Nac-n 172xs

Hi all,

Anyone with experience? Primarely I would like to know how it performs as a DAC (compared to nDAC), and as a preamp (compared to the preamp in the Nait XS), and is it upgradable with psu?


Hi Thomas, the 172 can sound very good for what it is, but the DAC really is no match for the NDAC. There is no PSU upgrade option.

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Hi Chris,

Thank you. Dismissed :slightly_smiling_face:

Chris, how about the ND5 XS? Do you know how that item performs? Same questions AS for the 172 :wink:

Well it would be a better match for the Nait in that it doesn’t have a redundant preamp built in.
My first Naim streamer was a Superuniti, and when my dealer set up an ND5XS/NaitXS2 to compare it with, I didn’t feel it was a significant step up, so I just bought the Superuniti. That’s just my impression based on a relatively short listen some years ago, so perhaps not a good substitute for listening for yourself.
Again, an NDAC is going to be a significant step up if fed by a decent digital transpost. Remember that Naim used to promote it as a potential upgrade to the DAC in the NDX, which gives you an idea of where it sits in the Naim heirarchy.
What you don’t get with the NDAC is a USB input to feed it from a computer like you can with your V1, so you will need to make sure you can feed it via SPDIF in.

The ND5XS, like the NDAC, does have PSU upgrade options, unlike the 172.

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Strange the NAC-172 got rave reviews but hardly gets a mention on the forum. :thinking:

Hei Chris,

If I end up with the Naim DAC I will feed it with a streamer with a good master clock. It will handle my ALAC files stored on a NAS. So I don’t think I will miss the USB. But from what I understand the nDAC beats the internal DACs of anything named Naim? It seems like it is regarded a step up no matter what you combine it with.

I think the NDS and ND555 are supposed to be better because of the physical isolation.

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I see. But compared to for example the ND5XS 1 and 2 the nDAC is superior

Your Node should work fine into the NDAC with an SPDIF connection. That would get you up and running, and you could investigate the possibility of better digital transports later.
In order to compete with the top level Naim streamers such as the NDS, you would need to add a PSU upgrade to the NDAC, which is where it all starts to get expensive.

Thanks. Yes, I’ve explored the psu prices with horror :wink: I really want a «clean» Naim signal, and thus adding a nDAC is very interesting. Yes I have the V1, but my guess is the nDAC being a dedicated DAC, would beat the V1 given its three roles as preamp, DAC and headphone amp.

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