ND5 XS power supply

Can an ND5 XS be powered by a Flatcap 2x?

• CD5x • Sonos ZP90 • 202 • 200DR • NAPSC • Flatcap 2x • Linn Katans (alternatively, Dynaudio Focus 110s) • Naim NAC A5 • Standard Naim interconnects • Headline/FC2x • Sennheiser HD 650 •

Original Post

No.  You need an XP5 XS (the natural partner, at least cosmetically), XPS or 555 PS. Unfortunately, the XP5 has been discontinued, but this does mean there are some clearance bargains to be had.  Not sure if you actually have the ND5.  If not, the NDX would seem to be the obvious choice of streamer to go with a 202/200.

Roger

I had an ND5XS and added a cuddly toy.  It considerable improved the resolution, differentiation of instrumental timbres and readability of voices.

Whether you find an improvement is partly related to which sonic characteristics you find important when listening and partly related to the nature of the rest of your system.

The problem with the XP5XS is it has LM317 type regulators & apart from splitting the 10 15 & 22v lines into asymmetric or independant rails,  it still has the 'noise' pattern of LM317.

I have the same cuddly toy PSU as Huge on my NDX & it does all that Huge says.   Maybe its because it is a unique regulator design made to overcome the noise problems of LM317 regs.  It has all discrete components, it was DR long before Naim coined the 'naim'   

Thanks for all the answers. As I suspected!

Peakman - you said "the NDX would seem to be the obvious choice of streamer to go with a 202/200". I don't yet have a Naim streamer (I'm currently using my existing Sonos Connect). I had assumed that the NDX was simply a better version of the ND5, but that the ND5 was still superb and would be a nice improvement over the Sonos. Obviously, the more one spends, the better the results (on paper, at least), but I was just aiming somewhere in the middle. Are you suggesting the ND5 would be inappropriate for my current system and/or listening needs?

Thanks,

Matt

When I bought my ND5XS it was to replace a dying CD player, so I was seeking a sound quality that at least matched the old CD player, with which I had been very happy. The ND5XS was just affordable ex-demo and was a good match for sound quality, so I was happy with it. I fully understood that the higher models like NDX and NDS would be better, but they were out of reach. Later I came to regret not having researched the subject of streaming more (I was driven by a pressing need to fix my music playing, and had only what knowledge I gleaned from sales blurb on manufacturers' websites and various equipment reviews - it had never occurred to me to delve into forums such as this, and I would probably have ended up too bemused if I had done without sufficient time to delve deeply). I just wish that I had more information available when I took my first plunge into streaming.

After getting the ND5XS and a cheap NAS, I gradually learnt that better sound quality was possible for the same outlave if you were prepared to mess around a bit rather than buy a one-box solution - the addition of Hugo mentined in my last post was followed by other changes, losing the ND5XS. Quite a few people on this forum use NDX as rendering source into Hugo, though that combination is clearly two significant steps up in cost from ND5XS. Meanwhile there is a wealth of information on this forum about various rendring solutions and different DACs, if that is of possible interest. This all presented as food for thought, not persuasion in any way.

Personally for one's own stored music files I think a system that does not stream the music file across a network is best, both being simpler and avoiding the network issues that so often seem to cause problems, so my preference is for a stand-alone DAC fed directly from a combined music store/renderer, instead of a NAS networked to the renderer or all-in-one streamer. Examples include Naim Uniti Core (SPDIF output), Melco, Innuos Zenith, and my own solution Mac Mini/Audirvana (with a Gustard U12 isolator on it when I used it into Hugo, which is an RF sensitive DAC). There is also much on this forum about using the microRendu linked directly to a store based on Raspberry Pi. Some of these solutions offer very good sound quality indeed, at relatively modest monetary cost, though requirng quite a bit of research and setting up.

As for the question whether ND5XS is good enough for your system, the dominant view on this forum is "source first" - not a dogma with which I concur, but that is irrelevant: certainly getting it adequate is important. Regardless of my path, the ND5XS is a good sounding streamer, that I would have happily kept if I hadn't found that I could get better without spending a fortune, although a later inheritance did enable a bigger change. 

There are several ways of looking at NAIM streamers.

If using internal DACs: NDX is superior to ND5XS. Adding a power supply (XPS or 555) to either lifts their performance.

nDAC is a worthwile upgrade to either streamer.
There are some who hear a difference between NDX vs ND5XS acting as a digital transport into the nDAC.

