I used to wonder why Naim persevered with DIN connections when the rest of the audio world had given up on them decades ago. They’re not particularly nice things and must be a pig to solder, and you can’t use them with chunky cables. It’s no wonder they went away with only a few diehard adherents such as DNM standing alongside Naim standing up to the RCA/XLR hegemony. But now that I have had the chance to connect a Naim source and amplifier with a DIN to DIN cable I can hear why they have stuck to their guns. I’ll come back to this.
The main subject of this review is the middle model in Naim’s latest range of ND streamer/DACs; this was launched last year and became the second generation of streamers to take top spot(s) in Naim’s source hierarchy. The NDX 2 is the middle model and sits in the company’s Classic Series and it comes in casework that’s typical of that range except for the presence of a large (five inch) TFT display. This is a purist audiophile streamer and digital to analogue converter, but Naim has given it a broad feature set that enables integration with a wide range of contemporary sources alongside outputs that mean it can be used with pretty much any amplifier. Features that are not essential to the purist audiophile cause but make the NDX 2 a bit more flexible include the ability to receive Airplay, Chromecast, and Bluetooth signals, built-in access to Spotify and Tidal streaming services on the Naim app, and a slew of digital inputs for most of the likely sources. The only omission is HDMI for connection to an AV source, but most of these have a Toslink optical output for which the Naim has two inputs.
Control is largely achieved with the iOS or Android app but you do get a remote control that’s useful for pausing playback without having to wake up a touch screen. You can also control a connected amplifier or preamplifier with this remote, which saves on coffee table clutter. If you prefer, and many do, the NDX 2 can be controlled with the Roon app, which brings an enriched feature set and the ability to stream Qobuz on top of the native streaming services offered by Naim. It can be connected to a network over Ethernet (preferred for its reliability) or Wi-Fi.