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Naim NDAC still decent?

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

  1. HiFiman

    HiFiman Don't tell him Pike

    Strange how we all hear things differently.
  2. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    I’d say in the context of a Naim system, it’s very decent. When you look at what the last few have sold for on here, good value as well. If I wasn’t going Linn DSM, I’d probably pick one up myself. Stick with what you’ve got.
  3. NotOneIota

    NotOneIota Member

    I'm sure its still decent. Whether its worth replacing depends on your overall system, aims and budget.

    As a previous poster suggested you might be able to replace it with something cheaper and be hard-pressed to reliably tell the difference. This would free up funds for upgrades elsewhere (which of course you might not want or need).

    If you have an all digital system then other Dacs with a well implemented volume control can make more sense because you can then remove the analogue pre-amp from the chain, which should improve sound quality in itself and again frees up funds for upgrades elsewhere.
    westsounds likes this.
  4. Mr Underhill

    Mr Underhill pfm Member

    The nDac is excellent when partnered with a better psu, and I regret selling mine. There are of course other options, such as the Audionote stable - R2R NOS, rather than with!

    I thought the question above asking what you are feeding it with was important. Having tried a panoply of the stream aggregators I would heartily recommend the dCS NB, expensive but superb, and saves mucking around with a load of LPSUs and widgets/cables.

    For me I went with a Linn Klimax Renew DS/1, which you can pick up for a relative song ....and is excellent.

    I still do think that I made a serious mis-step when I sold my Naim DAC/XPS for a Bel Canto ...but hey ho.
  5. ajm

    ajm pfm Member

    "In your opinion" the benchmark beats it by a mile however this isn't a fact as such.

    In my opinion, I've tried many of the 'flavour of the month' dacs that come and go - the NDAC is still the one that sounds best to my ears.
    HiFiman likes this.
  6. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    I was on the verge of buying one to partner with my NAC82, when the Audiolab MDAC came along. Comparing the NDAC/82 with the MDAC (which needed no preamp) was a revelation. Quite how good the NDAC is/was in isolation I don't know, maybe with a NAC552 it would have bettered the MDAC, but I wasn't in a position to afford such a system. The MDAC (although now Lakewest modified) is still the hub of my system, waiting for something that is significantly better (and affordable) to come along. In the context of a high end naim system, the MDAC makes no sense. I did hear a Naim DACV1 in a completely different system, and was mightily impressed - it would be interesting to compare NDAC+preamp with DACV1 direct to a power amp - my money would be on the latter...
  7. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    Hi Westsounds, I started with an rDAC and moved on pretty swiftly to a Naim V1 which I found to be a very significant improvement. About 2 years later I bought a second hand nDAC which again, I felt was a very real improvement over the little V1. After about 2 years I added an Olive XPS, which certainly improved the nDAC's performance, and in my opinion, was well worth its second hand price.

    The nDAC is now fed by a NDX which has a pretty decent 'on board' DAC itself. I thought the moment had arrived when the nDAC and I would part company! After several weeks of listening and comparing the two DAC's I came to the conclusion I still prefered the nDAC over the DAC in the NDX.
  8. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Thanks for that interesting post. I think its pretty conclusive the nDAC as some call it, or simply Naim DAC I think its more commonly known as, is and will continue to be regardless of age and newer models arriving, a good DAC. A good piece of equipment is basically a good piece of equipment even with age. Trouble is people get into this mindset of 'newer' or 'more of' tech is better, and to be very frank it is not.
    ajm and legroschien like this.
  9. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    I think there is alot of sense in what you say, and for what it's worth, I don't think it's by accident that Naim have not released a new 'stand alone' version of the Naim DAC for a very long time. Could it be that the current Naim DAC is proving quite a tough nut to improve on - just a thought?
  10. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    The Naim DAC/nDAC does use the same DAC chips as their top of the range CD players which with a power supply would cost not far short of 20K, and that cant be used as a standalone DAC. Even the Naim CDS3 again near 10k option with power supply uses those chips and again you cant use it as a stand alone DAC either. Both of those players are very highly regarded by the way. So in all fairness then the Naim DAC could be seen as a bit of a bargain. And when you take into account more and more people are going away from CD well DAC and especially good DACs are a no brainer.

    The chips these machines use are no longer in production either they are a discontinued Burr-Brown chip. And it is apparently a fact that on discontinuation of this chip Naim bought up all the stock of them to be sure they had them for future production models. So I guess you could say anything with this chip in may become collectable also.
    Dark Lord and legroschien like this.
  11. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    Intresting, thanks for the information, useful to know.
  12. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    A couple of excerpts from Naim Manuals. I knew I read it somewhere :)

    I really should get out a lot more :D


  13. Ponty

    Ponty pfm Member

    Naim DAC now discontinued...
  14. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Because they've run out of 1704's :D
  15. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Or running low on them then might have been more appropriate :)
  16. suzywong

    suzywong Shifting 0s & 1s since 1968

    According to a recent post on the green forum from Richard Dane, Naim have a limited stock of the 1704 chips, and have made a conscious decision to focus on the ND555, rather than the DAC or CD555.
    westsounds likes this.
  17. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Ah, that is very interesting...Thanks
  18. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    If you were Naim and had a limited number of 'special chips' why would you use them in something as meagre as a DAC that everyone can buy (or buy second hand more easily anyway) :) They were still far from cheap I will add, retail cost anyway. Of course not, lets put it only in the flagship gear as we've got not many left and we need to make those 'special products' and maybe get our monies worth 'ahem'. Can see their thinking.

    But all the same, even with their high pricing policy, you've got to just love Naim products, theyre just so cool, and lets face it they are far from bad.
  19. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Where did that last post go :( it was good
  20. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    I'll respond to it anyway, even though its gone:(

    Funny enough I was just thinking about all those little things you said there in my tiny piece of hi-fi brain. And some of them do actually have some meaning.

    All DACs sound the same, yes I agree, they are not a million miles away from each other. But they are not identical. What sets them apart is nuance and presentation. Even if its bit perfect detail revival some just sound like they are making magic and others well, just dont.

    The power supply trap I have never fallen into (because they just cost so damn much). As much as I would like to I just think it is nonsensical to buy one at what they charge. If money was no object, then yes I may, but that is not the case for me and I cant see it changing, but who knows maybe one day I might be in that position or get lucky :) On saying that I did try experimenting the 'cheap way' with Teddy Pardo power, but 'for me' it was a downgrade. Pity I couldn't take the plunge on the real deal really.

    And the amps. Yes, I can see where people are coming from. Less (money) is / can be sometimes much much more. But that said and done naim amps do deliver music differently and its kind of addictive as well. So when all said and done Naim, well, you've got to salute them.

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