I have been around the topic of streaming on my Nac-272 before. I bought my Nac here in the spring of 2023 and I am generally satisfied with the sound. My setup is XPS-DR connected to the Nac272, and a NAP250 DR as the power section. I also have a CDX2 with power supply. All in all, a well-playing system
My streaming from the Nac 272 is, as many are probably aware, CD quality of 16 bit.
Now I’m probably asking a bit stupidly, and yes I have followed the various topics about Nac272, is there in your opinion a future for my streamer Nac272? Will there be a solution for better streaming quality for this streamer, and what is currently the only easy solution for better streaming quality. As you know, the specs for the streamer state that it is capable of playing in 24 bit, but with UpnP. Will there be an easier solution?
Having the same system as you, although I replaced my CDX2 with an Innuos Zenith Mk III, there is a bit of a Catch-22 with its upgrade/update options.
Given it is a truly excellent system, moving ‘on’ either involves a lot of money or accepting one of a number of workarounds as described elsewhere. Unless money is of no consequence, it is difficult to justify the former or, perhaps, live with the latter.
As to the ‘future’’ of the NAC-N272, and the other components you mentioned, unless Naim announce a radical change in their servicing policy, there is no reason why they can’t go on for a further 10+ years, which, in some ways, makes a decision even more difficult.
I recently switched to a Tidal subscription and found it more than satisfying with my system, together with CD’s stored on the Zenith, so I am comfortable with my decision to stay with the 272 for the time being at least.
Download a copy of Audirvana Studio to your PC, get a Qobuz trial subscription for a month, enter your Tidal credentials as well, and figure out if this works for you and if the gain in soundquality is worth it.
The PC and the NAC 272 should be in the same network, but in most households there is just one network, so that will be ok.
I’ve thought a little bit about this as well, if whatever reason I can no longer stream Tidal or Internet radio directly to the 272, I’m thinking my course of action will probably be to get a USB to SP/DIF converter and connect my Innuos Zen to one of the digital inputs on the 272 and stream from it. Mutec has the MC3+ USB and Matrix Audio have the X-SPDIF3. I haven’t demoed them, but they read like a good option. Wouldn’t be able to stream anything larger than 192/24 bit but I’m content with the CD quality I use now.
Having been using Tidal Max for a while now I’d tend to agree, and say the benefit is minimal.
Where the 272 is weakest is the gen1 streaming card, so the addition of a carefully chosen external streamer could give both a SQ uplift (as reported by various forum members) and access to hires streaming. Plus enable things like FLAC internet radio streams which the 272 also misses out on currently.
If we still had 272/XPSDR we’d have upgraded to at least an NSC222 by now!!!
A ‘pi based streamer’ is, typically, a home made streamer based on a Raspberry Pi tiny computer main board, to which the builder add a case, psu and frequently supplementary electronics built to the Pi’s interface standard by low volume third party manufacturers. The builder then adds an OS and streaming software, usually open source.
They can give quite outstanding results, but cannot be considered simple plug and play. The Pi ecosystem expects an appropriate degree of (low level) computer (programming) knowledge.
The 272’s future has already been written. If you’re committed to staying with it, adding a 555PSDR, and adding bubble soft and minimserver apps to your network via NAS, QNAP/Synology/RPi/etc will maximize the SQ. There are lots of threads here detailing how to get the software mods up and running. Bubblesoft will allow you to pull in Qobuz/Tidal lossless and minimserver will allow you to bring in lossless radio stations. Another option for lossless radio sations is Kurt’s solution here. He deployed a cloud solution that allows you to add lossless stations via vtuner so they’re integrated into iRadio. Also, remember to transcode all your formats to WAV for better SQ. These solutions on an optimized network allows these three boxes to punch way above their weight. I ran this system for a few years and it was good enough I didn’t feel compelled to go down the more expensive and tedious OC separates route.
You can get a Project stream box ultra S2 streamer which is an off the shelf pi based streamer designed by John westlake… it’s really good and tiny. Tuck it out if the way and your 272 will play all modern streaming services
Or there are several ready built pu streamers on eBay for under £150
I have to say , as someone who’s looking into getting an amp and streamer soon the prospect of the n272 was at first attractive but I have to say the way they are plummeting in price and the fact the streaming side may well be redundant soon puts m off , I’m aware the pre amp section is very good if not better than the 202 however no one wants a unit that has little resale value , most naim kit holds its value very well
On the flip side, you can get a great pre-amp with DAC for a very low price and if you pair a modern streamer to it, like an iFi Zen, Primare NP5 or Holo Audio Red, you have got a great streaming pre-amplifier for a bargain price.
Well…… the way I understand it, the streaming side won’t become redundant but rather doesn’t support the more recent streaming platforms, eg Quobuz, etc.
Nevertheless, Spotify and Tidal are directly supported and the addition of and external box, eg the Project Stream Box Ultra, would rectify the shortfall. Also the ‘plummeting 272 prices’ can surely only play to your advantage……
Given the prices of even a 2-box NC 200 series system the ‘pre-loved’ 272 options must be worth consideration.
@Woodford , well I have actually kept my 272 when I bought a 222 a few weeks ago. I consider the 272 to be the Swiss Army knife of Naim preamps and it is an excellent preamp! I have had a chance to use Quoboz on the 222 and there wasn’t enough hi Rez versions of things I listen to for it to be worth while over Tidal. And if you have a NAS and the 272 is hard wired, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting one, especially as prices make it a bargain.