First post here but I have read any posts over the last couple of years here… this in part helped me move up from the Nait 5si to the supernait 2. Since settling on the system below 2-3 years back I’m now looking at how to improve things further.
I store all music on a QNAP NAS and files are Flac 16 & 24bit and I use Roon as a method of playing music. From time to time I add Qobuz streaming but I prefer to buy and store music locally.
Naim Supernait 2
Node 2 Streamer
Bowers & Wilkins CM6 S2
Tellurium Q Black speaker cable and interconnects
Now, I know the Node 2 is the weakest element but I’m looking for best bang for buck in terms of sound quality and have been looking at the following options…
Naim ND5 XS2 (NDX2 out of reach at the moment) or…
Replace the Audiolab M-Dac+ with a Naim DAC-V1 or…
Add a HiCap DR to the Supernait 2 and a linear power supply to the Node 2 (Fidelity Audio)
Rob a bank and do all 3
The room is a small office (photographer / Illustrator). So, there is no escaping all fan noise but I have it down to a minimum due to upgrading systems to Noctua silent fas etc. The current system has good sound stage but it would be nice to improve on what I have. Good detail while improving control of low/mid range.
Given I cannot get out to listen to any new gear (Covid-19 lockdown UK) it would be great to hear any thoughts, suggestions on how to improve on the current system. Cheers
I’m a happy SN2/ND5 XS2 owner. It’s a match made in heaven (or at least Salisbury). I’ve heard the NDX2 many times, and honestly don’t hear a big difference between it and its cheaper sibling, especially with the SN2. Others here will strongly disagree.
The HiCap is nice, but I imagine (without knowing anything about the Node 2) that a Naim streamer will be a spectacular upgrade.
Excellent… if I went down this route I’ll probably sell the M-Dac+ .It is probably the preferred option but wasn’t sure if I’m missing out on other options that haven’t ben considered!
As for myself on a poor man’s budget, building on the SN2 and an ND5XS2 I will add the HiCap to complete a three box setup. Without spending a bundle or robbing a bank I’m expecting to get good sound quality without necessarily reaching the summits. Might also add that I’m feeding the streamer by Ethernet, have installed a dedicated mains outlet for the HiFi only and tomorrow will receive a Hi-line interconnect to try.
Yeah, also only using ethernet connection with cat6. Sounds like a good plan adding the HiCap to those two. Leaning more towards the ND5 XS2 now. The setup your describing would likely be my end goal as well. It should offer great sound quality without going too crazy. I think I’ll also replace my Archer C9 router as well… was looking at the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD.
The router is another can of worms. You’ll find that many here are using the Cisco 2960 variations, including myself, for good reason. There are threads on this subject here…if you’re prepared to read hundreds and hundreds of posts. The Cisco 2960s can be found used for around 100 USD or less. I have two of these and zero complaints. Don’t even think about the stupid network anymore.
Budget in mind I’d be inclined to get the ND5 XS2 which will act as a Roon endpoint and replace your Audiolab DAC and Node 2.
Adding a HiCap to the SN2 gives a meaningful uplift in the performance, beyond that it’s mostly down to budget and appetite.
I’ve seen Cisco 2960 switches… would adding that on to the existing Archer C9 be ok?
“Mr.M” Not sure what I’d get selling the m-dac+ and node but it should be a reasonable bit off the ND5 XS2.
Ultimately, the HiCap DR is half the price of the ND5 and I’ll add that after spending time with the ND5. After that, power cables etc. I already have the hifi gear on it’s own circuit.
I’ve owned a SN2 + HiCap DR and until quite recently ran both with an ND5 XS2, I think if I had to pick which to do first I’d still stick with the ND5 in your case, as you say you can add the rest as and when budget allows and I’d expect that to give the most improvement vs the other things you can change or add in to your system.
I’d also see what options are available to you through the dealer network. As dealers are still able to trade there may be a deal to be done on a demo ND5 or you may find you can trade in what you have to keep things simple, even if it means the ND5 is a little cheaper as a result of that. The reality here is that most manufacturers including Naim aren’t making and shipping new products so the dealers who do have demo stock will likely be more willing than usual to do a deal on a demo unit rather than have it sitting in a closed showroom gathering dust.
