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Naim NDAC still decent?

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

  1. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    I wonder if Naim will ever launch a 'stand alone' DAC again, since pretty well abandoning the CD format they seem to focus all their development efforts on network players - which I get, but I'd love to see them 'reimagine' and launch a new DAC.
  2. seethroughyou

    seethroughyou pfm Member

    What more could they do?
    What are the measurable and audible deficiencies?
    legroschien and westsounds like this.
  3. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Don't know, it'll be interesting.
    Maybe they'll go prospecting for 1704 chips :D
  4. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    You wouldnt say no to a CD555 tho would you, no matter how abandoned the format was :)
  5. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    You're absolutely right, I'd love a CD555 :) I must admit, I've always loved Naim CD players, I really regret selling my CDS2 :( As much as I enjoy my NDX it's very different.
  6. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    A very fair question, and I imagine one of the reasons they have not released a new version, but a man can dream can't he ? :D
  7. Suffolk Tony

    Suffolk Tony Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment.

    First off, I'll emphasise that my experience relates only to my own two systems, so your results will differ.

    I originally owned a CD55 for a number of years but thought I'd dip my toe into streaming, so I borrowed a Chord QBD76HDSD from my friendly dealer with the intention of running it side by side with the 555. However, I discovered the Chord sounded better to my ears, so I sold the 555. I did try the nDac in my system, but even with the 555power supply, it didn't come up to the Chord (I've since moved on to the Dave/Mscaler, but it took me a while to make the change, given how well the QBD worked).

    I needed a digital preamp in my second system ("Voyager"-type DIY dual-mono amp, Neat Motive 2 speakers, various digital sources) & the V1 seemed to be a good option. It proved to be excellent, but after initially trying it in my main system it was decent enough but not as good as the nDac. Because my second system's in our holiday home, & I wanted to use it mostly with A/V sources & HDMI inputs, I sold the V1 and now use a Denon surround sound receiver, which with music sources is excellent & I don't miss the V1 in that system.
    legroschien likes this.
  8. legroschien

    legroschien pfm Member

    Interesting experience, I've always wondered how good those QBD76HDSD where and I've always admired the esthetics of Chord gear. I never got further than a 2Qute :(

    I'm with you on the V1, which I too had in system for some time, it was good but the nDAC, to my ears at least, is considerably better.
  9. Spesh

    Spesh pfm Member

    Some very interesting comments here. I haven't auditioned any other DACs since buying the Naim but the Teddy XPS definitely improved it. I have considered demoing a Benchmark DAC as these seem to get rave reviews, but there is something about the Naim presentation that I like. I'm currently only feeding my speakers (Proac D20R) with a Nait XS2, but am picking up a Sonneteer Orton at the weekend, which from memory worked well with the Ndac and Proacs.
  10. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Yes, there is something about the naim DAC. Lovely speakers you have there by the way. ProAc are one of my favourites. Personally though I'm not that keen on them with naim amplification even though many love it and even ProAc themselves use this combination at shows. Nothing against Naim amplification either, I think its one of the best available, just not with ProAc, for me anyway :)
  11. ajm

    ajm pfm Member

    You might be surprised by the difference changing your digital source makes with the Naim DAC.

    To my ears, the Naim DAC can range from sounding very average to extremely good depending on the quality of the digital transport that's feeding it.
  12. Spesh

    Spesh pfm Member

    I absolutely agree. Playing CDS through my blu ray player using the optical connection produces rather unsatisfactory results. However things improve dramatically when I use the coax connection on my Musical Fidelity M1CDT transport, which I don't think anyone would consider a particularly high end CD transport.
  13. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    This is interesting.

    I know there is a vast amount of difference between CD transports and digital sources but aren't we just talking digital information here, 0s and 1s. I've always been of the school of thought that just as long as you get those 0s and 1s to the DAC fully intact then I can't see how it can affect the sound, the analogue conversion at the end is what we hear, why would the transfer of the digital bit to the front end make any difference? Its the DAC thats the most important bit.

    I know of a number of players which use very cheap transports even the Naim DVD5 player for one. IIRC its a very inexpensive Teac DVD-ROM drive that simply been adapted to work in the player. These Rom drives could be picked up for less than £20 at one point. Another 'high-end' CD player to use this exact transport was a Resolution Audio Opus 21, which again uses 1704 chips although a slight variation I believe 1704 J's.

    These days however it's usually files we play from 'sometimes' even solid-state storage, so I can imagine the digital transfer method is only going to be even better, well maybe not better as there is only one way to deliver a 0 or a 1 fully intact, let's say faster and more stable then. The naim DAC was supposedly one of if not the first ever jitter-free DAC as well so as long as those 0s and 1s are getting there I can't see the point of spending huge money on anything that doesn't do any more than this.
  14. Spesh

    Spesh pfm Member

    I agree with this school of thought too, but there is definitely something happening in my system with different sources. The blu ray player produces a sound that is a lot rougher also lacking bass and sibilant in the vocals
  15. westsounds

    westsounds pfm Member

    Yes, you are right though, and ok hands up even I have noticed differences or at least perceived differences between digital transports feeding DACs. But then again I suppose if its doing something even in the slightest bit different then it would make a difference that maybe picked up audibly, and as we can all agree transport or digital front ends can differ greatly in their construction and the way they actually do things, even if its just the same 0s and 1s that come out of the end. Whether its better, an improvement, different, is of course as always in hi-fi, highly subjective. But I like what the naim DAC does anyway, regardless :)
  16. suzywong

    suzywong Shifting 0s & 1s since 1968

    Obviously, if the Naim DAC Is susceptible to the quality of the transport, then, as has been so eloquently argued on other threads, it must be “incompetently designed”...........
  17. Spesh

    Spesh pfm Member

    But then surely this is the case with every DAC....
    suzywong likes this.
  18. suzywong

    suzywong Shifting 0s & 1s since 1968

    This must indeed be the case....for so it is written on other threads by Gurus.

    Although I must confess that for such an "incompetantly designed" thingy, my nDAC-XPS is sounding particularly fine this evening, being driven from my Allo USBridgeSig/DigiOneSig/Shanti/Moode streamer, via a Naim DC-1 cable.

    "Dead Queen" from Espers' album "II"!
    legroschien and mega lord like this.
  19. Spesh

    Spesh pfm Member

    I think the thing with the Ndac is that while there might be DACs that are more insightful, the Naim makes me feel like i'm in the front row of the audience rather than halfway back the auditorium.
  20. M@ver1ck

    M@ver1ck pfm Member

    I love the Naim Dac. Went from a 272/250DR to UQ2/NaimDac/Nac72/HiCapDR/250DR and never looked back! The UQ2 and HiCap I already had - so the swap actually saved me money!

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