Using DAC of NDX2

I currently has 1) CD5XS, 2) NDX2, and SUPERNAIT 2.
I have about a hundred CDs at home, some of which cannot be found in TIDAL.
I find that NDX2 streaming through TIDAL (hifi edition) sounds better (more coherent and engaging) than the same tract played on CD inside the CD5XS. Of course they both use Supernait 2 as the amp.

So my question is, which is a better upgrade in order to get the best out of my existing CD collection?
a) Getting a better CD player, such as CDX2 (old or new),
b) Using digital output of my current CD5XS feeding into the NDX2, and use the latter’s DAC.
c) Getting the Uniti core, and rip all my CDs with it, then play it through the DAC of the NDX2.

I look forward in your comments.

Forget (a) & (b)
Question is what will you do with a Core once all the CD’s have been ripped ?
Get a NAS - Synology or QNAP - & rip your CD’s with your laptop/computer using dBpoweramp ripping software. Simpler & significant cost savings.

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Hi Gazza1 from Gazza, as Mike says, it depends on where you are going. I have 1700 cd,s on my Core and growing, they are cheap off amazon or musicmagpie. But a Core for 100 cd,s that will not grow is a waste of money. Its unfortunate that at the moment downloads are expensive, compared to cd.

You have all the components, except possibly the cable, to try the CD5XS through the NDX2. Have you tried it ? If not, perhaps you should - to see if you are content with the result. Seems the most cost effective solution to me.

It is hard to say in terms of sound quality but you can easily assess whether b) brings any improvements over the CD5XS with the help of a BNC-BNC S/PDIF cable.

Since you have an NDX2, I would suggest that you anyway rip your CDs but I would not do that with a Uniti Core and I also would not use a Core to stream the ripped CDs to the NDX 2.

Hi Alan,
Just spend another 100 quid on the digital cable that connects the CD5XS and NDX2. It is definately better than just the CD5XS alone, therefore I could only imagine the DAC on the NDX2 is better.

By the way, I am using superlumina cable connecting to a kudos x2 (small room)

However, it still does not beat NDX2 streaming through TIDAL (hi fi version) for some strange reason, and its not only me, even my 2 domestic helpers could hear a difference and prefers it.
I have been comparing the songs from the album Hell Freeze over by Eagles, which is a very common test CD. It just seems like the songs are more live like and more coherent.

I guess I will have to try the uniti core, rip, and play, to see if it can do better. My local Naim dealer just told me that playing CD via the uniti core, rip, and play through NDX will sound EVEN better… apparently, any comments?

Interesting result. Shame your dealer didnt offer to lend you cable to try out before spending hard cash.

Id certainly expect the NDX2 to have the better DAC for it’s price.

As for ripping your CDs to a core and then feeding your NDX2 from that I can tell you that my dealer is of a similar opinion to your own, and has suggested it as something I might want to consider to front my NDX2.

For now I an using Roon to stream my private library and Qobuz.

You might want to try ripping your CDs and using something like Asset UpNP to stream your CD’s to the NDX2. It can be configured to transcode from FLAC (of whichever format you use) to WAV which is a favoured approach by many on this forum. I actually have as an alternative, having moved to Roon recently when Qobuz was integrated.

Hope you arrive at a solution that works for you at a price you are happy with.

I use a Core with my Nova and have a NDX2 and SN2 on order. I have found a CD rip to the Core has better sound quality than the same material on Tidal Hi-Fi.

Streaming has a lot of convenience benefits, and I migrated from using a Mac to the Core to separate my sound system from my computer system and for the ease of use and it sounds better too.

I’m also trying a few hi-res downloads, saved to the Core. These can better both a Tidal Hi-Fi and a CD rip to the Core, but availability of downloads here in New Zealand is limited.

Going forward, I think a NDX2 deserves a Core.

FOUND THE ANSWER (well, at least for now…)
I have now explored all of the 3 options I mentioned. I went to my dealer and tried the UNITI CORE, ripping a CD I took there, and then played it through the NDX2 via SN2, superlumina cable, and HI LINE connection. I come to the following observations.

From Best to worse, comparing the same songs.

  1. CD ripped via UNITI CORE, and play it through NDX2.
  2. NDX2 + Tidal hi fi version.
  3. CD5XS through NDX2 DAC.
  4. CD5XS alone.

Each step up improves the coherence, power, and clarity.
I guess the next step would be to add a power supply like XPS DR…, when I have saved more money… ( This hobby is dangerously resource draining…).

I really really strongly urge you guys to try the UNITI CORE via NDX2 way. You should not be disappointed!!!

Just bought the UNITI CORE as a result…

Congratulations, enjoy the new Core! If you plan to rip your CD with the Core, I would suggest that you set it to rip to .flac. The alternative (rip to .wav) implies that your metadata will be stored in a Naim-specific, proprietary database with no functionality to export to any standard format.

On the other hand since the UnitiCore won’t transcode on playback, and since WAV is often preferred to FLAC in terms of sound quality, there is a case to be made for ripping to WAV.



+1 for WAV.

I’ve compared FLAC vs WAV when ripping CDs to the Core and WAV has far better SQ.

ok, will rip in WAV once my CORE arrives. Thx mate

True but virtually all modern UPnP servers support transcoding flac to wav. The fact that the Naim server does not is just one more reason to avoid it. It certainly does not justify getting stuck with rips that cannot be transferred to standard formats without loosing all the metadata, in my view. Of course, to each his own but, for me, better safe than sorry!

Yes that’s all very well, but as he has already bought a UnitiCore, your advice really is quite misconceived I’m afraid. You should read the thread before replying.

David, I have followed the thread from the beginning, as you can easily infer from my early posts. My advice, given that the OP has bought a Core and plans to use it to rip a CD collection, was and is to use it to rip to .flac, for the reasons mentioned above.

For other reasons (that escape my understanding) many Naim dealers do not seem to be able or willing to inform customers about the implications of ripping CDs on the Core in .wav.

In the old forum, we have witnessed a number of cases of users who, after having ripped hundreds (or even throusands) of CDs in .wav using the Core, realized that they would not be able to export their rips to .flac without loosing all metadata.

Thus, I believe that it is only fair to inform newcomers about the drawbacks of ripping CD to .wav using the Core.

you are not obliged to transcode. Personally i don’t do that. Have he father of core, the unitserve.

I am also not transcoding. No need to do that on a device that is connected to a Naim DAC via S/PDIF, I suppose. But good to know that a UPnP server can transcode, if one has a LAN streamer that sounds better if fed with .wav files.

I would suggest that it’s the NDX2 that bought the real sound quality benefit in your listening tests, rather than the Core. What you’re really paying for with the Core is, I believe, the convenience of a plug-and-play combined ripper/store/server, rather than a sound quality benefit over other other, often very much cheaper solutions.

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Hi Chris SU,
You are right. Before I bought the CORE, I also tried ripping my CD through the itunes in my desktop computer, then save it in an external hard drive, then feed it through the NDX2 via USB. The result is NOT as good as ripping via the CORE.
So for me, I use the CORE as an upgrade process to play my existing CDs. Of course it is not as convinent as just putting the CD in a CD player and play, but I guess ripping only takes 5 minutes and then you can put the CD back in its box for ever.

Eventually, I will be able to sell my CD5XS, making space in my carbinet, for a power supply.