Pre-amp for NDX

This is my first post in the Naim Forum. I have been a Naim user - Nac 272 +XP5XS for just over a year and am delighted with the sound I have from the Naim streamer/pre-amp into my valve power amp.
I am about to buy a second-hand NDX and will obviously need a pre-amp. Should I sell the Nac 272 and buy a pre-amp or should I just keep the 272 and utilize the pre-amp facility from this?

As you have a 272, why buy an NDX? You’d be better trading the XP5XS for an XPSDR.

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It seems a bit mad to add an NDX to a 272, unless it is for the short term. Where are you heading?


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If you are going with separates and buying the NDX then I would trade in the 272 for a 282. …or a 202 if the money is tight.

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Sounds a bit strange to go to an old NDX. A 282 or 252 is a good companion to a NDX.

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Thanks for advice. Done lots of reading on this forum and thought that the NDX would be a real step up from the 272. I take it I am right in thinking that I cannot connect the NDX directly to my power amp but will need a pre amp or a dac/pre amp.

You are right.

Would an NDX be a real step up from a 272? Surely a better PS for the 272 would yield better results? Upgrading to a 282 seems the logical step if you buy the NDX but maybe listen to PS options on your 272 first. Many here rate the 272/555 combo very highly.

Personally I’d think about adding a 250DR to your set up instead of your Valve power amp and then upgrading the 272’s PSU.

Well given the NDX needs a preamp, almost certainly an NDX with 282 HiCapDR will be a performance upgrade on the 272… off board power-supplies can be added to both 272 or NDX if preferred.
Even if all things were equal having the NAC and Streamer decoupled is going to improve performance, which of course is part of Naim’s performance strategy.

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Help!!! Got the NDX and connected it to a little Bel Canto integrated amp. Sounded really good. Then tried to connect NDX to 272. Ran into all sorts of problems. Can someone give me some advice on how best to connect the two units (yes I know it’s mad to try to utilise the preamp from the 272 but I would like to try). So should input from CD, phono and Sonos go to ndx or 272? Thanks for any help.

I would try l what worked with the Bel Canto first. What exactly is wrong with that? I hope you took analog out of the NDX into the Bel Canto.

After that, if you assume the DAC in the NDX is better than the one in the 272, you might want to test that assumption by connecting digital sources to the NDX instead of directly into the 272.

Finally, it could be amusing to run digital out of the NDX into the 272 DAC; though if that sounds best of all, I would be a bit surprised, and it would call into question what benefit the NDX brings, at its significant price. To be fair, I run my NDX through a separate Naim DAC — so maybe locating the DAC away from the streamer trumps moving it away from the pre, all DACs being equal (which they usually aren’t).

Interested in your findings.


Thanks for your help, Nick. I will spend some time trying the various options. I ran into trouble when I connected the ndx to the 272 using analogue but I think this may have been a Network problem.
I have a feeling that using the ndx into the Bel Canto might be the way to go. I can then p/ex the 272 for an xps or even a nap 250 (having said that I am pretty attached to my David Berning valve amp). The pre-owned ndx was a bit of a bargain (2017 model for £1475) so I think I would be silly not to make use of it. Thanks again for the suggestions.

Decision made! NDX analogue into 272. XP5XS on NDX. Digital outputs, CD, phono, fm, sonos into 272. 272 analogue out to David Berning valve amp then Focal Diablos. Sounds really good. Will keep me smiling for a bit.

Good news!

Only if you are curious — if you want to try digital out of the NDX, popular wisdom is to then move the power supply to the 272, I believe. Otherwise, I think you are probably at optimal the way you are.


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Thanks for your interest, Nick. I will give that a try.

Nick is right. Either the DAC and output stage on the NDX is better than the 272, or it isn’t. If the NDX sounds better than a bare 272 then all digital sources should go to the NDX. If digital sources are sounding better direct to the 272, I’d question the benefit of the NDX at all.

I’d expect (but have never compared) the NDX to comfortably outperform the 272 as a digital source.

Thanks for your help Nick. Tried digital out from NDX into 272 and moved XP5XS to 272 - result is really good!! I have to say the difference between digital output and analogue is not huge but there seems to be a pleasant filling out of the sound when using the digital output - definitely more separation between instruments and more attack in the bass. Now to start saving for the XPS!!

No advice or guessing beats an actual test. Thanks for reporting. Many will benefit from your shared experience.


Hi, what I would suggest, if you are saving for kit, then I would save for a 282 or better and trade the 272 in… almost certainly that will give you a significantly better performance, and bang for your buck.
Decoupling the transport from the DAC, as you have done, absolutely can bring benefits, I do it and have often advocated it on the forum. But decoupling the NAC (preamp) typically provides many more sonic benefits. Separation and decoupling is part of the Naim approach to better sound.
Just a thought…