the review is on youtube only. You don’t listen through youtube. Donny Darko just speaks , not writes…

To add. The point I also wanted to make. There are many great DAC options if that’s your route. Do yourself the favor to listen to a couple of them and just make it a Chord Dave versus Naim Sound discussion…

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only @Bluesfan could compare different dacs as dcs bartok, dcs rossini, chord , nd555, and msb . The vast majority are only speaking of chord as the only alternative.

Oh and I thought YOU had heard these yourself FR.

I have heard the DCS full stack, and while interesting, it is not for me. I much prefer the Chord Dave.

no. But i am not referring only on Dave or Naim…I went recently to listen to dcs rossini ( alone) vs linn kdsm katalyst. The linn was less resolving and open, but better textured and more natural.
I preferred the linn.
My next step will be chord Dave or TT/ mscaler.
I heard also some months ago the Audiomat maestro 3, which i found specially good for the price.
I will not even try MSB, it’s too expensive.

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Hi StoogeMoe,
I have tried to capture my impressions of a number of streamer and dac auditions in this thread:
Music Streaming- It’s hard to find the right time

Hopefully there is an acceptable answer to your question there.

Best regards, BF

Please remember, this is one person’s impressions of 12-13 different high end streamers & dacs. It is in no way authoritative or universally applicable.

Yes, I have decided to go with a Chord dac. However, both DCS and MSB make streamers that were even more musically impressive but they are circa £10-15k more expensive and that is outside our budget until we win the lottery!

These comparisons often seem to be portrayed as Naim versus Chord, hence the decision to cast the net a little wider and include DCS, MSB, Sim Audio Moon and Dutch & Dutch. The only obvious omission has been Linn and that was on the recommendation of a dealer who is a Linn, Naim and Chord stockist.

As ever, the impressions of others who have been down a similar journey are greatly appreciated, whether they concur or contrast.

Best regards, BF

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No one has mentioned that Chord DACs look like they were knocked up out of bits and pieces they found in the shed…




They do tend to remind me of something I saw in Gerry Anderson programmes as a kid, e.g. Thunderbirds, Stingray.

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Fairly sophisticated shed, but the Chord look is not for me. Even just dusting my Naim units, the Chord amps with open mesh tops seem to be a dust trap with no solution. Up to now these products at their price point, have not engaged me.

Yeah, I read that and was baffled by your description of being an 1/8 of a beat off or something. That would not be possible blaming the clock. That would be like missing close to 3000 clock cycles (at 44.1k), and only on the low frequencies. I’m sure the worst DAC in the world wouldn’t be anywhere that bad. It wouldn’t be listenable. That’s why I looking for more info on what you meant by timing.

My only reserve on @Bluesfan would be his findings on the big differences when adding a clock on the rossini.
There are a lot of reviews on the rossini and all the reviewers found an improvement adding the clock. However no reviewer said it was night and day, like lifeless and uninvolving with rossini alone and dramatically better with the clock.
For the Bartok vs Dave, as mentioned above , the conclusions are completely opposite. So difficult to know who is right.
For the Dave feedback, i also often read that this dac is best for classical music. The prat is not his first quality.
But perhaps the mscaler changes the presentation a lot. Probably.

Hi FR,
such are the delights of the internet. We have probably both read so much on-line about this stuff that we don’t know what to believe. That was the point at which I decided to go and have a listen. First hand experience of auditions either at home or at an experienced Naim dealer really does take some beating.

If someone prefers a DCS, Naim, Moon, Linn or MSB streamer after making the comparison, then I wish them every joy from their purchase. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice.

What I would be genuinely interested to learn though, is how other people manage to make one streamer sound superior to another that I have preferred in my auditions.

As an example, great respect to S-i-S for buying a Naim NDX2 and using its excellent front end to feed a great signal to the downstream dac. I wouldn’t have thought of that, yet subsequently heard that a DCS Network Bridge made a Chord dac sound more musical than an Auralic Aries G2 could when reproducing the same tracks in the same system. It is quite likely that I will one day try a Naim streamer in place of the Sonore OpticalRendu and, if it improves the music, buy the Naim streamer to fulfil a similar role.

