Naim Core DSD via SPDIF (coaxial output)

Regarding Naim Core, I must admit to being totally confused now, with the quality of signal via the coax connection output, when playing DSD files stored within its drive.
My Benchmark DAC indicates 16bit 176khz when playing a DSD file.
The limit for the coax connection is 192khz (spec) and informed at a bit rate of 24.
I understand this coax passes PCM and when playing a DSD file stored on the Core the file has to be processed down.
I understand that if DSD is processed for DoP over a usb, it is done at 16 bit and extra markers used to allow a DAC to restore it to DSD - within a 24bit envelope.
But Naim have chosen (it appears) 16 bit at 176khz via this coax - surely this is a downgraded signal?
It would be great to receive information/correction on any of the above. Have tried avenues, but have not got particularly far, especially at making the decision on purchasing further DSD files. Set up/equipment does not lend itself to using network/streamer/computer.
Comments PLEASE

Paging @NeilS :slightly_smiling_face:

Interesting question.
Streaming DSD from my Core to NDX 2 via coax - The Naim App says its 192kHz 24bit - But I have no way of knowing those values are what the NDX 2 is being sent. Those values are original file values.

I have been looking into this - apparently the down sampling is unavoidable when using the local digital output on the Core with DSD files.
This is down to a limitation of the processor platform I’m afraid.


The specifications on the Naim website state clearly that the spdif output will be downsampled, whereas upnp won’t.

Thanks for the answers so far, So what is this signal 24bit or 16bit (176khz), or am I still misunderstanding this? My DAC seems to indicate 16bit 176khz . If it is equivalent to 16bit, then in case of buying DSD files for Core using the Coax, its a waste of money. Better off buying a Flac File, unless you intend moving to ethernet network etc. something, that is not on the horizon for my set up. Please comment.

DSD via S/PDIF will be 16bit.


MANY THANKS Neil for this answer. (Its taken considerable effort via the avenues to achieve this simple answer). So would I be right in saying, this DSD file (via coax) will be just above CD quality but someway off a 24bit flac file?
Regarding “processor platform” could Naim up rate this to 24bit, via a software change in the future, or are we saying this is fixed?
For the moment, this has simplified my selection of HR music.


I believe that it’s a hardware limitation unfortunately.
If I’m wrong on that one, I’ll report back!


I would put those DSD files on a NAS and stream the unconverted DSF files via ethernet. Otherwise, you might as well just rip the Red Book layer if you’re not enjoying the far-superior DSD layer.

Again THANKS for straight talking.
Yes please, let me know if developments are possible/planned.

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You can stream DSD files from the Core via Ethernet “full fat” as long as the streamer supports DoP.

It’s only the local S/PDIF output that suffers the limitation.


Ahhh, got it. My mistake. I have a NAS > NAC N-272, so not familiar with Core output options. Sorry for any confusion.

Your suggestion was valid, the Core is a NAS. More to the point, it’s a UPnP server.

Hello Neil
Not sure if I should have started a new topic, but it is associated with the issue of DSD files via the coax.
I am not into streaming (don’t have the time to listen to my own collection as much as I would like).
Using a computer/network, although unsure of exactly how this would be used, assume through a suitable Music operating program, seems a non desirable route also (computer would be just another item to set up/check each time DSD was to be listened to).

My DAC Benchmark HGC3 supports Native DSD conversion, under the DoP 1.1 format (I believe this to be a 16bit signal with extra markers within a 24bit envelope) either via coax or a “B type” usb connection (usb windows driver required, I believe).

So what options could I consider regarding “a box” that will connect to my network hub in listening room and would not take up masses of space. Without going to extra expense of purchasing a streamer. If this could be achieved, would I only use the coax supplied with DoP via one other input to the DAC and maintain the existing for all other music?
Other option, Ignore the small number of DSD files I have and re-buy in Flac!

You can convert DSD to PCM so no cost involved :slightly_smiling_face:

Coaxial Spdif will be still limited to 24/192 max I think knowing ?

Hi John,

I think the “box” would be a streamer, a NAS or a laptop/PC/Mac.
There may be other solutions which others will no doubt point out.

I believe DSD file conversion to PCM is a “lossy” process (which can then be converted to Flac) so you may be better off re- buying in Flac.


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Thanks for replies .

I too own a Core and would like to playback DSD files which I either purchase or create with my Korg MR2000S DSD recorder. I believe that the Core will playback DSD 64 and 128 via coax to a Naim DAC. I don’t own a Naim DAC so that route is closed to me. Using a network bridge - Lindemann Limetree Bridge Mk1 I playback my DSD files from a USB attached external hard drive into the Bridge’s USB input. This is not pure DSD playback but DoP - DSD over PCM. The DSD files sound excellent by the way. I think Naim and Linn are far behind in the playback of high res files like DSD which now goes up to DSD 1024. USB is the main output format that supports native DSD. The other is 12S which is now being used by many current digital playback manufacturers. This together with resistor ladder DACs seem to be the way forward in high res digital playback imho.