My systems dinky V1...looking for some advice

Hi Naim community,

I am looking for some advice with regard to my next upgrade. It could be a little while away, but I am looking to upgrade with a certain longevity to the system in mind I suppose.

Currently I stream Tidal through Audirvana in my Mac, into a DACV1, into a NAP250DR and finally into the PMC Twenty5 24s.

Clearly, I am aware that the V1 is currently the weak link i believe. I feel like my upgrade path would be the pre amp section before a streamer DAC. Also, to my knowledge I am unable to just use the pre amp section in the V1, where as I can use just the DAC section I believe. This to me furthers the pre amp upgrade mind path.

With that in mind, and with longevity in mind, I believe a 202 would be a good upgrade, however, like I say, i am looking for something to really stand the test of time and therefore lean further towards the 282 and hicap dr.

What are your opinions on this?
The V1 is worth upgrading correct?
The pre amp model? 202/282.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Hi the natural partner would be the 282/hicap, but that’s 2 components needed. The alternative would be 272 as a streamer/preamp. I would look past the 202.

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If you don’t have analog sources then do you need a dedicated preamp?

Seeing as though you already own 250 perhaps the best thing to do is to wait for the new upgraded 272.

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Hi, thanks for both your reply’s.

My reason for leaning on the 282 setup is because in future after this I would plan to lose the V1 completely and upgrade to the NDX2 or newer equivalent at the time.

Surely V1/282/250DR would be a nice system, currently I am running MAC/V1/SN2 via fixed output and it is really good. V1 as a dac only especially through usb is very nice. Sure there are better options, but there are better options than 252/300 as well, my point is depending on your budget and since you will eventually be getting an NDX2, so, NDX2/SN2 or 3 is already a longevity system according to quite a few forum members.

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Get the 202 and napsc, makes it all so much more musical.

I have V1/202/HC/200 so I’ve compared them all. With V1 as fixed output source with the old pre-DSD firmware it totally Rocks!

Get the V1 a Vertere DD usb cable too, its the dogs…

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Some people have happily run Chord DACs, Hugo, TT and Dave direct into a power amp with great satisfaction using just the DACs’ internal preamps. Naim don’t recommend doing it without a Naim preamp in line, but given that the Chord DACs do have filtering of HF that might otherwise cause stability ssues then there would appear to be no reason why not unless you want whatever a NAC does to the sound. I use Dave, previously Hugo, in that manner, though my power amp is not Naim. However some others have reported satisfactorily using with Naim power amps, and very happy with the sound. The Chord DACs have a different presentation that many who have tried like (but not all), often described as more natural or analogue-like.

Thanks for your replies again.

Henkerino, where can I find this cable? Would be interested to see, currently use a chord C line usb cable, theyre entry level one.

Bystander, I guess I’m just sucked into the Naim brand like all of us, keen to stay within it if I’m honest.

Here is my recent path (some of it similar to yours):

  1. Dedicated music PC USB -> Dac V1 + Nap 100 + Kef LS50
  2. Dedicated music PC USB -> Dac V1 + Nap 250DR + Kef LS50
  3. NAS -> ethernet -> Nac 272 + Nap 250DR + Kef LS50
  4. NAS -> ethernet -> Nac 272 + Nap 250DR + Dynaudio Special 40
  5. Dedicated music PC USB -> Chord Hugo 1 into analogue input of Nac 272 + Nap 250DR + Dynaudio Special 40
  6. Dedicated music PC USB -> Chord Qutest into analogue input of Nac 272 + Nap 250DR + Dynaudio Special 40 (what I have got now)

Each step has been an improvement on the last. I prefer the Chord DAC sound over the 272’s DAC but I know others do not. I think the Chord sound is more real and dynamic. Other people on the forum say the 272’s preamp section is not far behind a 282. I haven’t heard a 282 so I couldn’t comment, but I am very happy with my 272’s preamp, a 272 is quite a lot cheaper than a 282, the 272 is very versatile and you don’t need a separate PSU! When I got my 272 new at the end of 2018, I was able to get a bit knocked off its price as well.

