The Best Things, (Come to Those Who Wait)

Had a wonderful, enlightening day - this week - contemplating next steps and trying a few things for the future. Maybe next steps, over the next year or two. I should add at the outset, I regard myself as being entirely fortunate to have found a brilliant dealer, that is patient and accommodating and works over the long term to support customers with their Hi-Fi journey. As my mother often said “patience is a virtue” and “the best things come to those who wait”. Fine platitudes. (Maybe for both parties).

In the meantime, time to think and plan ahead.
Here is a report to share.

Two basic ideas were explored…
(1) A Naim streamer, (to add to SSD archive, CD and vinyl sources).
(2) Adding new speakers.

Naim Streamer
The ND5 XS2 was the focus of interest, within our existing system setting.
To explore how to get the best from this fine streamer.

Here, shown with ATC SCM40 (passive), in white.

The ND5 XS2 isn’t much to look at.
However, its aesthetic fits perfectly amongst the other XS and Classic cases.

Own pieces were used, except new items being considered. Over an hour or so, listening to following combinations…

ND5 XS2 → Lavender DIN to DIN →
SN3 + HCDR, c/w Snaic i/c’s

Step 1 : Adding nDAC c/w DC1 i/c
Step 2 : Adding XPS DR, c/w Burndy i/c

(Note : As we already have the nDAC, this direction allows the Naim DAC to be utilised to full advantage. Adding a PSU (to the nDAC) benefits the streamer, but also a CD5 XS that we also have at home too).

Quboz was used through out.
Mostly CD quality : 16 bit / 44.1 kHz
Some HiRes tracks were also used : 24bit / 96 kHz (up-to 192 kHz)

My personal opinion, (context for readers), streaming from platforms really only comes into its own at HiRes or higher levels. I personally don’t see (hear ) much difference, compared with other formats, (such as CD or vinyl), with standard CD quality. I would even go as far as saying, if I was starting again, (a) knowing what I know now, and (b) not having any history or investment in CD and vinyl, and (c) having reached a certain system, where such differences can be discerned, I would subscribe to Quboz and Tidal, then find and save all my favourite albums in HiRes or better. I would be a happy man with just that. Needless to say, that’s not where I am. We like CD’s and vinyl records and have lots of these at home. We tend to use streaming for exploring new music and the radio. So, streaming isn’t currently a primary source. That’s just my personal opinion or bias. On the other hand, for my adult children, it’s the only way they regularly consume music.

My first impression of the streamer was entirely positive. My thoughts were it was a fine product and I would be happy to use it, as it is, bare.

Having used Innous products, I found the Naim UI App - to access and play music - a tad limiting. But it works well enough.

Adding the nDAC changes the presentation slightly. Mostly for the positive. I’m unsure it’s a significant improvement and felt more like “changed”, rather than any big improvement. A little more detail, more weight to notes.

As we have an nDAC, I would use it. But, now having listened to it with the streamer, in a different scenario, I wouldn’t rush to buy a nDAC just to add to an ND5 XS2. But wait for the next thoughts…

Interestingly, the streamer and DAC sounded better, with the ATC speakers. Maybe a more refined mid range complemented the streamer and DAC combination better. (More on that later).

Adding in a Naim PSU ( a pre loved XPS DR), onto the nDAC, was a significant moment. Very quickly, within a few bars of music, it was obvious this was an entirely desirable outcome. We then played lots of music to better understand how. Personally, I didn’t expect this step to be so obvious.

More control of the music, more detail, better bass, much quieter, etc. Possibly my end game. That good.

My conclusion was that adding the nDAC to the streamer, (by itself), whilst interesting, wasn’t so important as an adding a PSU into the equation. So, for me, it’s only when you put all three together - streamer + DAC + PSU - this is a very desirable combo’.

(Note : We originally bought the nDAC to compliment a CD5 XS and I am now thinking it maybe offers a better upgrade for that item, by itself).


The next experiment was to explore speaker options, for this same system.

Shown with PMC Twenty5.23i, in diamond black.

Having considered several floor-standing speaker options, I’m probably now at considering these two candidates, similar price point.

PMC Twenty5.23i

Both do things well, albeit differently. Some noticeable characteristic that were obviously different, which one might expect. Both have merit.

The ATC’s clearly have a strength in the mid range. Things like voice, piano, cello were all a delight. It was so obvious. This appeals to me, as I’m so used to the similarly strong mid range from my Epos ES14’s.

At louder volume (SN3 volume dial at 10 or 11 o’clock), the ATC’s really rocked. Handling louder music with such ease and control. Maybe better than all other options ?

However, it felt like it took a higher volume to bring out all the music. Like, some of the music was less apparent at lower volumes. The Basically Sound guys explained this is often noticed with closed cabinet designs, such at these 40’s, which should be balanced by their more neutral presentation over all, (compared to others design types - ported, TL, etc).

So, it seems they have a “sweet spot” (at a volume level) for listening, which I think I found ?

