272 DAC upgrade-advice please

I love my 272 which sounds great with a 555DR powering it. However I also would also like to see what it sounds like with an external DAC. I understand that some forum members seem to be doing just that, whilst others say this cannot be done.

I am a technological numpty, so if someone is actually doing this with an external DAC can you explain how you plug it and and possibly show how with photos? I would be happy to spend up to £1000 on it. If not I’ll bide my time waiting for the new and improved 272.

The 272 is a bit of an overachiever, by itself. With your PS555 (DR!), it is world-class. Why would a “numpty” take a chance?

Only a tech-NERD would truly enjoy setting 1000 on fire, and burning fingers on the risky outcome, “for the experience.”

Play it safe.

Your friend,

Nick

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Worth mentioning that an external DAC connected to a 272 would mean bypassing the latter’s pre-amp section.

So you’d have a 272 / 555DR employed as streaming transport only, which is maybe not an optimal use of funds.

(My post coincided with James’ comment below: we’re saying the same thing!)

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Unfortunately you can’t achieve what I think you want to achieve with just a 272 and an external DAC. You’ll either have to use the DAC with another digital source and just use the 272 as a pre-amp or use the 272 as the digital source to the DAC and feed the output into another pre-amp.

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In case @IDAK is wondering why this is…. say you are using upnp to stream from your Nas; you run the digital output into the Dac. You then need to switch to say Analogue 1 input, which in this case the dac is connected to, and this turns off the upnp.

You have a great system there with 272, 555DR and a 250 - I wouldn’t change a thing and see what Naim might bring in the near future …

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I added a Lumin U1 Mini to up the 272 streaming capabilities and it was a great upgrade to sound quality too. So now it’s just waiting for the new 272 to arrive. Hopefully not 50 years of waiting as with the TT.

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It looks pretty certain that the OP did mean a DAC, which of course with the 272 cannot be done - unless you feed the 272 into a DAC and then the latter into a separate preamp.

Thanks everyone for your already very helpful answers. My goal is to see if I can get an incremental improvement in sound quality, good though it already is. So a case of upgradeitis. Trouble is, I’m cheap. It would probably be an interim measure until:

The new mythical 272.2 arrives.or

Another path is that of HH , keeping the 555DR and getting the SN3 and NDX2. Probably a bit more expensive than a 272.2. And perhaps a sideways move in some respects.

Then there is going for a different brand of streamer/dac/preamp to go with the 250dr perhaps a one box machine like an Aurilac. Which may be a bit of a Hail Mary option given the synergy of naim gear.

So the bottom line is:
I much just wait things out before I start throwing money around. Your helpful answers have helped clarify my thoughts on the matter.

I’m in a similar situation, with almost the same system, (XPSDR instead of 555DR).

I’m hoping to add an NDX2 sometime this year (on waiting list, no delivery date). If / when it arrives I’ll move the 272 to interim pre-amp duties.

Problem for the OP is that splitting his system into separate streamer / DAC / pre-amp functions would mean he’s no longer fully utilising the most expensive bit (555DR)…

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Pretty much the same system as you, and the same conundrum. NDX2 and SN3 is really starting again.

The “sideways” move observation is interesting as I’ve still not worked out where a 272 replacement might sit. The Atom HE fills a hole, and the 272.2 would need to be a lot better than that which would push it into ND5xs2 and 202 territory at around £5k, whilst the NDX2 and 282 is about £10k. It would be a strange choice to offer a one box system that competes with its own two box system on price and performance. Maybe somewhere in the middle, or perhaps a premium product to compete with the Bartok or similar?

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Agreed @easeback1 . The 272 with 555 is superb. But source first and all that applies. Best of luck with the NDX and the eventual ?252

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Exactly. What are the odds that Naim haven’t been able to solve this puzzle either, thus explaining the 272.2’s continued absence? :grimacing:

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Yes, the 272 with 555 and a good power amp is a great setup, without the need for loadsaboxes. It’s such a shame that it’s taken Naim so long to get round to releasing a replacement. They have been virtually saying for a couple of years that it’s on its way, and I’ve no doubt that it is, but it’s taking a heck of a long time.

I didn’t actually make the swap to gain an improvement, but much to my surprise my current setup seems more enjoyable than what went before. The NDX2/555DR is a stonkingly good source, and I’m sure that’s at the route of the improvement.

So it’s a dilemma for 272 owners for sure.

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Worth noting, of course, that a tiny thing called COVID - and the associated world supply chain meltdown - has changed a lot of companies’ launch plans over the past 18 months…

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That said, Clare, it may be worth Naim making an exception to usual practice in this case, and stating once and for all that a new streaming preamp is coming, and the likely release date. It may stop people deserting Naim and looking elsewhere.

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I would agree with @hungryhalibut given this unusual situation regarding the pandemic and supply chain.
I doubt Naim is selling many new 272s and so if a replacement is planned, is seems they should make an exception and announce.
I’m no marketing expert but this would seem like a win win situation unless of course there is no plan for a 272 replacement.

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+1

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

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Ford can manage. It’s no secret when a new Fiesta is on the way, and they shift all the of the run-out models with various discounts then sell shedloads more of the new model, just because people seem to like the new toy more than people like to pick up the old one at a bit of a discount. All Naim have to do is say there’s a new one on the way and it will fit at position y in the model range. And in the meantime you can buy the last of the new 272s for x% off full price.

Too late here, I grew tired of it all last year and moved on.

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Re the ‘Ford can manage’ comment:

"The global semiconductor shortage is affecting automakers around the world as well as other industries, including consumer electronics companies,” a Ford spokesman explained.

“Ford is concentrating on how to best use our allocation of semiconductors to deliver high-demand vehicles to customers.”

The manufacturer has reported it could lose half of all planned production in quarter two of 2021.
From here - and plenty other reports:

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