Totally understand. I have a similar setup. Originally I thought upgrade the dac to a Hugo but honestly I’m so happy where I’m at.
My feeling here, having had similar kit in a similar mix, is that swapping out the NAIT is not going to be a transformational change in the system you currently own.
I’d also repeat the point that I expect you’d find the Supernait 2 will be a good match and a sensible evolution of a NAIT based system.
I ran the SN2 for some time alongside a XS 2 in another system and ran an ND5 XS2 on both NAIT’s.
Changing speakers is again about system synergy in part but also about the room acoustics and dynamics that interact with them. As we all know you can take a pair of well known speakers and put them in 3 different rooms and they’ll sound either amazing or rather poor based in part on their interaction with the room, advise in that respect is mainly skewed towards system synergy rather than room interaction which is particular to all of us.
I’ve personally found the biggest shift in what my system was delivering sonically moving from the ND5 XS2 to the NDX2. I’m not using a HiCap and/or XPS on that system but did have a HiCap on both the XS 2 and later the SN2. I intended to run the current SN3 bare for a good 6 months to tune my hearing to what it was capable of, then fiddle again if needed or if I had spare funds to do PSU additions. So far no burning desire to do so.
Adding in the IsoAcoustics feet to the speakers was also an unexpected shift in what the system provided sonically. I hasten to label it an improvement but it has made the speakers seem more musical and they weren’t overly expensive to add. In adding the isolation feet I’ve not felt a need to screw the spikes and skeets back on them anyway.
Another option you could factor in here is running the ND5 you already have as a transport and feeding it in to an external DAC, a Chord Hugo 1 or 2 for example. Not a lot financially to outlay and may be a means to redefine the system signature to scratch the itch.
I think you mentioned a target budget around £5K, not sure if that includes trade in value on your NAIT XS 2 and ND5 XS2 or not however. If you add trade in of existing kit to a £5k budget that gives you a nice amount to play with, adding maybe £2800 roughly.
You could get lucky on a used or ex demo NDX2 around £4000-4500 and a SN2 that’s a sensible age around £1800-2000. That would still leave you some wriggle room on building funds up towards an XPS DR for the NDX2. Again a used one of a sensible age sitting somewhere around £2800-3000.
Remodeling that system plan around a NAC282/NAP200 as a starting point shifts the numbers up inevitably then it comes down to time and money again.
If you haven’t done so already it’s certainly worth adding in Full Fraim and Powerlines to the evolution planning as they’ll both compliment the changes elsewhere and help optimise the system for best performance.
Food for thought anyway!
For what it’s worth I did run my ND5 XS2 in to a Hugo2 for a period of time, for amusement and as I had the kit thought why not.
It does the job well, no question. It’s not however a case of one being better than the other. It wasn’t a hands down win across multiple sources and music types, to my ears and in my system. It’s a split camp, I’ve owned a Chord Mojo and Hugo 2 for a while and got them mainly for headphone listening and portable use and I enjoy the Chord sound as many here do.
Ultimately I wanted as clean, tidy and simple a setup as possible with the least amount of boxes and cables and power inputs to achieve streaming only playback. This was what prompted me to move to the NDX2 in part as it gave me improvement potential over the ND5 XS2 (including the option to add an XPS DR later) and it also happened to occur at the same time I moved from a SN2 to a SN3. The SN3 is to my mind an improvement over the SN2 but not by a massive degree, I’d be as happy with a SN2 driving an NDX2 as many on here are also. The minor plus of the SN3 being it has a MM Phono input but that’s primarily a nice to have ultimately, you can work around that easily enough.
I could quite easily add the Hugo 2 back in to the current setup but chose not to partly as it’s connected elsewhere and doing a good job in another room and I want to keep the clutter to a minimum, I could A-B test it back and forth and ultimately conclude that the Hugo 2 is a preferable DAC to the one inside the NDX2, but then I’m prioritising clutter over ultimate fine tuning, and the NDX2 is continuing to settle in and impress me with doing all the work itself.
If he was to add a Chord Dac, maybe a Qutest would be a good choice if neither preamp or headphone amp is needed?!?
You are likely saving me a bunch of time in the future. It’s good to know others have/had our dilema.
Yes, basically a Hugo 2 without the flexibility, however a used Hugo 2 is about the same cost as a new or nearly new Qutest. So on that basis, even if you got a Hugo 2 and tried it and didn’t gel with it, you have a decent headphone amp and desktop
DAC, now you can add the 2Go as well and make it a streamer.
I got mine mainly to use as a desktop headphone amp wired to a Mac running Audirvana. I didn’t buy it to add it to the ND5 basically, I happened to have it and gave it a go!
NDX 2 it is then.
Good point, probably get the same amount of money you paid for it if it’s a definite no and sold straightaway. Did you have any humming issues with the Hugo on the SN2?
