Streaming advice sought please

Hi. Though I have just joined the forum I have been following it for some time, especially the system pictures threads.

I am contemplating getting into streaming but I find it a bit of a minefield TBH. I would like something that gives me access to on-line music services without needing any form of additional hardware beyond a router (no computer or NAS etc.), much in the same way that I can ‘stream’ video content from the likes of YouTube and Amazon through my smart TV or I-pad. I have noticed that the ND5 XS models have dropped to circa £1000 on the used market. Would they perform this function?

Also, if I could ‘copy’ files from something like I-tunes or similar onto an external hard drive that powers from the USB socket of the ND5 XS then that could work for me. Our TV (Loewe) has a hard drive attached in the back - could I operate the Naim in a similar way?

Is it possible to ‘stream’ music directly from an I-pad? If so, would I need a Bluetooth version of the Naim. Alternatively would a long I-pad to USB connector plugged into the from USB slot work?

Does the ND5 XS have any streaming services built-in? In terms of audio quality, is it similar to a Uniti 2 or better?

Finally, being a previous generation model, would it support ‘multiroom’ by linking to something like a Muso or a Uniti/Unitilite used in another room.

Any advice/experience on this would be greatly received.


The Nd5xs has in built streaming online Tidal. However the sound is a bit better when streaming from a nas or server.
The new generation, Nd5xs2 stream Tidal ( only cd quality albums) and will be able to stream also Qobuz ( 16/44 cd and hirez).
However some use only Tidal with the old streamers, without streaming locally stocked files.

Hi Alex, welcome to the forum.
The ND5XS has built in support for Tidal, Spotify and internet radio, but that’s all. The Bluetooth model will allow you to play stuff from an iPhone or iPad, but the sound quality will not be that good.
What it boils down to is that it’s based on streaming hardware that was developed over a decade ago, and its intended purpose was really streaming from a hard drive attached to your home network. The streaming tech in the current models is much more capable, and if web based streaming services are a priority for you, I think you might find that these are much better suited to your needs.
Regarding multiroom, all Naim streamers of any age can be grouped together, with the exception of a few of the very earliest models, which would need a hardware upgrade from Naim to do it.

Hi Alex

I’m also a new forum member and a new Naim owner.

I spent a long time researching a streaming system and ended up with a Naim refurbed Uniti Star. This unit does all you are looking for. I would suggest maybe a second hand or refurbished Uniti Atom which also covers all of your bases at a lower cost.

However, I suspect you already have an amplifier that you intend to keep so maybe another solution would be better. There are quite a few small streaming units that would do the trick. One of the newest I can think of is the well regarded Primare NP5 Prisma; this will take your HDD and has Bluetooth, although it’s not clear which version. Another similar option is the Auralic Aires Mini but I’m not sure if that’s still a current product.

There are of course many, many other options!

Hope this is of some use.


Thank you for your responses.

From what has been said, for web-based streaming, the 2nd generation Naim streamers are based on a better platform. Is this effectively the new full-width range, new Uniti range and Muso?

It might be that saving extra for the new ND5 XS2 as it might be a better option, though I am not so keen on the idea of not having a display screen.

Has anyone attached a large hard disc to the USB port on any of the streamers? Does that work and give good results?

It is worth me taking a look at what Tidal and Spotify have to offer. If they deliver a wide range of CD quality music then I would be happy.
Does anyone use an I-pad to ‘stream’ to an ND5 XS then the streamer effectively handles the DA conversion and output to the amp?

Sorry, a few more questions but I want to make sure I go the right route with this. There seem to be a lot of people still using the gen 1 streamers and I assume that some of those are solely web-based streaming systems.



All of the current range run the new streaming tech, and yes, you can use a USB drive for your local library.
Tidal will give you lossless streaming, as will Qobuz when Naim release an update to support it, but Spotify is not lossless.
When you use an iPad or iPhone, the music data is not streamed via that device. It just works as a controller, the bits go straight to the streamer over your network.

I have a ND5 XS2 and don’t miss the screen at all. I used my iPad to control the streamer and everything I would want to see if right in front of me rather than across the room. I actually view screen as a negative, in that it is distracting and something that can go wrong eventually. Since it doesn’t contribute to sound quality I’d rather not pay for it.

The ND5 XS2 sounds wonderful and I’ve been very pleased with it.

1 Like

I have a NDX2 and now that I’ve had it a while find myself almost never using the screen, and have it configured to turn off while playing. FWIW: 100% of my use of it is as a Roon controller for locally attached storage, Qobuz, TIDAL (only until the special expires), and internet radio.

The bottom line is, do not dismiss the ND5XS2 for its lack of a screen. It’s unnecessary.

1 Like

I completely agree. A display screen may visually look quite attractive, but from a control perspective is entirely unnecessary. You will ideally use an iPad, but potentially an iPhone or android tablet or phone as your control device using the Naim app. I really cannot conceive envisage operating a streaming system directly from the streamer itself via an on-board display.

I used to have an ND5XS (mark 1) with which I made my first foray into music streaming, and which I enjoyed for a while. However, I would be inclined to pay a little extra if at all possible for an NDX (mark 1) on the used market, or better still an ND5XS2 which by all accounts sounds significantly better in a number of ways.

I have done a bit more research and the ND5 XS2 looks like a better option for me/our home. As long as the unit works reliably then the lack of a screen should not be an issue. The streamer would go in the main ‘lounge’ rig and would need to operate by wifi to start with though a cable could be installed from our router long-term.

Regarding multiroom, we currently have a hifi system in the main bedroom and one in the office. Assuming some form of Naim streaming item was added to/substituted for each one, could the ND5 XS2 act as the ‘system hub’ in a multiroom setup and would all the other items need to be the latest generation to receive all the online services through the ND5 XS2? Basically, could I get away with a used Unitiqute at circa £600 or a gen 1 Muso or would I need an Atom or gen 2 Muso in order to play/use things like Chromecast that are streamed via multiroom through the ND5 XS2?

Naim streamers of all ages will work in Multiroom mode. The only exceptions are the very early models with 24/96 streamer boards, which would need to be returned to Naim for a hardware upgrade. So before buying, it’s probably best to confirm with the buyer that it has the later 24/192 board fitted.
Also, I believe the old streamers cannot receive a Chromecast or AirPlay stream over Multiroom, although I no longer have one to test this.

Hi AlexP I wonder if you picked up on ChrisSU’s point that
“Spotify is not lossless”
It’s pretty poor if you are expecting CD quality.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.