Happy (or sad) ND5XS owners?

This is a thread for owners of the ND5XS streamer to come out and sing its praises or not  what ever your experience please share it.  Have you felt the need to upgrade it with an NDX a PSU or a Chord dac or an Ndac and if so what were your experiences or have you like me lived with it for a year or more on its own.                                               

Original Post

I had an ND5XS for a couple of years, initially stand-alone and then with the XP5XS which was a very worthwhile upgrade. It played everything I wanted it to, very well as an integrated network player.

i only upgraded to the NDS when an opporunity to do so occurred, it wasn't out of frustration or did-satisfaction with the ND5 unit. I then used the XP5XS with the NDS until I sourced a 555 with a DR upgrade.

So do consider the ND5 unit, plus the upgrade options, as I believe it also works well with a XPS/XPSDR.

I bought an ND5XS to replace a CD player (Shearne Audio Phase 7). After a year the dealer persuaded me to add an XP5XS which would make it sound even better. I tried it, and found a marginal improvement, but no way worth the money, and after a few weeks swapped that for a Hugo on the strength of lots that I then had by then read on this forum. I was delighted with the result - a distinct improvement. (And as I mentioned on your other thread, someone else who till then had been a die-hard vinyl fan, on hearing my system with Hugo suddenly came to feel that digital was capable of sounding as good as analogue.) Hugo stayed for 2 years, and only replaced because a bequest gave me resources to upgrade to Dave as a reminder of the departed person every time I play music - I would happily be living with Hugo indefinitely had that not happened.

Some months after adding Hugo I wanted to change my intrusively noisy NAS for a silent one, and replaced it with a Mac Mini, on which I trialled Audirvana as a renderer feeding Hugo. Once I had taken steps to remove the RF pollution from the computer that sounded better than the ND5XS doing that job, so replaced it. The Mac Mini is dedicated and runs headless - no mouse , keyboard or monitor - effectively just a part of my my music system, with the benefit of not streaming music across a network. If I was considering a store-renderer now I would also consider Melco, Innuos Zenith and the new Naim Uniti Core once satisfied its teething problems have been fixed, if I could hear or find sufficient comparative reviews in that function.

I have ND5 and NDX so I think I can add something to this thread. The ND5 sounded great until I bought a NDX. I now can hear how thin and digital the ND5 sounds. I would never bother to put an external power supply on a ND5 since its analogue output is really mediocre vs NDX. (The NDX also has a better built in power supply so from a  $ perspective the NDX sounds like a better value.)

I moved to Hugo due to all the rave reviews (and I had an empty shelf on my rack) Of course now my bare NDX sounds broken vs the Hugo.

With your 282 you should try the NDX. I'm sure you'll hear a substantial improvement.

I now use my ND5 in the bedroom for late night headphone listening. The ND5 into Hugo sounds great with all my headphones/IEMs. Unfortunately I've never bothered to compare the ND5 to the NDX in transport only mode on my speaker system. (My understanding is the difference fairly modest)

As a die-hard vinyl enthusiast becoming increasingly unhappy at the quality of modern non-audiophile pressings (usually thinking to myself "Well, at least I've got the bundled MP3 download to listen to..." when playing disappointing new records), I love my ND5XS. It was the first digital source I owned that sounded anywhere near as "interesting" as vinyl, replacing a Cyrus CD6s that I felt was "good...for a CD player". The Hugo (I bought mine ~18 months after the streamer) takes the ND5XS to even greater vinyl-emulating heights for me.

Admittedly I'm only using half the ND5XS with the Hugo, and as Innocent Bystander notes above there are other, cheaper ways of getting similar or better performance without buying a streamer at all. I'd miss the Naim app, though - I find having remote digital input switching via an iPad very useful.

As I intimated in one of the OP's other threads, these really are goldrush times for buying up music on CD - akin to maybe 15-20 years ago when every charity shop or secondhand store seemed to be full of interesting and inexpensive vinyl - so in terms of musical satisfaction per pound I have no regrets in throwing a fair chunk of change at digital replay.

I used to use a ND5 into a Nait XS.  I then added a cuddly toy to the Nait and that improved to the point where I felt I'd be able to hear improvements from a PSU for the ND5, so I added a cuddly toy to that as well.  The ND5 is sufficiently good that without putting a PSU on the Nait XS 2's preamp I feel that a PSU upgrade on it would be largely wasted.  With the Nait upgraded, the PSU on the ND5 then made a worthwhile difference and it stayed like this for 18 months.  In this time I made a big upgrade - I changed the Lavender interconnect for a custom one made from Mogami W2534.  After this, it became clear that the who system was limited by the Nait XS 2, so I decided to go for a separate pre-power combo.  As I feel that the biggest limitation to the XS 2 is probably the pre-amp, I first swapped the ND5 for a 272, and, for a time, I used that into the Nait power amp until I decided how to upgrade that (then I found a s/h NAP300(DR) ).

