NAC 272 vs RME ADI-2 anyone?

Thanks, that’s very useful.

I use ROON via the Sonore Bridge that is built into my server so have the UI covered, including Qobuz integration. A streamer/ transport is an option but a direct USB connection to my server is my starting point.

Will need to spend some time with Google looking for dealers that stock some of my options, or perhaps will take @alan33 advice about a short home trial.

Hugo 2 has volume control and remote control too. Though personally I am not entirely convinced by running a Hugo straight into a Naim power amp.

So, I have found a supplier who will provide me with the top rated Topping DAC (D90LE), preamp (Pre90) and integrated/power amp (LA90) for home demo. I’m intrigued to find out how this relatively cheap but top measuring system compares with my own equipment.

I expect the DAC to be better than my 272. Not sure about the preamp, but I expect the power amp to be less good than my 250.

If I’m not taking liberties with the Naim forum or breaking any forum rules here then I’ll report back after I’ve made a comparison.

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Hi
Sorry I won’t be much of help since the only Naim link in my system is Supernait 3 amp, however I use Topping D90SE DAC, streaming from MacBook using Audirvana to stream Qobuz. I must say now even with CD I listen with digital out from my Esoteric SA50 into Topping. It’s a good DAC and it’s got this forward presentation, it kind of brings a good balance to my laid back Spendor Classic SP2/3R. I did tried different DAC when I first started Hi-Fi hobby but that was many years ago, the DAC today are mostly quite decent, Topping seems to take time to break in as well, first impression was it does detail really well, and the forward presentation is felt with weightier sound, it just draws you in, after a couple of months it kind of grows on me, I’m a musician so I have a soft spot for lifelike texture but instead of moving on to a more dynamic speakers I went for other components to add more kick to the sound. I haven’t heard RME as I almost went for it over Topping hence trying to find as many reviews as possible, I guess Topping should sound similar in terms of clinical presentation. Do share your finding with Topping, I’m thinking of going with Bluesound Streamer as well so I can free my MacBook up for other task.

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I think you might be pleasantly surprised with the Topping DAC. I have a D70S, which has a rather clever implementation of a pair of AKM AK4497EQ DAC chips. The construction is top notch and the components are some of the best that are currently available. I use it between an Auralic Aries 2.1 and a 52/300DR combination. The speakers are electrostatics by the German QUAD company. I have used it for six months, initially alongside a Naim DAC (the original one). It’s probably not going to be a very popular opinion on this forum but I found the Topping to be better than the Naim in pretty much all respects; the Naim is now disconnected and boxed up. The D70S is rapidly becoming unavailable following the AKM factory fire.

If you decide that you do like the Topping, it’s worth investigating using the I2S interface, which provides a useful gain in clarity and the general fullness of the sound. I’ve done this via a Gustard U18 DDC but there are others. Using I2S and the Gustard, the Topping benefits from AS338 Hi-End audio oscillators from Accusilicon clocking the input signal - these are about as good as you can get today.

Here was me thinking this might be the end of the audio tweakery (save for the possibility of operating two LA90s in bridged mode and a trial of HQ Player).

I can try running the D90 into my 272 to compare it with the 272’s internal DAC.

I use a Topping D90SE in my system, and to my ears it is superior to the nDac that I compared against. I haven’t had a chance to compare it directly against a 272.

Ouch just read that, measurements are not everything but thats pretty daming. I see threads on here about it have been removed why?

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I’d like to avoid straying into that topic otherwise my thread may end up with a similar fate.

There is an explanation in one of the threads, with the reason being that it refers to other forums which breaks Naim forum rules. This one… Trust In Brand

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Same as Weekend Warrior says, the reason most threads or posts get removed is because of

  • politics
  • reference to other forums
  • links to other web sites
  • the odd rude word or image

I have seen Naim take some fearful flak - and those items have stayed up

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I’ve had the Topping stuff I mentioned in my earlier post a couple of days now and I’m pretty impressed. In a direct Naim/ Topping comparison the 272/555/250.2 has a fuller presentation although in comparison with the Topping the bass sounds a little uncontrolled and overblown. I thought this may be due to the 250.2 which some people say is “flabby” or other similar things, but when I fed the 272’s analogue input with the Topping D90LE it remedied itself somewhat.

