Recommendations for a streamer (Naim or not)

Now that my Nova has gone I am in the market for a streamer to attach to 282/HCDR/300DR combo.

  1. Go for a non Naim brand; In which case what would be recommended?
  2. Get a second hand ND5 XS2
  3. Wait for a 272 replacement?

PS: I know that a better Naim streamer would give better sound but at this stage I have no intention of splashing £2k+ on a streamer. So that’s not an option.

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Is this a joke question….?

Cough….NDX2

I see that you don’t want to spend NDX2 money but even I know that that pre/power combo really needs a streamer of equal pedigree.

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Any Naim streamer will work, but the ‘right’ level to be looking at with your amp would be something like NDX2/XPSDR.
An ND5XS2 will still work OK, even though your amp deserves better. It’s also over your stated budget.
A 272 replacement may be a worthwhile alternative, but if the original is anything to go by you will need an XPSDR to power it if you want it to be anywhere near as good as your 282, so it’s not going to be in budget either.

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Item #2. Get a used ND5 XS2 to stay within your budget. It will sound fine for now and you can move it on for no loss if you decide to upgrade. And you will be able to control it thru the Naim App with System Automation.

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I have a Bluesound Audio node 2i that is very good and inexpensive. It is a bit of a giant killer and best in its price band. It will not disgrace itself in your system and you could easily sell it for not too much cost when you eventually upgrade.

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If you do try an ND5 XS2 I’d be really interested to know how it goes. It would spare me a years worth of saving to get that instead of an NDX2 to partner with a 202/200.

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Maybe:
4. Sell the 300DR and buy NDX2/250DR

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I echo this, based on my experience of spending money needlessly for many years, sometimes ended up with a worse SQ system. Looking back, source first always makes sense, allocate as much fund as you can on a streamer or DAC, least money on your amp,

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I think the best thing you could do is get yourself to a good dealer who can let you listen to some complete, well balanced systems within your budget, and buy one. You seem to be floundering around making random decisions based on internet ‘research’ while your dealer is just taking your money and selling you expensive boxes.
Choosing an endgame system and making incremental upgrades that get you there can be a very satisfying journey.

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The ND5 XS2 is a fine streamer, can link to Qb or similar and gives the option of DAC changes as technology develops - many add a Chord device as suits a later budget. It sounds great in my system and if you can find one second hand - back to your dealer I suggest for a demo - then it will be good value and avoid the wait caused by component shortages.
When I bought mine, I did compare to the NDX2 (which was better) but I was not prepared to spend the extra at that time on a power supply which would have made the step change I expect when upgrading. I would certainly hang on to your amp - it won’t be ‘taking away’ anything from the SQ and if you chose it, why change?

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So here’s a question…. Hypothetically If one was to purchase an NDX2 and not have the intention of using it with an external PS, would that be considered a waste? Would an nd5xs2 be the more appropriate option in this case?

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I looked at this thread because I have been speculating about getting a streamer. But I am clear that my primary need would be for a CD player replacement. So before you ask for recommendations, I think you need to be clearer about why you want a streamer in the first place. It seems that your only source currently is your record player and you are looking to replace the streamer element of the Nova. So I infer that you neither have a CD player nor a CD library. If that is the case then did you use the streamer element in the Nova as a secondary source behind your record player? Or are you wanting the highest possible SQ to play digital music from Quboz or equivalent. I have a cheap streamer (Aries Mini) and that enables me to listen to the BBC or Apple Music if I want to check out some new release or other music I have read about. I’m not after the highest SQ because if something sounds really good I will buy it on LP or CD (being old fashioned in this way). So if you don’t regard music via the streamer as a primary source then you could just buy an entry level streamer like the BlueSound (the Aries mini is discontinued but well regarded and could be available second-hand). If you want high SQ then there are myriad possibilities, many of which are the subject of endless debate on this forum!

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  1. Second hand NDX

That’s what I’ve done. It feels like a better match to the standard of the rest of your equipment. And you can try Tidal.

A slightly differen suggestion. Get a transport only streamer, for example the Ifi Zen Stream or Primare Prisma NP5, but there’s likely tons of others. And spend the rest of your budget on the best DAC you can find/afford. If you’d like to stay with Naim a second hand DAC v1 should work.

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What will be your main source?

I have been using the IFI Zen stream for about a week now, brilliant little box. The upgrade in sound over just my Laptop to my Dac with USB is huge. Tomorrow I am picking up a Saturn Dac to try with it, something new made in Canada where I live. The Saturn is $4,500 Canadian dollars, so less than the Chord TT2 I used to own. Gilbert Yeung of Blue Circle designed the Dac, here is a photo of the innards, looks pretty serious, so I can’t wait to hear it. If I go for the Saturn, with the Zen stream and Sbooster I would be just over 5 K…. one third the price of a Dave here in Canada.



Also a photo of the Zen stream on top of a TT2/Mscaler…not mine.

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Have you also tried the Moon / Simaudio products? I think they’re also Canadian. Even though I’ve never heard any myself, I’ve only ever heard good stuff about them.

I have heard Simaudio at my local dealer, excellent sounding gear. I have heard a separate Pre and amp worth about $25 K, but I do not know the model I heard. On another occasion I heard a Simaudio streamer worth about $15 K ,again, not sure the model, but I was impressed.

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You could argue that the ND5XS2 is better value than the NDX2 as you are not paying for a screen, remote control, or a PSU connection you might never use. The NDX2 is clearly better though. Pair it with a Supernait and you get a nicely balanced 2 box system to my ears. It’s once you get to the more revealing 282/250 or 252/300 level that the amp starts to expose the relative limitations of the bare streamer, and that is the point at which I feel it really needs a PSU upgrade (or, as some of us prefer, a DAC upgrade.)

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Node 2 and a Qutest will sort you out nicely and absolutely will not be exposed by a 282. I am sitting listening to mine through a SCDR and 252 in to 300DR. 1500 pounds should get you there. Even the Node on its own won’t be embarrassed. Of course you can get better if you want, but it does not infer that everything else is rubbish. Go and listen to a Node 2 in to Naim if you can.

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