Uniti Core vs ND5XS2 vs NDX2 on digital streaming output

I am using a ROCK NUC feeding the Dave via USB. Thinking to get a Core, ND5XS2 or NDX2 to connect the Dave via coaxial digital, but don’t know which one provides better streaming digital output. Some member mentioned that the ND5XS2 has the same streaming board as NDX2, is that mean they have the same digital quality? what about Uniti Core?

I also have a spare XPSDR. will it improve the digital out of the NDX2? Appreciate for any comment or experience in this regard.

Stick with what you already have

…that’s not going to go down well with some!!

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Hi Ken, when you say ROCK NUC, do you mean Roon? If so, the Naim Core isn’t much use to you. Roon can see the Core music folder, but it’s not a Roon endpoint, so cannot be controlled by Roon when using its coax output. The ND series streamers, on the other hand, make great Roon ‘endpoints’.
An XPS is a great upgrade to a Naim streamer, although I’m not sure if it would be worthwhile when using the digital output. To my ears, the ND5XS2 sounds as good as the NDX2 (without XPS) when used as a transport into Dave, so I’d say that is probably best use of funds.

I do not think that the Core is a viable alternative to the NUC for the task: it runs a very limited player + server, has no support for internet radio and streaming services and the quality of its SPDIF output is little known.

The ND5XS2, the NDX2 and the ND555 use the same NP800 streaming board. However, they have different power supplies and the power supply can have an impact on the quality of SPDIF outputs.

Why do you want to replace the NUC with a Naim streamer? If you do not plan to use the DAC of the ND5XS2 (NDX2) and you want to feed the Dave via SPDIF, why do not you use a transport instead of a DAC? Something like the dCS Network Bridge, the Chord 2go + 2yu, the Meridian 210, the Primare NP5, etc.?


Back in the day when I had a Hugo 1 & NDX, my dealer tested an XPS on the NDX into the Hugo. We were both surprised at the difference it made to the digital output. However, whether it was a cost-effective upgrade is another matter. It was quite worthwhile though, especially if you had a spare one lying around…

Absolutely, the digital output as as sensitive as the analogue output, and benefits from a good stable low impedance powersupply…

Going back a few years, just prior to the NDS, I remember hearing a NDX/555PS driving a NDAC/555PS and it was amazing.

With the current streamers, the NDX2 sports a slightly larger powersupply than the ND5XS2 and in my experience provides the edge as a transport… and I am sure with very much diminishing returns would improve further with a separate powersupply… however I prefer the NDX2 standby and circuit standby optimisation circuitry which is bypassed with an external PSU.

However I do use a two stage PSU with my Hugo1 now, and that has made a worthwhile improvement in deep bass resolution when coupled with my 552 (as distinct from strength) which was quite surprising. To me it narrows the gap in bass resolution performance with the DAVE that I owned for a short while

There’s a post on the old Naim forum from a Naim employee going through the various combinations (ND5XS, ND5XS + XPSdr, NDX, NDX + XPSdr etc) into an nDac. Result: no difference.

Save your money. Buy a ND5XS2 and sell the XPS.

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I don’t think so., definitely not mine and many peoples experiences… it is quite noticeable. The NDAC has the reputation of being sensitive of transports, mine was.
With the NDX, there was a difference with the 555PS into the NDAC/555PS… although I didn’t go for it on my then system.

However if you can’t hear any difference, sure then go for the most basic model… and of course theND5XS2 has no option for off board PSU.

If you want the display, Zigbee control and slightly larger powersupply you will need the NDX2.

I am currently using a Bluesound Node 2 as a digital source for a Chord Qutest DAC. Recently I have been curious to see whether an upgrade for the Bluesound will achieve an uplift worthy of the expense. The difference between digital sources is a great subject to start an argument on threads here. For me, the ND5X2 is the most that I could pitch at, and while it would be nice to match the aesthetics of my 282/250DR combination, I worry that I could be destined for a disappointment. I will see where this thread goes, and if it looks promising, then perhaps my local dealer gets a visit!

For what it’s worth, I spent quite a long time in my dealer’s demo room comparing ND5XS2 to NDX2 as digital transports into my Chord Dave, and I was very hard pushed to hear any difference. The sensible option would have been to buy the ND5. I went for the NDX2 in the end, as he had an open box one available at a very attractive price, and it keeps my options open for whatever future plans I may have. How the Node would stand up in comparison, I have no idea, but it would be an interesting comparison to make.

Thanks all for the comments and advice! It seems going with the ND5 is the logical choice, or a NDX2 if there is an open box at attractive price :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. It will be the end point for ROON feeding MScaler to Dave.

DCS bridge could be an option, but definitely need a demo with the Dave to see. The only time DCS impressed me was the Vivaldi with an Antelope 10M Rubidium Clock. I am also looking into Innuos Zen and Antipodes CX, they are highly regarded. Finding an excellent digital source is not easy!

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