Question on DACs...........

I am using a Cambridge Azur 840c CD player and may upgrade one of my amps (a Naim Nait 5 i) to the Supernait which has a DAC onboard. Do any of you know which might be the best route to go - bypassing the DAC in the Cambridge and using the one in the Supernait or simply using the one in the Cambridge as this player, while not expensive has a great reputation. That is using the DAC in a $1,500 piece of gear or the one in a $5000 piece.

Apparently there isn't a lot of difference between the 5i and the Supernait, the DAC being the big difference and if the DAC in the Supernait turns out to be much superior then I will upgrade.

Thanks a lot.

I'm not familiar with the Supernait,but if you can hook both up at the same time,(analog and digital outputs from the 840c)
then you could A/B them easily.To be safe turn the volume down
before switching between analog and digital inputs.Using an auxiliary input for the analog may make it easier to do a A/B comparison.♫
Thanks a lot Hifitime. Now, when you say "A/B" them, do you mean to compare the sound quality? If so, the problem would be I would have already bought the Supernait in order to try this. However, I may be able to find a retail store that has both items and test them there.
Yes,sound differences between the Dac's. .I thought you were going to be in possession of both.
Find audiogon member grimmace.
His experience with the 840 is great. I would trust him when he tells you to skip the naim.
look here
Any local dealers who carry the Supernait? If yes, you should be able to audition the unit at home. Don't be afraid to ask. Any dealer worth their salt should accomodate such a request. Then you can easily compare. By the way, the other difference apart from the DAC between the Nait 5i and Supernait is power rating: 50 vs 80 wpc.
It sounds like a very lateral move, not sure what you upgrade strategy is here.
Thanks for the answers so far guys.

To Pubul157 - I hear what you are saying. I like the simplicity of the integrated approach and the portability (I live away from home for a good part of the year) but I am looking for more audio quality and a little more power than what I have at present. The system is a second system.

Thanks too for the input Cmalak. I wouldn't be in a position to ask a dealer to take the gear home because I know I would likely buy it off Audiogon, I would feel bad enough going to the store to listen knowing I probably wouldn't be buying from them.
Fair enough. If you can't audition it for reasons cited (which I agree with) then on the face of it, I agree with Pubul57. It sounds to me like a lateral move. What speakers are you driving in this system? Just curious as to whether you need the added 3owpc.
I have a pair of Dali Ikon 7s which need very little power and I also have Maggie 1.6, which surprisingly enough I was running off the Naim Nait51 (50 w per channel) and they worked ok but light up much more with more power. Right now (last day or two) I have been considering the Simaudio i7 at 150w and it has had very good reviews. I have speakers outside the country and can get away with putting integrated into my bags but no way could I get away with heavy separates....and since discovering higher end audio the Ipod and Bose don't cut it any more these days (he he).
The Super Nait is a good bit better than the Nait 5i. Its not just a Nait 5i with a DAC. It has a different pre-amp section and power amp section. Every aspect of the sound is improved upon. I've heard them side by side (with and without the internal DAC being used), and its not a subtle difference. If the difference is worth it from a financial perspective is a personal thing.

I haven't heard the Cambridge CDP, so I have no comment on which will sound better. I'd guess the SuperNait's DAC, but because I'm a big fan of Naim's house sound and prefer it to Cambridge's. Not that I dislike Cambridge by any means.

The Nait XS is said to be the stripped down version of the Super Nait. It either has the same amp and pre-amp, or is very closely based on it. It doesn't have the DAC and other bells and whistles.

I never thought I'd see the day where Naim has a stripped down version of their own product with less bells and whistles!
Great info Kbarkamian - thankyou.

In TAS the review on the Cambridge Azur 840c ($1,500) the reviewer states that you would need to spend $6000 to get a CD player that sounds as good as this. It sounds great to me, but then again I have never had something to compare it to. If that really is the case the DAC in the Supernait may not sound so impressive to me. Well, I guess it is all the exploring and possible happy surprises that makes this a great hobby. I have compared the Nait5i with some expensive separates and it really does get you most of the way there at a fraction of the price - a truly great piece of gear for the price.
"In TAS the review on the Cambridge Azur 840c ($1,500) the reviewer states that you would need to spend $6000 to get a CD player that sounds as good as this."

I'd take that with a big grain of salt. I'm not bashing the CDP; I've never heard it. But I have a hard time believing that it would take $6k to better the 840c.

The SuperNait's DAC is excellent. If you have a dealer, you really should audition one. If not, you may want to look for a second hand one here that you can resell with little to no loss if its not worth it to you. SuperNaits rarely come up and don't last very long at all here.
Re the TAS review, in a subsequent edition he responded to reader criticism in the letters section. Harley reminded the readers that 'of course' he could only compare the Cambridge to players he had heard and he hadn't heard all of the players in that price category. I can't recall if he even mentioned enuf of them to give a person a point of comparison. Many readers thought he was just giving an advertiser a (unmerited, perhaps) boost. FWIW.
Maybe I missed it, but if you had the SuperNait, what would be your digital source? Th Cambridge would be used as a transport?
To Pubul57 - I was simply going to use the Supernait as the amp and the 840 as the source. Am I missing something? Possible as I am pretty new to audio. Does this make sense?
Thomas...if you buy the Supernait and keep the Cambridge 840 CDP than you have many options:
1) You can use the 840 as transport and use it's digital out to connect to the Supernait's DAC and have the Supernait do the digital conversion
2) You can simply use the Cambridge 840 CDP as your digital source and connect it though it's analog outputs to the Supernait's line level inputs. In this configuration, the digital conversion is done by the Cambridge CDP's DAC
3) You can also connect a music server/computer and run that through the Supernait's DAC as well in which case the computer/music server becomes the transport and the digital conversion is done by the Supernait's DAC

Hope that helps.
Cmalak - thanks for the great suggestions on the DACs - I can always rely on you as a great source of knowledge!!