Although I listen at higher volumes a lot, (maybe more so just personal and solo listening ), I also wondered about the lower volumes, as this is how our music is played 80% of the time, by myself and others in the family. Particularly, by my best mate (wife).

The PMC were easy to listen to, at any volume. In particular bass notes more evident, at lowish volumes, which I liked. (Maybe a positive feature of Transmission Line design).

I felt the PMC’s were a little more accurate across the whole range. Plus, more pleasing to listen to at lower volumes, with more coming through. (Note : SN3 volume dial, less than 9 o’ clock).

For what it’s worth, I thought the ATC’s were more compact than expected. But, the PMC’s are so much more compact, by comparison. All things being equal, this might become a consideration, in our domestic environment.

But these are all fine details. I would be happy with either option and feel a few hours wasn’t enough.

I want to like the ATC’s. They really do rock.

As I’m undecided at this stage, might now wait until time of purchase and request a session at home, to make a final decision.

HiLine DIN to DIN
Lastly, at the end, having used the lavender i/c through the day, (between source to SN3), this was changed for HiLine, for the last 10-20 minutes of music.

Didn’t take long - maybe a few bars of music - to establish they add something positive. Just a little more detail and energy. So, I’m also considering adding in perhaps just 2 or 3 HiLine DIN interconnects, over time, between sources and SN3.

Other thoughts & ideas
The ND5 XS2 is now a default choice. However, I would like to listen to the new Innous Pulse when that’s available. Which should be next few months. If nothing else, to confirm thoughts about bare Naim ND5 XS2.

We ran out of time. But, if future time allows, might be interesting to listen to a Naim pre-amp and the active versions of ATC SCM40A. Although, at this stage, it’s probably more a curiosity, as it’s likely stretching my intending budget a bit too far. In any case, I’m happy to wait to see what happens with New Classic first with this idea. So no hurry.

Test tracks
(in no particular order) …
The Bad Plus : Everywhere You Turn, from “These are the Vistas” (2003).
The Blue Nile : Headlights on the Parade, from “Hats” (1989).
Madonna : Nothing Really Matters, from “Ray of Light” (1998).
KD Lang : Save Me, from “Ingenue”, (1992).
Trentemoller : Glow, from “Memoria” (2022).
Damien Rice : The Blower’s Daughter, from “O” (2003).
Nick Mulvey: Fever to the Form, from “First Mind” (2014).
Coldplay: Midnight, from “Ghost Stories” (2014).

Hope all these thoughts are interesting for others…

Anyway, head down, work hard, save cash, for a future time.
Now with a better understanding of what I’m aiming for :+1:

My sincere thanks to Tony and Graham @BasicallySound, for everything. Moving things around, explaining things, answering a myriad of questions. Plus coffee, biscuits and few jokes too.
Such a a great day. Thank you.


Image credits : Images by kind permission of Basically Sound.


Personally, I think that ATC40s need a bit more than an SN up 'em to show what they’re capable of. Even the old NAP 250DR didn’t quite do it for me when I auditioned them. Indeed, for my taste, it’s the active 40s that really bring out their best side. A NC222 + ATC40As would be a very high quality and simple system, perhaps worth an audition even if your budget would not allow immediate purchase.



Sure. I get that idea.
And part of me wishes to explore that direction. If nothing else, to satisfy a curiosity.

I also agree that the simplicity of it also appeals.
As time is on my side, let’s wait to see what else appears with New Classic.

Thanks for that thought :+1:

For me, the NSC222 into 40A’s lacked depth. However, they had been in the Van all day and were the last piece to demo.
I therefore went to Basically Sound a week later as I returned the ND5 XS2 and listened to them all warmed up, but even in the dem room I felt they didn’t give me what I was looking for.
I have heard the passive 40’s on an SN3 and enjoyed their sound more.
It just goes to show how different and individual our hearing is🤷🏻‍♂️


Hi @QuickSticks

I’m not yet convinced about the passive ATC’s myself. So time will tell.

And the NSC222 + ATC SCM40A combo is another intriguing idea, that I’m interested to investigate. But I’ll probably see what else appears with New Classic yet. As I have a hunch a pre-amp might suit me better.

In the meantime feedback such as your own comments is most helpful. Thanks for that.

As I already have the CD5 XS and a nDAC, I have a different start point and perspective. That’s probably the reason for not rushing immediately to the NSC222. Thinking the combination of what I have already, plus a stand alone streamer might be a better outcome, for several SQ and also “system building” reasons.

It was likely the same demo’ ND5 XS2 doing the work for us both. Nice :blush:

Did you go to the Basically Sound ATC event on Thursday?
SCM50A’s on demo. I went into the evening session. It was a real treat :+1:

I was supposed to be there at the 3pm slot, but my day went to ‘Rat Sh!t’ (please excuse the pun) before midday🤷🏻‍♂️

Oh dear :flushed:

Aside from the demo…
Ben, from ATC was fascinating to listen to…
Came away feeling I had learnt loads about speakers, as well as the ATC range :+1:

There was a loose suggestion Tony may arrange for a group or customer visit to their ATC factory, at some future time.