BTW I don’t work for the 272 marketing board…

Hope this is useful

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Vertere d-fi DD usb has separated power and signal on the cable, any retailer that sells the brand should have it i presume. The cheap Chord one was the one I had beforehand and its weak in comparison. You should also mask the 5v connector in the source end (usb-A connector) I used a piece of vinylplastic that can be removed again. Although V1 dont use usb power, noise will enter from the transport used if not 5v/vbus is masked over like this

I was always under the impression the V1’s fixed output fixes the volume but doesn’t bypass the pre. So what advantage is there to doubling up on preamps? I think the V1 is a fantastic piece of kit. If anything I would ditch the Mac and get a proper streamer (and corrupting power supply if need be) that connects via USB (the V1’s main feature). Source first.

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Never noticed that, I’ve just compared it to Rega Dac and HTPC earlier and for pre its been paired with 150x, 112x/150x, 112x/TC/150x, 202/HC/150, 202/HC/200 and now with full PL and Hi-line. The Dac V1 has been up to every upgrade all the way, next stop is 282, truly great stuff. (Transport has been HTPC, sonos (briefly) and now Aries mini/SB plus)

Hi Henkerino, this actually made me curious, as I have upgraded firmware from the very first moment when I bought it like 4-5 years ago. Yesterday I emailed Naim support and asked whether it would be possible to send me the old version so I can downgrade, just out of curiosity to compare both, but they claim they are not able to supply, which is pretty odd. Anyway, may I ask how did you get to install it? Or is it that you never upgraded? Is there a possibility to do some kind of master reset, so it is returned to original software version? From the menu it only resets settings.

I updated from 1.6 to 1.16 when it came but rolled it back and only kept the other upgrade. Many naimees did the same.
Actually I got the 1.6 from Naim email support back then…

Thing is 1.6 is more ”old naim” and boogies quite a bit more. 1.16 is much cleaner and hifi but I clearly felt it was very ”meh” and DSD I never use

Hi guys,

Henkerino, thanks for the steer on the usb cable I will look into this one for sure

Charlesphoto, I am under the impression the fixed output does bypass it, this was recommended when I purchased it with my original integrated amplifier so as not to pre amp twice as such. Still, I could be wrong.

SJT, I know what you mean with the 272, I haven’t heard one but I have heard a NDX2, 282 and 250dr when I auditioned the 24 25s, the difference between the V1 and the 282 was up weighted significantly, the whole system had a lot more behind it in my opinion.
I then plugged the V1 back in and, yes it does sound good, but the pre in the V1 can’t compare to a 5k 282 with that as its sole job. Plus power supply’s on top.

The question for me is, as I say, the ndx2 and 282 were plugged in at the same time, I didn’t experience each seperately.

For example, Mac into V1 into 282. So with this in mind, what’s making the biggest difference out of the ndx2 and 282 for the up weighting I heard? I feel like it has to be the 282 and power supplies. But I won’t know until I plug it in with the V1 on DAC only I guess.

Hi the fixed out is just the variable out at a fixed volume and the volume control disabled (except when you plug in headphones). The signal always comes out through the v1 preamp section.

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So in effect pre amping twice? This is unexpected for me as I was under the impression it simply converts only at that point.

I wonder if the 282 is the best thing to do in this case.

Well it really depends which way you want to go. Let’s not forget the dac v1 was intended to partner with the nap 100. However I and many others use it with eg supernait so yes there are 2 preamp stages but you can skip the supernait one if you use the av input direct to the supernait power amp stage. If you have a 250 and have aspirations of 282/hicap/250, but your dac is the v1 then at some point you’re going to have streamer to dac v1 to 282. If that’s a stepping stone to ndx2 for example (which makes the dac v1 redundant, which is where mine is right now) then it’s unavoidable.

I dont see the relevance of this. It is a great source and while using in ”bare” may have been one of its original traits as it launched the same time as a small NAP.
However it seems most users didnt use it in that way, instead its the first and Greatest usb-dac Naim made. Providing the opportunity of getting just about any transport - this was a Big thing with all computer Based audio going on.
The Dac V1 sounds fundamentally better when hooked up to my 202 than it did with 112x and what it does ”bare” which is the worst by far, it cant seriosly compete with a Nac in terms of musical enjoyment and involvement. By saying technically you cant bypass the alps pot(?) you might to some ears imply that its a restricting thing, while thats not the case at all. Im totally sure it will excel even further when I get a 282.

My current thoughts are I’m still in for a 282 hicap next, use this with the usb input on the V1 and Audirvana until funds permit for the ndx2.

The question really then is, does the V1 hinder the 282s capability as a pre amp. At this rate I can see myself buying both at the same time!