Replacing NDX2/NAC252 with TAD DAC

Hi all,

Having discovered that Audirvana/Roon streaming to the NDX2 sounds better than Qobuz connect from the Naim (in my opinion), I’ve decided that with the NDX2 and NAC252 I’m paying for a lot of unused stuff… (eg. I only need the DAC on the NDX2, which is probably 30% of its value, and only 1 input on the 252). So, I’ve decided to replace them with a dedicated DAC (TAD D1000Mk2) to feed directly into the NAP300DR (with the appropriate interconnects for the NAP XLR config)…

I won’t need to worry about getting a Naim Frame as the Naim feet are not great for vibration isolation, adding additional PSUs to get the best out of the NDX2, and/or upgrading the multitude of interconnects. Of course I love Naim and the residuals are great, so it’s a risk that may not pay off but I’m excited about giving it a go!

I haven’t found many posts similar to this on here, understandably, but I’m interested to know the views on here?

Thanks, Carl

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I would definitely want a demo. Naim power amps are designed to operate with a Naim preamp. Although the TAD Dac has a volume control is does not mean it would work well without a preamp.

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Logically, if all a Pre did was so switch interconnects, then it would be a very small box with not much in - unless of course we have all been conned for decades. In discussions in the past, it was agreed that the pre did a lot more than switching, and often sound terrible without one. So a Demo is a must.

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I’ve been running my NDX2 / XPS DR into a SN2, and now have a 252 and using the SN2 in power amp mode. The 252 has an enormous difference (in a great way) over the pre-stage of the SN2. Which is too say, I’d be very wary of dropping the 252 between a NDX2 and NAP300.

The TAD DAC does have an integral Pre, I’ve demo’d it for a short period (24 hours) and was blown away by the increased soundstage and clarity… of course a short demo can only reveal so much, living with it could be a different story altogether!

I think you know more than most on the forum then about the TAD dac, i cannot remember anyone else having one in their system……happy to be corrected.

Traditional Naim thinking is that you should use a Naim preamp to feed your matching power amp. Still, after putting a Chord Dave DAC betwen my NDX2 and 282 I wondered if it was really necessary to use a £6500 3-box volume control when I could just use the one in the DAC. So I tried removing it, decided it still sounded pretty good (if a little different) and sold the 282.
(I did subsequently replace the 250DR with a Chord Étude which is designed to match the Dave, and was a significant improvement.)
You will, of course, need to have some RCA to XLR leads made up in order to try this.

I have not heard of the TAD DAC, as others have said, best to try it in a demo. I do not use a Naim Pre in my NAP 300DR system, my DAC with volume control drives it very well.

Good luck

Thanks Roog, can I ask what cable you’re using to connect the DAC to the 300DR?

Hi @Carlstone i am into making my own cables, I did contemplate modifying the grey cables that the amp came with so that they went from RCA at the DAC end to the existing xlr plugs,but ended up making my own from the same spec ‘mains flex’ and new connectors. I have also tried a Russ Andrews cable, they both sound the same.

Wow, not the response I expected! I demo’d it with Chord Epic XLRs and it worked and sounded great so I’m planning to go with those, but still perplexed how it worked as the pin outs suggested it shouldn’t!

XLR connectors are usually used for balanced connections. Naim are unusual in using them on some power amps for unbalanced connections. In theory should not mix the two, thus the suggestion to use the RCAs on your DAC.

Yes I can’t understand how standard balanced cables worked either!

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