What will adding a Ndac to an ND5XS2 bring

Hi @violinhead thanks for your question. The ND5XS2 is initially a streamer with an integrated DAC. It therefore only has one BNC digital output to send the digital signal directly to an external DAC. My Naim DAC also has a BNC input and accordingly I now use a 75 Ohm coax cable with BNC connectors (Neotech NEVD-1001). My CD transport (Audiolab) has an RCA digital output and here I use the Audioquest Coax Carbon cable. One advantage of the Naim Dac is that it even has 2 RCA and 2 BNC inputs. Many newer DACs only have one S/PDFI input (BNC or RCA), but also have AES/EBU (110 Ohm) inputs. I don’t quite understand why they save on S/PDFI inputs. Re-plugging is very inconvenient and not an option for me. I also think that converters and adapters are basically a compromise and should not be a permanent solution.
I bought the ND5XS2 second-hand, as well as the NDac. The combination is really recommendable and plays at least at NDX2 level, albeit with a warmer tonal characteristic. I thought its an advantage to stay with Naim as far as possible and not to mix devices of to many different manufacturers (this may fit or not….).

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What will adding a Ndac to an ND5XS2 bring - #525 by Igro

@Igro you asked for my opinion on USB to SPDIF converters. My view is that these are media converters and as such the quality of the conversion, clocks, decoupling and power supplies etc will dictate the performance. A good converter is unlikely to be very efficient cost wise - as essentially they are performing what the front half of a streamer would otherwise be doing.
If you want to use async USB as a digital input I think looking for a DAC that natively supports that would be the best suggestion overall.

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Noted, thanks a lot.
In the other thread it would appear that some forumites in the same situation, with ndac, had better results using a streaming transport, roon endpoint, with spdif output such as ifi zen stream. Made me think maybe it’s a valid budget approach.

In my perception the benefit of adding the ndac to the nd5xs2 is substantial.
And I’ll also mention that I definitely preferred the nd5xs2+dc1+ndac+xpsdr to the ndx2+xpsdr

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As mentioned above, I supplemented the ND5XS2 with a second hand NDac in January. It was a big step forward in SQ. Now I have taken the next step. After reading many experiences with external power supplies on the NDac in the forum, I added an Olive XPS. I was in Hamburg last week on business and visited ‘Sound&Vision’. They specialise in Naim, especially Olive and old Classic series equipment. They offered an Olive XPS freshly recapped and calibrated. The listening test on site was convincing, better detail resolution, clearer separation of the instruments and improvement in the treble range. So I bought the XPS and installed it today. I now have a three-generation system (Olive XPS, NDac and ND5XS2 from the Classic series and Nait50, which is closer to the New Classic series). The Olive XPS is also a clear gain at home. The resolution is finer with more detail, especially with more complex music. Even my wife (who is not an audiophile) came out of the next room and spontaneously commented that the system sounded clearer and more differentiated than before. I listened to my favourite playlist and enjoyed the afternoon. With the upgrade of the system (NDac XPS) I have reached a new level. The downside: I now have 3 boxes for streaming and had to take the Audiolab CDT 6000 drive out of the Fraim rack. I think I will put it next to it on a separate base. I don’t have a solution for that yet. But there’s always room for improvement…


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Great story.
Thank for sharing :+1:

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Thats a lovely looking setup :ok_hand:

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Welcome to the three box streaming club!! :rofl:

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Lovely setup!

I’d like to add an XPS to my nDac soon… but need to sort things with my nDac. Yesterday, I got tired by the sound of the nDac, it had a glaring midrange on some recordings. I sometimes notice this glaring, glassy midrange, especially on piano notes. So yesterday night, I decided to bypass the nDac and connect the nd5xs2 directly to the 282, and it was a Wow moment… I wasn’t expecting this result at all. The rhythm was emphasised, bass was fast and agile, no glary midrange even though the presentation was less detailed, less airy and less open. I guess something must be going wrong with the nDac. I doubt the coax Audioquest Carbon could make such a difference and create this glaring midrange. Anyway, I have contacted Mark Grant Cables (HDX1) but it appears they do not ship to France, and I’m not sure the DC1 would solve the issue. I have also considered to perform a factory reset on the nDac: maybe the firmware update wasn’t done properly by it’s predecessor… Oh, and when I change the input on the nDac from input 3 to 4, I get less high frequencies on the left speaker. Input 3 seems fine though… Any thoughts on why I get a glaring midrange and not fast bass with the nDac?

