Which valve DAC to go with Naim amplification?

It is very clear that the recommended valve DAC above, Abbas, Aqua La Scala, Audionote, BorderPatrol, SW1X having similarities such as no oversampling, no signal manipulation in the digital domain, no digital filter; things the world has agreed on and accepted for decades.

Doing without reconstruction filters, these DAC must look ‘interesting’ in lab measurements.

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Any update, did you choose/purchase anything ???

Hi @Yorkshireman. I’m trying to go though the technicals before making the decision, mainly on how Abbas, Audionote, and SW1X do the high frequency filtering without following the well tried method (like everyone else). :slightly_smiling_face:

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What I figured out so far from this thread is, if I want more engaging and lifelike sound, try not to manipulate and super-process the digital data in the digital domain (like Meridian and so many other). I have disconnect the Meridian 518 so far.

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I personally don’t get that from this thread and it would not be my conclusion. The Valve, non over sampling DACs from Audio Note and SW1X I’ve owned have been far more engaging than any other design I’ve tried thus far.

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Hi @khan84. This is what I found when I dig deeper, the obvious difference between Audio Note, SW1X, Abbas and the rest of the world is that they do not ‘re-this’ or ‘re-that’ the digital data in the digital domain trying to ‘improve’ the signal.

Not re-doing or trying to perfect the data could be the reason why their sound is more engaging.

But I need to figure out the consequences when these three brands not using reconstruction filter to block out the high frequency noise.


That’s fair. I don’t understand why these Valve DACs sound the way they do or why I don’t hear the digital haze that I hear on other topologies. I’m sure it’s more than just the NON over sampling factor.

One thing I will point out though is that although there are many strong attributes to these designs and for me they better all others I’ve tried, one must not forget that a tube design amplifier/ DAC will be more noisy in one aspect than a solid state. The tubes themselves are susceptible to microphonic noise more so than a solid state design. Also the signal tubes have about a 3000 hour lifespan.

Its not tube based, but it is a very analog sounding DAC, highly recommend the Sonnet Digital Morpheus, which is a NOS R2R DAC. Or if you prefer higher up the chain their Pasithea. I have owned the Morpheus for a number of years & it pairs very well with Naim. If I move up the chain, it will probably be the Pasithea or the Aqua La Scala MKII Optologic.

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