SN3 - DAC choices?

I know this has been asked in varying ways several times, but I’d like to know what anyone’s current thoughts or experiences are with an ext DAC for the SN3.

I’ve had a mini-stack of DACs in the past - ranging from Chords Mojo, 64 and QBD76, to NAD M33, Arcam IR, Chromecast and latterly a Qutest.

I’ve recently replaced the Nova with an SN3, and I currently have no ext DAC. I’d like one to run a Bluesound Vault into and the CD playback from a Marantz SACD player (leaving the SACD playback as it is, directly into SN3 analogue inputs).

My shortlist is:

A Chord Qutest (this would be the fourth time I’ve owned one!)
The RME one
A Chord Mojo 2 in desktop mode
Or a Naim DAC s/h purchase.

Budget as per list above is £1K or thereabouts.

Go for the Qutest, then, when the urge to upgrade arises, you can add a MScaler. Truly great combination. Recommend a Network Acoustics Streaming System into your Bluesound also.


What is this exactly?

I assume the qbd76 is better than qutest? I have the qbd76 for nearly 5 years now and it sounds stellar with my 282/250DR and Luxman L-590AXII. This Chord is a keeper in my system. I recently bought a Luxman DAC but the qbd76 isn’t going anywhere.

In my system at the time, there wasn’t that much between them. My main transport was a Chord Blu Mk1.

I sold both DACs and the transport.

I don’t play CDs through the QBD76. My source is a laptop playing FLAC through the DAC. I tried using a Krell CD player and other cheaper CD players as a transport feeding the qbd76 but the result isn’t that good. The sound quality of CD isn’t comparable to digital audio files when played through the DAC.

Based on my limited experience, I find the performance of the qbd76 to be much improved when playing FLAC files with the existing gear in my system. A USB Type A to B cable connects between the source and DAC.

Network Acoustics is the brand (Google them) and the streaming system is either amazing marketing hype & fairy dust or, as I’ve found - and many reviewers too - an astonishing little box that does wonders to your Ethernet signal. There’s a 30-day trial, so you can always send it back if you don’t like it. I doubt many return them…

As a straight DAC, a second-hand nDAC is hard to beat according to many happy users here.


A switch?
If so, I use an English Electric one.

One of my friend’s has said the same. Are they £1K ish s/h?

Edit: seems so, looking online (usual sites) or a little under.

There’s one I see at £900 at the moment…


No, it goes between your switch and your streamer, connected by included Ethernet cables. It simply - and inertly - filters/improves the signal.

Edited - thank you

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Dont think links are permitted here

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I use an NDAC with SN3 and am very happy with the combination, lots of inputs too!


Recent Qutest added to my sn3 and it works really really well


HQPlayer is worth considering too, at roughly 1/6 of the cost it also gives you dozens of digital filters to try with up to 2 million taps. HQPlayer took my Qutest to sonic heights I never thought it was capable of…


I don’t think you’d be happy with the mojo if you’ve already owned a qutest. I ran a hugo2 into my Nait XS before the SN3 and even that showed a massive difference between the chord dacs.


nDAC option is also upgradable via power supply.

Additionally, I had my nDAC recapped a few months back and, while I didn’t note any issues prior, it now really sings.

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What are the power supply options for the nDAC?

The consensus here seems to match my own two favoured options: Qutest or nDAC.