Part way through I had the ND5 and the 272 together, so I connected the ND5 to the 272's analogue port and compared them.  The ND5 is so far ahead of the Nait XS that relatively little difference between the two was detectable until I improved the poweramp (but then the 272 showed its advantage).

Conclusion:  The ND5 is an excellent machine and in a class above the Nait XS 2.

This thread intrigues me a lot, as I am currently having an ND5XS. This is my first streamer, and my XS2/ND5XS is my first step into the Naim world.

I never enjoyed listening to music so much -- well, with the exception of live music of course... So I am rather happy that I got bitten by the Naim bug. And I fear this bite means that one constantly wonders about how to improve the sound...

I certainly don't regret buying my ND5XS, but, after only 6 months or so, I am getting keener and keener to improve my source. i hope for more detail and also separation of instruments, especially when listening to complex orchestral pieces. That is where I feel the ND5XS is a bit weak.

A few weeks ago, when listening to Rimsky-Korsokov's Dance of the Tumbler (put this on after not listening to it for a while), I was somewhat disappointed. It sounded so much "muddier" compared to a speaker audition comparing Neat's SX1 and PMC's 25.23. I took my own amp to the audition, so we used the dealer's source -- a 2Qute with a posh Chord CD transport. When I realised this, I started to understand all this hype around the Hugo.

And in the not so distant future, I want to do some serious listening to Chord DACs to explore whether Chord will play a role in my upgrade path. Wondering about SN2 plus my current ND5XS spiced up with an external DAC vs. 272/250DR. No intention to change my speakers as I am rather happy with my PMC.

But there is one big hurdle before any upgrade -- spousal approval only if I take up some exercising. Thinking about a rowing machine in the loft, as this would not require leaving the house. Sadly I am not joking about the condition to take up sport... And without becoming serious about exercising for quite some time, the upgrade path would come to a stand-still very quickly. The wife realised how my growing interest in hifi strengthened her bargaining position...

 

 

 

 

Thanks for all the answers and especially Timo thank you for a great post you are an example to us all with your honesty when discussing upgrades with your Spouse and also for reinforcing my own very strong belief as to the wisdom of such honesty!  My own advice when in a similar position would be to deny everything under pain of death because although she knows everything about everything and is seldom if ever wrong my own spouse doesn't seem to grasp the importance of  adding a seperate psu an off board Dac  or anything hifi related for that matter and I'm afraid no amount of rowing in the loft could convince her otherwise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The ND5 seems to attract polarising views. I have had mine for over 3 years now. It was my first purchase in over 15 years. As stated in earlier posts I set out to replace my amplifier (Myst tma3 from 1985) but found it was the source that needed upgrading. I ended up comparing the ND5 XS with the CD5 XS and was unable to tell them apart. The ND5 was cheaper, offered internet radio, came installed with FM module and works as a DAC too. The CD5 XS is written about in glowing terms on here, I cannot recall any detractors. Needless to say I like the ND5 very much. It is not perfect but is very good VFM and has excellent SQ.

Mike

PS. As a medic I think Timo is married to a very wise lady who obviously has his longevity at heart.

Mike, strange you mention the Myst TMA3, in 1983 I built an amplifier that was almost the same design as the Myst.

I used large transformers (actually 2 of them), large high quality reservoir capacitors and lots of additional decoupling and filter capacitors to improve the dynamics of the Hitachi seven transistor MOSFET application circuit; I also used more heat-sinking so that I could increase the quiescent current (to 43mA) and so greatly reduce the crossover distortion (the design was prone to that as noted in some reviews of the Myst).  The result was an astonishingly musical amp: Much the same electronic design as the Myst, and much the same result!

P.S. As a biologist I agree about Timo's wife, but she probably needs to sort out his diet as well!  

Hi Huge, I don't profess to know a lot about electronics but it has been a superb amp and has had daily use except for holidays. So 32 years now! The volume control (ALPs) is showing some signs of wear and tear as there is a crackle through the speakers when you turn it at times. It is very musical although in real terms the bottom end is not as clear as it could be. The ND5 went a long way to address that though. Magazine reviews at the time said it was "mind boggingly well built considering the price", a phrase that has been etched in my memory since! They were built in Hereford IIRC and there was a matching tuner. Mine is in black, the earlier versions were in cobalt blue. I chose it above an Audiolab 8000 and A&R A60 at the time.

