ND5 XS 2 user review

I went to an Open Day at Music Matters in Birmingham on Saturday where the NDX2 was being put through its paces.

They also had an ND5XS2 /SN2 combo playing through Dynaudio standmounts. I have to say it sounded really great, I think it is punching way above its place in the new streaming range. Both the NDX2 and the ND5XS2 had only come out of Salisbury the day before so they will undoubtedly sound even better now than when I heard them.

Difficult to compare the 2 systems as they were completely different set ups in different rooms, and the NDX2 did sound far better, you will see why when you read what it was partnered with...

Here is a link to my post from the weekend in the NDX2 thread:

https://forums.naimaudio.com/t...40#77033102965149940

 

Interesting about ND5XS2, in discussing with Naim a little while back the impression was that it’s sonic performance would be very special and at a very high level indeed given the SQ sapping display components used in the NDX2 and ND555 have been removed. It therefore also allows them to concentrate on SQ for the price rather than other things.... perhaps in my words, more for the audio enthusiast rather than the lifestyle enthusiast?

 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Interesting about ND5XS2, in discussing with Naim a little while back the impression was that it’s sonic performance would be very special and at a very high level indeed given the SQ sapping display components used in the NDX2 and ND555 have been removed. It therefore also allows them to concentrate on SQ for the price rather than other things.... perhaps in my words, more for the audio enthusiast rather than the lifestyle enthusiast?

 

Fascinating- ND5XS2 - the no compromise streamer. 

.sjb

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Interesting about ND5XS2, in discussing with Naim a little while back the impression was that it’s sonic performance would be very special and at a very high level indeed given the SQ sapping display components used in the NDX2 and ND555 have been removed. It therefore also allows them to concentrate on SQ for the price rather than other things.... perhaps in my words, more for the audio enthusiast rather than the lifestyle enthusiast?

Yes. This should be an interesting one in the range on price vs performance. Given Naim's issues with display failures in the past, it's one less thing to go wrong too which should vouch well for the longevity of the product.

Interior design is more important to me than sound quality - but close to each other, and for me the absence of a display component is a pre. Also, the display components seems to be the weakest spot of many NAIM Products over the last years.

I always found the cd5xs a very good pairing to the SN(2), I have good hope that the ND5XS2 will also pair nicely to the integrated amps.

Couldn't agree more, as the screens are generally unreadable at usual listening distances anyway.

My HDX and NDS both ran with the screens turned off, as I much prefer the "darkened" approach when listening seriously.

Mind you, given the occasional flakiness of the Naim app, we probably do need to have them if looking at changing settings on the unit.

As for the screen on my new streamer, well I guess I'm showing my age somewhat in describing it as a bit too much "lifestyle" for me.

The problem with the new streamers (at least the Unitis) is that you can’t turn the screen off! For anyone who has one close to a TV this is particularly distracting. ND5XS2 is on my radar as a possible upgrade (?) to my NDX, as I now run it with an offboard DAC. The app will need to be rock solid though, as no screen = no remote, so if your app doesn’t behave, you’re stuffed. 

ChrisSU posted:

The problem with the new streamers (at least the Unitis) is that you can’t turn the screen off! For anyone who has one close to a TV this is particularly distracting. ND5XS2 is on my radar as a possible upgrade (?) to my NDX, as I now run it with an offboard DAC. The app will need to be rock solid though, as no screen = no remote, so if your app doesn’t behave, you’re stuffed. 

Both the display screen and the buttons can be turned off on the ND555, thank goodness!

dave marshall posted:
ChrisSU posted:

The problem with the new streamers (at least the Unitis) is that you can’t turn the screen off! For anyone who has one close to a TV this is particularly distracting. ND5XS2 is on my radar as a possible upgrade (?) to my NDX, as I now run it with an offboard DAC. The app will need to be rock solid though, as no screen = no remote, so if your app doesn’t behave, you’re stuffed. 

Both the display screen and the buttons can be turned off on the ND555, thank goodness!

Some of us whinged about the Uniti screens, so hopefully Naim were listening! 

dave marshall posted:
ChrisSU posted:

The problem with the new streamers (at least the Unitis) is that you can’t turn the screen off! For anyone who has one close to a TV this is particularly distracting. ND5XS2 is on my radar as a possible upgrade (?) to my NDX, as I now run it with an offboard DAC. The app will need to be rock solid though, as no screen = no remote, so if your app doesn’t behave, you’re stuffed. 

