Streaming Options for 82/180 - Help Please!

Dear All

Like many others I am a bit confused by all the options for replacing a CD source with a streaming source. I currently have an 82/Hicap/180 setup. My budget for adding streaming components is £1000, I am happy to go second hand if need be. At the outset I intend to play music from a wired hard disc (not NAS) connection, using a supplied remote or iPod Touch as control device. Can someone please help me with advice on the following:

  • Does the Unitiqute2 or Unitilite have an outlet so I can connect my 82 or is there only a connection for a separate power amp? Also, if I can connect the 82 to the 'qute or lite would this really offer me any improvement on sound quality over just using the preamp in the 'qute or lite with the 180 as power?

  • I could sell the 82/Hicap/180 to fund purchase of a Superuniti?

  • I could sell the 82/Hicap to fund purchase of a 172 and keep the 180?

  • Buy a mac mini and get a DAC? This seems like a lot of faff…

  • Looking at other manufacturers, the Cambridge Audio gear seems to get a good write up. Does anybody have any experience of these?

…or are there other options I have overlooked?

The only other option I have thought of is to get a Hi-Res player (like a Walkman) and connect this to the 82 using headphone to Din cable, though I doubt this will be comparable in sound quality?

I realise this is a bit of a rambling post with a lot of question marks.
Thank you for any help from anybody.

You could get a Naim DACv1, use a Naim DIN interconnect with your NAC82 and then feed the DAC over Async USB via your smartphone using the streaming service of your choice to get the hang of it. At a later date you could introduce a dedicated streamer.

-Edit- sorry missed the Hard Drive part… Forget my reply, you will need something to present the hard drive to your system…

You might be able to find a used Naim HDX at a really keen price which would allow you to connect your USB connected hard drive to the analog inputs of your amp.

It can also double as a upnp server for that music to anything on your home Ethernet network and has a decent DAC.

Or indeed. Cambridge Audio’s CXN (V2) is a network streamer than accepts a USB input hard drive and will via it’s DAC analog output to RCA for your budget (new). You would need a DIN to RCA cable. Don’t know much about it, other than it’s pretty well priced for it’s functionality.

Or maybe the bluesound node2I which is cheaper again. The only question I have on that one is if it can work with a USB hard drive as opposed to a USB memory stick. According to this : it sort of works… but with limitations.

I would not trade an 82 for a 172
There’s good streamers below 1000 gbp already mentioned
That’s where I would look

I think the answer depends a bit on what CD player you are currently using? If you have something like a Naim CDX2 then you will be looking at an NDX to equal that as a streaming source. There’s no point going down in quality just to switch to streaming.

If your sights are a little lower (the options tend to suggest this) then looking for a used ND5XS would be viable. I don’t feel a Uniti series component is sufficient to pair with an 82/180.

Do you have any other sources, e.g. vinyl? If you don’t then another option could be to wait for a used NAC 272 to come up. With the money from the sale of the 82 and Hicap you wouldn’t be far off budget wise.

Having said all this I would probably save a little more and wait for a nice used NDX. This would go very well with the 82/Hicap/180.

You will need to host your files somewhere. The older Naim streamers do not take a wired hard disk connection. As an interim solution you could put the files on a computer and use Asset to serve the files and move to a NAS when funds allow. @marka makes a good suggestion with the HDX if you can locate a nice one. This would resolve your file hosting challenge as well and would sound very nice. They are complex units though and have been discontinued for a while.

Don’t sell your preamp, the drop in sound moving to an all in one box will be large!
The older generation of Naim streamers need a NAS, not a USB hard drive, so although you might get a used one for a good price, you will need to accept that.
Marka’s suggestion of an HDX is a good one if you only want to rip and play CDs, but a streamer opens up a whole new world of online musical sources.

I travel a lot, so use a Sony portable player (NW-ZX2) which has very good sound quality. If you would use it with headphones too, that could be a worthwhile option. (I think @james_n does this, perhaps he would care to comment?

Thank you all for the input.

It appears that the general consensus is that the 82 is a keeper. I am glad about that, I love it. I sold my CDX2 some years ago, I just didn’t use it enough. No vinyl.

The option of the HDX is interesting, but the NDX appears to be more future proof in terms of additional features and offers streaming, but of course I would need to save for a NAS. Is it the case however that a ND5XS can be attached to a normal hard drive and doesn’t need a NAS? That would swing the balance in its favour, as surprise surprise I would be well over budget with either solution, though less so with the ND5XS.

So if a regular HD can be connected the decision is down to a ND5XS or a streamer from A.N.Other.

Having said that, James N or anyone else using a mobile hi-res player with their setup I would still be keen to hear from you?

And just for clarity, does anyone know if any of the Qute series can be connected to a separate preamp?

None of the older generation streamers can run from a USB hard drive. You would need a new ND5XS2, NDX2, ND555 or Uniti for that I’m afraid.

A Unitiqute could be used as a streaming source but again, will not play from a USB hard drive.

Another possibility would be to use a computer. Either use it instead of a NAS, with a UPnP server running on it, or run it as a player into a USB DAC such as a Naim V1 or Chord.

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@davebrubeck, no offence intended but how “computer savvy” are you? There are el cheapo solutions that can help dip your toes in the streaming world.

But whatever you decide, do not sell the very fine 82/HC/180 that you’ve already got :slight_smile: :slight_smile: …except perhaps a second HC?

As Chris says, this could be a good option particularly if you want a portable option that can be plugged in at home too. I’ve used the ZX2 in this way with a Naim Nait 1 (just using a simple 3.5mm to 5 pin DIN cable from Flashback cables) and very good it is too. Worth thinking about if you want a flexible source for home and travel use.

At the risk of sounding like I’m a bit obsessed with it, I find myself thinking of the Innuos Zen Mini yet again! Bang on budget at £1000, I think it will do everything you want.
The new Mk 3 version has a DAC, so you can use it straight into your preamp. If you later decide to upgrade, you can add a separate DAC from its SPDIF or USB output, or a streamer from its network connection.
It will give you a hard drive to store your music, a CD ripper, downloader, internet radio, Tidal, Qobuz, BBC iPlayer, etc.


If you are in the Apple eco system, you could do worse than a Macmini.

I haven’t actually heard the analogue output of the Zen I mentioned above, but with a Mac, I’m not sure you’d want to use it without a separate DAC.

I am using a Bluesound Node 2, with a SSD plugged into the back. It works flawlessly and the SSD is, naturally, silent which was why I wanted that solution. I use it wax an external DAC, and the SQ is pretty decent.

Answering a specific question from a few posts back, ND5XS is just a cheaper version of NDX, so there is nothing you could do with an ND5 XS that you couldn’t do with an NDX.

And you could do anything with an ND5XS that you could do with an NDX, but an NDX will sound better.



I used a ex demo NDX with a 82 olive system for several years and it was a superb combination well worth thinking about.

As others have mentioned an NDX would be a good start seen these used for about £1600 personally save a bit more and wait for the NDX and dont sell the 82 its a great pre.

I used an NDX with 82 HC 135s until last year when I swapped the 82 for a 52/Supercap. It was a great combination, really good listening to music on it.

If you want Tidal Hi Fi proceed with caution. There are a lot of reports of problems with Tidal on the older generation streamers on the forum.