@anon23154165 You’re probably using your Archer for WiFi as well. If you wanted to try a Cisco 2960 I’d place it after your Archer on one it’s free ethernet ports, if you have any left, and feed your streamer directly from the Cisco. There will probably be opinions on this as well. My fiber feed arrives into my ISP’s modem router, supplying wifi, and from there I use one its ethernet ports to feed 2 Apple TVs and four streamers from the Cisco using full loom BJC Cat 6a. Good enough for me, as I say, I’m no longer ripping my hair out on network questions.
Sounds like solid advice.
Ran a SN2 with ND5SX2
Found the hi cap DR a lift in sound and more punchier
Upgrade to NDX2 was a big improvement in sound detail. Suprised others don’t think so.
Adding a separate power supply to the NDX2 was also a big improvement in sound. Cymbals, snare drums and pianos more lifelike.
One other big improvement was room treatment.
I also agree on the NDX 2 vs ND5 XS2. I ran an ND5 from new for a year to see how I got on with it, almost entirely driving a SN2 + HiCap DR combo. It is a very capable streamer/DAC I found and for me it enabled me to declutter my setup and untether from a MacBook + Audirvana + USB DAC type setup.
The NDX2 I have is running of internal PSU but is to me more relaxed and refined, not to say the ND5 isn’t very good at the price it’s available at. The main issue for many is the big leap in cost to the NDX2 especially when you factor in the “must have” XPS or 555 PS. Put simply, if it wasn’t even a bit better for that much money I’d be worried!
“Mr.R” For me, an NDX2 is something in the next 3-5 years probably. If I go with the ND5, it will turn 3 boxes into two for now. I’ll take your advice and reach out to some dealers to see if I can get a good deal on the ND5 I think.
“David Paris” At the moment, I have the streamer and NAS are directly connected to the router then one port leads to two separate switches that are for office & TV use only. In this situation I’d just connect the Cisco to the port that the stream has at the moment and then move NAS & Stream to that switch.
I had an SN2 for a number of years (5-6) and found it quite capable of revealing improvements to the source. Depending on your budget, an ND5XS or NDX2 would be right at home and a big improvement. As will adding power supplies for either of those streamers (but I would not bother with any other than XPS2 or higher, and power supplies often can be found gently used at a nice discount).
The older series NDX, NDS are fine sources too, but you won’t have the more-modern streamer module; I’d go for the current models. I’m sure that those are starting to show up gently used as well, from people who are trading up.
Naim DAC (or a Chord DAC) and keep your Bluesound Node as streamer? Certainly more cost effective, and possibly also better sound quality than the ND5XS2…
Yep, that was option number 2. It was not knowing how the Naim DACV1 would compare with the M-DAC+. I know of a dealer with a lightly used one for about £750. If I did this, I’d go with a linear power upgrade for the Bluesound Node 2 all in for about £1300 (DAC and Linear Upgrade).
But, the big question is whether the DACv1 will etc give the same level of lift as the ND5 XS2… decisions decisions!
The Naim DAC and DAC-V1 are not the same — the former is much better, and I would expect it to outperform the ND5XS2. But I haven’t done a comparison — others might have first-hand experience.
Thanks… I’ll avoid going down that avenue then.
I’ve contacted one dealer who has a ND5 XS2 (Ex-Display). Going to see what type of deal he is prepared to offer. Got all excited when I seen one offer say £1750…then noticed it was the ND5 XS and not the latest version!
Always difficult when comparing the various options as they aren’t like for like especially with the options past and present from Naim as you correctly point out.
It should also be a balance across a number of touch points also, cost, box count, cabling complexity, ease of use, sound quality, potential to improve/enhance further in future and so on.
As you have a seperate digital transport and DAC you could explore the nDAC which is very capable but bare in mind it’s discontinued and mot actively updated anymore and arguably is at its best with an external PSU like many Naim products are.
The DAC V-1 is unlikely to be a good fit as it’s primarily designed as a desktop/Computer DAC/Headphone Amp/Preamp and is quite likely to be discontinued soon if various recent discounted offers are anything to go by.
I don’t think you’d find the ND5 XS2 lacking at all and you get all you need in one box that will match well with your SN2, you should be able to pick up one under a year old for around £1800, probably a little less if you shop around.