Upgrade advice needed, ND5 XS2 or Nova

Hi, this is my first post on here although I’ve been lurking for a while. I currently use an Asus laptop with JRiver MC into a Chord 2Qute Dac and then Supernait mk 1. I am looking to revamp our lounge so wanted to move towards a streamer/dac or one box solution to tidy things up and hopefully get a sound upgrade at the same time.
Several dealers have suggested either adding an NDS xs2 to the Supernait or trying out the Nova. I am retiring soon so want to make sure the financial outlay is worthwhile. Reading many threads on here I am concerned that so many folks seem to buy the XS2 streamer and then add a different DAC. £2500 on a transport seems excessive to me. Wouldn’t I get a similar performance from something like a Primare Prisma with a s\h NDac, V1 or Chord Qutest for instance and save a chunk of money?
Would an XS2 with SN MK1 be an improvement on my current set up? How would it compare to the Nova?

I will be looking to audition the kit but I’d appreciate thoughts on why the XS2 would be so much better than some much cheaper options if only to be used as a transport?

I have read so many threads now I am tying myself up in knots! Any thoughts gratefully received.


Hello, and welcome :slight_smile:

Just wrote a long reply on the other thread you posted on, then saw your post above.

I think going for a listen, taking your Chord DAC with you, and begging/borrowing a stand-alone transport would be really useful. I would not underestimate the importance of ease of use, having the two basic configurations to audition side by side would be great I think. Let alone the ability to compare their sound.

I use a Primare NP5 transport. It is fine. It is also a relatively flimsy device and is another app to use before you’re listening to music. It isn’t in the same build quality ball park as Naim.

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The NP5 software has been completely robust. Has a straightforward interface, and quite a few options to get streamed music through it and presented to its digital outputs.

I can cast to it from the Qobuz app - I think this is how most of its integration to streaming services works, which is different to the Naim ND5 XS2. The ND5 XS2 can be cast to, but also supports handling a handed off stream directly, or streams direct to itself from the onboard streaming board, I think that’s supposed to be better than casting. More expensive transports probably do this better than the NP5.
It will present locally stored music on a UPnP server
It has Bluetooth support
It can act as a UPnP renderer for software like BubbleUPnP (how I use it)

A few screenshots below

Compared to the Naim app, and interfacing to locally streamed UPnP source, it is the same number of clicks to get to my album selection.


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Hi Samwise. I don’t have experience of 2Qute so can’t comment from experience on how it compares with ND5XS2. But, if you decide to keep the SN1, I’d very strongly recommend planning to add a HiCapDR at some point. When I had an SN1, that was by far the best VFM upgrade I made. Sorry for spending yet more of your money!


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Thanks GTH for that helpful overview. The software looks good. When you mention Bubble is that to access your own music on the NAS?

I will definitely take the Chord Dac and SN with me when I audition and hopefully the dealer I have in mind also stocks the NP5 so I could perhaps start there and then compare to the XS2. And the Nova.

Thanks also Roger for the suggestion on possible upgrades to SN. Ideally I want to simplify things but it’s fair to say that my previous attempts haven’t lasted long! So always good to get tips like that :+1:


Bubble is a helper app rather than a UPnP server that indexes your music. I have it running on my NAS alongside Asset. What it does is allow me to use the Bubble app on my phone or tablet to stream from the NAS to the ND5 XS2 is well as Sonos speakers using the same consistent interface. Sonos doesn’t support native streaming from a proper UPnP server like Asset so Bubble is invaluable here. The other thing Bubble facilitates is using apps like Linn Kazoo on a laptop to control the ND5 XS2.

Hi Samwise,

I wonder if you have set up a false choice between the ND5XS2 and the Nova? For instance, is the ND5XS2 a good enough streamer box for your SN. The matching streamer in Naim’s range is surely the NDX2. This would give you an elegant, high performance two box set.

Hopefully an audition with your SN1 will help you decide. You asked for any thoughts. Another to factor in is the price of a service on the Supernait (should you keep it) which will almost certainly be tired now.


As the owner of a SN3 and ND5 XS2 I can confidently say it absolutely is good enough. I’ve also got a HiCap DR on home demo this week and that makes it an even more attractive proposition.


Fair enough.

I have a preamp from the XS range. If I was looking for a Naim streamer, then the first I would look at would be the ND5XS2. But if I had a Supernait, it would be the NDX2.

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Well I have SN2 (with non Naim power supply) and ND5XS2. Fantastic sound.


I use BubbleUPnP for two things, on my mobile to control what UPnP renderers play, using its Qobuz integration.

And BubbleUPnP server, on a server, to transcode to WAV when playing through my UnitiQute 1.

To access music on my NAS (actually a Mac mini for the moment, but functionally the same thing) the NP5 will access it via Plex direct, that first screen shot is showing albums on my local network.

  • Local file > Plex > NP5 (all done using NP5 and Plex)
  • Remote file > BubbleUPnP server > NP5 (done using BubbleUPnP Android client, BubbleUPnP server and NP5)

Bubble will also present local network sources, in my case from Plex, though I usually use don’t use that capability.

BubbleUPnP screenshot below, showing how all the various devices get represented in it.

I think having just written all that out that there’s a lot to be said for the simplicity the ND5 XS2 would bring! Hence why when I audition it I shall do so bearing that in mind as well as SQ.

Someone is going to shout “Roon” pretty soon X)

While I’m sure the NDX2 would sound great with a SN3, the product manual for the streamers suggests an integrated amplifier for the ND5 XS2 whereas the NDX2 is suggested to connect to a pre-amp.

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Blimey more to this than I thought :astonished:. If I just want to access music on the NAS and not multiroom etc. will Naim app do that ok or do I need to use something like Bubble as well? I have a Synology NAS.

Thanks for your observation C. I think it’s a cost factor really. I would hope the XS2 would be better than my current set up but I appreciate moving to the NDX2 works be even better. Moving to the Nova was about streamlining and possibly an upgrade on the SN1 as I assume the Nova will be based on the SN3. Interesting point on getting a service though, had anyone had good results from that?


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The Naim app will do that fine! It will do that with the first generation Naim streamers as well.

I don’t have lots of locally stored files, but here’s the Naim app, showing me locally streamed files to play on my first generation UnitiQute 1. No BubbleUPnP required in that case.

Lots of good results from having kit serviced. For many the ability of Naim to service their older kit is one of the reasons to buy it in the first place.

I had a NAIT 3 serviced a few years ago, lovely improvement. I also just had my UQ1 serviced, similar nice results. If your SN1 hasn’t been back to HQ I would think it is worth doing so.

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I’ve probably over complicated things in my responses.

Most streaming transports have perfectly fine UIs for local and remote streaming. The NP5 doesn’t need bubble anything to work with locally streamed files from a UPnP server like your NAS, or to play remote files from a streaming service. Nor does I assume the UI on something like a Bluesound node (BlueOS).

The ND5 XS2 can be left on, will always be ready, and has a single app to interact with it. That to me is preferable in usability terms to managing two boxes.

Good luck, and sorry to have made things more complicated than they need!

Yes the Naim app will do that just fine. I just like Bubble as I can use Linn Kazoo on the laptop with Bubble running on the NAS. As my ND5 XS2 doesn’t have a screen I use Linn Kazoo as a substitute so I can see what’s playing without having to keep picking up a phone

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Thanks for all other info on apps! It does kind of highlight the beauty of simplicity :grin: . I’ll be contacting Naim about getting a service. I bought the SN s/h from a dealer but no idea how long ago if ever it was serviced. I guess if I check the serial number they would know?