Is the NHT xd System worth buying today?

 I have an opportunity to buy the NHT XDS system. The asking price is about what it was going for during the closeout sale, so about half of the orginal retail price, it is not a giveaway. I am just wondering if this system is still valid today considering the advancements in the technology used?
I don't know what you mean by 'still valid today' but I have heard the NHT Xd and would not hesitate to acquire the system if given the chance; advancement in technology notwithstanding. It's one of those things that stay with you for a long time, much like what the original Logitech Transporter did for me at first listen. I regret not jumping on the chance to acquire those kinds of components no longer in production.
Half isn’t a great price considering I’ve seen them go for as low as $1200 for a 2.1 set on ebay, and $1500ish on Audiogon, with the XDA amps.

I wouldn’t pay $3000 for it today. First of all NHT ended up selling upgraded versions of the monitors (M60), and secondly the drivers aren’t really all that valuable, they were pretty much mid level Seas drivers at the time. The selling point of the system was the XDA amp, which at this point is pretty old. Secondly it was a notoriously noisy machine that was prone to mains hum and other noises, back when the XDs were in production people would pay to "upgrade" the XDA with upgraded caps and electronics to get rid of the noise.

Finally, the XDA is probably more hassle than it’s worth, and plenty of people have commented that it doesn’t really sound any better than the passive version of the NHT XD with a custom crossover which I believe Zaph and Selah used to build for people with dead amps.
JD, have you ever actually HEARD the system? If you weren't interested in it, when/how did you "see them go for $1200 or $1500"? Was that like 10 years ago? lol.  The selling point of the system was not just the amp, but the active crossover and equalization that resulted from a significant dedication of engineering/development resources. A signal perfectly tailored to the drivers and enclosures is created in the digital domain, and mainline/amplified and sent directly to the midrange, tweeter, and subwoofers, without any phase colorations or crossover distortion caused by passive components. If you believe that a passive version of the system sounds the same, you either haven't heard the immediacy of the active version and/or you are missing the whole point. You probably would not like active studio monitors either. The fit and finish of the system is outstanding, and the results are jaw-dropping. I have not heard of any of the hum or other noise issues that you speak of, or [the need for] any upgraded drivers offered by NHT; the results speak for themselves, as anyone who has actually heard (or reviewed) the system will attest. Enjoy whatever it is you like. :)

Yes, I’ve owned both the active and the passive version (built by Selah) actually. I didn’t think the active version sounded much better.

As far as actives, my mains are Genelec 8351s. I have no problems with actives in general, I just there isn’t that much you can do with the drivers on the XD as they have some serious breakup issues. There’s a reason why NHT released the M60s as a replacement monitor. As far as the noise issues, this is well documented by Stereophile. Maybe you need your ears checked?

I do enjoy whatever I like, thanks for patronizing buddy.


Sounds like you couldn't make the Xds sound the way you wanted because you don't have the technical capability. Those crazy looking upside down M60s were not a "replacement". If you are looking to some side-bar in an old Stereophile column, and you want to call that "well documented", well, then that speaks for itself.. LOL BTW, I wasn't trying to be patronizing. Enjoy your Genelecs. Buddy. 

Too late for the OP, but I wanted to reply to the comment about mains hum.

I believe what Stereophile documented was the self-noise of the system, not mains hum.  Mine don't hum, but you can hear hiss if you put your ear to the tweeter.  You'll find similar comments about hiss from some modern active DSP systems (e.g. Dutch & Dutch).

My Xda (the amp/dsp box) did make an annoying mechanical whine (not transmitted to the speakers), probably from the switching power supply.  I sent it in to NHT, and they were not able to fix the issue.

To me, this system is a lesson about undocumented, proprietary DSP systems.  As far as I can determine, If my Xda stops functioning, there's no way to repurpose the digital crossover filters.  Updating the amps and the DSP is also not an option without considerable hacking, or creating your own crossover filters from scratch.  

XDa was a nice technical attempt to make a very neutral speaker using DSP but today I think with much better room correction software available for both powered speakers like GLM or Dirac Live for passives it's somewhat long in the tooth.
I hooked mine up last week just to remind myself why I was dissatisfied.  Surprise, they sounded great.  The very even dispersion means they can really float images beautifully, better than my Vandersteen cloth Quatros in this regard.  And though I never got the second bass module, the bass clarity and weight in my room was satisfying.  This makes me wonder if I took the wrong path for my room with the floorstanders.
Thanks for your post daverz! Mine have been sitting for over a year (use Wilson W/P in my main system) - but your post makes me want to hook 'em back up for a spin..  :)
I'm in the market for an Xd 2.1 system to add to my 5 channel 4 subwoofer Xd set up. So anyone wanting to unload a system can do it. I bought one last year for $1400. I'm trying to build an all Xd Auro 3D set up (9 channels). I think they are giant killers, but no system is perfect. As far as noise is concerned, they are sensitive. I must pay attention to cable dressing, proper grounding and power conditioning. We have some power issues at our house that can trigger that sensitivity. It is true that the amp is the weak point as far as decades long use is concerned because it is so specialized. There is a very quiet fan deep in the power supply that can get noisy after 11 years of constant use - not too hard to replace
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Curious if anyone has tried a digital crossover like the MiniDSP 2x4 hd and amps to drive the Xd speakers. If I could find an and set at anywhere near the "closeout" price, I'd certainly consider such an experiment. Most going for close to a thousand is quite another matter. 
Keithtexas wrote:

“...The selling point of the system was not just the amp, but the active crossover and equalization that resulted from a significant dedication of engineering/development resources. A signal perfectly tailored to the drivers and enclosures is created in the digital domain, and mainline/amplified and sent directly to the midrange, tweeter, and subwoofers, without any phase colorations or crossover distortion caused by passive components.”

Aren’t you describing Meridian’s entire line of DSP speakers? In an all in one package? I set my source (Bluesound Node2i) on top of one speaker. Run a single cable to the other. And control the entire thing from my iPhone/iPad.

Not to take this OT and that it isn’t intriguing to see how another company might do the same with separates. In fact, I’m sort of regretting passing up the EBay auction yesterday for a two XdW setup. They were cream/red and would never pass SAF so it would be a passing fancy, then quite cumbersome to sell on. Anyone here involved in that auction?


Wouldn’t you need a fifth and/or sixth channel for sub(s)? The response of the satellites alone is fairly anemic and really requires a sub. That said, there are a pair or two available currently if still interested...
The amplifier has an XLR cable output for the subwoofer (XLR female/input obviously). 
I own the Dual bass NHT XDA setup and it rocks ,very accurate dynamic sound and the DEQX is the heart of the system .the 3d sound images the system creates are second to none . It is the perfect time domain performance that DEQX  brings that makes the system brilliant, until you hear it it is hard to believe. I have a later model DEQX and use Hypex amps now which improve on the sound considerably. The difference going to the Dual bass NHT is massive ! NHT running into trouble around the release time was unfortunate. I believe they really could have made killer systems today using the technology . 

NHT will still service this system if a problem arises.  And they do not charge much. Usually $165.00 to fix an issue.

I still own a system with two subwoofers.  One can download Firmware upgrades and filter changes such as moving the crossover from XDW to Satellites to 135Hz. And other ways.  In addition there are boundry compensation resets.  Freestanding satellites, near a corner, etc.

Used these are going for under $2000.00.  Occasionally $1000.00 These cannot be touched by anything in the market today for $2000.00. Yes, there are better speakers out there.  But one would have to pay quite a bit more than 1000 or 2000.