NAIM has been active in the streaming world for some time now; we can assume these Brits know the game. So if they come with a new streaming music player or series (like Uniti), we can hardly wait to get our hands on one. This time: the brand new ND5 XS2
The new NAIM ND5 XS2 is the successor to the somewhat older ND5 XS. The new ND5 XS2 is unmistakably a NAIM product. In the middle of the front plate we see the green NAIM logo. Wonderful that they just leave it that way. On the right… no more display! Also no keys except on/off. Left a USB port. That’s it.
Now NAIM could have placed a display on the front, but the green display is outdated and a chic color display… that’s gonna be a little small. They can also save money and put that money into important things. Think of a nice dac-stage and good clocking.
And they did. In fact, the construction of the ND5 XS2 is very simple. Internally, the standard NAIM streaming platform has been used (NP800). That’s fed by a thick toroidal core power supply. NAIM uses a TI PCM1791A as a dac chip. Before it goes through the dac, the signal runs through a DSP that upsamples everything to 40 bit.
None of this is special. What matters is how well it’s all done. Clocking, power supply, signal processing. How well does the enigineer know how to keep out sources of interference, et cetera. And it is precisely these points that NAIM says it has done better than its predecessor.
NAIM has made choices in the development of the XS2… laser focus. NAIM does not supply a remote control for the ND5 XS2, for example. An optional external power supply? Nope… And the device has no controls and no display. In short: it comes down to the app. The NAIM app works just fine. No complaints at all, except that they ask a lot of questions in the beginning. And if you deny them access to media on the phone, the app won’t work and you’ll be in a loop… but yeah, there’s something to be said for that. Furthermore, the app is clear, fast and stable. Great.
Another option is another generic UPnP app. Think Synology DS Audio, BubbleUPnP or the Linn app (that’s swearing in church… we know). And in the case of the ND5 XS2, ROON is also an option. We certainly recommend this if you have the means and knowledge. ROON works great.