Regardless - nDAC is a such a fantastic DAC is deserves a good transport.
Adding a power supply to the nDAC lifts its performance considerably.

An 'ultimate' 3-box ND-platform system would thus become: NDX + nDAC + 555PSDR (PSU on the nDAC).
An advantage of this solution is that all components appear on the secondary market on regular basis. NDX or ND5XS can also be had with an FM/DAB module.

I use the XP5xs on my 272 and I'm very happy with the performance lift it gives. Regarding the LM317 regulator okay the DR versions are better but the LM317 has been around for decades on the older PSUs with many happy Nain users using them on CDS2 and 3 CD players.

Adam Zielinski posted:

There are several ways of looking at NAIM streamers.

If using internal DACs: NDX is superior to ND5XS. Adding a power supply (XPS or 555) to either lifts their performance.

nDAC is a worthwile upgrade to either streamer.
There are some who hear a difference between NDX vs ND5XS acting as a digital transport into the nDAC.

Regardless - nDAC is a such a fantastic DAC is deserves a good transport.
Adding a power supply to the nDAC lifts its performance considerably.

An 'ultimate' 3-box ND-platform system would thus become: NDX + nDAC + 555PSDR (PSU on the nDAC).
An advantage of this solution is that all components appear on the secondary market on regular basis. NDX or ND5XS can also be had with an FM/DAB module.

I have added the previously said 'cuddly toy' PSU to my ND5XS and has made a significant improvement in soundstage and instrument seperation etc.. 

Looking at this option to my setup by adding the nDAC (probably s/hand or ex demo) with the PSU and the ND5XS as a streaming transport. Interested to hear any thoughts on this.

Essentially you will end up with ND5XS > nDAC with XPS.
That is a good setup.

I also experminted with 'other' power supplies - I found they altered the Naim sound a little bit too much for my taste.

The best option I found was a pre-loved non-DR 555PS on the back end of my nDAC! It really made it sing.

At some stage you may want to search for a pre-loved 555PS - they can be had for around 50-60% of a brand-new XPS DR.

Huge posted:

I had an ND5XS and added a cuddly toy.  It considerable improved the resolution, differentiation of instrumental timbres and readability of voices.

Whether you find an improvement is partly related to which sonic characteristics you find important when listening and partly related to the nature of the rest of your system.

I too had an ND5XS for a while and added the cuddly toy. I agree completely with Huge's (and others) assessment of the difference it made.  

Paradoxical that the ND5 XS, NDX and NDS are all so good that you need to add two more black boxes to make them even better. And don‘t they look good piled high?

No they don‘t.

Sure, each of these products is beautiful in its own right, and if you were upgrading, say, an existing NDX it might make sense to add another box or two.

Fact is, three boxes are just not practical when you can build a world-class streamer with a tiny footprint at a fraction of the cost. As IB mentions in above, there are some very new streaming transport products available for a handful of dollars which are every bit as good as premium products which can set you back megabucks.

It’s really all about the DAC.

Thankfully Naim is good at that too, although the market is hard-fought. On the other hand you can still get that Naim sound with just a quality Naim amp and (heritage Naim) speakers.

It's not that simple I'm afraid....

All components are vital in the digital sound reproduction: power supply (stable and noise free), stable (well timed and properly clocked) stream of data, isolation of noisy parts form processing parts, quality of the DAC and its code, quality of the analogue output stage....

 

 

William posted:

 

Fact is, three boxes are just not practical when you can build a world-class streamer with a tiny footprint at a fraction of the cost. As IB mentions in above, there are some very new streaming transport products available for a handful of dollars which are every bit as good as premium products which can set you back megabucks.

It’s really all about the DAC.

Re "handful of dollars", not a phrase I used, and that, lest it be misinterpreted, clearly depends on how big the hand and whether notes are allowed rather than just dollar coins... (!)

Adam Zielinski posted:

It's not that simple I'm afraid....

All components are vital in the digital sound reproduction: power supply (stable and noise free), stable (well timed and properly clocked) stream of data, isolation of noisy parts form processing parts, quality of the DAC and its code, quality of the analogue output stage....

The source of the digital stream to feed to the DAC is indeed a very important, and the cheaper approaches do tend to require quite a bit of setting up (witness the "hugo of streaming" thread for perhaps an extreme example), but if a little bit time is more readily available to you than money, it is indeed possible to get a source that can stand its ground against considerably more expensive offerings.

