We have been absolutely pleased with the performance and flexibility of the Naim DAC. We have used it with several different kits including a Naim HDX, Sooloos Media Server, Burmester 061, various USB Sticks, and Naim CD5 XS....it just simply performs!
In fact, we have had a hard time keeping them in stock...
We have been absolutely pleased with the performance and flexibility of the Naim DAC.
I bet you are pleased since you sell them!!!!!
I just listened to it last weekend as I was very interested in it after reading a glowing review, but I didn't care for it. It was hooked up to Devore Super 8 speakers with a Supernait amp. I thought it was somewhat bright sounding, with a definite digital sound. It was detailed though, and if your system would sound better with a detailed, bright sound then maybe you would like it. It definitely didn't have a warm side to it which is what I was looking for. Sandra
The Wadia iTransport becomes redundant with the Naim DAC. It extracts the digital stream from an iPod. Not sure if the cable is standard or optional. I've heard a ton of good things about the Naim DAC. Haven't heard it personally to comment on it though.
Kbarkamian, when you hook up a dac or cd player to the Wadia iTransport via spdif, isn't it using the cd players dac or the dac itself even if using the iPod? I'm not exactly sure how the iTransport works, that's why I'm asking. Sandra
The Wadia i170 is licensed by Apple so that the data is taken in digital form from the ipod, (ie bypassing the ipod's DAC and headphone applifier)That way you can use an external and presumably higher grade DAC and amplifier.
THis is what is on Wadia's website:
The iTransport is the first ever component specifically designed to transform your iPod into a high-resolution audio/video media server. The iTransport combines the convenience of personal audio with the performance and connectivity of your home audio/video system, delivering bit-perfect digital audio signal via S/PDIF coaxial (RCA) output, DVD quality video via component outputs, and built on a sleek aluminum chassis.
When the iPod docks with iTransport, the iPod transforms into an audiophile-grade media server that rivals some of the top performing digital source components available. Experience the iTransport for yourself at a Wadia dealer nearest you.
Whatever you hook up to a DAC using a digital connection - CD player, DVD, etc., you're bypassing the DAC in that device and using the external DAC's DAC.
That sounds confusing. Maybe this way makes more sense (brand names are arbitrary)-
If you connect a Rega Apollo from its digital output to the Naim DAC's digital input, the DAC in the Apollo gets bypassed and the digital signal goes directly to the Naim DAC, which decodes it and turns it into analog music.
The iTransport extracts the digital stream from an iPod, bypassing the iPod's internal DAC. It basically acts just like the Apollo in my example. Very few products can access the iPod's digital stream - the iTransport, Naim DAC and Peachtree iDecco are the only ones I know of.
The Naim DAC can access the iPod's digital stream directly, without using the iTransport.
Hope that clarifies things!
Okay, first of all thanks for all the responses.
Smw30yahoocom can you tell us what was being used
as a transport. I am really curious because I also
have the DeVore super 8's. I would also love to
know how it sounds compares to the CDs3.
JR, Thanks for your reply, now I understand. Scott, I can't believe I didn't get the transport they were using but all the other equipment was Naim. I have never heard the DeVores before but I am a firm believer in matching the right equipment to each other and maybe this system would have sounded better with other equipment matching. I have heard the Naim cd players before (a long time ago) and never thought they were bright sounding, so I'm not sure what the problem was. I just didn't like the sound, I think it would have been very fatigueing after awhile. I can call the store and ask what they were using as a transport if you're really curious, I can't believe I didn't get that. Anyway, the Devore's were very pretty speakers and very detailed, they would probably sound better with a warmer system. I actually got on the Naim forum and some of the comments about the dac were the same as mine, some digitalitis from this dac. Sandra
Thanks for the input Sandra. I actually bought my
DeVores from a Naim dealer and they were using the
Supernait with the CDX2 cd player. I also listened
to the CDS3 cd player. This was the most musical
system I have ever heard and I have been in this
hobby for many years. It was also the most analog
sounding digital I have ever heard with amazing timbre
and truth of tone. I actually got sucked in and listened
to the system for hours with no trace of glare or digitalitis.
