To replace my DAC V1 or not?

My current setup consists of Squeezebox Touch → DAC V1 → NAP 250 → Spendor A5 (and a Beyerdynamic DT880 at 600 ohms for late-night duties)

What would be the best upgrade path for the SB Touch / DAC V1 pair? Should I replace only the SB Touch with either a ND5 XS or a NDX, while maintaining the DAC V1 or should I replace the pair entirely with either a NAC-N 172 XS or a NAC-N 272 ?

In other words, is the preamp and headphone amp sections of the NAC-N units superior to the one of the DAC V1?

Hi David. I think it’d be a waste of an ND5 or NDX to just use its digital out into a V1. And I suspect that a 172 would be too close to being a sideways move from what you’ve got.

So I’d suggest auditioning a 272 vs a standalone preamp (282?) with your existing front end, and having a think about where you’d like to end up in the long run - ie 2-3 boxes max, or a big system with potentially better sound and bigger price tag.

It could also be worth waiting to see what the mystery announcement in May is, in case it’s an updated 272 or something like that.

I compared the DAC-V1’s preamp to a NAC 202 and the difference was night and day. The 202 killed it. So I would expect an upgrade to a 272 to yield great results.

Other than your comment on the 172 I agree. The 172 was a strange creature … it wasn’t much loved, despite being quite affordable, yet had a superb performance / cost ratio… it was a real unsung hero in the Naim portfolio… perhaps it just wasn’t marketed properly…

It got a bad press here, but the 172 was great. I owned one for some time. I certainly didn’t say 172s are bad.

But are you saying that a 172 would be a significant upgrade over a V1 such that the owner would be delighted with the jump in SQ? I’ve seen comparisons made, including by 172 owners (Solid Air on the old forum), that said there wasn’t much in it.

Dave, I don’t know as I have not really seriously listened to a DAC v1, but I have heard and enjoyed a 172 sounding fantastic… so I would not discount it on perception or hierarchy alone… I would listen and compare it if it is to be a contender.
Obviously the proposition is somewhat different to… the 172 is an all-in-one streamer / DAC/ NAC , where as the the V1 is only a DAC… so there could be many different variables.

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