Headphone Amp hook up to Naim System

So I currently have my SN2 in power amp mode… awaiting my NAP250 DR… which means I’m without a headphone amp. Looking at getting the Focal Arche (I have a pair of Elears that I really like) but I’m wondering about how to best hook it up to my system… would it be best to take the analog signal straight out of my ND555 or would I be better off taking the signal out of the nac282 (or does it make any difference)? Looks like if I go through the 282 I would need a 5din to RCA cord.

If you have any other sources apart from the ND555 you should use the 282 as the source for your headphone amplifier as chosen.

I have the same headphones and use a DAC V1 fed from the digital out on my ND555 (This is my only source) sounds good plus I can control the volume via the V1 remote control.

Thanks PCD… but doesn’t that mean, at least theoretically, you are using an inferior DAC and DAC implementation (compared to your ND555 that is)? Or is the situation that the V1 only has a digital input.

My only other source will be my phone or laptop to play streaming hi-res from the Neil young archives… which I would likely do via a USB B connection directly into the Arche

Hi @Mhitchi for what its worth, I have an NDX2 and feed the analog out into a Violectric 280 headphone amp with Meze Empyrean headphones. The qulity is excellent. I guess feeding straight out of the ND555 would also prove to be excellent (to say the least!) . Hope this helps - a little :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks Manlad… I was seriously looking at the violectric 280… until I found out that it’s not available in the USA :weary:

Sorry to hear you cant buy the V280 in the USA… I wont spoil your day then and tell you how good it is!!! :rofl:
Anyway, I hope you find a good alternative.

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I have a SN2 and run a Heed Canalot directly of the analogue RCA output of my NDX2.


I’m using the RCA outputs of my ND555 into the RCA inputs of a Violectric V281 headphone amp. The V281 converts the single ended RCA inputs into balanced output.

I’ve been told that the DIN out of the ND555 sounds better than RCA but I’m using the DIN out into my NAC 252.

I’ve thought about using the A/V out of the 252 into the the V281 just to see how it sounds compared to RCA out of the ND555 directly into the V281.

The problem is I’d need to have a cable made of equal quality to the Nordost Heimdall 2 RCA’s I’m using so it would be a fair comparison. I checked on Chord Signature but the cost would be about what my Heimdall’s cost. I’m happy with what I have so I’m not going to spend that kind of money just for curiosity’s sake.

I’ve heard that both the DIN and RCA’s out of the ND555 shouldn’t be used at the same time. I have both connected but only have one active at a time.

As for the question of which would be better, directly out of the ND555 or out of the preamp, my dealer pointed out that logic would indicate that the simpler path would be best.


I agree and this is what I do :sunglasses:

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Thanks @leatherneck… this makes a lot of sense and I’m sure I’ll go the RCA from the ND555 route.p too.
But when you say you have both the RCA and din connected but only one active… does that mean your 252 is turned off, or set to an unused input, while you are listening to headphones?

No, for the ND555 (and many other Naim sources) you can go into its menu to decide whether the player outputs via its din socket, its rca sockets or both at the same time. Having both enabled is well documented as impacting the sound quality. I suspect Leatherhead goes into the ND555 menu and switches between din and rca as his needs arise to avoid this hit on SQ.

Actually, I misspoke, I actually have them both active and simply turn the volume down on the one not playing. It doesn’t seem to bother the SQ. I’ve tried selecting only one at a time from the menu but that didn’t seem to make much difference.
The three devices involved are outstanding devices that work as they should. I don’t know what would happen with lesser equipment.

Hi @Mhitchi like @leatherneck I have both the DIN and RCA connected to my NDX2. The DIN goes into my 282 and the RCA goes into the Violectric V280. However, I only use one output at a time when playing music. On the Naim app the output can be easily switched beteen the DIN and RCA. Hope this helps.

It is simple to switch and I’ll start doing it.

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This is true. However, I forgot to switch it back from RCA last night after a headphone session and was out on the road when Mrs Mike rang saying what’s wrong with the darn stereo, there’s no sound…


Ha Ha, been there many times over the years with Mrs Manlad!! Perhaps its our fault as we like to keep our “boys toys” to ourselves too much!.

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