What does the NAC bring to a headphone amp?

I’ve been playing (a lot) with a Sennheiser HDVA600 which I’ve connected to my NAC52.

Obviously, this allows me to listen to all of my sources (a couple of turntables and an nDAC) through the NAC switching to the tape out. But, beyond this, does the NAC bring anything else?

Since I’ve discovered the DSP function in Roon I’ve been playing a lot with ‘adjusting’ the filter to the headphones (at the moment to approximate to the harman curve). I’ve got to the state that it’s a much ‘richer’ sound (to my ears) than when I switch the filters off (actually it’s mostly all other people’s work). This means that the headphones can sound a lot better playing back via Roon than vinyl.

So… if I don’t need the NAC switching, does the NAC52 do anything for the sound or would I be better off just running an interconnect directly from the nDAC to the headphone amp?

If I did this, I presume I could just leave the existing HiLine in place and switch between nDAC outputs when I wanted to use the nDAC with my 52 and onto the NAPs/speakers ?

Any thoughts?

I have a 52 pre and ND555. I found that running an rca to rca cable from the ND555 into my headphone amp gives a better sound than running through the tape output of the 52. As you mentioned, if you have multiple sources the tape output is the way to go.
@glevethan also found the same results as I did.

I have din and rca interconnects connected at the same time to the ND555 and switch between the outputs as needed from the Naim app.

1 Like

I’ve fitted a cable directly from the nDAC to the HDVA600 headphone amp and I think the sound quality is a little better than when routed from the nDAC-NAC52-HDVA600.

The source switching of the 52 isn’t so much of an issue since I’ve almost exclusively been listening via Roon since I started using the DSP option to suit my headphones.

The Gyrodec, 52, Snaxo, 250s are all powered down and the SBLs covered up. Maybe I’ll tire of the headphones in due course?

1 Like

Thanks to some back and forth with MagicBus I also changed the long term way I was using my headphone amps with my 552. I have stopped running them through the 552 and instead run XLR cables directly from my dCS Rossini and Linn KDS directly to the headphone amplifiers I use with my Stax Electrostatic and other Dynamic (Utopia, Sony Z1R) headphones,

I find things sound better with a direct connection rather than through the 552.


1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.