancy by not using the Naim alone.

I’ve not had the opportunity to compare (with or without Hugo), though I do definitely prefer it on my current older Naim.

The rest of my system isn’t Naim (ATC Active), so I was also wondering whether to consider a transport/streamer from the Auralic range.

Any thoughts?

Go for it.
I never quite understood the redundancy argument. It’s the same approach Naim use in the NDX2 for example with alternate PSUs, or multiple inputs on the NACs, it about providing usage options. Naim build their new streamers to provide digital or analogue out. They can’t do both at the same time, as the system has to optimise itself for either.
It’s not economic so I understand in talking to Naim to produce models artificially hampered by removing one of the output options.
In using the Naim streamer providing a digital signal output, at least it has an auxiliary analogue feed for testing or backup purposes should you need it… and vice versa of course.

The new Naim streamers produce a seemingly highly performant SPDIF framing signal with good aggregation capabilities, and you can choose to some extent what DSP the Naim streamer undertakes to that signal. The Naim streamers provide seemingly a galvanically isolated SPDIF output which helps performance as well… especially with the Hugo Original.
I use my NDX2 with various DACs, including my Hugo Original… which in some ways is still the best DAC I have heard musically… although technically there are others better.
(Although I do use an alternate two stage regulated powersupply on the Hugo which to me improves the performance with micro detail, imaging and musical feel)


Thanks Simon, your ears must have been burning :grinning:

Put that way, perhaps not as ‘redundant’ as I initially perceived.

I guess you compared the NDX2 against the ‘screenless’ ND5XS2 and still prefer to use it with Hugo.

I just hope my Hugo batteries don’t ‘give up the ghost’ … going strong since 2014 and no issues so far :grinning: :grinning:

In the event of failure, hope there’s an easy battery replacement methodology

No I didn’t directly. The screen and Zigbee controller was an important consideration for me, so the NDX2 it was.

Yes, not hard to do yourself if you have basic soldering skills, or you can have Chord do it… the choice is yours.

I am also considering getting an Auralic Aries streamer. Several members on the forum use such a streamer and I am sure they can comment. One potential advantage is the ability to use wifi rather than expensive ethernet cable/switch/power supply sub systems.

Cool … thank you for taking the time to respond … very much appreciated. I value your opinion and knowledge :grinning:

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Have you looked at brands other than Naim. I can personally recommend the Lindemann Limetree range. The ‘Player’ has analog outputs while digital outputs are available on the 'Bridge" for driving a DAC that you might already have. Adding a linear power supply like the SBooster BOTW to the Limetree streamer will provide an outstanding digital front-end


The Lindemann Limetree looks very interesting!

The problem I have with the Limetree Bridge is that it does not pass the music untouched to your dac. They upsample the incoming music giving you two upsampling options from what I read in the manual. There doesn’t seem to be a third option to just leave things alone, correct me if wrong. It may sound great, but…

Interesting. Saves the cost of an Mscaler! I will consider the player including DAC for my headphone rig.

I had an auralic Aries and found the app poor, boot up time sloooow and it crashed when changing dac filters. It was a very detailed but dry and boring sound to my ears.

The Aries doesn’t have a DAC …

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Ah sorry it was the Altair ! Streamer/pre/headphone amp.

I had the ND5XS and used an outboard DAC with big improvements. I changed it for an NDS with 555 PS.

From what you’re saying I would go for either the ND5XS2 or NDX2. Look at whether you want to upgrade the PS before you make your decision. Either of those with outboard DAC is very good as you get the benefit of the new streaming platform with greater compatibility with subscription services as well as the DAC of your choice.

Demo if you can and use your DAC to see if there are any differences between the two and test with an XPS DR and 555PS on the NDX2.

I am happy with my NDS and 555PS but would consider a Sonore bridge to go Roon and use Qobuz or Tidal as they don’t really work with the NDS. For the moment I mainly use internet radio and local streaming from my NAS.

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Actually the upsampling can be disabled altogether; that is possible through the app. The toggle button on the unit can select between 2x and 4x upsampling but I can confirm it is possible to turn it off completely

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I think we’ve had this conversation before! I don’t hear a significant difference between ND5XS2 and NDX2 via SPDIF out into Dave, so I think ND5XS2 would be the sensible choice.
My dealer speaks very highly of Auralic, and suggested I might consider one as an alternative to a Naim streamer, although I never got round to comparing one.

I would have hoped that was true. Not having it and just reading the manual seemed to indicate that it did not. Enjoy your streamer, I’ve heard good things about it.

dCS Bartok?

I’m one of those with an Auralic Aries G2. As alluded to above, apart from being a great product (as the NDs no doubt also are) I find using WiFi rather than Ethernet really makes a difference. Auralic (apparently) have put a lot of work into their WiFi implementation and claim it “can” sound better than Ethernet, which is certainly what I find. So there’s the added advantage of not had to worry about all the Ethernet paraphernalia.
And although I’ve long been an exponent of Roon I find that using the Auralic software Lightening gives slightly better sound. I rationalise this by the fact it plays from memory rather than a stream.

And the latest firmware give the option to “play” CDs from an attached USB drive. Again they are ripped on the fly to memory and the sound is indistinguishable from content on the NAS.

I’m surprised how much I enjoy the CD replay function, the immediacy is great when you come home from town or as is more likely these days the postman calls.

My Auralic Aries feeds an mscaler/HUGO TT2. I went from ultraRendu/Hugo TT to Auralic Aries G2 / mscaler Hugo TT2 but the biggest step was the Auralic.

From what I read the Auralic Aries G1 is the sweet spot in the hierarchy.