Regards,

Mike

I love my ND5! My ND5XS has been in my rack for 3 years, first with a Nait XS and then with a SN2/HCDR. It has done duty bare, and as transport for first an nDAC (which I still have) and recently, a Hugo that I'm trying. I haven't tried an NDX and I haven't tried a PSU on either the ND5 or the nDAC, so I can't elaborate on differences there. I've always enjoyed my setup, regardless of the changing DACs and amps, so I guess ignorance is bliss. If you asked me what I would upgrade next, I couldn't tell you. Maybe amp to separates, maybe speakers, maybe DAC? Which leads me to believe that the next step will probably just unbalance my system and leave me on that slippery slope that probably ends with upgrading everything.

Mike1960 posted:

The ND5 seems to attract polarising views. I have had mine for over 3 years now. It was my first purchase in over 15 years. As stated in earlier posts I set out to replace my amplifier (Myst tma3 from 1985) but found it was the source that needed upgrading. I ended up comparing the ND5 XS with the CD5 XS and was unable to tell them apart. The ND5 was cheaper, offered internet radio, came installed with FM module and works as a DAC too. The CD5 XS is written about in glowing terms on here, I cannot recall any detractors. Needless to say I like the ND5 very much. It is not perfect but is very good VFM and has excellent SQ.

Mike

PS. As a medic I think Timo is married to a very wise lady who obviously has his longevity at heart.

years ago I had nd5 but after 6 months tried the ndx and never went back.  now use it as a transport.. tried both with the ndac.   now use the auralic vega dac.  dacs will always be a personal taste

Clemenza posted:

I love my ND5! My ND5XS has been in my rack for 3 years, first with a Nait XS and then with a SN2/HCDR. It has done duty bare, and as transport for first an nDAC (which I still have) and recently, a Hugo that I'm trying. I haven't tried an NDX and I haven't tried a PSU on either the ND5 or the nDAC, so I can't elaborate on differences there. I've always enjoyed my setup, regardless of the changing DACs and amps, so I guess ignorance is bliss. If you asked me what I would upgrade next, I couldn't tell you. Maybe amp to separates, maybe speakers, maybe DAC? Which leads me to believe that the next step will probably just unbalance my system and leave me on that slippery slope that probably ends with upgrading everything.

Fantastic post... and the fact you are unclear on what or whether to upgrade suggests you have your system pretty much spot on... enjoy the music..

I often wondered why people torment themselves with upgrading perfectly good systems. The trick is perhaps not to read the forum ;-) In my case, having done just that, I became curious what a PSU could do for my beloved 4-year old ND5 XS. My dealer obliged by demoing several PSUs with my ND5 XS/ XS2. But then he did the rabbit/hat trick: he connected up a sh NDX that he just happened to have around ;-). I left carrying a large box and a smile... Soon after, I had some friends round from work and was under some moral pressure to show them the system, having bored them with the gorey details for weeks prior. Not having heard an audiophile system, they were naturally staggered by the sound of Naim. One comment was "How can you not listen to music ALL the time". But just that week I was reading the forum again (oh no!) and was intrigued by Hugo stories. Curious, but now poor, I bought a no-risk sh Chord Mojo and found myself wondering a) whether I should have bought the NDX in the first place and b) how I had doubled my listening pleasure when the sound had been perfect in the first place? (BTW I guess I'm lucky that my other half appreciates the difference if I change my system or play CD quality compared with hi-res even if she doesn't want to hear streamer talk all night.) In conclusion, I loved the ND5 XS and I love the NDX and Mojo and I am absolutely never ever reading forums or upgrading again. Honest.

A useful thread for me.  As I start my foray into streaming I aspire to the ND5XS, but until I get the basics sorted and really start streaming as an alternative to playing a CD I can't quite justify the cost from the off.  I am looking at an intermediate step with the Cambridge Audio CXN repalcing my AV equipment's streaming capabilities.  

With this in mind it is easy perhaps to see the ND5XS as a budget option.  It isn't.  At its price level most reasonable people would consider that a lot to pay for a whole system, so it had better be good frankly.  Both players here are award winners in their price category, and I have to believe that is because they deliver great performance, enjoyment and value for money. I have heard the ND5XS with a SN2 and some good speakers, and was impressed.  I have yet to hear my intermediate player, but it is going to have to compete with my CD5XS+Flatcap XS player... as the ND5XS may well end up replacing.

 

 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Clemenza posted:

I love my ND5! My ND5XS has been in my rack for 3 years, first with a Nait XS and then with a SN2/HCDR. It has done duty bare, and as transport for first an nDAC (which I still have) and recently, a Hugo that I'm trying. I haven't tried an NDX and I haven't tried a PSU on either the ND5 or the nDAC, so I can't elaborate on differences there. I've always enjoyed my setup, regardless of the changing DACs and amps, so I guess ignorance is bliss. If you asked me what I would upgrade next, I couldn't tell you. Maybe amp to separates, maybe speakers, maybe DAC? Which leads me to believe that the next step will probably just unbalance my system and leave me on that slippery slope that probably ends with upgrading everything.

