Is it possible to get 'that vinyl sound' from streaming..?

Hi all,
I know - its not totally possible… but how close can one get…!

I have just bought a NDX 2 streamer/dac and I am very impressed with it so far…its on a 30 day return…

I have an old system - John Shearne Phase Two Integrated and 2.5 Power Amp into Ruarke Sceptre stand mounts.

I have a budget of around 8k and I am looking for an organic yet rhythmic and engaging sound - my room is small 14 x 12 so floor standers are out. I am tomorrow listening to Kudos super 10’s, ProAc D2R and ProAc DB1 speakers with the Shearnes to see how they stack up…

As a side note I have a good friend (who loves home cinema) who is recommending the Lyngdorf TDA 3400 streaming/amp which has room correction but I don’t think i need it with a small room and I have seen reviews that say it can be ‘clinical’ and slightly synthetic with correction turned on… any opinions or experiences here? I think my friend has some bias towards the brand as it is sold by his dealer - he hasn’t actually heard it…(!) He says its a better streamer than the NDX 2…

Does anyone have ideas for an organic and musical/emotive/rhythmic amplifier/ I think at this stage the amp will be pivotal to partly achieving that ‘vinyl thing’…

Cheers all…

Possibly something valvey?

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Are you looking for new speakers and an amplifier for the £8,000, or is that for the amp alone? Are you planning to keep the NDX2?

I am planning to keep the Naim NDX2 - unless it can be bettered… probably not…
The 8k is for amp and speakers.
I may add a power supply to the streamer in the future as this seems to be a genuine upgrade option.

Thanks for clarifying. I’d suggest that if you want the vinyl sound that you get vinyl - though different vinyl rigs can sound very different to each other - otherwise focus on something with which you can simply enjoy music. I imagine what you mean is that you don’t want something impressive in a hifi demonstration way, but want something musical and engaging - that’s what I’d want anyway.

The Supernait 3 goes with the NDX2 like a dream, and you can link them so that you can adjust volume and inputs from the Naim app, which is nice.

As to speakers that’s your choice, just make sure you try them at home for a few days before handing your money over.


Was thinking the same thing. Tube amp and some high efficiency speakers or classic JBLs.

But honestly, my first reaction was… a turntable. Don’t bother making digital sound like vinyl and vice versa.

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This is a difficult one, not least because I think you need to define exactly what you mean by the vinyl sound!

To some of us, the vinyl sound is surface noise and limited dynamic range. On the other hand, if you mean a more natural sound than many digital sources manage to achieve, but not such a problem from analogue sources, then I struggle to see how the amp can have much significance, and while the speakers fundamentally affect the sound character, and, in my view, it is vital that the speakers suit your expectation/desire for sound character, I don’t see that as changing the less natural sound of some are digital sources.

The character of digital sources is fundamentally due to the DAC. Now, I don’t know the NDX2, so this may be irrelevant, but when I had an ND5XS I found that adding an external Chord Hugo DAC in place of the app internal DAC very noticeably, improved the sound to my ears. The words I used to describe it were more natural sounding, others have said more analogue-like. Maybe that is something worth exploring? (I know some people use the NDX or possibly NDX2 as a front end into other DACs, making for a very good “transport”.)

But if you mean a “smoother” and/or “warmer” sound (not that those terms have a definitive meaning!), then a less neutral or transparent amp might be the answer. Alternatively, you mentioned wanting a more rhythmic sound, and that tends to suggest you want more emphasis perhaps of the upper bass in the music, which again some amps might give, or choosing the speakers that some people say makes a sound more “fun“.


Yes - something musical and engaging!

I do have a Linn Sondek already ( I should have mentioned that!) - so that option is nicely covered…

The Naim is certainly rhythmic to my ears but with more dynamics and of course clarity and the Linn is naturally very warm.

I am trying some ProAc d2R’s tomorrow and a couple of others with a SuperNait 3 and also my amps to compare…

I use a valve amp for playing guitar but I have no knowledge of valve hifi - that option daunts me a bit…!

Yeah - i have seen some folks using Chord Dacs and say its better for their tastes - I think I’m not quite at that stage but certainly worth a listen…

Hi Jammers,
I need to do more research but R2R ladder DACs give a more analogue/natural presentation than delta sigma according to marketing speak.
If true I’d prefer this presentation too.
Good luck and let us know how you get on :+1:.


What a fun question, to quote my 30 year old daughter when hearing my modest vinyl system for the first time, “what’s the point in that, it sounds just the same, I thought it was going to sound different” I suspect she was expecting lots of pops and crackles just like they add to some modern tracks for effect.
I can’t begin to imagine how you could simulate the non linear distortion you get from vinyl play back, what with dragging a tiny rock through a wiggly groove brings to music playback.

