ND5 XS 2 user review

So I still have no attempt at describing the performance of an ND5 XS2 – strange, on a forum where the ability to put sound into words reaches sometimes Beckett heights in terms of surrealism – but just the result of comparisons in which the smallest of the series has been compared to all its bigger and costlier siblings. Strange! I would have sweared that any dealer was trying to sell the smaller and less costly of the streamers... And then, how many posters often praise balance within setups: and yet, it was OK for many to compare an ND5 XS2 into a system made for streamers four times the cost of the basic one.

I will have to listen to one by myself and, for the Nth time, take notice of how threads seem to become vague and take detours when something of your actual interest is concerned.

hungryhalibut posted:

The purpose of these demos is to show the differences in the streamers. If you start changing amps and speakers at the same time, nobody can judge what is doing what. Of course the ND5 and NDX are out of their depth, but hopefully prospective purchasers will have more meaningful demonstrations at their leisure. 

The purpose of these demos could also be to show the relative performance of systems, with gear paired with its natural matches (as you often preach). So, I too believe that an ND5 XS2 should have been inserted in an XS chain, with perhaps a residual pair of S-400s or with one of the various Focals that Naim, until not long ago, still quoted in the regretted 'suggested systems' pages. 

If you go to have a test drive of a Toyota IQ – a splendid little car – and the dealer makes you drive a Lexus – also made by Toyota – what do you think the opinions will be about the IQ? So what if I am interested in an IQ and don't give a s*it about a Lexus?

 

I mostly leave dealer demos with a big question- and exclamationmark above my head. The questionmark because I don't know what I've heared: was it the room? the amp? the source? the recording? tidal or wav? ... and the exclamationmark because I'm really happy with what I have and I can keep the money in the pocket.

Massimo Bertola posted:
hungryhalibut posted:

The purpose of these demos is to show the differences in the streamers. If you start changing amps and speakers at the same time, nobody can judge what is doing what. Of course the ND5 and NDX are out of their depth, but hopefully prospective purchasers will have more meaningful demonstrations at their leisure. 

The purpose of these demos could also be to show the relative performance of systems, with gear paired with its natural matches.

 

Yes, it could, however in this case it wasn’t. The purpose is to show what you get for the extra money. A demo of a natural match system with an ND5 against one with NDX2 or ND555 is something else entirely, requiring three different sets of amplification and three different sets of speakers. As I said, these demos are just tasters, and purchasers will arrange with their dealers demonstrations in suitably copacetic systems. There is no value in saying scenario X should also be scenario Y, when it was only ever intended to be X. 

I would love to know the logic behind making the ND5 XS 2 non-PSU-upgrade-able.  My ND5 XS benefited hugely from a PSU upgrade so it would have be nice to also have this option on the ND5 XS 2.

Reminds me a bit of the 172 XS which from what I gather was not a very popular product.

I think there is a lot of nonsense appearing in this thread recently. If you hear two streamers on the same amplifier and loudspeakers and the more expensive one sounds better, it’s because it is better, as one would hope.

It’s absurd to say that the cheaper one sounds worse because the amplifier and loudspeakers were too good for it, and to believe that if only it had been matched with cheaper amplifier and speakers it would suddenly magically sound better, as good as the more expensive one on the more expensive amplifier and speakers perhaps?

These comparative demos are interesting because they give some insight into whether given your circumstances it may be worth paying more and getting a better one. But they shouldn’t be how you decide which one to buy.

Anyway I’m going to stop following this thread now.

best

David

And I thought I had only asked for the mere opinion of someone who had heard the ND5 XS2 in its natural habitat... Mike Sullivan, thanks for a sensible reply and for having understood the simple meaning of my question. I also got a lecture on which I'll have to reflect, since it doesn't seem to contain the slightest trace of doubt or uncertainty.

David, who wrote this?

It’s absurd to say that the cheaper one sounds worse because the amplifier and loudspeakers were too good for it, and to believe that if only it had been matched with cheaper amplifier and speakers it would suddenly magically sound better, as good as the more expensive one on the more expensive amplifier and speakers perhaps?

I couldn't find any of these assumptions or conclusions in the last bunch of posts. But perhaps it's my clumsiness with the English language. Anyway, I too will stop following this thread and will patiently wait to be able to listen with my ears to an ND5 XS2, in the real world.

Bye.

wrc posted:

I would love to know the logic behind making the ND5 XS 2 non-PSU-upgrade-able.  My ND5 XS benefited hugely from a PSU upgrade so it would have be nice to also have this option on the ND5 XS 2.

Reminds me a bit of the 172 XS which from what I gather was not a very popular product.

I suppose – my opinion only – that the logic behind it could be a), to avoid stuffing in it features that wouldn't have added significantly to the performance which, judging by the lack of a display too, could be very good already and betray a very pondered design meant to mark a significant step over its predecessor and, b) to further expand the gap to the NDX2, whose predecessor, in my opinion, was one of the weak points in Naim group of streamers and at risk of finding itself redundant. And yes, I have heard it, and heard it well. So, my idea is that Naim has made the ND5 XS2 as good as possible and, at the same time, has conjured up making it seem less than it is to favor the NDX family, which has always had an unfavorable cost/performance ratio.

But, as usual, let's wait for more authoritative and informed opinions than mine.

