What will adding a Ndac to an ND5XS2 bring

Wonder if members who have tried the above combination can give me a pretty good idea of the outcome.
Have read lots of posts about the topic and it seems there are quiet a few members that currently run one in there system.
An NDX2 would be ideal but funds will only run to an Ndac at the moment.


I was in a similar situation. ND5XS2 running just fine but thinking about a DAC upgrade for giggles. I tried a Qutest with the ND5XS2 and then I tried and loved the NDX2 but a nDAC kind of fell into my lap for a price that I couldn’t pass up. For me the nDAC just made sense.

SQ wise, it sounded just as good albeit slightly different(better to me) than the NDX2. Price wise let’s say I had enough extra for a nice vacation. The drawback for some would be the extra box. The positive is if you want to go further you can add a PS which I eventually did and love it. You can always resell the nDAC and I doubt you’d lose any money.

So what will adding a nDac to a ND5XS2 bring? IMHO NDX2 Sound quality for a lot less money.

One thing to note if you can hold off, I’m pretty sure you should be able to find a NDX2 a bit cheaper once the new NSS333 is released.


Let me ask you this - what xps dr brings to ndac plus nd5 xs2?? Have an itch for the same set up…

Thanks marcusman, the Nd5xs2 as good as it is I find there can be a slight edge to its delivery, when I listened to the Ndx2 it did seem to offer a smoother presentation with a little more detail and bass control but for me the huge jump in price was just too much for my pocket.

Cost of ndac plus possibly later a power supply maybe easier to manage, only draw backs are extra shelves and wiring😉

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I don’t really have a fancy description, but “more of everything” to be honest.

When I first got my XPSDr, I was having a serious case of buyers remorse(some say the XPSDr is underwhelming) but after a month or so of break-in it came to life. The one noticeable difference adding the PS was the sound seemed to really fill in my listening space. Almost like the window of sound opened by 3-6 feet in every direction.

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That edge will go away as soon as you add the nDAC. Honestly for the price if you can make room for it and find one, it’s a no-brainer IMHO.

Getting a PS for the nDAC just adds more goodness. Everyones situation is different but I know of one member who has a NDX2 and he added a nDAC to it and likes the 2 box combo with PS better than the NDX2+PS. He’s not alone.


We spent a lot of time comparing NDX2/555PSDR to nDAC/555PSDR. Very close thing but we preferred sound/tonality of the nDAC.

If you have an ND5XS2 (same streaming card as NDX2) as transport, then adding an nDAC will bring a new level of detail retrieval. We only ended up with an NDX2 since SWMBO wanted a remote control (others have reported little, if any, SQ difference between the two streamers when used as transport only).

If you’re open to later adding a PSU to the nDAC then you’d have a very capable digital source indeed.


I figured either you or @JimDog would chime in.

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The nDAC continues to impress us.

Been feeding it with Tidal hires since we got our SMSL USB-> SPDIF converter, and it just sounds fabulous at 24/96 or even better 24/192. Can’t wait for the firmware update to NDX2, as we know that is our best sounding digital source.


So which is best, NDX2/nDAC/555PS with Std Res or SMSL/nDAC/555PS with HiRes?

If it’s a good master the SMSL providing hires wins for now. 24/192 sounds fab where it is available. There are some hires recordings where I honestly can’t tell much difference though, so it’s not a universal thing. Could be format related, the SMSL does MQA as well.

We’ve tried same recording (not hires, 16/44) via both routes and NDX2 wins.

So we can’t wait for the NDX2 to support hires natively.

I would say that the SMSL is an improvement on the iPhone/iPad into nDAC via USB which I think only supports 24/48. Indeed, if one were strapped for cash, an iPad/SMSL/nDAC combo would be a very enjoyable digital source.

In the office we have a RPI from which the SMSL to SuperUniti sounds better than SPDIF from the RPI digital hat.

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It would be cool with a list of 24 bit 96 or higher recordingt where some or maybe most people will agree we can actually hear a difference compared to standard cd.

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Probably best to start a new thread for something likely to descend into subjective arguments.

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Another happy owner of ND5 XS2 + nDAC, right here.
(With thoughts to add a PSU later, at some point).

Image : Naim ND5 XS2 → DC1 → nDAC → HiLine → SN3.

The nDAC takes the already capable ND5 XS2 to a slightly better sound quality level. Fuller notes, bit more detail, more control on bass, etc.

However, for me, the real magic happens when you add a PSU too.
ND5 XS2 + nDAC + PSU is quite something.

Hope this helps…

Good luck


Lots of positive feedback which supports what I have found searching the forum, the difficulty seems to be locating one for sale, all part of the system building process.
Thanks for the responses so far, it’s always interesting to hear people’s experiences with an item, cheers.


You know how, when you add or upgrade a piece of NAIM kit, put a favourite piece of music on and then sit back and say something like “Wow!” or “Blow me!” as you move deeper into the Matto Grosso of NAIM sound quality?

That. :wink:


Whilst there aren’t often loads to choose from, they come up on eBay often enough, 3 sold in July, 2 in June. I think you’re in the UK?

Recently just missed one from a dealer, got totally side tracked by a family issue and lost the opportunity :frowning:, I will keep looking but definitely seems to becoming harder to track one down.

Hi MikeD, your system is pretty much where I’m trying to get too, pretty happy at times with what I have but you know that “if I added a?” syndrome kicks in.

Yes I’m the uk, missed one locally last year, good price,late model and looked in first class condition but at the time I wasn’t really looking to add one to my system having only recently added the Nd5xs2, life goes on.