I listened to various things, and it’s not only the bass that is different. The growl in Lady Blackbird’s voice is much clearer via the Topping DAC, as are other small details when fed from the D90LE. On Dire Straits Fade to Black there was more depth to the music, and consequently it felt as if they were in the room with me. Paulo Nutini, Tash Sultana the same. A strange thing happened listening to Cristo Redentor by Canned Heat; at certain points during the solos the music stops and there is nothing going on for a split second – I’ve never noticed this “nothing” so clearly before and I thought the stream had stopped!

So, for me, and subject to all the usual caveats, the D90LE is a superior DAC to that in the 272 even with the 555 attached to it (perhaps my server feeding the DAC helps too so bypassing the 272’s transport).

I like the LA90 integrated amp too. It is similar in size to the Nait 1 and has a very simple layout. I’d say I wouldn’t miss the 272 preamp and 250.2 in comparison although the real difference is the DAC.

I also have the Topping Pre90. However, the preamp in the LA90 seems pretty good to me and I’m not sure the Pre90 adds that much, and as I don’t have any analogue inputs it’s probably not a must have. The cost of the LA90 and D90LE is about £1700, and it takes minimal shelf space.

Some more listening to do of course, and I do have a concern over the long-term reliability and the lack of repair options for Topping kit. But I am very tempted.

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Thank you for your thoughts @WeekendWarrior, the Topping stuff certainly seems to come up well in measurements and its interesting to hear your view on how they audibly compare, this is not a comparison that we see performed very much, well done.

I had the D90SE, which should be very similar to the LE version that you have. To my ears the only negatives are 1) comparatively narrower sound stage; 2) a little bit brittle at the top end; 3) runs warm. Otherwise a wonderful DAC especially at its price point. I ended up keeping the SMSL M400 that I was comparing the Topping against, but the difference was minimal.

Whilst I cant pretend to have much experience with all the options you mention, I can state with certainty that the Atom has a very passable preamp. Im currently using it as my front end, because of its excellent software, small footprint and great sound. I feed its signal via the rca outs on the Atom to my NAC 250DR. Whilst I might one day upgrade the front end, this combo sounds so much better than it has any right too and provides all the easy use functionality I need. I hope you are able to try this as Im really happy with the combo, and I suspect many others would be too…

Following with interest, as I have 272/555 in the main system into ATC SCM40a and a RME ADI-2 DAC between MAC Studio and some Genelec studio monitors in my WFH Office.

I have only really compared the output via headphones and prefer RME, however I understand 272 hasn’t got a great reputation on that side. one (wet winter) day I’ll hook up some cables and see what I think.

I’ve still got the Topping stuff, and I’ll be sorry to send it back - my experience since my earlier post has just been confirmed. One addition is that I’ve hooked up my 250.2 to the Topping DAC/Pre and it works very well indeed; I’m not saying that is it better than the Topping amp (which is an integrated amp with volume bypass option), but it has more power on tap. It’s a moot point tho’ as aesthetically and financially it wouldn’t make sense to keep my 250.2.

I have made my decision and my 555 will be finding a new owner soon and I expect that will cover the complete cost of the Topping system. 272 and 250.2 will likely follow when their replacements arrive.

You may find your RME DAC also trumps the 272, although maybe the pre amp comparison will not be so clear cut.

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Hope it all works out for you. What supplier allowed the home demo? You in the uk or further a field? Interested to try them out myself.

Cheers for the info and report. I have been thinking about getting an RME or a topping to go with my nait 5si. Just can’t afford the Naim options.

Highly recommend the RME super DAC it’s used more than my Naim Atom.

I’ve been bemoaning the lack of 272 replacement, which I probably would have bought. I certainly wouldn’t have gone to the expense and box count of NDX2 and 282 and power supplies. I think it has already worked out well given that, IMO, I can get better sound quality much more affordably, and occupying much less shelf space.

I’m in the UK but I’m probably not allowed to post the details you are asking for. However I asked Topping via their website who to contact and they told me, so that would be how to find out.

Edit: I think if the Topping/ RME etc had a dealer network they would be at least twice the price they are, so making the comparison not as mad as it seems

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