To PSU or not to PSU?

Hi guys. My system is currently centred around a Supernait 2 playing through a pair of Linn Majik Isobariks. Front end is a CD5X with a flatcap 2X and a ND5XS streamer. I am just about to add a nice recent (2020) HiCap DR to the SN but wondered if it’s worth adding a XP5XS power supply to the streamer, so all areas then covered with a PSU of one sort of another.
So that’s the question does a XP5SX really do much to elevate the sound of an ND5XS streamer or not? Has anyone else had experience of this combination? I’m not interested in moving on up the streamer chain so please no suggestions for swapping boxes for more expensive ones and I find streaming £9.99/month Tidal perfectly acceptable with a fair bit of Iradio thrown in for good measure (there are some really good stations out there at very acceptable bit rates.
I have a second hand XP5XS in mind which is why I ask. Cheers all. Gaz

Hi Kimbleman, not heard those specific devices, but in my 40y of Naim ownership every PSU was a significant upgrade


You’d be better with an XPS2 or XPSDR. The XP5XS will improve things somewhat but you might be better with a better DAC such as NDac or Qutest. The XP5XS is the lowest in that range of power supplies. I had the ND5XS and got big improvements with a separate DAC.

The HiCap DR is a good move all round.


Though I’d agree that all Naim power supplies improve SQ, at least in my experience, I would not say they always justify the expenditure. I’ve not actually tried an XP5XS, but it doesn’t receive a lot of love on the forum and you wouldn’t be able to use it if you moved on to an ND5XS2. If you can find a suitably priced nDAC, that’s what I would recommend. It’s a genuine golden oldie.


Hi, Martin Colloms in HiFi critic reviewed the XP5XS on a ND5XS and said it gave a 20% improvement. If you search for HiFi Critic XP5XS the review is available.

I recently added a XP5XS to an nDAC and there is a lift in quality for sure. Hard to put into words, but the music just seems to flow better.

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“I recently added a XP5XS to an nDAC and there is a lift in quality for sure. Hard to put into words, but the music just seems to flow better.”

Second that.

I have an XP5XS on an NDAC and feel it is a good combo with a solid full-bodied sound that works well with most material. The NDAC (I believe) is an unusual case the the Naim range that the addition of a external PSU does not fully replace the internal PSU - I believe that the internal supply continues to power the digital circuits whilst the external one powers the analogue circuits. This means that on an NDAC there are two benefits of the external supply, firstly from splitting the analog and digital supplies, then the fact that the external PSU is potentially better than the NDAC’s own internal supply. Perhaps an XP5XS is therefore more of an upgrade on an NDAC than on the streamers - however there are others on the forum that have had good results from the XP5XS, even powering an NDS.

I have an ND5XS bare which sounds great. I wouldn’t bother adding a PS. It would be better value to replace it with an NDX (I have one of these too) for not a lot and sell the XS.

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What’s your thoughts guys on adding a Dac-Vi between my ND5XS and Supernait 2. Is it an upgrade on the internal Dac in the streamer and if so, which would be the best way to connect it up? Thanks Gaz

It’s not just a dac it is also a preamp, so there’s little to gain in adding a dac v1.
There is only 1 way to connect and that would be via bnc to bnc dig3 on the dac v1. Then you would have options from dac v1 to sn2 1) fixed output to line input, so 4 pin din to 5 pin din interconnect, or 2) variable output into sn2 av input with dac v1 as preamp, and av input switched to av bypass on.

It’s unlikely that you won’t hear an improvement but it’s always best to audition first if possible.

I have an ND5XS with a SN1 +HCDR
I haven’t heard the XP5XS, I went down the DAC route with a Chord Qutest and Witch Hat Morgana interconnects. This was a very large incremental upgrade for me

This sounds interesting. Which cables did you use (streamer to Dac and Dac to Amp). Cheers. Gaz

Streamer to DAC, just a generic no-name BNC to BNC, nothing fancy for the digital domain. My dealer supplied it FoC when I had a home demo and let me keep it.
DAC to Amp, originally an old Chord Chrysalis which was good. Replaced that with Witch Hat Morgana RCA to DIN, which was a bit overkill cost ratio of DAC to cable, but it sounds truly stunning. Probably the best VFM upgrade I have made.

Thanks for that…I’m going to have a real hard think about this. :+1:

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