Equally, the Chord Qutest has received consistently stellar reviews, yet it could not carry a rhythm when we listened to it. Coming home later that day, we much preferred music replayed via our Naim DAC-V1. We still wonder if there was something about the system set-up that somehow held the Qutest back.

Much is said about the attributes of DAVE, both complimentary and critical. We found the M Scaler to make such a difference, that we treat DAVE with and without the M Scaler as almost completely separate dacs. Likewise the Rossini with or without its external clock.

Perhaps our ears or brains are especially sensitive to certain aspects of musical reproduction, yet insensitive to other aspects. This may explain some of the divergence of views that we all read about.

This streaming business does seem to be both technologically immature and somewhat confusing at the moment.

Best regards, BF


Now that I find strange… as far as PRaT and involvement I found the NDAC/555PS outperformed the NDS/555PS, though the latter was more resolved and detailed. Both I found were left behind by the Hugo 1 in terms of insight and musical communication (subjective clearly)… I wrote about this on the forum a few years ago… it caused quite a stir… so much so the thread was temporarily removed, but later reinstated. Others, but certainly not all, or even necessarily a forum majority agreed. Ally my assessments were made at least on my home systems using ATC speakers… but sometimes occasionally a Statement based system.

The DAVE is a huge step apart in terms of transparency and immediacy to PCM1704K based players and even the beloved Hugo 1… but I can understand some wanting a smoother overall presentation that has a less revealing response to recording masters … which is why we have a choice.


the nds/ 555 without quality ethernet cables and cisco switch was disappointing for me. The cdx2/ xps2 was more involving and quicker.
With the tweaks mentioned, the nds has now the same prat vs cdx2, but with bigger sound, more refined, more details…
I heard recently the rossini, the linn kdsm, the audiomat maestro 3, the nd555. For the money ( 8 k euros), the Audiomat wins.
For naturalness, it’s the linn.
For all rounder performance and prat and authority, it’s the nd555.
So the next to listen will be Chord, but don’t know yet which model.

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Very nice wrap-up, thanks!

A problem that I stumbled into when trying to assess the impact of changes (on my rather modest system) was that of establishing a reliable term of reference: I sometimes found that A and B were both better than C but we found it difficult to compare A and B.

Another problem with subjective preferences is that they are not necessarily transitive: we might prefer A to B and B to C and … C to A!

Cyclic preferences are not that uncommon when we compare things according to multiple criteria nad often a source of misunderstandings.

It would also be meaningful to compare devices without knowing their prices in the first place but, of course, this is hardly doable.

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Some interesting comments.

There’s no substitute for going to a dealer and listening with own ears

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That I disagree with, certainly the first part. Music streaming has been with us since the late 90s which is when I started. (20 years ago)
Home networks and streaming approaches have massively matured since then to the point of possible technology stagnation but ubiquitous consumer adoption. The innovation is largely around the user experiences, and library / media management from different vendors, but the tech is rather established and dare I say old school… but if it works why change it…

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That’s because they don’t. The build quality is excellent and Chord products do not have lots of irritating illuminated logos. I like discrete styling with 3 small boxes sounding as good as I’ve heard from digital replay, quiet PSUs and kit that only takes a few minutes to warm rather than powered on all the time. There are many reasons we choose kit and enjoying music is the top one. I think it’s the same for most hereon.

I’ve posted many times Naim, Linn and Chord make superb kit and I enjoy music on those brands. I’m sure other brands such as Brinkman, MSB and dCS make fine sounding equipment, but I’m happy with what I have so don’t feel a need for further comparisons.

I place little or no value on subjective reviews. To me, it is like sending someone else to audition for you. There’s no substitute for your own ears when I comes to choice. Reviews should concentrate primarily on build quality, features and usability.


I agree, I do think there is no harm in describing presentation, but stopping short of stating a reviewer preference as part of the review unless clearly stated reviewers personal subjective preference.

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