I did find my self wanting a little more sparkle and air on guitar strings. So, if anything these cd players are a little rolled off. So, I am disappointed to hear the DAC
is bright. I wonder if it was fully broken in or if it had
been turned off. A lot of Naim gear takes a long time to
settle in after shut off. I have also noticed that the rave
reviews all use the Naim HDX music server. It is possible that it is voiced with this player.
If you have the chance to find out the transport source
please to let us know.
I think naim gear is a bit of hit or miss. Some of Naim digital gear does seem to suffer from digitalitis. The Naim CD5x sounds fine but the CDX seems to suffer from digitalitis.
Scott, I will call the store tomorrow and find out what transport they were using. I have listened to Naim in the past and never heard any brightness, maybe the dac was too new or not broken in, I never really asked. Maybe the DeVore speakers were not the best choice for them, they said they were waiting for some new Naim speakers to arrive but hadn't got them in yet. If you get on the Naim-Audio forum, there is quite a bit of talk about the new dac, some of it good, some heard what I heard. And because I didn't care for it doesn't mean that somebody else might not, individual tastes vary greatly and it was just my opinion.
Hello all. Scott, when I demoed the Naim dac it was used with a Cambridge 840 cd player as the transport. I thought it was a very detailed open, airy sound, but again, was on the bright side. I listened to this combination for approx. 15-20 minutes and it was already becoming fatiguing to me. This combination would never work with my speakers as they are very revealing and crystal clear, making it too much of a good thing. Someone else might enjoy this sound though depending on the rest of your equipment. Sandra
Thanks so much for the info Sandra.
The DeVore Super 8's are one of the most musical
speakers out there, so it sounds like the Cambridge
is a bad match. Naim is funny that way. The XS
or Supernait paired with a CDX2,CDS3 or CDS2 cd
player drives the DeVores with pure organic musicality.
However, when I first bought my XS using a Bel Canto Dac
it was way too bright. I still have the Bel Canto, but
after a lot of tuning using Synergistic Research products,
a Teddycap and Naim speaker wire(a must for Naim amps) I
am now getting nice musical sound that is both fluid
and holographic. It still doesn't have that truth of
timbre that the high end Naim cd players have but it does
have a lot better sound stage, air and sparkle.
I wouldn't mind having one of their high end cd players, but
I think it is a huge waste of money to spend that kind of
coin on a cd spinner when high rez media and hard drives
are the way of the future. I also think that the current
music servers are way over priced and the technology is too
new to consider. Kind of like buying a plasma for 10k when
they first came out.
Thanks again for your input and good luck on your system.
I am picking up a new Naim DAC tomorrow and will report back after I get some experience at home with it. I am also trying out a Supernait with my Harbeth C7ES3 speakers. Does anyone else have the same speaker/amp combo?
I don't know if you're interested in just the Naim dac or not, but last weekend I spent 2 days in Seattle just listening to cd players and the one I liked the best was the Simaudio 300D dac for $1600. It was warm, rich, detailed, had excellent bass. I had listened to the McIntosh MCD500, Audio research CD8 and their new USB based dac, Ayre QB9, Naim dac, Meridian, Linn and a few others. The Simaudio was just what I was looking for and it was hooked up to a Wadia 170i transport with a ipod which completely surprised me. I really had no interest in listening to Simaudio products as I really don't like the looks of them and you also don't hear much about them, but I wanted to hear everything that I could in the 2 days that I was over there. It was playing through Dynaudio speakers, then I had them move it to another system that had Avalon speakers. Great sounding dac at a very reasonable price, includes USB, spdif, toslink connections and plays high resolution music. I don't know much about Itunes, I'm trying to find out if you can download high res. music from them. If not, I will just buy this dac and connect it to my windows computer.
Just thought I would mention it in case anybody is looking for a good computer based dac. Sandra
That's the first I've heard about the Simaudio DAC, apart from press releases. I'm glad you found one you like. Simaudio is a great company that makes bullet proof gear that sounds fantastic. Its too bad they don't get more mention.
Have you heard the Bryston BDA-1 DAC or BCD-1 CD player? How does the Simaudio 300D compare?