 

But absolutely yes, even with maybe a renderer tha is less than perfect, the DAC is key to getting the best that can be achieved out of and digital source - though as others on this forum have also found, there are a number of different DAC solutions with some considered to be better than others, even some in very diminutive boxes and wall-wart power supplies. (And without losing the 'Naim sound' if that is what is desired, as that seems to come predominantly from the amplification, not the DaC.)

Adam Zielinski posted:

It's not that simple I'm afraid....

All components are vital in the digital sound reproduction: power supply (stable and noise free), stable (well timed and properly clocked) stream of data, isolation of noisy parts form processing parts, quality of the DAC and its code, quality of the analogue output stage....

 

 

Yes, I have great respect for the engineering that goes into these products and am incidentally an old fan of Naim so I do take your point.

Although I don‘t have an engineering background, I understand that Roon‘s RAAT protocol goes a long way to making streaming stable, and leaves the clocking to the DAC or near-DAC device. The microcomputer/HAT I am using is virtually jitter-free and is powered only by two low-noise SMPS plugs. Fed via asynchronous USB to my DAC, this set-up is letting the Naim amplification and speakers extricate an awesome sound from a front-end comprising just a miniature format streamer and a standard sized audiophile DAC. No massive power supplies, half the space requirement.

And, I repeat, the sound is awesome. It’s as simple as that.

Maughan67 posted:

Thanks for all the answers. As I suspected!

Peakman - you said "the NDX would seem to be the obvious choice of streamer to go with a 202/200". I don't yet have a Naim streamer (I'm currently using my existing Sonos Connect). I had assumed that the NDX was simply a better version of the ND5, but that the ND5 was still superb and would be a nice improvement over the Sonos. Obviously, the more one spends, the better the results (on paper, at least), but I was just aiming somewhere in the middle. Are you suggesting the ND5 would be inappropriate for my current system and/or listening needs?

Thanks,

Matt

A ND5 will sound "like crap" (sorry it doesn't sound like crap but I can't think of the right words) vs NDX. The difference between the two is night vs day. ND5 + Hugo probably better than NDX. If I wanted a one box source, I would only consider NDX. The price difference is about $1,000 on second hand market?

 

When I had my ND5XS, which served me well for a couple of years, I added a XP5XS to it, and found it did lift performance, particularly of Redbook CD tracks (which was the majority of my collection then).

Overall it proved to be good value for money, as a network player, without the need to try external DACs.

Firmware upgrades, at the time, improved the SQ also, as well as adding Spotify (interesting but demonstrated how poor lossy is), DSD64 playback for my expanding HiRes collection & then Tidal.

So just ensure you are at the latest Beta firmware 4.4.75, and if not available tell Naim to get a move on releasing it!

I believe the step from that to an NDX was marginal, and never really heard much difference between them.

I went from the ND5XS to an NDS with the XP5XS (a substantial jump all round), then to NDS with 555DR, as funds became available.

All still served by Asset runnning on a RPi. I see no reason to use a bespoke £2k Windows (Unitiserve) or Linux (Uniti Core) platform to provide CD ripping (there are all ripped), UPnP serving capability and music storage, when these are general off-the-shelf components, just need a bit of time to build the streaming infrastructure.

i have no other Naim components in my system, with Sim Audio Moon amplification, Meridian CD transport, TAG McLaren AV components, B&W Signature speakers.

if I was making that investment today, I would be looking for a good ‘Roon Ready’ solution, as the improvement in music management & metadata enrichment is much better than the Naim app.

Simon.

Yes, the change from ND5XS/NP5XS to NDS/NP5XS was amazing, in terms of detail, sound stage, control, rythmn - however I don’t believe this a common pairing.

The change to 555DR PS bought in further control, an authority to the presentation & I don’t believe I had got the best out the NDS/555DR, I need a better integrated amp from my Sim Audio Moon i5, so a 600i or a 700i. Or a move to Pre/mono-blocks.

Thanks, Simon

My own experience with ND5XS was that I used it bare for over a year but did upgrade interconnects a couple of times Naim Snaic to AR Sound Lunar to Naim Hiline each change improved on the last and then about six months ago I added a Chord 2Qute again quite an improvement.  I used the ND5XS as a renderer until last month when I sold it and have replaced it with a Raspberry Pi I haven't fully fathomed streaming with the Pi but playing music via a usb stick offers absolutely no degradation in SQ than playing the same usb stick into the ND5XS/2Qute.

 

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