Naim (n)DAC vs DAC-V1

Hi guys. Can you tell me the difference between nDAC and DAC V1 ? Which would be more suitable to go with my nait XS2? Do you recommend them or chord qutest?

I can’t speak directly to the DAC V1, but the nDAC was a rather grand leap forward over my integrated Exposure 3010S2 CD player. And I thought the nDAC fit my system much better than the Qutest.

As I understand it, the nDAC is capable of higher performance than the DAC V1, even on its own without an external power supply.

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Naim DAC vs DAC-V1 — clear win for the Naim DAC.

Naim DAC vs Chord Qutest — beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

FWIW, I rather like my Hugo 2… :star_struck:


I’d probably pick the Chord Qutest from those choices.
Having said that it also depends on your budget, do you want to enhance the DAC later on as is possible with the nDAC, would you benefit from the added features of a Hugo 2 instead and so on!
What will you primarily be feeding it with also, that will influence the preferable choice.
All 3 function and perform quite differently, have different feature sets and future potential capabilities or limitations respectively.
I have a Hugo 2 also as well as a Chord Mojo/Poly and would say a Qutest would pair well with a NAIT given it’s similarities internally to the Hugo 2.

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A lot of people recommend Chord dacs on here.

Is the Chord sound similar to Naim?

I always think of Chord as accuracy, detail resolution, soundstaging , rather than musicality/PRaT.

Or am i just a prat? Sorry!

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I have a Qutest very happy with it. Does it sound like a Naim Dac? No idea never heard one.

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The Naim DAC is classic and sounds its best with a Naim power supply. To make it sound its best, it will take more money than you think.

My Fraim has one extra shelf, and I put a Qutest on it. The Qutest would benefit from a power supply, too. The Naim DAC is 10 years old or so. That is a lot of life cycles in the DAC world. I am enjoying the Qutest. I don’t think it is the last stop. I expect the Naim DAC sounds just as good as the Qutest for about the same money today. The power supply will surely kick it up a notch or two.

Let us know what you do. I will see you at the Naim streamer someday. Not yet for me.

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chord quest.

different to a Naim DAC.

Chord DAC excels at fluidity - due to excellent timing performance from FIR digital filters.


Thanks all. I thought that naim dacs would be better match with my amp. Now I’ll probably go with qutest as it’s also a cheaper solution too.

I have a NaimDAC with XPS PS and compared it to Dave I had on home-demo and I think the Dave is good at what it does but what it does is not very interesting. I would take a Naim or Linn (Katalyst) over the Dave.

In my current main-system I run a multi-bit NOS-DAC which removes any timing problems with very clean transients (this kind of DAC gives you the true bits). It now uses FPGA:s but they used the same chip as the Naim DAC before (as did other hi-end DAC:s) but unfortunately Texas Semi discontiued the product.

what source did you use for the Dave and which input.

Chord DACs are very transparent and will tell you right away if the transport is not good enough

When I use my OLED TV to stream music via UPNP, it isn’t that engaging into my Chord DAC… With the same Chord DAC, and some song, streamed via UPNP to a google chrome cash audio into the same dac, same optical cable, music comes to life with amazing PRAT.

the streamer/source matters.


Dac V1 is the perfect partner to a usb streamer through a quality USB cable where as the big Dac is not…


Don’t discount the DAC-V1. Depending in your source requirements (do you need analogue?), and system ambitions, it may be all you will ever need. Sell the XS2 and get a NAP100 or better still NAP200.


I’m also interest in this comparison. I use a Sonos Connect (I’ll probably need to change this to a Port at some point as it’s no longer supported) to stream to a NAC122x/NAP150x amp. I am tempted by the qutest and was wondering if anyone had experience using a PSU on the qutest. I see MCRU do one but not sure if other brands of hifi benefit to the same extent as Naim when using separate power supplies.

If you simply like what the XS does, I very much suggest the nDAC. A few years ago I had a home demo of the nDAC and the Hugo TT and happily bought the Naim to go with my SN2. The nDAC isn’t the newest thing around, but it’s chips are perhaps the last great PCM converters made and the last update brought the filter quite a bit forward. You’ll have two boxes of the same size and design, if this matters to you.


Not much info on what’s feeding the DAC.

For USB from a computer or equivalent, out of the box, the V1 and Qutest will work best.

The Naim DAC is more capable and only available s/h at prices that equal or less than Qutest or the V1. The downside of the Naim DAC is that it is sensitive to what’s upstream and you may need to invest in something like an USB to SPDIF converter.

Both Naim DACs allow changing of earthing you match Naim amps.

Presentation is, as mentioned in posts already, a big factor - I chose the V1 over the Naim
DAC (without an additional Naim
PSU) on this basis. Of course, you may be influenced by the promise of the technology inside these DACs too.


Well my plan is to feed it from iMac. I’ve got low budget yamaha streamer now, which I want to get rid off. Naim dac v1 and qutest are in my price range. I’m not interested in headphone amp function or preamp.

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As streamer/transport I would strongly suggest an Allo Signature product – really well reviewed and reasonably priced. I use an USBridge Signature with my Hugo 2, and I am rather happy with it. Others use the DigiOne Signature with the Naim DAC.

In that case DAC-V1 is the obvious choice. The USB input is very good.

Or a Chord QUTEST…

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In that case, if you like the Naim presentation and integration, the V1 is the way to go. Albeit, I found a difference I presentation between the V1 and Naim DAC.

The pre-amp within the V1 can be ‘switched-off’ to allow your Nait to be the pre (I use the V1 with a 282 in this way).

The remote and connectivity options in the V1 (like the Naim DAC) gives plenty of flexibility. Of course, if this is not important, the Qutest will do the job of a DAC.

Set up with a Mac is a easy on the V1. Make sure you update the firmware to the latest version on the V1.