I heard the Naim DAC yesterday at my local dealer's. I didn't find any brightness personally. That doesn't mean I doubt what you or anyone else heard either. System matching, room acoustics, and tastes all have to be factored in.
iTunes only has compressed music avaiable for purchase. Not sure if it'll do hi-res from your own ripped discs or not. I use iTunes for my library. I rip everything in Apple Lossless and I can't hear a difference between them and CDs. I don't own any hi-res stuff, so no comment on that.
Hi JR, I really wanted to listen to the Bryston cdp or dac but didn't run into any in Seattle. I was only there for 2 days and had to keep a close watch on my time.
I would like to hear the Naim dac with other equipment, it may sound completely different, although if you get on the Naim forums there are a few others that say the same thing I heard, somewhat digital sounding. I didn't hear anything digital about the Simaudio dac, it was smooth, warm, rich, with plenty of detail, just what I like.
I'm finding out that the ipod will not play high res. material, so it and the Wadia's out. I really don't listen with earbuds anyway, I don't think it's good for your hearing. I guess I'll just hook up the dac to my windows computer via USB, and if I really like the sound, will work on getting a pc with spdif coax. I talked to Simaudio today and that's what they recommend-coax. USB doesn't do high resolution, but apparently the Wadia/ipod doesn't either and it sounded very good.
What was the Naim dac hooked up to when you heard it, and what speakers?
Don't doubt your ears. Everyone listens for different things. Naim may very well be the most polarizing gear there is. People either love it or hate it. There's very little in between. Most everyone respects it though.
I really like Naim's presentation. I also like a livlier and more energetic presentation than many people do. To some ears that my be bright and/or grating. I like a touch of warmth, but not a lush, romantic like presentation. To me stuff like that seems too wram and slow. Everyone's got their preferences.
The Naim DAC was connected to Naim's top tier seperates, HDX server/hard disc player, and the new S600 speakers. I can't afford a single piece of that system. I wasn't auditioning it, it was playing when I stopped in for a different matter. Listened for about 5 minutes or so.
The Bryston DAC is a great DAC IMO. Probably the best one I've heard, not that I've heard a ton of them by any means. Its got a great balance of detail, smoothness, energy, and just about anything else most people look for. Its gotten a ton odf praise from everyone who's reviewed it, and for very good reason. To my ears, it was pretty much undistinguishable from their CD player, which has gotten even more coverage and praise.
Its a bit over my budget, but I could swing a Simaudio 300D if I saved up a bit more. Simaudio and Bryston have sounded very similar in the past. Simaudio has been a touch softer in the highs. I haven't heard the newest Simaudio gear, but its supposedly is a bit more pacey than it was, hence my interest.
Rega is rumored to be developing a DAC that'll sit between the Apollo (which I own and love) and the Saturn, according to a few guys on the Pink Fish forum. I'll wait for that before I buy anything, unless of course it comes out sometime this year.
Sorry if I'm rambling.
I just got the Naim DAC last week. Hooked it up to my HDX and 555 power supply - the sound is amazing. Very open, wide soundstage. Sounds considerably better than the HDX on its own. Highly recommended!
"I think it is a huge waste of money to spend that kind of
coin on a cd spinner when high rez media and hard drives
are the way of the future. "
A used or even new Naim cd player at any level is a great value if you have a decent sized cd collection. It's also a great value because they support their products. I would say an inferior sounding DAC (any DAC) is not as good a value.
Docmarc, have you had the chance to compare
your set up to the CDS3?
Sandra, it is possible to play high rez files on itunes.
However, you have to convert the files to wave using a
converter program such as from this web site:
I tried a few free samples at HDtrack web site and
they do work in itunes after conversion and are still
high rez quality. The People at HDtracks did tell me
that you can play them on your ipod. However, these
files will not transfer to my ipod even though they do
play on my computer.
Bummer, I really wanted to try out this high rez media.
Maybe it works on newer ipods.
I'd love some hi-rez music. Unfortunately, hardly anything I like is available.
Scott, I asked on the Wadia forum if you could download hi rez from the itunes store and play it through the Wadia170i/Ipod and this is what they said
"iTunes can play back 24/96 music, but you can not purchase lossless music, let alone hi rez from iTunes. The highest you can purchase in the iTunes store is 256 AAC files.