Both the display screen and the buttons can be turned off on the ND555, thank goodness!

Does it offer any SQ improvement, as we have always been told at least with the Uniti Range allot of effort was required to get back to SQ = without display.

I believe I remember them saying it does as the display electronics are powered off, even though in the latest devices much effort and cost went into the design to minimise the impact... displays and their driving electronics can be rather electrically noisy things simply by the large amount of switching they need to do.

French Rooster posted:

For around 1k more, you can find a second hand nds, already a bit better than the new ndx2 ( cf ndx2 thread).   I know 1 k is 1k, but the gap in sound quality is probably big.

It's not quite that simple because you can use the ND5 XS with its in-built power supply, whereas if you spend 1K more on an NDS you have to buy a power supply too. Incidentally the ND5XS2 doesn't allow for an external power supply.

best

David

David Hendon posted:
French Rooster posted:

For around 1k more, you can find a second hand nds, already a bit better than the new ndx2 ( cf ndx2 thread).   I know 1 k is 1k, but the gap in sound quality is probably big.

It's not quite that simple because you can use the ND5 XS with its in-built power supply, whereas if you spend 1K more on an NDS you have to buy a power supply too. Incidentally the ND5XS2 doesn't allow for an external power supply.

best

David

Yes, I answered too quickly.  You must add effectively, at minimum, a second hand xps, so 1k more.   I forgot the fact that the nd5xs2 doesn’t need additional ps.    

I’m using ND5XS with Nait XS2 + Flatcap XS.  I have been wondering about SN2 after spending quite a bit on an LP12, with a view to then maybe go with NDX2. But I have to say that sat here listening to Rickie Lee Jones via Tidal, it would have to be a pretty darn good improvement!  

Plus I’d end up thinking “speakers..?”.  

So I imagine the ND5XS2 would be interesting to listen to in an XS system at least.  It could also be a nice simple access route to your digital music if you are mainly focussed on analogue and have Classic range amp(s), but have some ripped CDs and would like Tidal as a resource to try other stuff.

Japtimscarlet posted:

Just heard it at the audio east show today

By it..I mean the ND5 Xs2 though supernait 2 and I thought it was a pale shadow of the NDX 2 

Just no comparison ...and that was a naim demo with nice focal speakers

Just my opinion obviously..

Interesting, my impression of the original ND5XS vs NDX was much the same. There was some optimism that the ND5XS2, streamlined with lack of screen, remote, PSU upgrade options etc. would make it attractive for those looking for a single box source, but maybe not? Will still be interesting to see if it will be a viable option for anyone wanting a Naim transport into a separate DAC. 

Gazza posted:

 In the right system, the ND5xs2 will be just fine.

Exactly. Fronting its ideal partner, a Nait XS2, it would make a fine two box system that would keep someone very happy without constantly worrying about upgrading. Add a Flatcap XS if you want a bit more.

It certainly didn't disgrace itself when i heard it at Naim HQ earlier this year. 

Japtimscarlet posted:

Just heard it at the audio east show today

By it..I mean the ND5 Xs2 though supernait 2 and I thought it was a pale shadow of the NDX 2 

Surely this is verging into 'mullet' territory and is therefore an unfair comparison, though considering the price difference, one would expect the NDX2 to be superior.

Stephen Tate posted:
Japtimscarlet posted:

Just heard it at the audio east show today

By it..I mean the ND5 Xs2 though supernait 2 and I thought it was a pale shadow of the NDX 2 

Surely this is verging into 'mullet' territory and is therefore an unfair comparison.

I think that’s the point Stephen. With the ND5XS2 being stripped down to the basics of a streamer, no screen, no PSU options, so all the money spent on music playing and no complex design work needed to avoid negative impact from the screen, there was a hope that it might turn out to be the super-VFM option in the new range, offering SQ very close to the NDX2 at a very substantial discount. Had that been the case it wouldn’t have been a mullet in quality terms, just in price terms, sadly it sounds as though it’s a fine product for the money rather than being a massive bargain.

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