I will have another go Massimo. At Audio show east Naim played a ND5 XS2 and NDX2 into SN2 with hi-cap and Kanta 3. On the first day they did the usual demo music and A to B comparisons, the NDX2 as David said in his post sounds more authourative and gave more detail,, but they both sounded very musical. The following day I spent some time talking with Mike and the guys from a Naim, the plan was just to play good music that most people would have heard and enjoyed. They played the ND5XS2 while we chatted and listened it’s a great player, very enjoyeable to listen to. It was the most musical room at the show and I slipped in and out a number of times, could not tell you what player was being used, because it did not matter....both sounded really good in that system, set up in that room. A number of other members have commented on how good the Naim room was, many not going in to details of what was playing. I am surmising that they too just enjoyed the music, as it was a respite from Hifi demos in other rooms. I would certainly demo this product if I had a Supernait or similar amp. I also find it difficult to find the words to explain how music-in different systems sound. But sometimes just saying it’s musical and enjoyeable should be enough. I know some on the forum want more detail and people like DB are great at providing that and we should be thankful for all posts.

 

Very clear, thanks. Musicality is presently very plainly my only concern – on the taken-for-granted basis of Naim's standard high technical quality – and that is why I so promptly swapped my SN for a NaitXS2, to make an example.

Having run after detail for years like Achab after Moby Dick has not made my life better, and while I agree that we should be thankful for all posts, unless one is just promoting or contradicting or provoking, I'd say that contributions can be useful and immediately applicable and convenient, or they can turn your life in a hell of 1/8th torque paranoia.

I think the subject of the ND5 XS2 has been covered at length. Thanks for your clarification. It's now between me and the small box without a display.

M.

Mike, I’m intrigued. I know the Unitis can do this, but I wasn’t aware that the new streamers could. To be specific - can you plug in a USB hard drive and then stream from the streamer to other streamers? If so, that sounds really simple for people. But somehow I don’t think you can. 

hungryhalibut posted:

Mike, I’m intrigued. I know the Unitis can do this, but I wasn’t aware that the new streamers could. To be specific - can you plug in a USB hard drive and then stream from the streamer to other streamers? If so, that sounds really simple for people. But somehow I don’t think you can. 

The ND555 can for sure, also as a uPnP server for itself (see the thead linked above and https://forums.naimaudio.com/t...56#76469591920328856).

M.

The UPnP server has certainly been included in the ND555 as well as the Unitis, so I assume the new ND5 and NDX would have it too. Maybe best to confirm with Naim as their documentation is limited. It’s a nice feature to have, and being UPnP, it works with non-Naim streamers too. 

charnik posted:

So with the new streamers there is no need for a wired network and server (NAS or other)? Now you can attach a usb disk and control streamer  with wifi? Is this right?

You still need a network connection, although the improved WiFi performance compared to old models means that wired Ethernet may not be essential. Also, I think the jury is still out on how well this function can support a large music library. It does work fine on my Atom with a drive containing about 600 CD rips. 

charnik posted:

So with the new streamers there is no need for a wired network and server (NAS or other)? Now you can attach a usb disk and control streamer  with wifi? Is this right?

If you do not use Tidal, yes.

The only limitation seems, like Uniti, 20,000 tracks stored on the attached usb disk.

The further question is: which usb disk is better?

M.

charnik posted:

Why you need a network connection? If i understand well, music is served from a usb drive connected to  streamer/server 's usb port. In this case network usage is limited to just control the device through naim app, so, i think ethernet will give no advantage.

If you want to use Tidal, I guess that it is still better via ethernet than wi-fi

M.

charnik posted:

@ChrisSU

Why you need a network connection? If i understand well, music is served from a usb drive connected to  streamer/server 's usb port. In this case network usage is limited to just control the device through naim app, so, i think ethernet will give no advantage.

You will need a network connection to use the iOS or Android app, as well as for updates, iRadio and web streaming. That coyld be WiFi or wired Ethernet, but either way, you need a connection. 

wrc posted:

I would love to know the logic behind making the ND5 XS 2 non-PSU-upgrade-able.  My ND5 XS benefited hugely from a PSU upgrade so it would have be nice to also have this option on the ND5 XS 2.

Reminds me a bit of the 172 XS which from what I gather was not a very popular product.

Quite obvious as I imagined the very first time, to make an entry level product ,a stripped down version, not expandable to complement the entry line.

 

The real xs line has always been expandable to fulfill its potential.

So far Naim have not succeed buiding a streamer for its entry line ,that would have required too much a compromised product (see the 172, shortly discontinued). Easier to make a chepaer unit with no upgrade itch and better sounding than an entry level cd player. How can’t you see this as the strategy that  will make  people eithe happy to pay the  premium or converted to the streamers?

That’s marketing folks.

I had a demo today - ND5 XS 2 - NAC272 - XPS - 250DR - Dynaudio Emit 20.  I listened to a few tracks and everything to me sounded lovely, crisp, dynamic and tonally spot on. In no way did i think the ND5 XS 2 was out of it's depth although it would of been interesting to swap it out for a NDX2 but unfortunately my dealer had sold theirs to a very demanding customer. My dealer reckoned if I put an order in now there would be a good chance that I may have one by early/mid December (in time for Chrimbo). I have now decided to wait until after Christmas as I just won't have the time to properly enjoy it as i'll be too busy with family and friends. Needless to say it far exceeded my expectations and to throw a curve ball in, my dealer is selling a ex-demo NDX for £100 more and was willing to set that up but unfortunately I was pushed for time...i'll pop in again next week on the hop to give that ago if possible, with my dealer giving the ok.

All I can say is that I will be definitely purchasing one and i'm sure that I will have that matching XS2 amp itch to scratch as well not too long after. Oh well i best get ready for a few changes come 2019!

 

Matteo posted:
Matteo posted:

Can the ND5 XS 2 be used as uPnP server, as the ND555 and the new Uniti range?

I wrote an e-mail to the Naim support a week ago ...  no answer so far

Hi Matteo, we are struggling to find your ticket number. Are you able to send a new one in quoting your old ticket number please? Many thanks

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