NAC272 + NAP200 + PMC Twenty 23 what next?

I was going to ask about DACs but didn’t want to look like a dork. But since you raised it… Can a DAC replace a streamer? Or feed into the 272, or into the power amp direct? Not averse to non-Naim, if that’s a mullet.

Back to speakers briefly, 20.23 is known to have dry, lean bass (owing to teeny 140 mm driver). Can’t find a freq response curve, but curves for 20.22, 20.24 and 20.26 using same Sonolex tweeter are all uplifted in high frequencies on-axis - explains forward sometimes harsh tendency of 20.23. Uplift reduces off axis … need to vary speaker placement & toe in see if that helps. 20.24 and 20.26 with bigger drivers & cabinets, look to be good reasonably priced options for more solid bass, if it comes to that.

You need a dac and a streamer. Both are inside the 272. You could add a separate streamer and dac to the 272, or feed a dac into it. What you can’t do is route the 272 streamer via an external dac and then back in.

You can feed a dac into a power amp so long as the dac has a volume control. Some have tried this, with a Naim power amp, and generally haven’t been happy with the results.


No, it’s not like that. If that were the case then you wouldn’t hear any much of the spectrum at all with earpieces/headphones!

Standing waves happen when a room dimension is a half wavelength, and multiples of that, but the fundamental is strongest. That causes resonances and long decay times. The smaller the room the higher the frequency where standing waves - and resultant negative effect - occur,. With an 8ft high ceiling (typical in the UK for properties built in the past 50 years) or so), there will be standing waves at so ewhere around 70Hz (and 140, 210, etc). With a 20ft dimension it is 27.5 Hz (and 55, 82.5 etc). The problem is that inherently music requires more energy for the same sound level the lower you go, and the resonances become more pronounced.

Of course, ideally you should have no room at all - and I have described the effect elsewhere on the forum*, or such a large room (including height) that fundamental and the first few harmonics are well below the audible spectrum, or such acoustic absorption that the room disappears… But few people can achieve any, so it is a matter of making the best of whatever room we have or can manage to get… The room would never stop me wanting to hear and feel full bass down to the lowest on a recording: with some music that conveys far more emotion than can the fastest possible attack and decay of percussive sounds or beat of a rhythm. That means that for my preference in music I will always want the speakers to be capable of reproducing the lowest notes as undiminished as possible.

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I agree with Arcadiabrian. Your room would benefit from acoustic improvements: more sound absorbing materials such as curtains, rugs and furniture.

Secondly I would upgrade your speakers as they have the most profound impact on SQ.

I wouldn’t bother about HiRes: the improvement on SQ is small if noticeable at all. Good luck and enjoy!

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A streamer comprises two parts, the renderer which takes the digital file (with appropriate software to handle desired sources such as computer file or online streamed file), and converts it into a real time data stream that is fed into the DAC, which in turn converts it to analogue. If a streamer has a digital output, that is the digital data stream from the renderer, and can be fed into an external DAC, the output of which needs amplifying to drive speakers. If the streamer has a digital input (e.g. SPDIF or optical), as opposed to its USB or ethernet input, that would be going direct to the DAC, and you could use an external renderer. I use a renderer built into a dedicated computer (headless, with no screen or keyboard, just a small box) with software that manages my library and also does the rendering (and can take online streaming sources if I want). I feed that to a DAC tha has a volume control, and because I have no analogue sources, and the output of the DAC is adequate and is buffered so it is unaffected by whatever is connected, and has a low enough impedance, I feed it direct to my power amp, cutting out the unecessary additional electronics of a preamp that otherwise would inevitably in some way modify the sound. (If you like the effect the preamp has then of course you can use one.)

In the Naim world a DAC can’t feed a power amp direct. Some other DACs can, notable examples being Chord’s TT2 or Dave DACs which have a digital preamp built in. Chord make power amps that match these DACs, which would be a better bet than trying to pair them with a Naim power amp.

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Mostly by luck of a good local dealer and 2nd hand options coming available (plus a friend who very generously offered to transport my 300 back from the UK in the back of a Porsche that he was importing).

