I just realized that in no manual/documentation Naim mentions what is the specification of the Digital Output of their new generation streamers.
Does anyone know whether it supports beyond 192 KHz or Double Rate DSD ? There is an option to select the setting as Native. Does that mean it can pass more than 192 KHZ or 128 DSD (as DoP) ?
You need to look a bit harder, It’s all there in features & specifications.
- UPnP-enabled to allow streaming of audio files at up to 32bit/384kHz resolution from Naim Audio hard disk servers, network-attached storage (NAS) devices or any home computer
- Supports a broad range of music formats: WAV, FLAC, DSD, Apple Lossless, AIFF, AAC, Windows Media-formatted files, M4A and MP3. Gapless playback on all file formats.
WAV - up to 32bits/384kHz
FLAC and AIFF - up to 24bit/384Hz
ALAC (Apple Lossless) - up to 24bit/384Hz
MP3 - up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit)
AAC - up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit)
OGG and WMA - up to 48kHz (16 bit)
DSD - 64 and 128Fs
M4A - up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit)
Note: Gapless playback supported on all formats.
Well these are all about the formats supported in digital input.
It does not necessarily mean that the same would be supported for the Digital Output. Typically SPDIF outputs have bandwidth limitation. So I doubt whether it can support more than 192 khz PCM and Single Rate DSD (64).
S/pdif limit is 24bit 192kHz. The streamers should be able to pass this via coaxial s/pdif. Reliable TOSLINK limit is usually 24bit 96kHz (this is what Naim spec to be safe). You may be able to pass 24bit 192kHz but compatibility and tolerance of the TOSLINK interface may be an issue.
The s/pdif inputs on the streamers pass DoP64, so would assume the output too, but as I’ve never tried this then you might want someone to confirm that’s the case, rather than make this assumption.
As Richard says the SPDIF output goes up to 192/24. In does support DoP for DSD64 and I can confirm it works well.
Now a point to note - you can send higher definitions (sample rate and sample word lengths) to the streamer, so you might want to think about ensuring you don’t exceed the sample word size of 24 bits stereo if using as a transport. Although the streamer will decimate the sample word and I am assuming appropriately dither the new sample word size, you might find you get a better performance by doing this processing away from the streamer such as in Roon or whatever you use as your digital source - I do.
Thanks Simon and Richard for the inputs.
I run NDX2’s digital output to my P S Audio Direct Stream Dac. So yes, I also confirm that up to 192 khz and DSD64 it works great/perfect.
My query was about for rates higher than these. I sort of knew the limit of spdif technically. I don’t have any such content. Neither my DAC supports it. So wanted to confirm.
The point is naim should explicitly specify these limits in the support content/specification.
Also, wondering what is the future of using NDX2 as a streamer/transport for these higher resolutions contents. Simon I get the option you have suggested in terms of doing the conversion at Roon level. But that is surely with compromising the quality of those higher resolution formats.
Well it depends… almost all PCM media available is either 24 bit or 16 bit… now products like Roon increase the sample word size when processing the audio, so yes if you were expecting a chain of DSP and level adjusters then you might want the greatest sample word size you can have between the elements of the chain… but if you have finished the processing and ready to send to the DAC you might as well quantize down to the original word size… at least you won’t be losing anything unless you have possibly massively attenuated the digital signal.
I think as a transport SPDIF has shown it’s a very reliable low noise format, and so the benefits of using that possibly out weigh the possible / theoretical advantages of transporting greater word sizes or sample rates.
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