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Naim NDX2

 

Naim NDX2

The Naim NDX2 is available and on demonstration.

We’ve had a few days to let the Naim NDX2 run in. In fact we left it playing internet radio since it arrived. This morning we sat down and had a proper listen. We were using a Naim 282/HICAP/NAP-300 for the purposes of listening and we made direct comparisons with the outgoing NDX to give us a reference. The new model isn’t a chasm ahead of the NDX but it is superior in a number of areas and the difference isn’t small. In fairness we didn’t expect them to be because the NDX is already a much loved and respected product. So we’d hoped the new player would simply improve on those qualities and it seems that is exactly what it has done.

Other than the new, larger and full colour screen and a new remote control; the NDX2 is controlled by the same app. And that app is already tried and tested; with Naim’s hard work paying dividends in terms of slick ease-of-use and getting to the music without fuss or preamble.

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So there are some new features and key amongst these is Chromecast. I am sure that will have it’s fans and of course it may develop into something more useful for the music lover but as we speak it wouldn’t sway me from one product to the other.

So to the sound. The NDX2 seems to have a more etched level of detail. Two vocals where you previously heard one; a second guitar keeping harmony with the first. Those sorts of little details that allow you to rediscover music you thought you knew. It’s as if the background noise floor is lower and so detail is less masked. Sound from blackness. I’m struggling to put my finger on it but it’s something we all picked up on within a few songs.

So maybe we switched between old and new three times. After that we just sat and had a listen; playing each of our reference choons until we’d formed an opinion. And the opinion was good. Naim have done a great job here because improving on the NDX wasn’t an easy task!

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Naim say;

With its world-class performance, the versatile and upgradable NDX 2 embodies the current state of the art. A host of features such as high-res UPnPTM streaming, AirPlay, Chromecast built-in, Bluetooth (aptX HD), Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Roon compatibility, vTuner internet radio and multiroom streaming as well as digital and USB inputs provide all the connectivity you could wish for.

Our main focus in developing the NDX 2 network player, however, was its performance. Along with Naim’s bespoke streaming platform, we implemented an upgraded DAC and discrete analogue stages. These and numerous other improvements over its acclaimed predecessor make the NDX 2 a sonic force to be reckoned with, offering highly immersive and lively replay quality.

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Features
  • UPnP-enabled to allow streaming of audio files at up to 32bit/384kHz resolution from Naim Audio hard disk servers, network-attached storage (NAS) devices or any home computer
  • Supports a broad range of music formats: WAV, FLAC, DSD, Apple Lossless, AIFF, AAC, Windows Media-formatted files, M4A and MP3. Gapless playback on all file formats
  • Four 24bit/192kHz capable digital inputs (S/PDIF) to support optimum connection to external sources
  • 5” colour display presenting album artwork as well as track information
  • Built-in Chromecast allows you to stream from hundreds of supported smartphone or tablet apps (192kHz)
  • Apple AirPlay – stream music from your iOS device or from iTunes and Apple Music
  • Spotify Connect built-in to stream millions of songs from the world’s most popular streaming service
  • Native support for TIDAL streaming service with free 90 day trial of lossless HiFi tier
  • Front-panel USB port for replay of MP3 player and USB-stored audio (1.6A charge)
  • vTuner 5* full-service internet radio
  • Multiroom & Party Mode compatible
  • iOS and Android Naim Audio app for intuitive control
  • Bluetooth connectivity with aptX HD codec for quality audio playback
  • Thanks to RC5 system integration, you can control compatible amplifiers that are connected to your network player directly from the Naim app on a phone or tablet.
  • Bi-directional, Zigbee®-compatible remote control
  • Roon ready – turning your music collection into a beautifully laid out catalogue
Technology & Craft

The Burr-Brown® PCM1792A digital-to-analogue converter working alongside our new streaming platform is one of the best available. We improved its performance even further by implementing our own digital filters and adding a discrete current-tovoltage converter immediately after the DAC.

The streaming section of the NDX 2 uses the latest Naim network card featuring lownoise, high-speed low-voltage differential signalling (LVDS) to route the digital audio signal. The higher speed is capable of decoding all HD audio formats at up to 32 bits/384 kHz or DSD128. Rather than the source acting as the digital timing master, our new streaming board turns things around and allows our DAC clock to control the flow of audio data. The data is integer-over-sampled in a SHARC DSP to an incredible 40-bit accuracy before it’s fed to the Burr-Brown DAC.

The NDX 2 features an integrated low-noise power supply with a custom-designed toroidal transformer and separate windings for the digital and analogue sections. However, the player can be upgraded with an external XPS DR or 555 PS DR power supply, giving you a marked increase in sonic authority and emotion.

During the development of the NDX 2, our engineers examined every detail, from mechanical construction, component selection and board layout. The result is a network player worthy of the Naim badge, with a sound that’s rich, detailed and engaging.