Who here has actually compared ND5 XS2 + nDAC vs other streamers + nDAC?

Apologies for covering this perennial topic again, including my own post, but I really want to hone in on any less expensive ND5 XS2 alternatives as streamer - I’m having a hard time bringing myself to pay the several thousand for something for just a streaming function and not using most of the unit’s capability (internal DAC). Lots of random alternative streamers discussed, but I’m really interested in folks who have actually listened to the ND5 XS2 + nDAC and other streamers as well and if they’ve found an actual lower cost streamer of equal or better quality.

Right now I have the perennial BS Node 2i + nDAC. I actually think it sounds great, but know more is there.

This is a tough one because many of the standalone streamers are either mail order or hard to source.

Very good practical question. I had audition of GBP 280k system, top of the top components. It sounded lite and bright, flat soundstage. On the positive perhaps one idea better detail and transparency, but overall big disappointment. Naim systems can shine, but you need good power lines and good speaker crossovers.

Sorry, forgot to point out … a non -naim top system.

Hello @b-lilja
Interesting question, so trying to help here…

Yes, there has been much discussion about the plethora of lower cost streaming products available in recent years. (It’s a burgeoning market segment).

Think it depends on likely budget : £500 ; £1000 ; £1500, etc.
After all, you get what you pay for, (mostly).

Might help forum users to assist if you have a shortlist of specific streamers you wish to know about : WiiM pro ; BlueSound Node 2i ; Primare NP5 ; Innous Pulse mini ; HiFi Rose RS250, etc.

Also, might be better to ask this question over in “Streaming Audio” - as mostly - where 99% of this discussion takes place.

This particular post is a good resource, probably help your thinking…

My own experience, is some of the lower costs streamers come close, (comparing to ND5 XS2, as transport only). A good friend was using WiiM Pro, with nDAC, only recently and this was actually pretty good. Had a similar positive experience with Innous Pulse mini too, used as transport only, with nDAC.

You might wish to consider UI as part of your considerations. For example, all thing being equally with SQ, Innous Sense is worthwhile by itself.

However, the ND5 XS2 is actually a pretty good option, (at its price point), for a stand alone audio source (including internal DAC). Unless you aren’t using the DAC portion, maybe using the nDAC as external DAC instead, in which case look at Innous Pulse, which IMO is better, streamer transport only (No internal DAC) at similar price point.

Best wishes & good luck


I had a Blusound Node playing through the nDAC. Last year I changed this to a ND5XS2 and am very pleased with the improvement, but then so I should be at 5 times the cost. I did not audition any other streamers as the ND5XS2 did other things that I wanted and fitted visually and spatially.


The nDAC responds well to any decent source.

We’ve used a RPI with SPDIF hat and an SMSL PO 100 Pro (+iPad) with ours, plus iPad and iPhone into USB.

The difference between the SMSL and an NDX2 as a transport is not big. The NDX2 is better, but not 125 times better (cost comparison).

We have the NDX2 because SWMBO wanted a remote. Before that edict, we would have ended up with an ND5XS2 or Innuos transport.

System automation within a naim system is very handy.


Hi all,

This thread started in Hifi but I moved it here per suggestion…

Sorry to ask this in a different but more specific way again…

@b-lilja I have compared ND5 XS2 vs my previous Allo Digione Signature (fed by Allo Shanti linear power supply), both into nDAC. I wasn’t expecting much of a difference before trying, but it really was “night and day”. To put it simply, Allo could never give me the goosebumps that ND5XS2 did. And it was a very obvious difference from the first song playing.

nDAC is quite sensitive to the quality of the SPDIF signal fed, due to its old design. So it needs a good quality transport to shine even more!

ND5 XS2 is ~6 times more expensive than the Allo package (roughly €3000 vs €500), but I found a second hand one at an excellent price which made the jump less painful. :sweat_smile:
And it is also so much neater to have an extra black box vs all the messy boxes and cables of the Raspberry pi solution.


For some time a while back I had a node1 used to play Tidal connected to Ndac since my ns01 could not stream Tidal. Not bad I thought, but disconnecting the Ndac a few times it seemed it did not bring that much extra than the Node into 252. Trying out nd5x2 with Ndac changed my view. The Naim streamer made a big diffrence for the better.

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