Selecting between a Streamer vs. DAC

You may be right about ndac plus latest gen streamer being up with nds however I have the benefit of having both nda and nds, I recently bought the nds after much research and mind searching but am pleased to report that it outperforms the ndac and then some- it sounds sublime… similar dac architecture as ndac but has no onboard ps and it’s transport side is completely separate to its dac- concurring with SIS’s comments about noise from transport. Btw both ndac and nds were compared using xps2-dr, ndac still has to utilise internal ps and nds feed was Ethernet cable whereas ndac required usb connected source… but nds is on a much higher level on sq than ndac. Now whether using ndx2 or nd5xs2 as streaming transport to ndac would lift its sq to nds level would be an interesting comparison??

Chris, I would say from my personal experience the NDS and NDAC are different sounding and offer quite different performance presentations to my ears. (and despite they having a shared reconstruction architecture, and DAC is quite surprising) . The NDAC is more ‘organic’ or analogue sounding (ie less clean) and ultimately less resolving. The NDS is more pristine and clear and gives the impression of better resolution. I preferred the NDAC over the NDS for most styles other than for a few exceptions such as Choral - where I found the clarity of the NDS (with 555PS DR) more musically rewarding - especially where there was complex reverb say in a Cathedral etc.

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Man! Dedication!! Please tell me you don’t change your system to suit the music??

Hi Simon, I think that’s a good assessment of the differences between NDAC and NDS. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the two options offer a similar level of improvement over the NDX, despite having clearly different characters which will appeal to different tastes. To be honest I could happily live with either of them, even though I have (like you) moved on to other things.

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Great topic and discussion. It’s also refreshing that while you may have moved on some, you both know the subject matter well and clearly the new Naim streaming board(s) are first-rate.

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Yes, I decided to jump to the new Mk2 streamers relatively early. With hindsight I’m pleased I did as the trade-in only cost me about £1500. Looking at used NDX prices now, sadly it’s doing to be a whole lot more expensive.

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