Hello from Brussels, help needed. Although I only own digital components in my system for the time being, I am not an expert in DACs. I run a Gryphon Diablo 300 amp, a Gryphon Scorpio cd player (with 4 built in AKM converters) and a Naim NDX 2 for streaming, also having an excellent DAC in the box. So my question is, would an additional DAC from Denafrips or Chord for example in any kind improve the sound of my system further or would I just waste money? Many thanks for your advice.
Try an ND555.
Yes, thought about it. How huge is the difference and will my XPS run with the 555 unit?
Unfortunately not. The previous model, the NDS, could use a single Burndy cable and link plug to run with an XPS, but the ND555 needs dual Burndy cables so a 555PS is needed.
Thanks for the clarification. Of course it might get a small step better with such expensive gear, but soundwise I am quite happy with the NDX2/XPS combo and the Gryphon amp. For this reason I don‘t really need a DAC. Just curious.
There have been many threads over the years discussing the use of separate DACs with Naim streamers as an alternative to a power supply upgrade. The Naim NDAC, now discontinued, and various Chord DACs, have long been popular choices, but there are plenty of other DACs out there. The only way to find out what appeals to you is to listen to some and see which you prefer.
Well, that‘s what I will do anyway. Just thought, some input from this knowledgeable forum might be helpful.
If you search this forum you will find so much discussion of the external DAC option that you’ll have no time to listen to music for months if you read them all. Use the search and you will find it - I’m not sure there is much point in us repeating it all here, but of course, if you have specific questions you will get answers.
I just talked to my dealer and he was hesitant to recommend a DAC for my combo. Internal DACs of Scorpio and NDX2 are obviously both of very high quality. He said to hear a significant difference I had to go up the ladder quite high, price wise. Even more difficult as I already went the XPS path. Possibly just marginal improvement possible with only additional DAC. ND555 is another story, of course.
To me the ND555 sounds excellent, but not enough to make it worth the high price, although that may change on the used market with the introduction of New Classic models.
As for whether to go for a DAC or PSU upgrade, there are many choices out there, and I find that system matching and personal preference mean that there is no single best solution. For me the internal DAC in the NDX2 is nothing special until you add a power supply, and once you are up to XPS or 555 prices you they are comparable with a wide range of high quality DACs. Some even preferred the Mk1 Chord Hugo to any DAC Naim produced. I wasn’t one of those people, but given that they genuinely preferred a sub-£1000 DAC to Naim’s top level options powered by a 555PS, I think you should take your dealer’s suggestion with a pinch of salt.
Well, I have no experience with the 555, but the XPS was a huge step forward for my system.
I agree that the XPS is a significant upgrade. If I hadn’t already started down the separate DAC route I could happily live with NDX2/XPSDR or maybe 555PS, but I’m in a good place now and can’t see myself going back. Box count and simplicity were a big influence on my choice as well as sound quality and I was reluctant to go down a path that would have ended up with a 6 box stack staring at me across the room.
Too many boxes. That‘s very true!
One thing you could try is the new Naim 333 streamer/dac.
Perhaps a friendly dealer would allow you a home demonstration.
Quite an investment. My NDX 2 ist 11 months old and I love it. Together with the XPS, it‘s a gorgeous Naim combo. It‘s not so much about changing main elements of my equipment. More about a little twist here or there to get the last 5 % improvement (if any). Cables do not allow much room for an upgrade as well as my system runs already with Kondo silver speaker cables and interconnects. I also use a copper line from Cardas, Iridium, which are much cheaper than the Kondos, but deliver wonderful sound as well. Probably I should just enjoy the music with the stuff I’ve got and get rid of GAS.
EE8 switch and Farad psu?
I‘ve got a Silent Angel Bonn 8 with external PSU. Absolutely happy with it.