Nova analogue inputs digitize incoming signal?

I have demo’d several outboard DACs and streamers with my Nova that I know very well are excellent sounding DACs - Hugo TT2 with M Scaler, Ayre, Qutest, etc… Every time the sound quality falls far short of the internal streamer and DAC on the Nova.

I couldn’t figure this out until I realized that the incoming analogue signal must also be digitized and run through the SHARC DSP, thus making whatever is coming in via analogue irrelevant once it goes through Naim’s DSP.

So is there EVER any point to using an external DAC or digital source at all with the Naim all-in-ones?


Unless you need a music service that can’t be handled by the internal network card then it’s pretty pointless. The Nova is a superb all in one device so you need to look to separates if going down the outboard streamer / DAC route.

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You can use a digital source with the Nova, but it’s best to keep it digital into the Nova and then let the Nova’s internal (and highly capable) DAC take care of it. Otherwise you’re undertaking two unnecessary extra conversion steps (D-A + A-D) before final digital to analogue conversion within the Nova.

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Yes i tried this as a hopeful big upgrade including Chord DAVE…same outcome as yourself , the only useful upgrade was a nap 250 dr or a Nap 300 dr.

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Yes I originally compared the Nova with my TT2/M Scaler and found they were both lacking into the Nova and sold them off. But the price on 2nd hand DAVEs seems to be coming down a bit here in the US and it piqued my interest again. But now that I am remembering this, it seems like a DAVE would be a waste unless I at least went to the Supernait 3, and I’m happy enough with the Nova that I don’t need to get back on the gear carousel again.

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