It is a ridiculous situation.
We have discovered, through the crap weather of late, that our front door has warped and leaks really seriously when the weather comes at us from the north or north east.
So I had to have the door surveyed for replacement on Thursday afternoon :man_shrugging:t2:

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It was great to read your essay on your day at the dealers. War & Peace took less time :joy:

Only joking - you’ve really put a lot of thought into which way to go and it was nice to know that your thoughts were very similar to mine. I know there are those who are somewhat sceptical about the improvements gained by power supplies - and other such “upgrades” such as power cables but they most certainly do. I was immediately struck by the difference of powering my Dac with the XPS - everything just took a huge step up - it made everything before sound dull and flat - which it wasn’t. It’s difficult to truly quantify but the smile on my face was back - I’d been feeling quite low of late - at one stage I thought I was losing my interest in music and hi-fi but the spark was back - as James May often says “It gave me the fizz”. And then I went and bought the 282/250 - and it’s all different again.
More smiles and more fizz!!

I think I’m done on the electronics side of things - may add a few better power cables and distribution block but that’s all I can see just to make sure I’m getting the best from what I have.

As you say the best things etc etc - nearly 40 years in the hobby - but Ive got there and love it!


Brilliant post :+1:
Thanks for taking time to share your own thoughts
It’s such a pleasure to share with like minded people. (Which is probably the whole point of this forum). Long may that continue …

Best wishes



Here’s a thought for you…

Dedicated mains power

I’m using PowerLine Lite through out, also mostly standard Naim lavender and NACA5. Just the addition of a Wireworld extension block to make a two gang dedicated mains power socket go further to upto 6 items.

You may have heard other state “ best upgrade ever”. Well hands down, it is.

I was fortunate to be able to do this, with other electrical work and mess, whilst we refurbished a house, prior to moving in. But appreciate not everyone can do this.

But, with a few hundred £ quid to get a qualified electrician to help with this - if it’s feasible and appropriate in your own home - probably the most significant upgrade to my hifi ever. Personally, I’d spend the money on this, first, before any fancy power cables or extension blocks. (Same as audio signal. You can’t add back in what isn’t there to start with).

So, can testify, from experience, a dedicated mains power feed for your hifi trumps any upgrades with cables. Which is why I’ve not yet gone beyond standard cabling. Yet.

Good luck with your own journey.
Do share thoughts from time to time. It’s part of the fun of the journey :+1:


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Yes those 50’s were good :+1: and Ben clearly knows his trade from the bottom up

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Nice read - thank you.
I get the feeling you don’t suffer buyers remorse frequently😂.
I’d only add timing can also be beneficial and that may work in your favour too on your planned journey - enjoy.

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@Tapp Thanks for your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed the report.

This forum is a great resource. I’ve learned so much from other members journey’s and their comments. So, I hope my own observations are useful too.

“Post cognitive dissonance” is a condition that affects us all, from time to time. It’s an interesting idea. But I suspect your observation is about right. I tend to think and plan ahead. And consider every move part of a journey, as much as anything. It’s not always linear, more likely a meander…

There’s been the odd occasion when something hasn’t worked out as intended. Adjustments can be made along the way.

I bought some third party phono cards to fit into my NAC72. On paper, they were a better specification ( z foil components) than the original items. Actually, I didn’t think they were that good and now use the originals instead.

As it’s a hobby, it can be fun, included learning things.

Yes, let’s see what else Naim give us in the year ahead. Making adjustments in the light of new options is also part of the fun of any hifi journey :+1:


Hi @ratrat

Thanks for sharing your listening experience in such a well detailed and considered report. It’s great to read your logical approach to find your next steps for improving your system and I have no doubt that your money will be well spent!


Thanks for the positive feedback and encouragement.
Part of the reason for such reports, is pay something back, (to the forum).

Maybe it’s the engineering training (in me)



I guess the main idea, (with the report), is that it takes time to pursue a system goal…
Patience, etc…

I’ve been following your own journey…
When do you think you might make the jump to a separate pre-amp?

Are you waiting to see what else appears with new Classic. Or saving pennies towards maybe a pre-loved 282 or 252 ?

BTW, love all your monochrome photos.



Good to see some love for the old nDAC.

naim streamer into nDAC/PSU is indeed a very fine digital source.


When the Solstice ‘power supplies’ appeared, I figured that a new range desgn would eventually follow, so rather than go for a 282 or 252 I would wait a little longer…

With the release of the New Classic, and the positive feedback here by new owners, it is now firmly on my radar, however I don’t want / need a streamer.

With my visit to the Bristol Show, it confirmed the appeal of the new naim product design and whilst specific future products were not naimed in my discussions with naim staff, I know there will be an upgrade solution (subject to audition) for my system in the months ahead.


Great write up. Looks like you had a fun day. Basically Sound were my go to dealer when I was at University so good to see they are still going strong :+1:

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