Naim Dac as upgrade

Hi there,

It’s suddenly become apparent that the Naim Dac could be a significant upgrade for me.

I use a Rega Saturn R and Elicit R, but plan to obtain a Supernait 3 in the not too distant future.

I plan to stick with Cd and streaming, but the Core route maybe a possibility in future if ripped Cds are all that they claim to be ? SQ wise.

So with a Naim dac, i could potentially upgrade the Saturn R (in transport mode), with a superior dac and also, upgrade my Bluesound Node 2i too with the dac arrangement. I presently run the digital output of the Node into the Saturn R dac.

Also, a Core, if i go down that path could feed into the Naim Dac too.

Seems a win-win at second hand prices, but with this now being a somewhat older model, is it technically out of date? It only seems to be lacking a Usb B input and a headphone amp would have been good, but not a real problem. Presumably all current codecs are covered and 24/192 capability on all inputs?

Yes i could get a current Naim streamer, but my Bluesound has all the main players including Amazon HD. Streaming applications are always evolving, so i can see the logic in using something affordable like the Bluesound and if it becomes obsolete, it is not a huge financial loss.

The Ndx2 would be wonderful of course and i know Naim update software eg Qobuz, so do their best to keep up to date,but £5k is alot of money if it is beyond updates in several years.

So the Naim Dac in my present situation could be a winner. Even as an upgrade to my Saturn R it could justify its cost.




Yes. Some great prices around, try and find one that’s not too old.
I have one with a Unitiserve for a few years and haven’t felt like I need to change or upgrade anything without spending a whole load of £Ks.
It certainly responds to a careful choice of what digital cables being used, as well as power and output cables.
You can try one, if your not taken by it you should be able to sell it on without much loss.

Thanks Toby, yes great prices indeed. Didn’t realise this cost £2.7k final price.

I would really want a newer model, altough service at £355 all in, is reasonable.

Of course there’s the Dac V1, but presumably there should be a quite an improvement over the v1? I completely overlooked this product thinking it was old hat.

Like you say, worse case scenario, if i dont like what it adds to the Saturn or streaming, then i can pass it on, at minimal loss, or hopefully, this could do something very worthwhile to my present set up.

Loved what the Supernait 3 brought to the table over the Elicit R.



I use Audiophilleo + PurePower to convert usb to spdif. I use Innuos Zenith as my source. Very happy. Some use M2Tech usb to spdif which I tried. The PurePower charges off the nDAC rear usb when not playing from Innuos. It works very nicely.


The Naim DAC is a great value and a perfect choice especially if you plan to connect more than one source to it. According to, it supports DSD64, 32kHz -192kHz, 32-bit on its SPDIF inputs.

I have connected an Allo DigiOne Signature (via DC1 BNC-BNC), a Sony TV (via 10m Supra Toslink) and an Oppo 203 (via Supra Coax-Coax) to a Naim DAC and they all sound very well. From this perspective, the nDAC also guarantees that different sources share a similar sound signature.

Of these sources, however, the DigiOne Signature, powered by an UpTone Audio JS-2 (RPi side) and a LPS-1.2 (clean side), sounds best.

This is something that you should take into account in your plans: as mentioned in previous posts, the Naim DAC is relatively sensitive to the quality of its SPDIF feed.

This means that, if you opt for the Naim DAC, you might want to make sure that your primary source is a high quality one. As @Filipe suggests, this can be achieved with a combination of a server with high quality USB outputs and a high quality USB to SPDIF converter.

Or you could front-end the Naim DAC with something like the DigiOne Signature. In either case, you might find yourself investing more in the Naim DAC front-end than in the DAC itself.

There is nothing wrong going this way and, as you have pointed out, investing in a front end pays back a lot in terms of flexibility, future proofness and peace of mind. It also makes you independent of software upgrades that may or may not come or may come with delays or collateral effects.

Talking about possible front-ends, I do not know the quality of the Bluesound and do not consider the Naim Core to be a valid proposition as a front-end for a Naim DAC.

This is mainly because of the Core’s software limitations but also because the quality of its SPDIF output has not so far been assessed in careful comparisons against more interesting alternatives.

No matter what you’ll do, let us know how it goes on and what are your findings!


And the better power supply put on the NDac makes a massive difference. Even bare better than an NDX1

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Thanks all very much for your replies.

Ive had to look up a lot of the gear you use, as im really not that knowledgeable on the computer driven streaming side of things ! Some esoteric stuff here and pretty daunting to someone with limited knowledge in these areas.

The Bluesound Node 2i was receiving a lot of very positive reviews last year as the de facto all in one streamer of choice at around the £500 mark. It also utilises an app that is very well thought of and is probably perfect for someone like myself without the necessary geeky know how of putting together computer based systems like the Raspberry based designs.

I think it would be at a similar level to the Oppo 203, so if that works well into the dac (or a Sony TV) for that matter, im sure the Bluesound will be able to punch above its weight for now. So sure yes it is a little out of its depth with the N dac, but i think as i have only owned one for 6 months it will suffice for now. Projects stream box ultra, or Lindeman/SoTM are all bridge/transports that could take things up to next level when i consider a streamer transport upgrade.

