DAC evolution


I was the happy owner of NAIM NOVA for two years and I wanted to upgrade my system. After auditioning the Supernait 3/Naim NDX 2 vs Ma8900/ DX2, I preferred the second option to drive the B&W 702 S2 Signature.

For the moment I still use a Chord DAC (The Hugo 2/Streamer) but it’s clearly less enjoyable than the NDX2.

I am in the market for a new DAC and I was wondering if someone had an experience with the Denafrips Terminator II or the APL DSD-AR DAC and how they compared to the NDX2.

I can’t auditionne any of them but they seems to be very well considered among audiophiles and the Denafrips is considerably the less expensive of the batch.

Hi! Both of those DAC:s are more expensive than adding the XPSDR to the NDX2. So make sure you compare with a NDX2/XPSDR to even it out a bit.

I had an NDX2 and also Terminator II with Hermes DDC through I2s cable. While the NDX2 sounded good by itself I preferred the presentation of the Terminator II/Hermes as the DAC/DDC for the NDX2. To me seemed cleaner, more details, balanced sound, very organic also with an excellent soundstage. Pretty much have moved on from Naim in my main system. Traded the NDX2 for Aavik S-280. Still have the Terminator II/Hermes using Aavik S-280 as the streamer. Still very pleased with the Terminator II/Hermes option. Excellent equipment.


Hi Jan,

I don’t own the NDX2.

Thank you for your feedback. Does the Terminator have the same sense of rhythm ? What about the width and depth of the soundstage and the transparence ?

Rhythm was better to me, soundstage wider not sure about the depth specifically and transparency was much better in my system with the Denafrips equipment.

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There is quite a move today towards NOS DACs rather than FGPA DACs. I believe that the original DACs in the first Philips’ CD players were NOS - non oversampling - in design but because they didn’t measure very well and barely having 14 bits of resolution oversampling DACs were born which measured well but didn’t sound as good. That is more HiFi sounding than musical. I have just swapped my dCS three pack - Classic series - for a NOS DAC - Holo Audio Spring 3 v2. I was after a more musical and organic sounding DAC and also wanted to be able play natively my collection of DSD files -up to DSD 1024. The Spring has a separate inbuilt DSD DAC to do just that. I’m extremely happy with playing my digital music with this DAC. My Naim Uniti Core sounds great via coax input. Streaming from Qobuz via USB input is superb too. An external SSD carries my DSD files via USB also and digital has never sounded so good.


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