why should there be such a big difference? each streamer claims to be delivering a bit perfect stream to the Chord Mscaler/Dave, particularly when using tidal connect.

Differences are due to

  1. cable
  2. connectors
  3. Jitter
  4. electrical noise

for 1,2,3,4, these are not issues to worry about when using optical inputs into the Chord DAC.

As advised by Rob Watts the darker sound is the better sound, and indeed when using optical it does sound more dark, the extra sound you get when using electrical SPDIF BNC or COAX is due to electrical noise.

With all due respect and not having heard the DAVE, take this with a pinch of salt but I’m yet to hear a DAC that didn’t sound better from a cleaner input. Even from other companies that claimed their DACs have jitter immunity.

I’ve heard Chord DACs up to the Hugo 2.


So you think that all the other dacs, apart of course the big Dave, have done a lesser job on jitter, noise, connectors, electrical noise…?
It’s a nonsense. As good as the Dave may be, there are of course better dacs available.
See the Emm labs, MSB, DCS Vivaldi……These three for example are specialised in dacs since much more years than Chord. Look at their specs.
I will try to find someone using a WIN Pro plus costing 250 euros with a Dac costing 30/ 100 k. I think I will struggle to find it during many years lol. And someone who could find a WIM PRO sounding similar as for example a Grimm MU1 or Lumin T2 at 40 times more expensive. lol.

I just follow the advice of Rob Watts, the engineer who designed my 5 Chord products that I own. (Mscaler/Dave, 2Qute, Mojo 1 and Mojo 2).

Good luck with that. Hopefully I didn’t followed all Naim recommendations ( no fancy switch and Ethernet cables), ……and so on.
Their goal is to say that their products are so good than even a microwave powerblock won’t alter the sound. It’s just advertising. Nothing more. And financial interest.

If the WIIM had another zero making it over £2k people would have a different view.


the thing is, I actually have heard the NDX2 and an DCS Network bridge, compared it to a Wiim streamer into an Mscaler / Dave.

I also use the WiiM streamer for many months now

I am satisfied with the sound at home, I report what I hear


also I have 2 Naim systems, one of them a 202/200DR with a Chord 2qute.

The source driving that most of the time is my LG OLED Optical output, where I watch lots of concerts from you tube (so Apple TV - HDMI LG OLED - Optical output in Chord 2Qute - Vertere Interconnects into my 202)

Sounds just fine to me, I enjoy the music concerts a lot.

I don’t think Analogmusic said Dave was the best DAC, only that of the renderers he tried the Wii one which was much the cheapest didn’t sound much different from the others.

And though the only comparison I’ve done into Dave is Mac Mini running Audirvana, and Melco N1A. His experience doesn’t surprise me.

Melco N1a is not better vs a Mac Mini, so it doesn’t surprise me.
And Melco, even the higher models, are not the best to be used in usb mode. They excel more as Nas.
Try an Ndx2, or Grimm MU1, Lumin T2, …top Auralic transport, and then we can talk.

We’ve compared our NDX2 as a transport into nDAC vs iPad/SMSL PO100Pro (both SPDIF and optical).

The NDX2 retails at £6K, the SMSL at £40.

Yes the NDX2 sounds slightly better, but there’s really not a huge difference.

There are plenty of low cost devices which do a credible job as transports. Spend cash on the DAC!

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So why manufacturers bother to develop the best transports possible.?
Naim then could incorporate a kind of Wim Pro inside their streamers and don’t bother with decoupling the transport, take care of vibrations and electrical / RFI/ EMI isolation, and depending on Stream Unlimited platform. Then make a bigger margin.
Without being disrespectful, are you sure your ears are able to discern the differences?

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Yes, the DAC is key to sound quality with digital - and some DACs will be more immune than others to degrading contamination such as RF superimposed on the digital stream, thereby reducing or even eliminating any effect of different ethernet cables, switches etc, and minimising the difference between different front ends.

That is missing the point - such blocking etc is needed somewhere, but if it is in the DAC, and if it is truly very effective, then the difference between transports will be minimised. But a DAC without any blocking used on different transport is likely to reveal the differences between them,

Truly effective? so why people need to clamp some ferrites on the digital cable from the Dave?

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I was talking generally, not specifically about Dave, my point being that DACs will be on a spectrum of effectiveness of their blocking, and it is wrong to assume that differences between transports inevitably means the same degree of audible difference with different DACs, with some DACs there may be huge differences, with others much less, potentially even none.

As for ferrites with Dave, I don’t think anyone does that with optical connections (and if they do, they are deluded!)

With electrical inputs, I understand from the designer that despite its exemplary blocking there can still be just audible RF effects, so ferrites can reduce still further. (IIUC in this case just audible is when really trying to hear.)

IB, we had so many times that discussion. You won’t convince me and I won’t convince you.
You have only compared the Melco N1a vs Mac Mini as transport. And you make quite statement conclusion.
Why not borrow, just for the test curiosity, a high level transport. Melco are not the best for that. Innuos Pulsar, Statement, Grimm MU1, Antipodes k50, Lumin T2….
One of a near dealer from you has probably one of them. But maybe not, I remember you live on an desert island :joy:

I have not said there is no difference with Dave, but stated the facts as I understand them, there will be a spectrum of immunity of DACs and hence a spectrum of audibility of differences betwee transports.)Have you tried Dave? If not why not try it with the different transports you believe or know to have so much difference between them with other DACs?

And yes, there are no dealers at all on my island [(which is rather the opposite of a desert), requiring a ferry journey or flight to get to any.

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I am stating my opinion of a budget device compared to an NDX2 as a digital transport. A comparison done on a highly resolving system I know very well.

We’ve tried other devices too. A RPI with a good quality digital hat for example. Nowhere near the level of NDX2. Less clarity, timing and soundstage collapse.

There are independent measurements of most devices online nowadays. It’s not uncommon for well engineered low cost devices to have low jitter, noise and crosstalk figures. The SMSL USB->SPDIF converter measures extremely well (there is a DAC variant [AK] which does not). And it sounds very good.

naim don’t build a dedicated transport of course.

Others on the forum have reported increases in SQ moving from an ND5XS2/NDX2 as transport to one of the Innuos models, or Lumin transports.

So I’m not saying that a high quality engineered for purpose transport won’t sound better than a budget device, or indeed better than an ND5XS2/NDX2 as transport.

But I am telling you that there is very little SQ difference between our SMSL and NDX2.


Good point, I plaid guilty too. :grin:. No, effectively, I have not compared Dave with different levels of transports.
But read comments by other elsewhere……

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