D/A Converter Naim Audio DAC

Innovations in D/A converters rarely serve the good sound. But with the new DAC (2600 EUR), Naim is now bringing a truly revolutionary concept.

  1. D/A converter Naim audio DAC
  2. Data sheet

The British HiFi non-conformist Naim has always been considered iron defenders of the built-in CD player. Not without reason: In contrast to separate drive-converter packages, integrated CD player allows to place the system timer for all components involved, the time base, directly at the D/A Converter: This gives as little as possible jitter – best conditions for optimal sound.

Drive and converter separated however, the D/A converter module for constant data supply must engage willy-nilly in the system clock of the drive. This is typically done by an electronic phase rigid rule bow, the PLL. It evaluates the digital signal stream coming from the S/P-DIF input and leads the converter clock according to the instructions of the drive.

To compensate for fluctuations in the data stream of the drive, the PLL must have a certain area. It is obvious, that doors are open after jitter along with the associated sound effects in this way. So git: the smaller the fishing area of PLL, the better the sound. There is a problem. The fishing area is too small, it comes on less stable sources quickly blackouts, because the stream breaks down.

So, the S/P-DIF interface requires a compromise whereby the D/A converter always hangs on a long leash. On top of that you can be the clock signal from the S/P-DIF-stream never quite without Jitterfehler win, because sync pulses and Audi data into a single signal are nested.

iPod, computer & co but decisively helped that external D/A converter for HiFi fans become increasingly attractive in recent years. Naim also wanted to turn his back on the, and so the British with the 2600 euro expensive DAC offer a separate D/A converter for the first time in their history.

DAC technology: 10 fixed frequencies contra clock jitter

The DAC solves the jitter through the S/P-DIF interface-related problems in stand-alone as well as thorough way: with him the digital signals from the source flow first as they come in a huge data memory (RAM). A powerful SHARC processor chosen from level per period of the average flow of the data then he selects the one by a total of 10 available selection clock rates that comes this value on the next.

Therefore the DAC instead a constantly after regulatory PLL can use an extremely low-jitter fixed frequency oscillator, which is placed directly on the D/A converter modules. A special, named asysnchroner sample rate converter module helps only in very unstable input signals.

Still another trick to doing the Naim DAC best sound help: Although he works as over sampler, he grabs not as usual between two original samples 3 interpolated values rather than 15 zero voltage. Consisting of called method precise loops this “zero-stuffing” produced countless needle impulses, and the extremely high sampling frequency can be remove with a relatively simple analog filter sound but all the more better.

The fact that he has four Optical TosLink sessions in addition to the four coaxial S/P DIF inputs shows how much Naim is convinced by the anti-jitter-concept of the DAC. Contrary to the popular belief, the Englishman concede even benefits including: optical means no high-frequency noise creeps in, which could tarnish the sound.

iPod owners enjoy the USB input at the DAC, which even digital fornicates with Apple interface with the sleight. The DAC also directly with USB flash drives or memory cards – but only in data formats supported by iPod plays as a USB host. Because the DAC has no display, navigate to external USB media is however no right pleasure.

The Naim DAC convinces with perfect timing

In the hearing test, it took no gold ears, to hear that the DAC new sound dimensions opens up. While other D/A converter for example, HiHat cymbals “zig zig” consecutive ditch, the Naim makes an Physical “Tschok Tschok “. His incredibly substantial gameplay rooted it in exemplary Acutance. Here is the real source of power for his full, sculptural sound colors, because he can completely forgo sound cosmetic Chin-ups in terms of amplitude frequency response through its point accuracy. Due to its authenticity and classic sound attributes such as light or dark fail with him – he sounds just “absolutely right”.

So, for example, the USB converter plays-Crack Ayre QB 9 (test: 2/10) while still a touch airy, but by no means complexer than the Naim, the more down-to-Earth and punch conveys. More is available at the connector of the power supply XPS – although the autonomous power supply in the DAC is not sparsely ausgfiel. But it already in the first bars of “Budda Wears Headphones” by DJ Nartak genius “Classic radio Nightflight 3”-CD compilation the heavy attacks of the piano resounded with noticeably more power and solidity. However, the sound was not pudgy. Rather in the Gegnteil: tighter, leaner, and more to the point, although still open turned out the acoustic spaces. The connection of external power brought only benefits – but need the speakers can deliver more bass power really.

The jitter concept goes up as well, proves a test: powered by the low-budget CD player Onkyo DX-7355 the unequal n Onkyo team is a seasoned, integrated CD Player no chance. Edge sharper, less nervous, powerful plays with more tone and richness. No question: New reference.

Naim audio DAC

Manufacturer Naim audio
Price €3000.00
Rating 66.0 points
Test procedure 1.0

Technical data and test results

Dimensions (W x H T) HöheTiefe 43.2 x 7.0 x 35.0 cm
Weight 9.0 kg
Digital volume control
Analog volume control
Remote control
Display sampling rate
Word width display
Digital effects loop
Maximum sampling rate RCA / AES 192
Maximum sampling rate optical 192
Maximum USB sample rate 0
USB asynchronous mode USB
Adjustable digital filter characteristics
Number filter options 0
Have USB only to the iPod digital connection, upgrade from external power supply possible.
Inputs CD player
Digital RCA 2
Digital BNC 2
Digital optical 4
Digital ST 0
Digital AES / EBU 0
Digital DSD
I2S 0
FireWire 0
Output D/A converter
RCA outputs 1
Outputs XLR stereo 0
Outputs headphone 6, 3 mm 0
Outputs headphone 3.5 mm 0
Digital output to RCA
Optical digital output
Digital output other:
Test result
Short conclusion External D / A converters with absolutely natural, powerful-grounded sound with unprecedented Acutance. Again, the additional power supply XPS brings a noticeable gain in peace and authority.
Sound Absolute top class
Sound points
(maximum 70 points)
Sound points preamplifier
Measured values
(maximum 10 points)
(max. 15 points)
(maximum 10 points)
Overall rating
(max. 120
outstanding 92
Price / performance outstanding
tested in issue: 9 / 10