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Very surprising. As you pointing out, my first guess would be to try the DC1. Switching inputs does sound strange to me (I’ve never tried). Firmware issue? Maybe.

Perhaps you have a grounding issue. I have my nDAC set to Chassis and my nd5xs2 set to float.

As mentioned above (post 427) I have also tried Audioquest Carbon with the NDac, but with BNC adapter on one side. I am now using Neotech NEVD-1001 digital BNC cable. It is faster and more neutral than the Audioquest. Many users have had good experiences with the original Naim DC1, which I have not tried myself. Like @marcusman , I have NDac on chassis and ND5XS2 on floating for earthing. I also have no differences with different inputs and can’t tell that the NDac sounds glary. Rather the opposite. Compared to the bare ND5XS2, it sounds warmer in the bass and fundamental range (see post 429) and offers a wider sound stage even without XPS. The ND5XS2 sounds brighter and somewhat edgy in comparison. So I’m also a bit perplexed by your problem.

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In my experience that sounds more like room reflections and room comb filtering. Forwardness and glassiness often can be the product of room/speaker interaction in the 1k to 4k area.
The NDAC has likely a different balance to the nd5xs2. If you have strong reflections you dont need much of a tonal balance shift to significantly change the sound and drive nulls or prominences.
The acid test is use very high quality headphones and amp… if you hear the ‘damaged’ audio here, it is almost certainly the electronics, if not it’s the speaker/room interactions.
One of the reasons why I say speaker/room selection and setup comes first before source.
The NDAC on its own is a relatively forward sound in my view, this becomes a slightly more U shaped performance with the addition of the 555PS non DR.
In the few times I have listened to a nd5xs2 I would say the sound is a little filtered and smoothed… possibly not the best for immersive listening but a safer performance.

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Thank you for your replies. Ndac is set to chassis and nd5xs2 set to floating. I have experienced this in 3 different rooms, each were treated at the 1st reflexion points. Would the nDac still be able to decode PCM files from Qobuz sent by the nd5xs2 if I perform a factory reset?

The ndac can decode SPDIF… and usb files.
You will need a streamer device to convert Qobuz to a SPDIF stereo transport stream.

Just noticed a pre-loved nDAC with “Audio Emotion”.
It’s a later version, (2017-18 build). So that’s interesting…

Best wishes
R

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Eventhough I liked the presentation of the nd5xs2, especially it’s speed, I missed the details and the soundstage of the nDac, so I decided to reconnect the nDac to the nd5xs2. With the nDac it’s more detailed, airy, there is more separation and bass goes lower but the presentation is slower, with less drive and boogie. I’d love to have the boogie factor of the nd5xs2 with the aforementioned qualities of the nDac… Could the DC1 be the solution?

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Hi GlenJ maybe a cable change or possibly adding a psu to the ndac, I personally prefer the ndac in my system I just found the ND5XS2 had a little too much edge for my liking but everyone has their own preferences.
It will be interesting to see what recommendations you receive to your query.
I found from track to track things can change quite a lot as well.
Let’s hope it the best cost effective option👍.

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I hope the DC1 will make the presentation sound faster, otherwise I will have to try a pre-loved and serviced XPS!

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It won’t give a faster sound, but more organic, fuller, more open.

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Weirdly the thread had lowered my notifications so I didn’t see your post till the evening and by the time I spoke to them the next day someone was ahead of me. I just need someone to trade one in at my local I’m obviously not quick enough for anywhere else :joy:

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