DACs

Naim Audio DAC

ARTICLE INDEX

Conclusions

The CDS2 that I own has long since been replaced by the CDS3 in the Naim lineup so it would have been much more satisfying for all if I had a CDS3 for comparison but the reason I never pursued an upgrade is because the world is going to DACs, and most of my money goes into analog, call me old fashioned. At this point the money goes mostly to software (those 12" black discs) as I am completely satisfied with my vinyl playback rig (not that I don't mess around with it anyway). But I have noticed CD playback making a steady march back into my listening time with each of the new solutions I've reviewed recently (Emotiva, Neko, Naim). Real strides are being made in both recording and playback and of course there are high res files available here and there. With the Naim DAC I made the largest digital stride of all. As long as the recordings were good there seemed to be no end to how long I could enjoy listening with this DAC. To my ears the DAC moves slightly away from the Naim house sound (warm) but in doing so manages to reach into the recordings to a greater degree and pull out the satisfying texture of each instrument or voice.

Naim gear remains on the pricey side of hifi, for what this DAC delivers though I do not think the price is out of line. Once you start on the upgrade path however, with extra power supplies, you will pay a premium. But the upgrade path is fun and could be more cost effective than simply replacing a CD player or DAC completely. I've noticed that Naim has a thriving message board on their web site, something I haven't seen for any other hifi manufacturer. Naim is doing something right and I hear it in this DAC.