Which streamer?

Hi folks. First post here. So I’m an AV integrator and I have a client who’s in the market for a high end music streamer.

He’s using a mcintosh pre power driving a pair of b&w 800 diamonds.

So although the client has the budget he and me are both really unclear as to whether the jump to the ND555 combo from the NDX 2 is as justified as night and day. Because the price difference is massive. Any glaring differences or areas in which the flagship outshines the lesser sibling as well as all the opponents in the now extremely crowded space of high end streamers?

Thanks in advance.

I am unsure how you can advise as you don’t have his ears…

There are many different technicalities between the two units. One man’s night and day differences can vary somewhat so only an extensive demo is the only way. As you are an AV specialist, does that mean your client is using mainly for AV or is this setup more for hifi music use?


It is my sad duty to inform you (and your client) that musically there is a significant difference from NDX2 to ND555 - the ND555 is simply on a higher plane. As it should be given the cost differential.

The NDX2 is quite good on its own; but with 800 Diamonds compromising on a source is not a good idea. Also note that the NDX2 can be upgraded with an external power supply; this closes the gap between it and the ND555 but still leaves a considerable gap.

There are probably 100s of streamers in the market. It would be impractical to “extensively hear” each one of them to come to a decision. One has to short list based on reputation, user reviews and specifications. Besides that there is no demo unit with the distributor in my country. So I am trying my best with the resources available with me. Hence the query on this forum in the hope that someone who has product expertise and/ or like you say, has extensively heard both could help out.

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With those B&W 800s you’ll be wanting the best possible source, so really, if there’s a choice and the ND555 is potentially on the radar then the ND555 should be where your client is aiming.

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Anything on paper that highlights the reason for the exponential jump in performance? Components, DAC, what part of a streamer is it that commands such astronomical value and corresponding elevation in sound quality?

Here’s the white paper;

The product page gives you a good overview and there are a number of reviews you can download from here too which will tell you more about what an incredible source is the ND555.



In that price range and above, there are maybe 10.
You have: Lumin X1, Totaldac, Linn Organik ( 40k), MSB premier, Innuos Statement with Chord Dave/ Mscaler, Dcs Rossini, Moon 780 D, Bricasti, and Naim Nd555. All between 12 k and 40 k.


Though do remember many of the design approaches, especially in the digital area in the marketing white paper that Richard has shared are equally applicable to the NDX2.

Some of the main differences between the NDX2 and nd555 is the added mechanical and EM decoupling between stages and layout, the refinement around optimising the Texas Instruments PCM1704K DACs used in the nd555… as well as the current to voltage stage linearity and the analogue filter stage…
In short the ND555 sonically is significantly ahead of the NDX2… it is quite obvious when you listen to them.

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To be honest this is not about being the best… as the list from @frenchrooster is a good subset… all of those are truly outstanding and each focuses on certain characteristics… audio replay is a series of compromises. So choose manufacturers that are accessible to you and you must listen, ideally in your system to decide.

However those DACs are optimised for their matching systems… so do bear that in mind.
The chances are, though clearly not absolutely always, a full Naim, Chord Electronics or Linn system is going to sound better than a mix and match… system synergy I have learnt counts for a lot.


I’d support Simon’s logic here in so much that the existing system has to be factored in to accommodate the most suitable choice for that person in their room with their system. Ideally they should at the very least go and have a demo of the target equipment and if possible arrange for a home loan to assess it within the system it will be joining.
Also bare in mind that the NDX2 (which I own, I think Simon does as well) can be powered either stand alone from its own internal PSU or with the addition of an external PSU like an XPS DR whereas the ND555 requires at least 1x 555 PS and can be setup to use 2x 555 PS. So potentially you would need the space and allowance for cabling to situate 3x boxes and their cables if you wanted to maximise the performance potential.
Any approved Naim dealer will have the knowledge and experience to guide on appropriate system setup and installation and would be the preferred approach typically.
As others have allude to, there are a number of options at this level of performance and price bracket that it would be sensible to at least consider and ideally have a listen to.

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