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Naim NDAC still decent?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Spesh, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. Spesh

    Spesh pfm Member

    I've had the NDAC for about 5 years now and shortly after purchasing I added a Teddy XPS. I haven't really heard many of the more current DACs from Naim or other brands and was curious as to peoples opinion on how well the technology has improved in this market, or if the NDAC was still considered decent by todays standards?
  2. the heretic

    the heretic pfm Member

    I've heard it's pretty indecent nowadays.
  3. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Hard to do any better than that, certainly not for what you'd get for selling it on. I downsized to a Chord 2Qute which is not in the same league as the Naim/TP.
  4. PerF

    PerF Member

    Not sure they have launched others apart from DAC V1 which is a pre/headphone-amp too.

    I tried the much applaused Chord dac's
    Impressive at first
    Tiring in the long run.
    I ended up preferring my Rega DAC and sold on the Hugo and another Chord (no battery trouble).
  5. seethroughyou

    seethroughyou pfm Member

    The NDAC was a competently engineered DAC that has brought many thousands a great of pleasure. It’s was sonically up there with ‘night and day, veil lifting, just more musical’ DACs costing oligarch money. That is all old hat now. Audiophiles who rightly obsess about audible jitter at femtosecond levels and electromagnetic interference from collapsing stars and spinning quasars feel that it has been massively left behind. They also feel that DAC designers have yet again in 2020 discovered earth shattering new concepts and techniques that weren’t available even a year ago that justifies you trade in your 5th DAC for the latest and greatest DAC. It will always nag away that something might be better and most definitely is because audio reviewers who have much better ears than us are the same people we should confide all our trust in. Furthermore, the forums (if you care to pay attention) are loaded with stories of x, y and z who went to Munich and the new DACs with precision laser trimmed resistors and cutting edge power supplies are talk of the town with the new special sauce and techniques and you’d be a right bloody fool to ignore at your peril. Don’t get me started on those insane naive fools who say that DACs sound similar. The new DACs ‘sound like real music’; it’s just that these silly people can’t hear it. If you stick with the NDAC you should purify your USB, reclock your digital feed, upgrade the power supply, get it modded and even then it just won’t work or compliment a truly revealing system. Let’s face it, it can’t keep up with modern 1s and 0s. The NDAC is now terrible and should go on the fire. Let the NDAC burning commence.
    mega lord, Tw99 and nobeone like this.
  6. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    There are many DACs that are much older than the NDAC that are still considered very decent.

    If you like the Naim sound there's little point in replacing it, if you are hankering for a change something like a NOS one would be a departure from the Naim sound.
    gx502 likes this.
  7. John Channing

    John Channing fruit box forever

    The nDAC is a very good DAC, with lots, but not all of the connectivity options you might want. The problem, and the reason why I sold mine, is that there are DACs which are vastly cheaper and sound exactly the same. DACs are a solved problem, most are competently designed and completely transparent. Spend as little as possible and save your cash for something that will have a bigger impact.
    joe9407 and seethroughyou like this.
  8. Enfield boy

    Enfield boy pfm Member

    Ah, but it sounds much more betterer with a 555PS. Ask me not how I know this!
  9. suzywong

    suzywong Shifting 0s & 1s since 1968

    I bought a s/h nDAC last year and run it with an “olive” XPS power supply into the rest of my Naim “olive” system.

    I quite like it, although I do have a hankering to try one of the latest Chinese DACs like the Toppings, of which I have heard good things.

    One for my retirement, methinks.
  10. ajm

    ajm pfm Member

    Which digital source are you using with the NDAC?
  11. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Best dac I've heard so far and I've heard plenty. And Ive heard the DAVE.
  12. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    I too run an NDAC with an XPS and still enjoy it very much. I did try a Chord 2Qute which whilst very revealing and detailed I found a little over analytical to my ears. I'm still keen to try different DACs though.
  13. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Chord dacs do nothing for me either, although I do like the DAVEs, perhaps the only one I really do like, Ive owned several others. However, some people love them.

    Did you find the xps made that much of a difference to the naim dac? Did you A / B them?
  14. Rick_F

    Rick_F pfm Member

    I had an ndac and 555 power supply but went off it when I installed the v2? firmware. It had more definition but to my ears became less musical. A friend brought round a Chord Hugo which in my system beat the Naim combo. I haven't regretted selling the Naim gear and now have a Chord Hugo TT. Mind you, I'm starting to have an itch to try something new.
  15. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Thats a shame about the naim dac. Pity there wasn't the option to firmware it back, or perhaps there is. And oh no, I know all about itches :D
    Rick_F likes this.
  16. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Try a Chord Hugo or older QBD76 in the used market.
  17. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    They could try a QBD76 but for me I found it to be nothing I wanted to listen to for any length of time. For me the naim is night and day better.

    And I get what people say that dac designs are mostly if not all 'good enough' these days but there is still a gulf of micro subtleties between models and that's what makes selection hard. They may all play bit perfect or near it but the analogue bit that comes out the end still sounds different. And digital gear has some of the subtlest differences of all the hifi components. The gear you like is going to nuance differently to the gear you don't. That why its so bloody hard to make any recommendations.
  18. i.j.russell

    i.j.russell pfm Member

    The NDAC is still a good DAC. It will cost you a lot of money to get something significantly better.
  19. HiFiman

    HiFiman Don't tell him Pike

    I wish I kept my nDAC but this upgrading lark always gets the better of me sold it and purchased a Hugo. For several weeks I thought I was on a winner with the Hugo but overtime felt something was missing so bought a Naim 272, music balance restored my ears must prefer a Naim DAC presentation.

    The DAC in the 272 is excellent and now feed it with a Node 2i to allow Qobuz service but my 272 is connected to a 555DR so probably not a fair contest.
    Torris12 likes this.
  20. Paul Burke

    Paul Burke pfm Member

    Decent yes. As good as many other dacs costing less, no chance. Used one with a 555 for a good while. The khadas tone board I built a little while ago that costs 90 quid walks all over it. Doesn’t have the in/out options though.

    Something like a benchmark for 3-400 quid does have, and still beats it by a mile, additional power supply or not

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