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les pako

Has newer technology surpassed the Naim DAC in sound quality?

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I own a Naim Dac which I’ve had for three years. It’s the only external DAC I’ve ever had. Its powered by the Naim XPS. I listen to files loaded onto a USB stick plugged into the DAC. I’ve finally decided to upgrade the system so I can access my library instantly. So a NAS > Server/Renderer > DAC setup is in my very near future. I figured that a change in DAC was in order to accommodate DSD and I’m contemplating either a PS Audio DSD or Lampi 5 or 7.

 

I’ll obviously attempt to listen to the new equipment before making a decision. But I was hoping for an opinion from your kind selves regarding the following:

 

I’ve always loved the sound of the Naim Dac.. From a technological standpoint its an ancient machine. Will PCM actually sound better on one of the newer DACs I’ll be auditioning?

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Naim has a very good streamer setup where they have managed to shield streamer chip noise from the DAC well.

 

They should include Open Home Media, however, since that is so much easier for the user. Their UPnP app is not that good, luckily there are many others out there.

 

The one place they can really improve compared with others I have heard is the DAC itself. For that price they get spanked by, for example MSB.

 

Their power supply also makes a hell of a racket. Adding ability for Tidal and other current streaming services would be good too.

 

Other than that a nice streamer.

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Naim has a very good streamer setup where they have managed to shield streamer chip noise from the DAC well.

 

They should include Open Home Media, however, since that is so much easier for the user. Their UPnP app is not that good, luckily there are many others out there.

 

The one place they can really improve compared with others I have heard is the DAC itself. For that price they get spanked by, for example MSB.

 

Their power supply also makes a hell of a racket. Adding ability for Tidal and other current streaming services would be good too.

 

Other than that a nice streamer.

 

Thanks but I think you misinterpreted my question as I'm not looking to stay with Naim due to lack of DSD. I'm seeking opinions as to whether the PCM SQ of PS Audio DSD or Lampizator 5 or 7 would actually improve on my current DAC.

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Thanks but I think you misinterpreted my question as I'm not looking to stay with Naim due to lack of DSD. I'm seeking opinions as to whether the PCM SQ of PS Audio DSD or Lampizator 5 or 7 would actually improve on my current DAC.

 

My opinion is that you should thoroughly demo your suggested alternatives before rushing to replace your Naim DAC...

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Thanks but I think you misinterpreted my question as I'm not looking to stay with Naim due to lack of DSD. I'm seeking opinions as to whether the PCM SQ of PS Audio DSD or Lampizator 5 or 7 would actually improve on my current DAC.

 

In that case I agree with Norton. Only way is to get a few in-house auditions so you can compare whether it improves sound to your ears and in your setup. There are too many variables to make a judgement by reading opinions here.

 

The one big'difference in sound to my ears was discrete ladder DAC vs the Sabre chip ones.

 

Happy hunting

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Yes.

 

IMHO Dac's such as the PS Audio Direct Stream and Lampazotor surpass the Naim.

 

The caveat here is finding exactly what suits your tastes.

 

I have been trying for ages to get a comparison of a top of the line Lampi to my cadre of DAC's but haven't so far succeeded. However I have been assured its in the mould of my personal favourite DAC, a Killer which is a very well executed DAC based on those old Phillips double crown chips - although they are getting hard to get and it sometimes uses a single crown if they sound better than what's available when its built - which I believe mine is. It is the exact opposite of the Direct Stream - which while not what I would describe as analytical like the MSB is in the detail mould.

 

When fed into a very revealing system the Direct Stream simply has jaw dropping speed and detail - very awe inspiring. Does it sound real and convincing to me - no - but still very impressive and some people when they hear it pull out their cheque book immediately.

 

Dac's like the Lampizator and Killer are entirely different. They tend to grow on you with prat that brings an unconscious smile to your face and simply sounding real.

 

Which is better - that entirely depends on your ears - I am pretty sure you can guess my preference. You must hear both to make up your mind.

 

Another DAC that has impressed me is an upgraded Oppo. I have one and am really enjoying it - its in the Direct Stream mould - and depending on how transparent your system is is close to very close to the Direct Stream - it lacks the drop dead speed - but you need a good system to show it. Its connectivity is simply amazing.

 

Anyway IMHO newer DAC's will upgrade the Naim but you need to audition to decide what suits you best.

 

Thanks

Bill

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I have to admit right off the bat that I have never listened to PS Audio DirectStream DAC or Lampi 5/7. I have only listened to Naim DAC without special power supplies. While I suspect I would agree with bhobba, I think there is an additional caveat. Just as I have heard some more expensive DACs outperform Naim DAC without special power supplies a few years ago, the addition of newer more expensive power supplies with the Naim DAC can potentially outperform some of the newer DACs. So it is not necessarily just a matter of your personal taste and preference for the sound of the DAC but a more complex interaction between the DACs themselves and potentially upgradeable power supplies in Naim's case. I found this link here:

 

Colloms Sound Quality Ratings: Digital Audio - hificritic.com

 

The reviewer compares different DACs, and you can see the reviewer thinks that the newer Naim NDS which is based on the Naim DAC technology with two PS555 power supplies outperforms almost everything else he reviews. And he ranks the Naim DAC with the XPS2 power supply higher than many well-regarded DACs. If you're going to switch to a streamer in the near future, you are also adding another variable in terms of performance as some DACs sound significantly better with a lower jitter source whereas others sound virtually the same. So ultimately, I agree with bhobba that you'll probably have to audition the upgrades that you're thinking of to determine whether it's the right upgrade path for you.


ultraRendu > Peachtree X1 (Toslink) > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature + Sunfire TS-EQ10 subwoofers

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