Naim and Chord, the other way round!

A number of Naim users are very happy feeding their Chord DACs, typically the Hugo DAC, with Naim transports.

What about going the other way round?

Is anyone using a Hugo M Scaler to feed a ND555, an NDS or an old nDAC?

If so, this thread is the place where to report your findings!

I’m not sure of the benefit, if any here - Naim implement their own oversampling and filtering using DSP within the BB1704 DAC based units you mention. The DAC chip itself can operate at rates up to 768kHz when it’s own internal oversampling is bypassed as in the Naim implementation. I suppose as a converter (USB to S/PDIF) the M Scaler may serve a useful purpose but the oversampling function less so. The M Scaler’s capabilities are far better realised with a Chord DAC.

Good points! Still, with two BNC and two optical inputs, the Hugo M Scaler seems like the ideal source for high quality DACs. Of course, one would expect it to shine with Chord DACs …

A complete waste of an M Scaler, Naim DAC inputs all max out at 24bit/192kHz, DoP 64Fs via BNC/RCA?


Yes, the beniifical way to use the Chord HMS with a Naim streamer is to take digital out of the streamer into HMS and then into another DAC that can use the higher rates of upscaling. For instance, ND 555 digital out to HMS and then double BNC to Hugo TT2 does all the subtle Hugo things S-in-S refers to his recent Mandlebrot description, as I am beginning to discover -

Simon said -

Listen to a DSD recording and the benefit to me becomes clear… listen to a well recorded PCM track the differences are often less marked. We are however talking nuance, subtleties, insight, intonation, ebb and flow … effectively I think what some call ‘musicality’… as opposed to crude subjective measures like imaging, tonal balance, brightness, PRaT etc. So it’s about appreciating how a drum set is played or recorded, the bite of a cello bow, the acoustic reverb from a Cathedral choir, the feel from a well mixed vocal, or vocal duet… the energy and pace and rawness of a grunge or punk track leaving you breathless, the exposing and appreciation of deliberate clipping and distortion in a master, the interplay in an orchestra led by the conductor… etc etc… in other words it’s about the audio sounding more natural and less artificial so our brains subconsciously work less hard to listen and decode it…so it sounds more real in terms of the cues we get from the music… we can listen into the audio as opposed to simply letting it wash over you… what I call the Mandelbrot effect… to me this is what appreciating recordings is all about… it’s like reading a book.

That, to me, is a near perfect description of what can be heard when employing a Chord Hugo set up within the line of reproduction. The pure ND 555 output is brilliant but I’m liking how the HMS, etc., adds to the digital translation.

What exactly is your setup?Are you feeding an Mscaler/Chord DAC with the digital out of an ND555? I plan on using the digital out of my NDS into an Mscaler/TT2 eventually,when funds allow.Very interested in your thoughts,are you using this into a Naim pre/amp combo,or something else?

Hi No_Quarter,

Naim set up NAP250/NAC552/ND 555[two ps]; CDX2/Bryston BDP-1; PMC Fact8.
Digital out of ND 555 to HMS/TT2
Also, I can have Chord duo as stand alone into PMC DB1-s actives using laptop/BDP-1 source.

I had to wait eight weeks for HMS to arrive and I had ordered TT2 within that period with expectations of a ten week wait but it arrive six weeks ahead of schedule [early arrival put a bit of a strain on funding availability]. So both units arrived here within a week of each other and now I’m on week three of listening.
I had HMS/TT2 direct into actives for first couple of weeks and was very impressed - makes an excellent small scale high end system. Putting HMS/TT2 with main Naim system, though, enters another realm entirely. All those details S-in-S lists become more present than with the ND 555 alone. I had a Hugo2 in place before the HMS/TT2 and I was happy with that sound and did not feel the need to go back to the ND DAC all that often, and I have not switched back to ND DAC since arrival of the Chord duo but I will do soon. Although I have had the ND 555 since last summer and I think it had settled, there is the possibility that it is still improving and some of the new wonder I am hearing since returning to the Naim system [after the couple of weeks with the Chord duo/PMC actives] might be from further changes in the ND. But there is great deal of change to the overall sound since the Hugo combination went in, it is a great step up from the lone Hugo2 for sure.
I will report again once I have more listening in.