The Core is listed as one of the suggested products on the N dac page to be of benefit of dac performance, so im assuming again, that it would be worthy of the dac’s talents. Although, i understand that the Core was designed to be used via the ethernet router connection to be streamed by a Naim streamer, for optimum performance. I know the Core doesn’t win over everyone here on performance and technical grounds/vs price, but for a novice like me , the complete package of the Core, or say an Innous, would be more appropriate for my capabilities, despite the additional expense.

Re adding an additional power supply to the Naim dac, im aware the benefits are huge, but this would be simply out of my financial grounds and i wish to have a simplified system, without the requirements for a second rack populated by power supplies, leading to increased levels of amplification.
I guess what i really was asking originally, was just how good the Naim dac is it in itself. Is it considered a top notch product by Naim afficionados? It commanded a high price, so im assuming it would walk all over the Dac V1? It uses components from the CD555 and based around the ND 555 dac, so im assuming that would be a blatant yes.

Appreciate all your thoughts to date and for taking the trouble to reply.

The Node has a Coax out so a decent RCA to BNC will do fine

Re SQ on its own its ok- I havent heard the new streamers much but against the old NDX and ND5xs it is much better and for the money they are going for now is great value.

Lots of people have used them with various streamers Macs etc and the better the front end going into it helps more.

With 555DR and Innuos Zenith etc into 552/500 I’m a very happy bunny. I have heard ND555 as well and have no urge to go that way.

The Innuos range is fully supported and is excellent at ripping classical unlike the Core which I tried 2-3 years ago.

There are other recommendations above for getting into the nDAC.

As with all things you should try to demo first. If you are looking to grow your system £1k on nDAC is good VFM.


Agree non DR555 on mine . No desire to upgrade as its then a lot of money to be spent

It could be a very cost effective upgrade for 1k, if it is superior to the old streamers.

Plus as an upgrade to my Saturn R cd player. It is considered as an upgrade to the cdx2 , so double whammy.

Time to click that pay button I think.

Cheers guys.


Hi roda,
A little while ago I picked up a used Naim Superuniti, and after listening to it for a while and getting used to it, I’ve ended up replacing my Conrad Johnson and Ayre kit with it. The Superuniti is less expensive then the other gear, but it sounds better. And the great thing about it, is that it has virtually everything.
I have a Linn Unidisk 1.1 with Linn’s Dynamik power supply upgrade which is a fantastic sounding unit, and yet when I run the Linn through the DAC in the Superuniti, thru the S/PDIF’s, the Naim DAC comes very, very close to the sound of the internal Linn Dac.
I just recently replaced my audioquest digital cable with a Silnote Morpheus Reference ii digital cable, and as nbpf suggested, the sound improved dramatically with the better cable. I haven’t retested the two dacs since I got the Silnote cable, but I have to assume that the Linn sounds better now through the Naim Dac, than through its internal Dac. And that is quite an achievement, considering that the Linn I have is one of the highest level cdp’s that they make. The person I bought it from, paid $16k cad for it.

A purist will tell you that building multiple components into a single chassis will degrade the sound due to crosstalk and electrical interference. But I believe the reason that this unit sounds so dxxm good, is because the signal doesn’t have to travel through a variety of cables and connections to get to the speaker terminals as it does with separate components. And anyway, when one sets up the Superuniti, you always turn off all the outputs and internal items that aren’t connected.

At some point in the future I would like to move up to seperates, in the form of an N-272 pre, and an Nap 250 DR. The 272 also does everything also, but they’ve removed the power amp and made the preamp much better. Then, of course I’d get talked into a seperate power supply.

But for now, I’m extremely satisfied with the overall sound and use of the Superuniti. I especially like the fact that I can control it, and anything connected to it with the Naim app. Seriously, I can control the CD playing in the Linn, and even the sound level of the phono section if an LP is playing.
Anyway, thanks for listening, and I hope this provides you with some useful information on your road to upgrading.
Best of luck.


Also, I forgot to mention the tuner section of the Superuniti. It has DAB, FM, and Internet radio. I don’t seem to recieve any DAB stations, but the iradio is very good with 100s of stations. Thr FM actually sounds the best. In fact, I have a Rega Radio R that I’ll be selling because the FM sounds much better from the Naim tuner.


have I understood that correctly: You think, the bluesound node 2i is much better than the old NDX?

No definitely not !

I was referring to the Ndac being allegedly superior to the dacs being used in the older streamers.

Not the Bluesound as a device itself , by any means.

Not vs the nds . Hdx, nd5xs, ndx, yes.

Node as a transport into the NDac should be better than the NDX

I run my streamer (Allo USBridgeSig+DigiOneSig+Shanti+MoOde) via a DC-1 into my nDAC+Olive XPS.

I think it’s STUNNING!

Of course YMMV, but…

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I too have a SuperUniti. An ex-demo. I made the mistake of agreeing to the dealer’s suggestion of leaving it with me for a few days to see how I got on with it. It never went back.

My long term plans for my system are to add the Naim DAC at some stage to take care of the digital side (I have quite a few components), get a Supernait 3 (have rediscovered vinyl recently) and then px the SU for a 272.

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