As a gesture in the right direction, I guess you could boost or reduce some areas of the music spectrum to suit your taste using a graphic equalizer or several sections of parametric equalization and if you use an old analogue unit it will likely add a bit of authentic noise to the mix.

Is this not like watching modern movies which have been doctored to add scratches on the film, lower frame rates to give that flickery effect and the odd ‘hair or fluff trapped in the gate’ all very nostalgic.


Given that all first generation CD players used R2R DACs and were more or less universally disliked by a generation of vinyl users I don’t quite understand why the use of these would be considered more vinyl like.

R2R DACs have the potential to generate distortion but the mechanism is not even remotely like that from a tiny rock rattling in a groove.

Agree, in distant past but I think implementation has moved on. Like I say at this stage it’s just what I’ve read. Holo and Rockna being examples of OEMs, with well received R2R products, I’ve not tried personally but would be interested to.

Hi @Jammers ,

Have you tried Roon?

It won’t make your digital sound like ‘vinyl’, however you try and define that, but I found it has bought my digital enjoyment closer to that I get from LPs.


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If you have your linn as you like it through your existing amp and speakers then the only option you have is to change something in the digital domain. The obvious is to think about and listen to some different dacs. I found the chord qutest offered final filters that softened the digital harshness as does the Auralic Vega dac. I didn’t have an ndx2 though.

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In the past all transistor amps sounded like sh*t!! (regarding R2R).

There are two basic types of DAC:s right now. One is called Delta-Sigma and basically works by throwing up all the audio bits in the air and doing a lot of maths. I dont like them very much as they usually just generate a very detailed but also very detached sound. But many, many love them … there are many common top-models like the ones from Chord, Linn etc. As they contain very small amount of electronic components it is cheap to build cheap DACs - instead you need computing power which can require expensive math chip and a truly good Delta-sigma again cost money for that very reason. DeltaSigma always use something called oversampling to do their thing better - but with the disadvantage of making them exponentially more sensitive to any jitter which make any DAC (delta-sigma or R2R) sound worse.

The other type use today are R2R DAC:s and some of them are NOS (no oversampling) designs. They do their work by simple summing of the audio bits (and not much more in the NOS-case). The disadvantage is that it requires at lot of high precision resistors which is hard in manufacturing and use up a lot of physical space. And for this reason there are no low-cost integrated chips for R2R. There are still some DAC-models based on early Philips chips from the 80s but they measure bad - on the other they are very nice to play music with (try to demo a BorderPatrol SE-i). Modern R2R comes from manufacturers like Holo, Denafrips, Rockna, Schiit Yggdrasil … - all models vary more in sound compared to delta-sigmas as there are no cheap integrated chips and they all build their own solutions from scratch. I use a Holo May DAC which is a two box DAC (the power-supply is separate) and I use it in NOS-mode - it has all the details but in a coherent, organic, musical sound. I am currently changing my system so the streamer and DAC control the total sound (source first, like we used the LP12 in the old days).

The lowest cost R2R I know of (and which actually sound very nice) is the Denafrips Ares II slightly below EUR 1000. If you are curious about R2R compare the Ares II with a comparably priced Chord etc. And do the comparison by listening to music you like.

But dont focus to much on R2R vs. Delta-Sigma. Get something within your budget where you enjoy the music. And in general you can’t get a vinyl sound from digital. But you can get pretty close to an analog mastertape minus the tape noise. What I have found hardest to reach is that lovely relaxing sense of calmness analog can give you - it is within reach but needs a bit of equipment matching.


Chord are not DS dacs as far as I understand. They use an fpga and are described as pulse array dacs.


:heart: Wow Jan…
Wonderful description you supply,.many thanks for this read.

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@Jammers Just wondering why you even want 2 sources to sound the same? I listen to both and while I initially had to spend a bit of money on my Lp12 to obtain the sound I wanted, I never wanted them to sound the same.

The joy of having 2 sources is that you can enjoy the best sound depending on the recording, some are better on Vinyl others on Digital. I would add that none of my guests ever want to hear digital playback, it’s always a Vinyl record that blows them away. It just has that emotion that connects you to the music.

I would get an amplifier and speakers that do justice to both sources and then tweak your NDX2, an interconnect cable and possibly a Ethernet cable can make a major difference in tailoring the sound that you like.


I have read about Lejonklou’s Kalla streamer making Spotify streams sound more alive and emotional, and some say close to vinyl, but have not actually listened to one.