Which valve DAC to go with Naim amplification?

The Musical Fidelity kW DAC is very affordable.

The problem with swix is I’m not sure how much money you’d need to spend to get a good sound.

The Dac 3 SPX I had on demo was really good (RRP £6600) but I’m not sure if you could go cheaper (further down the range) and still get a good/reasonable result you’d be happy with.

Without hearing and comparing them it’s just guess work.

nDAC with XPS2 were £5,000 together. I think this will be my spending ceiling the valve DAC in new price. Thanks.

I have other hobbies, don’t have enough time for listening. Hence quite reluctant to sink in too much money. :blush:

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I used a KW DM 25 Dac for years with a Supernait 1 and Teac P30 Transport. I eventually sold it for a used Naim DAC for not a lot extra money. I much prefer the Naim. I found the KW a bit harsh in the end

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@Supernaim Thank you so much. :grinning: This explain why kW DM 25 DAC is so affordable. Love you all.

Very wise, I look forward to hearing about the Dac you decide to go for.

I think the V1 didn’t get a fair shake when it was first released due to it mostly being fed by noisy pcs, pre dedicated streamers. But put a good streamer into it via USB (in my case an opticalRendu/opticalModule with good power supplies and a Shunyata Venon USB) and it can shine, esp considering what they cost used now.


I have to admit I never gave the Dac V1 a fair chance before yesterday, even though I’ve had it for about six years and not used it for about four.

I also have to admit, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised and amazed at how good it is when used properly.

The neat Ekstra’s has been a particularly good pairing.

Just goes to show it can take a long time to properly asses a piece of equipment.

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I use an Innuos Phoenix Net.

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Another option may be to go for a used Audio Note DAC 2.1X Signature.

This DAC was the reason I completely turned away from solid state designs. It was that good. Prior to this I had 2 versions of the dac 2 from Audio Note. One was circa 99 which had a very lush sound but it just lacked on punch and slam. The 2.1x signature rectified this.

Also I will reiterate, of the solid state designs I’ve heard, I can always identify a digital haze that I simply cannot in any of the valve designs. Even on my XI AUDIO SAGRA DAC which is also an R2R ladder DAC design the treble isn’t quite as sweet and clean sounding as even the Audio Note DAC 2.1x Sig. let alone my SW1X.


How did you get a demo of the sw1x? The website just mentions a 14 return policy

I would say call and speak to Slawa to see if he has a demo unit of the model you require. You’re welcome to name drop me if you like. I’ve bought several products from him.

Thanks. I am intrigued by the concept and absolutely hate any hint of digital harshness, so it could be a good fit.

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Make sure you check about costs and postage/carriage on any demo unit.

Thanks. I would not bother unless I am seriously thinking of buying and would probably go and listen first as they are not too far from me

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From that Audio Note DAC 2.1X Signature pic you posted, those look like step up transformers for a Phono Pre/stage.

Screen Shot 2023-07-21 at 13.31.46

I’ve been doing some further testing and experiments and my findings are that I prefer (with my equipment in my listening room) a Valve Dac with a Solid State amplifier and a Solid State Dac with a Valve amplifier.

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Thanks @Yorkshireman , that my guess work is correct. I will definitely get a valve DAC to work with Naim amps.

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IV interface transformers. Passive.

filtering digital signal in the analogue domain.

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Just had my DAC upgraded to latest caps by SW1X. They have also now changed the output voltage which should provide even more headroom (not that the DAC needed it lol). The Brass-copper- Panzerholz - rubber feet in particular were my favourite upgrade.

While I was at the workshop I managed to take photos of one of their new products which is called VDT. essentially it’s a valve digital source which can be connected to a LAN. SW1X however strongly reccomend “local playback” which is essential to timing in audio reproduction. I think the in built storage was 4TB. Very interesting product.

They were also building a prototype DAC X which will be their flagship DAC. Unfortubately I wouldn’t be able to afford that one. Lol.

Anyway I thought I should share some photos of the cool gear on display for anyone interested.