Thanks for the reply BDB,I also use my NDS digital out into active Dyn XD 600’s.It also is a source into a non Naim pre/amp using Focal Sopra 1’s.I demoed a Hugo 2 when they first came out,and thought it was outstanding as a DAC/PRE directly into my non Naim amp…using my (then) 272 digital out as a source.Have you considered trying to drive speakers directly off the TT 2? That is what I plan on trying with my Sopra’s,once I get the TT2.Since I now live in an apartment,I hope the TT2/Mscaler will be all I need for the lower volumes I listen at.To sum it up,my future system will be Core/NDS/XPSDR into Mscaler/TT2…directly driving Sopra 1’s.Seems like you are close to this,but a little different,so any info you have really interests me,so thanks in advance.As far as the thread title goes…I also wonder if I could use my Core BNC out to an Mscaler,then go from the Mscaler into my NDS?I don’t think this method would work as well as using the BNC out of the NDS though.

Have you tried feeding the HMS with something different than the ND555? That would be an interesting test! Also, if the HMS turns out to be reasonably source agnostic, your could massively simplify your system.

Why not? I do not see any obvious reasons why the S/PDIF output of the Core should be worse than that of the NDS. In fact, I am not even sure that S/PDIF is the best way to drive the Hugo M Scaler. If I had an HMS, I would probably first feed it with a Raspberry Pi via USB! Why waste an NDS on a device that has anyway to massively buffer its input?

I just thought that once the signal is “upscaled” to say, 768 KHZ…the NDS would not recognize it.

That’s correct, I didn’t meant to suggest that you should feed the NDS with the M Scaler. What I wanted to say is that I do not see any obvious reason why the S/PDIF output of the Core should not be as good as that of the NDS. You could feed the M Scaler with the Core (or, perhaps, even via USB) and use the NDS for something else. It seems to me an enormous waste of resources to feed the M Scaler with a Naim streamer. But there is nothing wrong in doing so, of course!

I use the NDS to play internet radio for 80 % of my listening,I just love Radio Paradisd,Linn Jazz,Naim Radio to name a few.People mention using Tidal to “discover” new music,but you still need to know what to search for.If I hear music I like,I just pick up the I-pad to see who/what is playing.Then I can purchase or download it and stick it on my Core.So,I want to upscale internet radio too,or even Tidal if I decide to subscribe again.Maybe blackdogbarking can let us know if he has tried running internet radio through his TT2/Mscaler,and what are the results?I own a DC1 BNC to BNC cable,so I would connect it to the NDS digital out,it would go into the BNC input on the Mscaler.Then I could access the Core via UPNP,have internet radio,Tidal.I also have 2 empty shelves on my Fraim stack,which will hold a black Mscaler/TT2 perfectly.I know it seems like a waste of an NDS,but I got it cheap,I own it,so want to use it whichever way sounds best.Obviously there will be LOTS of experimenting to come,but SIS,and now BDB are feeding Chord products with Naim streamers,and appear to like the results.In BDB’s case,an ND555 with two 555DR’s attached,that is one hell of a source!

Actually, today, I’m having a ND 555 DAC day. Heck, it is good, too. I’ll go back to the Chord duo later on.
i think there is a lot of listening options to be had, so many ways to listen to the same source. So, indeed, lots of experiments can be conducted, much enjoyment to be had. And, over time, I will try and give more detailed musical reports.
I have never been much of a fan of the sound of internet radio but I only ever listen seriously to BBC Radio 3, it always seemed to lack energy even from an ND 555. I have listened to Radio 3 with the addition of HMS/TT2 and thought the sound was improved, it seemed to fill out, become more robust, more harmonious.
I have always liked the Chord sound and when the HMS was announced there was no way I was not going to spend some time with it. I am mightily impressed with what it does but it is early days still with the duo of HMS/TT2, and even though the ND 555 has been here several months, I think that, too, is still developing for me. I am not setting out to make any decisions of a binary choice, one system or the other, Naim or Chord. I am lucky enough to be able to have both here and I aim to vary my listening experience using both Chord and Naim, separately and together. More to come.

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Yes, I spent a couple of weeks using HMS USB from MacBook Pro; a Musical Fidelity transport [optical]; and SPDIF from Bryston BDP-1. HMS into Lavry DA11 or a Metric Halo ULN_8 DACS. And even without the sophisticated streaming side of ND 555, and the dual BNC input to a TT2, I found the upscaling to the non chord DACs produced a more refined musical experience than without it.

Very interesting, thanks for the feedback! Let us know how the different systems and your preferences evolve over time. I am not planning to buy new devices over the next couple of months but I find the M Scaler a very interesting proposition, especially in the context of my current system.

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