It’s fair to say that if I was buying new I wouldn’t be where I am now.


I’m beginning to get it, I think. Something like LF waves propagate from bass extended speakers irrespective of room size. Large rooms avoid long axis LF standing waves (notwithstanding less problematic vertical & cross axis ). Long axis LF standing waves in smaller rooms interfere with LF bass response. Extended bass still a good thing in smaller rooms - either live with it or mitigate via room treatment. If bass extended speakers in a smaller untreated room are wound up, potentially unpleasant resonance and boom might be expected. Not a reason to preclude larger speakers. Does that sum it up?
From limited reading thus far, seems carpets curtains etc helps curb excess HF / brightness (main current issue) - well worthwhile; curing bass reverb however requires copious thick material 300 mm or so from corners & walls, or it just doesn’t trap bass frequencies. Not a problem now with smaller speakers, with larger speakers a case of suck it and see.

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As with everything in this community, it’s a complicated. Knew decent streamers had decent DACs inside, hence wondered why external DACs? I guess there are source quality improvement drivers, factual or perceived. I think my Uniti Core can provide signal to an external DAC, outputting to the 272 or better pre-amp (not direct to a Naim power amp due to Naim architecture). Sounds like a DAC is an alternative to consider in the search for further SQ improvement.

The DAC in the 272 is good, but it is easily improved upon, even with a PSU attached.

The NDX2 has a better DAC if you were thinking of going that route. NDX2/555 is very good DAC wise, very close to our nDAC/555. More detail, cleaner and sharper sound.

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Which NDAC, Iain. Is it the V1?
How does the 555 power it? I see a boggo man’s socket, and a 4 pin DIN. No fancy Burndy. Does the supply make that much difference? I ask, because the NDAC seems cheap (for Naim), while stuff like the NDX2 etc most definitely isn’t.

The nDAC is cheap because it’s old and discontinued and an NDX2/555 gives broadly similar performance so many people don’t want the extra box. nDAC uses same DAC chips as ND555.

Seems silly to put an £8k PSU on a device which costs £900. But very worthwhile.

We’ve found benefit in decoupling transport from DAC. For instance we don’t find any SQ benefit with network switches, so we don’t have to go down that rabbit hole. With a 272 as streamer a network switch makes a SQ difference.

The naim DAC V1 is a different thing altogether, probably suitable as a desktop DAC.

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In fact most brands make power amps that can be paired with these Chord DACs, because most adhere to broadly standard input source requirements that these DACs readily meet. In fact I see nothing in Naim’s NAP specs to suggest that they also would not behave impeccably, provided the optional ultrasonic frequency filter that these amps have is engaged - I suspect the reason for some people who have tried not liking removal of a NAC may simply because they are accustomed to the NAC character.

Low cost sonic improvements. Treble softened a touch, all the better for it. And the sun is shining! Now for the upgrade amp …


Every little bit helps :wink:

Deed done. Dunno about a little bit of help - two giant transformers, 300 wpc of Bryston 4b3. What swung it vs the 300 DR was a good deal (similar price), a great warranty, and fact that PMC use Bryston to voice new speakers during development due to its clean neural sound. Should mitigate tendency to brashness, grip the speakers big time, and warm up the living room in the winter months. Can’t wait to hear system with better amplification to extract the most from the upgraded source.


For that you need a class A amp, not a Bryston!

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A 272 will be the limiting factor in your system now.

You need to upgrade :laughing:

Never ending journey, it seems!
One step at a time!

The first step is the right lead to hook it up! Need to go from 272 4-pin DIN to Bryston which has balanced L&R XLR and phono sockets. I believe balanced XLR is preferable. Anyone know where to get one? Good quality not £3000 Naim ones!

BTW, crank up the Bryston, over 1 KW waste heat! Is a Class A more than that?

Thanks, Alan

There’s no point using the balanced input on your power amp unless you have a balanced output on the preamp to match it. Just use the unbalanced RCAs.

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