Don’t waste a Mac, you can use a fanless mini-pc with M2Tech hiFace and connect n-dac with superb result.
Buy an Ifi Zen stream, cheap, and is miles ahead of a laptop as a source into a Dac. I was quite impressed with the sound when I owned one for a year or so.
Using an Audio-GD DI-20HE USB to SPDif converter to connect my iMac to the nDac - and am quite pleased with it.
The nDac definitely likes good quality signals.
WiiM mini streamer
I used to use a Gustard U12 for a similar function. Last time I looked they were about £120 but probably mor now. Extremely good value for money. At one time @Richard.Dane was playing with one for a slightly different use, and IIRC also thought it a good device.
What software will you be using on the Mac? For sound quality I have found Audirvana to be excellent, though I have other niggles with it and I haven’t taken its more recent updates/changes. But I use a Mac Mini, headless and dedicated with nothing else running on it when playing music, and optimised (using Audirvana) which apparently bypasses parts of the native Mac architecture, and use a dedicated USB bus.
Apologies - late to this thread.
First thing and apologies to others - AudioQuest Dragonflies are superb headphone DACs, I adore my Cobalt, but putting it between a Naim amp and a MacBook Pro is not a great setup: some instruments are over-bright and cymbals for example sound horrible.
A solution presented to me last year on this forum was the Chord Qutest - for around £1200 new / £700 as a mint used DAC, I think the consensus outside this forum is that Qutest outperforms the nDAC. Aside from that, I purchased a Qutest and was instantly delighted. The difference between it and the Drgonfly Cobalt is night and day and it works beautifully with the MacBook Pro, iPad or iPhone.
No consensus on Qtest vs Ndac. Some prefer even the Ndac vs the Hugo 1 and 2. A lots of threads on that in the past.
The latest Audirvana Studio update seems to have fixed most of the ongoing operational niggles, at least in my setup. IMO it’s now worth the subscription price, which wasn’t the case for the first year or so after launch.
I used to use M2Tech HiFace2 between MacPro and nDAC before buying ND5 XS2. Great cost effective solution and highly recommended
Do you know whether the latest version of Audirvana can now browse by file structure for albums that have poor or missing metadata?
Regarding subscription cost, regardless of the amount I have a rooted objection to paying a subscription to be able to hear music, so I won’t be moving to the subscription based version.
Not sure, but since my small local music library remains a metadata disaster zone, I’d assume the answer is negative.
90% of my listening is via Qobuz. I’m also not crazy about Audirvana’s subscription model, but it gets me Qobuz access with great SQ.
This is an easy one. If you have the cash to spend on a used ndac why not just buy a used NDX. I don’t think you will be disappointed. If you feel the need to upgrade later you’ve not lost anything. Assuming it supports the features you require. I don’t think at the moment that I need anything more.
Only issue there is that having had both I reckon the Naim DAC significantly outperforms the NDX as a DAC.
Gentlemen (& Ladies)
So many good ideas/suggestions, thank you.
Some cost effective and doable immediately, with a bit of concentrated searching in the usual places for preloved components. Some verging on so expensive that I may as well just go and buy a new streamer🙂.
BUT… the exercise may be over, as a large heavy box turned up and I’m not allowed to know it’s contents until my birthday in January. Therefore ‘we’ are on hold for 2 months:crossed_fingers:
I agree with Richard, I used to stream Spotify from my Mac via an M2Tech Hiface dongle, this is imperative as it draws entire music files from the Mac and bypasses the Mac’s crappy sound card, I fed this in to my NDac and the SQ I think was incredible (Spotify do not or did not offer high res at the time) - music SQ using this set up for streaming was comparable to my CDX2. I sold my M2Tech dongle for a few quid on Ebay, excellent value for money
Nah - the DAC in the NDX can not compare with the NDac - the latter is top shelf sharing similar DAC architecture that is used in the NDS and ND555, same DAC chip, same application of its own independent clock, hence some use an Ndac to upgrade their NDX2. I think a used NDac will keep its value as they become more appreciated, it would have the benefit of being your digital hub should you want to access other digital sources as well. The N-Dac white paper on Naim’s website is worth a read!!
Oh I agree with that, I was more suggesting (not very clearly) to go for a full streamer rather than using the Mac into a dac as a temporary streaming solution. Academic now for the OP.
Buy a Bluesound Node as streamer into the NDAC. That’s what I do, and it’s terrific. Control via phone, Macbook, etc. No cables, fuss etc…
The NDAC is an underrated gem in the Naim portfolio - a great value.