New to streaming…

…very much enjoying Tidal after the 90-day demo that came with a demo Muso. Itself a superbly enjoyable piece.

Now I’ve set up my modest main room system;

Naim 5italic, my first Naim product , coupled to a Rega DAC & fed by an Apple Airport Express sending optical out.

Airplay 2 is used to feed Tidal & whatever lossless CD files I choose to load.

Speakers are Monitor Audio SE20 25th Anniversary minitowers cabled with NAC05 4m with F-type biwire.

I’m enjoying the CD-quality & multiroom capability.

Eventually I’ll likely switch to an XS2 & a Naim DAC. Not in a massive rush to do so, the 5i is remarkable.

So, what am I missing by not having a Naim streamer, if anything?

The Naim nDac is excellent, especially for it’s cost on the used market. But as Naim doesn’t make a just streamer, I believe you would find the ND5 XS2 would be a major uplift in SQ. I have an NDS which is also a deleted product and affordable, and it is quite amazing.

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Thanks for the reply David…. If possible I’d like to A/B the two.

Meanwhile, does this sound any better than a CD ?

That’s what I’m using as my benchmark… lossless CD files rendered via line output from another iPad .

So far the Tidal stream that ends up in the DAC is indiscernible from that.

While I’ll agree there’s likely numerical bit superiority from a dedicated streamer I’m uncertain there’ll be any actual sonic improvement. Diminishing incremental returns etc…

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I don’t have experience of the Rega DAC, but would be surprised if nDAC/NaitXS were not significantly more revealing than your current setup. So it’s possible you might hear SQ differences between streaming from Tidal and from your iPad, which your present system is masking.

FWIW, some years ago I used to play ripped CDs from a MacMini to nDAC and eventually went down the dedicated streamer route which gave a nice upgrade in SQ.

However, you are obviously getting pleasure from your new setup and, unless you’ve some money waiting to be spent, why not just continue to enjoy it as is?



You don’t need a fancy streamer to get the right bits in the right order, as I’m sure you know. It’s a trivial task for virtually any properly functioning equipment, and even if there were errors they would just result in the odd dropout or click, not a general drop in sound quality.

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… good chance I’ll be able to do so with either a Node2 and/or an ND5XS….

Sure wish I could break line output from the Muso though…

Hi david, I saw u use an NDS, what do u stream with it?

I stream ripped CDs and Tidal.

Thanks, so I’m thinking I’ll buy an NDS and use for streaming Tidal- not had a Naim streamer, the screen is small, how do u navigate Tidal? Also what do u Jean about stream ripping cd’s?

I’d be inclined to just add a Bluesound Node to your current setup, you can use that as a standalone streamer or as a digital transport in to your Rega DAC to your requirements.
That should improve things overall without a significant budget investment, your weakest link in existing setup being the Airport so if nothing else it’ll make controlling and access streaming services easier through the Node OS app on your phone/tablet and give you some flexibility down the line in terms of systems integration and synergy.

I navigate Tidal through the Naim App and the NDS connects to the SN2 through system automation, so the Naim App controls the volume of the SN2. For the price that the NDS can be had for these days, it is certainly one of the best Dac/streamers available for the price.
It’s a very smooth and accurate sounding, high-end streamer which I assume the separate, internally sprung, isolation platforms and the separate external power supply must play a big part of.
But if your goal is to access Qobuz then other options may be preferable, although there are workarounds that will allow an NDS to stream Qobuz.
Also, there are others on this forum that feel the new streaming boards add a significant increase to the SQ of a streamer. I have no opinion on this as I have never compared an NDS against an NDS with an ND5 XS2 digitally feeding it.

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Thanks- do u get the drop out on Tidal experienced by some using NDS? I agree that the NDS must be a top shelf streamer, I may have mentioned (!) I use an ndac, the nds is same apart from newer designed filters plus remote ps and suspended chassis so it must be better than ndac… I’d put money on it’s dac being pretty much same as nd555 dac !!

I have never experience any dropouts as I have a very stable, secure and fully-wired 3 computer plus Naim, network. The only wifi are the cells and my tablet. Many of the dropout issues must be attributed to network issues. It is fibre optic right to the modem and 1 gig service.

I’m quite certain though that the ND555 is a solid level above the NDS in all aspects, Dac, streamer etc. It must sound very good, indeed, but the NDS is fine for me at this point. Sounds wonderful.

I’ve read many very good reviews of the nDac from other members, so I know it to be an excellent Dac. But since it requires a separate streamer, I found the NDS to be better value for me, and I think it’s is a better piece of engineering as well.

I also believe that there is a substantial benefit to having the streamer signal feeding the Dac in the same box without any outside cables and connections to connect two separate boxes.
I’m pretty sure that Naim thinks this as well.

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Will see how it goes with the Node 2.

Puzzled why in your opinion the Airport is the weak link… it’s worked in another system as a stand-alone DAC using 3.5mm RCA out to good effect.

Measurements here:

On that point there are contradictory views here. SimonS claims that separating the transport from the dac gives better sound results.
I am like you very satisfied with my Nds. But I will never throw all that money to have a new Nd555 which will be in 3 or 4 years outclassed again by a new technology. If I can find a good second hand bargain, why not.
I am also considering to upgrade by a new transport with SPDIF output, like Grimm MU1. Because the dac itself in the Nds is very similar to the dac inside the Nd555, with same brass decoupling. It’s a shame to sell it at 2k cost.

Not a binary performance comparison, more that the Node overall has a lot more functionality and flexibility vs the (now discontinued) Apple Airport Express. The bluOS app is pretty decent as well and supports numerous streaming services.
I’ve used all these options at some time or another including both the original ND5 XS and ND5 XS2 as well as NDX2.

Hi FR.
I agree on all your points. my thought on the streamer and Dac sounding better in the same box was referring to the NDS and ND555 only, because of the interior mechanical separation of the two parts, and then in addition to that, a short, direct internal factory-made connection between the two.

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Thanks for that David, I have just bought an nds and will be using it to stream Tidal to my system, I concur with your thoughts on it’s dac, I’m feeding it with xps-dr and connecting with Ethernet cable, I can’t wait to hear it!!


It’s all about the sound here…. You’d have to agree that test results that indicate zero jitter & distortion are worth paying attention to in the realm of digital sources though.

Now back to my favourite form of “streaming” with the superb NAT-05 &

I figure that at some point I may upgrade the streaming boards, but I think I would do that by adding a pre-owned ND5 XS2 to feed the stream to the NDS. I like the thought of being able to control it through system automation and therefore the Naim App. I don’t think I want to add a different control system to my setup. What is your view?
Btw, my mother was born in Montreal, née Couillard. My ancestral roots are from the Huguenots, but my Couillard ancester, a ship’s captain, arrived here thru boston in the early 1600’s. The reason I mention this, is my Aunt is doing a family genealogy and sometimes connections/info is gleened thru quite random connections at times.
My father, on the other hand, was very British.