Fantastic post... and the fact you are unclear on what or whether to upgrade suggests you have your system pretty much spot on... enjoy the music..

Thanks Simon! Enjoying it very much!

I run a bare ND5XS - SN1 - NeatMotive2 combo which sounds so good that makes me puzzled as to why would anyone with the same setup contemplate any upgrade at all? Maybe I found the sweet spot with the speakers, room size...who knows

I even got rid of my serious, albeit older system upstairs

I replaced my Densen amplifier and cd-player with a Naim set. I got tired of the cd-player breaking down every few years and I wanted to go streaming music at home for convenience. Went to several stores to listen to different equipment. Came across Naim, and thought about a SuperUniti. Found a local dealer, listened to it and decided that was what I was looking for sound wise. The dealer let me listen to a few option within the budget I set for myself and suggested to keep my speakers and instead listen to a ND5XS coupled to a Nait XS2. That convinced me, in the store the difference in sound was huge. Played it at home to see if it went will with the speakers. Decided I liked it even more.

I don't feel an itch for better. No doubt you can do better. But I still get dragged into the music I listen to, not into pieces of hardware playing sound. It is a simple setup, with a NAS and the Naim app I can easily play music either from my own collection or by streaming from Tidal. With Tidal the quality is so-so, but that's Tidal. Same music played from my NAS is fine, so if I like something a lot I buy the music.

The ND5XS is not in the way as a player. It reproduces music at a satisfactory level for me. 

Innocent Bystander posted:
Kacper posted:

I'm Very happy with my ND5XS - looking forward for some upgrade

Why, if very happy with it?

Because, even if you're happy with it (for your current capital outlay), one always just knows that one's system could be better!  

Innocent Bystander posted:
Kacper posted:

I'm Very happy with my ND5XS - looking forward for some upgrade

Why, if very happy with it?

I used to have a cambridge audio streamer - always was looking for something (better sounding etc). Now since I have a ND5XS no more issues / complaints about sound quality. With power supplier or / and an extra dac might sounds even better. 

MangoMonkey posted:

I'd stick with the ND5XS with the NaitXS. I had the NDX/NaitXS combo and was not happy with that.. The NDX is better, but not as much fun.

Before I purchased ND5XS was doubting about second hand NDX. Local naim dealer told me that of course NDX it's a better streamer but nait xs2 would match better with nd5xs.

Huge posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:
Kacper posted:

I'm Very happy with my ND5XS - looking forward for some upgrade

Why, if very happy with it?

Because, even if you're happy with it (for your current capital outlay), one always just knows that one's system could be better!  

And that's really nice with Naim , to make our systems sounds better we don't have to exchange entire system- We can upgrade them! 

Kacper posted:
Timo posted:
Kacper posted:

I'm Very happy with my ND5XS - looking forward for some upgrade

Might be a good time to get an ex-demo XP5XS.

Yes indeed! I know the shop who have one but it's still quite expensive.

Or an ex-demo or used Hugo 1? Might be an alternative bargain on the horizon to push the good old ND5XS... 

Timo posted:
Kacper posted:
Timo posted:
Kacper posted:

I'm Very happy with my ND5XS - looking forward for some upgrade

Might be a good time to get an ex-demo XP5XS.

Yes indeed! I know the shop who have one but it's still quite expensive.

Or an ex-demo or used Hugo 1? Might be an alternative bargain on the horizon to push the good old ND5XS... 

Totally agree. Or even a used Chord Mojo. Just curious: has anybody compared ND5 XS + Hugo with NDX + Hugo?

I've had my bare ND5 for over 3 years and still think it's a great bit of kit.  

I'm sure it's held back by the onboard DAC and I'm about to address that but it's the functionality that has me somewhat married to it; In addition to doing a great job of streaming from the NAS I use it as a remote / iPad controlled switch for digital sources (Sky box, Amazon Fire TV) and internet radio. The HD BBC stations are great for convenience and I f there's anything on worth getting up for I'll switch to the NAT 02.  This has become more important since I recently upgraded from my trusty 102/180 & power supplies to an amp with no remote.

One of the main reasons I bought it was the convenience of the iPad app, particularly the Rovi element.  My music collection and listening habits had become stale but between listening to Radio Paradise (320k of course) and reading about the artists' peers & influences on my NAS on Rovi, my music collection has grown for the better. 

I've considered the Roon option,  feeding a DAC directly as my new NAS was deliberately spec'd  for it but for most this would leave the ND5 largely redundant. For me the value remains in the convenience so I will likely add an Audio Note DAC and remain married to it for some time to come.

In short it did what I bought it for; to expand my musical horizons and in that respect it continues to deliver, more so with the recent switch to valves.  Add the certainty it will only get better by adding a DAC and you can safely count me among the happy. 

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