The iPod itself can store higher resolution files as portable memory stick, but cannot play back anything higher than 16/48k. iTunes will stop anything above that from loading into the iPod.
Because of this limitation by the iPod, the 170i will not accept a sample rate higher than 16/48k. unquote
KBarkamian, I agree with you at this time, high rez is very limited, but as more of us show interest in it there should be more variety becoming available. Sandra
Thanks for that update Sandra. That is too bad because the
Wadia can be tweeked to sound amazingly good as a transport.
The CI Audio power supply is a must have along with a
Genesis Digital lens which you can find on agon for about
400.00. With out the Genesis Digital lens which reclocks,
eliminates jitter, and adds dither, the sound would be
more like digitalitis. Also, if you don't mind the price, even used, the Synergistic Research D2 digital cable with a
Galileo MPC will give you the most amazing transformation
in sound staging. The level of front to back layering is
staggering with this cable. Its like going from a CDX2 to
Yes, that is what is keeping me from buying the Wadia/Ipod, it's a shame because it's such a great setup with an external dac. I'm searching for a really good digital coax cable, you like the Synergistic D2? I hate to have to start auditioning digital cables but I may try 2-3 for starters. I think I'll start off with a cheap one (Blue Jeans?) and go to a few more expensive ones to see if there is a difference. I'm really interested in the MIT offerings but it's mucho money. Sandra
I had been using the Illuminati D60 and Stereovox digital
cables which are highly regarded. However, when I switched
to the SR D2 I am now getting the layering and holographic
imaging that you hear in a 10k plus cd player. Its that good,
and it should be at the price. There top of the line is the
D3 with I hear gives you a little more air and warmth.
If you do try a demo, they need up to 5 days to settle in.
SR cables are quite fussy that way.
I just read a review of the Simaudio 300D online. UHF Magazine loved it. If interested, Google search "Simaudio 300d UHF review." Its the PDF article, which is currently the second link.
Hey Jr, thanks for the review link. I just read it and it seems they think a lot of it just like I did. They use a lot better audiophile terms though, I just use my own words :). I'm also going to try out different coax cables. I just bought one for $20 at Radio Shack, the auvio. After I use it for a couple of weeks, I will try another one, moving up to a more expensive one each time. I'll probably try 5-6 altogether. I want to try the SR and MIT's Oracle,I heard it's fantastic, but it should be for the money. I've decided to upgrade my amps, so I am going to do that first, then get the Simaudio. After I get it I will let everyone know what it sounds like. Sandra
A review just came out in HIFICRITIC. Vary favorable, it was largely insensitive to transports, they tried several and there wasn't much difference. The best was a Meridian 200, which makes me happy as I have 2 and use them with my own DACs. How much is this going for in the US, my google search only got me UK sources?
"I thought it was somewhat bright sounding, with a definite digital sound. It was detailed though, and if your system would sound better with a detailed, bright sound then maybe you would like it."
I'm listening to the Naim DAC right now via USB stick with WAV files. Very analog sounding . . definitely leans to the dark side. It has a tonally rich quality & flow to it that's quite addictive. The biggest compliment I can give it is that I forget I'm listening to digital.
I bought it thinking it would be similar to the Naim CDS2/XPS that I owned and admired c 2000-03. It's very good and even better when fed with a high res file. I found the 44.1 sound to be typical Naim, a bi forward and opaque in imaging ie. you hear all the voices out in front and seeming to be on the same plane. This quality was diminished when playing an HRX track via USB. The comparison was for 44.1 was between the Naim and my Boulder DAC. My relative, whose system the Naim was intended, felt the Naim to be a bit bright; we went with an Accuphase DC801 in the end in their system.
Classicjazz, I agree with you on the imaging, though I don't have the Naim sitting on an isolation stand. With my previous DAC, Chord QBD76, you could pick out a layer of music and follow along. Depending on your viewpoint, some people may call this detailed.
The Naim has an analog flow to it, and I find I forget I'm listening to digital and can just kick back and enjoy the music.