CHORD DAC into Naim pre-amp experiences

hi all,

in a tinkering mood whilst were are in this current climate and thinking of lending a chord DAC just to hear what one sounds like when fed via usb off my zenith server / VS BNC fed off my naim NDS

interested in peoples views of running a CHORD DAC into a naim pre-amp (in my case is a NAC282 with HiCAPDR), heard some get better SQ having no pre-amp in the chain but is that at the expence of losing the NAIM sound which for me is an important factor…

I run a Qutest into a Supernait 2 (with HiCap DR). I previously used a NDac and found the change to the Chord beneficial for classical music - IMHO much more detailed presentation with better pin-pointing of solo instruments, whilst still sounding realistic. I hope this helps though strictly not what you were asking.


DAVE seems very happy to run into any of NAC552, 252 or our 52.

The quality of the dac to NAC cable does matter quite a lot though.

what do you use bluesfan RCA - DIN ? RCA - RCA

i tend to use CHORD SARUM cables myself

I run a DAVE (via Mscaler and Chord Sarum T BNC digital cables) into a 552 through Chord Sarum T RCA>DIN.

DAVE on its own blew my CD555 onto eBay, no bother.

However, I found DAVE sounded best into the 552 set in Pre-amp mode with the digital volume set to -12db (similar to the volume adjustments the original Hugo thrived on). In DAC mode I found it to be not so musical.


Out of curiosity, have you tried Dave direct into the 500 without going through 552?

I tried a 2qute between a Core and a 552, it did a lot right but the overall effect was rather too sterile, changing the digital coax helped a bit but I couldn’t warm to it. It was only intended as a temporary solution while waiting for what turned out to be the ND555 and a humble Rega DAC-r plugged the gap in the end.

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No, not going to, to be honest. Apart from the faff, where would I stick my NAT01…no Carry On answers please :yum:

Chord Sarum RCA to DIN is a well known successful pairing for DAVE & a Naim NAC.
I tried several from the likes of Flashback without success but the AR Sound Lunar seems to work well, so long as the RCA connectors are tightened up well - too loose and all the life drains out of the music for some unfathomable reason.


Fair comment - an analogue preamp indeed is necessary if you have analogue sources.

yep i have been running Chord DACs successfully for a few years into Naim NACs currently a 552.
I have returned back to a Chord Hugo Mk1 as overall I find that sounds the most musical having owned for a short time a DAVE, and borrowed others from the Chord stable - I also set the output level to ‘turquoise’ on the Hugo Mk 1 as for what ever reason I find that ‘flows’ the best into the 552 (and 252 I had before). Oh and I have tried Chord DACs directly into Naim power amps - oh dear - it falls very short a lot of what a high end Naim NAC does for the Naim power amp in terms of impedance matching and bandwidth matching… I kind of hoped it wouldn’t be the case :slight_smile:

I find there is some similarity between DACs and Headphones - they are very personal things - and sometimes the most detailed are not necessarily the most enjoyable for an individual.

I use a Highline phono to DIN interconnect

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