I followed the SN2 vs SN3 thread. Apparently the two are just different than one better than the other.
SN2 seems to have more grip and power, and SN3 more refinement and soundstaging.
For 5k, a second hand SN2 with Ndac for Nd5xs2 would be the most uplift for money I feel.
Someone recently reported preferring Ndx2 / Ndac vs Ndx2 alone.
As for Chord, it’s a bit out topic here. And I am quite sure, having followed Stephen, that Chord would not be on his tastes.
No, I just ran it off its internal battery, perhaps if it was USB powered you might have those concerns?
Ordinarily I have it wired in to a Mac Mini, also my Roon Server, then on to my AV amp in the tv room.
If I’m out and about or travelling with work (vaguely remember that stuff) I tend to use the Mojo/Poly primarily as it’s smaller and lighter and when I got the Hugo 2 there was no 2Go module for it equivalent to the Poly on the Mojo.
These smaller DAC’s I got at a time when I’d had the original ND5 XS and got rid of it as I found it fell short of my expectations at that time, I also wasn’t in a position to consider a move to an NDX or NDS either so looked at something I could use within a desktop system and potentially at work or whilst travelling. I also got an iFi iDSD Nano and later Micro DAC’s around the same time. I still have those and experimented with them further as they support MQA so it gave me some means of comparison. I don’t use them anymore however and they’re awaiting reallocation to new homes.
I may get a 2Go module for the Hugo2 as it has an RJ45 Ethernet input and can act as a standalone streamer/DAC and connect directly to the amp with just an Ethernet Input. On my Lockdown tinkering list still that one…
Out of curiosity, what interconnect did you use to connect the Hugo to the SN2?
I’ve owned all versions of the Supernait and with respect to the SN3 which is in my current system I would say it is more polished and refined than the SN2 mainly concering soundstage and reduced mid/upper mid congestion. I wouldn’t say it’s a massive departure in terms of sound signature to the SN2, it’s just had a bit of polish added. Without the MM Phono input it would be a SN2.5
I think it’s a tougher call for an existing SN2 owner than say a 5 Series or XS Series owner. I’ve actually been pondering getting another SN2 to put on fromt channels in a 5.1 system. It’s an amp I know and trust and that can be found used right now for very good prices, UK at least. Comparing it in terms of price and performance against the SN3 and If I was looking to move from an XS NAIT today I’d pick the SN2 and allocate what’s left to improve the source as much as possible.
The nDAC will always pop up in these sorts of discussions, yes its a solid performer but you have to factor how it performs standalone vs with it’s own PSU driving it as well as box count and system synergy.
It’s a personal view but I prefer having as few boxes as possible and optimise without adding too much clutter and extraneous cabling. Certainly a nDAC is a fairly cost effective experiment, around £800-1000 on average used but ultimately designed to perform at its best with its own PSU XPS or 555, so you’d be left with that niggle of can I make it work more for me and having to add a PSU to prove the point.
If the option under consideration here is to change the DAC and keep the ND5 as a transport I’d be inclined to spend a similar amount on a Hugo2/Qutest. I’d expect that to achieve better system synergy and bring more sonic refinement.
I’ve tried most of these combinations and settled in the NDX2 + SN3 as it standa currently. I know more is possible but my priority is maximising system performance from as few boxes as possible. I’ve always had a leaning towards NAIT’s anyway despite brief side projects with NAC/NAP systems!
All good fun…
It’s a Chord Company Chorus Reference RCA to DIN5
The problem is that you will thinking after on xps dr…
I wonder would be the best way to connect my ND5 XS 2 to a NDAC if i were to choose this option?
Simple, you just need an SPDIF cable with BNCs on both ends.
Stephen, that’s easy; connect via a Naim DC1 BNC - BNC.
I would go source first. I used to run 82-250.2 but sold it for a recaped nait 2 (!), and now for an integrated Lejonklou Boazu (Swedish very musical amp). Of course the pre-power is much better in power and Hifi-terms, but the nait2 (now in second system) and now the LK sounds incredible musical. I then put more into the source.
I used to live with a bare Ndac with a good streamer for many years. With a power line it is really good and great value for money. Would start with it!
Yes i’m really warming to the Naim DAC now. This would never of crossed my mind until @trickydickie mentioned it earlier in this thread. I have to say this has been whizzing around in my mind ever since. My heart is telling me to go source first at this point, so the NDAC seems like a very good value for money and a seriously alternative option to consider, especially in the context of my current system.
Going for a NDAC will help to free up some funds in other areas too. I might even hold off the urge to upgrade my amplifier at this time also. Of course this is all just guess work at the moment and if the NDAC doesn’t pay off in terms of performance then at least i can maybe move it on without even any financial loss.
As you might of guessed by now, i think i have just talked myself into what path i’m going to tread.
Thank you forum