New Streaming System Advice

Hello All. I’m new to the forum and in the happy position of looking to buy my first separates system for 20 years! I have a budget maximum of £9000 for everything and I want a streamer and integrated amp plus speakers. I’ve read with interest the discussions on NDX 2 versus ND5 XS2. If I go for NDX 2 + Nait XS3 I have a lot less left (£1500 approx.) to spend on speakers than if I go for ND5 XS2 + Supernait 3. I’m looking for advice on the better strategy.

In terms of speakers, I’m considering Dali Oberon 5 in the first option, and either Spendor A4 or Kudos X3 or Focal Aria 936/926 for the second option. I would greatly appreciate any views / experiences / advice on this.

Many thanks.

If i were you i would be talking to my dealer about ex demo equipment which would give you more flexibility with the funds to say spend more on the source, like the NDX2. You might not be able to get all ex demo , but one or two items would make a big difference to how far your funds can go. I would do a quick search among the big dealers tomtom, audio t sevenoaks etc and see what they have to offer. Best get a dem first so you know shat you are after, but may be your local dealer can do you a deal.


+1 If you can get a bit of money off one of the components you should be able to get an NDX2, a NAIT XS3, cables and a decent pair of floorstanders ( eg Spendor A4 or PMC twenty5.23) for your budget. If you are very fortunate you could get NDX2/SN3! Whatever you get will be a great system so good luck and enjoy

Don’t dismiss nd5xs2 plus xs3. Choose speakers with help from your dealer. Remember your budget might need to include a NAS or PC based storage solution as well as streamer/amp/speakers/stands/cables.

If it were me, and assuming starting with nothing, and £9k max, I wouldn’t put £5k on an ndx2. Or a third of the budget on an sn3.
Assuming new prices:
Nd5xs2, xs3, neat motive sx2 (or similar, but I am most familiar with these), naca5 speaker cables. Possibly a hiline but the streamer comes with a cable in the box. Get a fraimlite rack, then perhaps something from innuos for storage. You might need to sort out your home network with cabling, perhaps a switch. Avoid reliance on WiFi if possible. Qobuz subscription @ £15/month.

First separates system for 20 years? That combo above will blow you away. Don’t underestimate the difference good quality ancillaries will make, the stand itself is a component so consider one if you have the space to accommodate it. Also your room is part of the system! Try to avoid a tv between the speakers if you can. The ideal is the hifi to the left or right, long speaker cables that can reach across to the far side speaker. Speakers given the space to breathe (depending on the design, some prefer being close to the wall behind, others not).


Thanks, good advice! My listening room is about 5m by 3m, no TV. I will probably eventually buy an Innuos for streaming, but not essential up front - I can access existing MacBook music library with Asset or Airplay or Roon - I currently stream to Muso 1st Gen. I also have Qobuz subscription already. On the speaker front I do not like or need high volumes, mostly listening to classical orchestral or chamber music (and 60s/70s rock classics + Springsteen) and I would prefer a small floorstander. The Spendor A4 seems to fit the bill, and the Dali’s have received very good reviews. My local Naim dealer does not have a huge stock and demo-ing a range of speakers may be difficult in the North of Scotland, so any views on other small floorstanders to consider would be welcome. Many thanks for all the replies so far.

Re Floorstanders- I can thoroughly recommend Neat motive SX1’s- easy speaker to drive- 6 ohms and pretty efficient. They look lovely and sound even better. I’m biased as I have a pair hooked up to an xs2.
Good luck in your quest…

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This is where it’s essential to have a home demonstration. The SX1 may be different but when I tried the original Motive 1 it was an absolute disaster with so much bass it was ridiculous.

My suggestion would be an ex dem NDX2 with a used SN2. If that costs about £5,000 it leaves enough for speakers and a decent stand. One small standmounter I’ve heard and liked is the Neat Ekstra; this has an added advantage of being designed for close to wall placement. If the room has solid walls a pair of SBLs for well under £1,000 may be just the ticket.

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I have no problem with the SX1’s bass, it is tight controlled and tuneful, obviously this will be room dependant, mine are 26cm from the rear wall. They are an outstanding speaker for the price and an absolute bargain if you can purchase a used pair.

For an idea of scale, these are all of the 76cm height of the neat motive xs2 - other colours are available!

You could just steer clear away from streaming.
A refurbished Unitiserve with s/h Ndac will be a lot simpler, sound perhaps better and half the cost of even a good deal on the NDX2.
Would allow further funds for your supporting system needs.

My experience too. Although in theory you can put them close to the back wall- in my case the bass was hideous. However once moved to 32cm it was controlled and nicely extended. One review stated that 30cm or more is optimal and that was my experience
I agree with HH that it is so room dependant and our different experiences reflect that. Utter bargain s/h too

I have a Uniti Nova with the Focal 926’s sounds great… but the speakers need to be at least a foot away from the rear wall. The room makes a big difference… to tighten up the bass I added the iso acoustics Gaia II isolator feet on the Focal 926s. Very happy with the results.

Many thanks to all for the responses so far. I’m going to listen to some speakers at my local dealer this week - Neat Motive SX1 and SX2, Dali Oberon 5 and Paradigm 700F he recommends at the price, and possibly Focal Aria 926/936. Unfortunately not Spendor A4 (not stocked by dealer). Does anyone have any knowledge of Paradigm speakers - I’ve not heard of them?

The replies I’ve got so far on my possible system choices for £9000 have been wide ranging, and I’m still unsure about the balance of spend between streamer / dac and amplifier - I can postpone the storage bit (Innuos) for now. I will audition ND5 XS2 with Nait XS3 and Supernait 3 alongside the speakers, and see what happens. Part of me wonders if I should just go for a Nova! Any advice welcome.

Thanks, Ian

Good luck with your upcoming demonstrations and decisions!

I believe you could be quite happy with either the XS 3 or SN 3 and it is good you will have an opportunity to demo them side by side.

I nice little system could be a ND5 XS > XS3 > ProAc D2 or ProAc D20 speakers. Both would get you in under £9000 including some Naim NAC A5 speaker cable.

I started with a ND5 XS with a Nait XS 2 and ProAc D2 speakers and it was a wonderful system.

Just in case you are not fond of Pepto-Bismol pink.

(great loudspeakers though)

Personally to maximise buying power I would consider ex-demo or secondhand, and give thought to whether you intend this to be a system to last you indefinitely or whether you see yourself upgrading it in the foreseeable future, as that may make a difference to what is best, the former meaning you want everything to be optimal in relation to your desired sound.

Whilst it will be a bemusing experience, a read of the current thread Is Source First still valid may help put some of the range of views you receive here into context.

It depends whether you intend on a future upgrade path or a system you intend to keep for a long time. I have a Nova and I love it to bits plus nothing to upgrade! As ever, best thing is to go and demo various things and let your ears (and wallet) decide


The pink has probably sold out…

Not to be an idiot but do you really need a streamer. ESP at that price? You are Mac friendly. You can get a mini and load your music onto that. Control it with MBP or phone. Under 1000 easy. That gives you 4000 each for speakers and amp/dac. Plus cables and interconnects. Spends lots of $ on a rack? Just send me the money instead Your stereowill sound the same

With a £9k budget, the first thing I would do is ask your potential supplier if they would negotiate a discount.

I managed a very handy 10% off the cost of a new Atom. Which means my first port of call for any new equipment will be that very same dealer.

Win win!