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Naim DAC-V1 Digital to Analogue Converter Review

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Reviewed by Stephen Withers, 18th May 2013. The Naim DAC-V1 is an absolute winner, retaining many of the best elements of the company's more expensive DAC and adding an asynchronous USB input. There's also a volume control, headphone amplifier and multiple digital inputs so you can still listen to your favourite CDs. Naim's ambition was to create a DAC that not only delivered the best audio possible from your computer but was also easy to use. Well, with the DAC-V1 they have achieved just that, it's simple to use and your computer will have never sounded so good - Highly Recommended!
Read the full review...
 

stevelup

Distinguished Member
There are - quite literally - hundreds of asynchronous USB DACs on the market.

It's a feature of the USB Audio 2.0 standard.
 

drummerjohn

Well-known Member
I little confused about the spec. Review states:
Asynchronous USB input up to 24bit/384kHz
High-quality Burr Brown PCM1791A DAC, in common with NDX and SuperUniti

But... that dac chip can only do 24/192.

In fact the PCM1795 that is in my TEAC and cost £300 is the better\bigger brother.
 
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sounddog

Well-known Member
I little confused about the spec. Review states:
Asynchronous USB input up to 24bit/384kHz
High-quality Burr Brown PCM1791A DAC, in common with NDX and SuperUniti

But... that dac chip can only do 24/192.
I believe that the PCM1791A is similar to other BB designs in that it incorporates a bypassable over sampler. When bypassed the DAC is capable of greater sample rates.

In fact the PCM1795 that is in my TEAC and cost £300 is the better\bigger brother.
I assume you are saying the Naim is over priced because of this?

First off its probably debatable if the PCM1795 is a better chip. Secondly there is a lot more to a DAC (as a hifi unit) than just what DAC chip it uses. The power supply, clocks and analogue stages make a much greater difference.

Eloise
 

sounddog

Well-known Member
Asynchronous USB?
Isn't this a feature of USB or am I missing something?
There are - quite literally - hundreds of asynchronous USB DACs on the market.

It's a feature of the USB Audio 2.0 standard.
Just to follow-up/explain. In asynchronous USB, the DAC controls the flow of information from computer to DAC rather than the computer controlling the flow. This should create lower jitter and removes the need for PLL control to match clock rates.

Asynchronous USB was actually available in USB Core Audio 1.0 but in that case limited to 24/96.

Eloise
 

sounddog

Well-known Member
You state in cons (negatives) the half width design... I always thought that was a pro!! :)
 

drummerjohn

Well-known Member
I believe that the PCM1791A is similar to other BB designs in that it incorporates a bypassable over sampler. When bypassed the DAC is capable of greater sample rates.

I assume you are saying the Naim is over priced because of this?

First off its probably debatable if the PCM1795 is a better chip. Secondly there is a lot more to a DAC (as a hifi unit) than just what DAC chip it uses. The power supply, clocks and analogue stages make a much greater difference
Still not understanding the bypass.

Completely agree that the DA component is a only a part of the success of whole product. It's just odd to pick a DA component less capable for that amount of money.

Doesn't appear to be firmware upgradeable.

So on reflection - probably is over-priced despite the fact that there are far more expensive units out there.
 

heathpw

Standard Member
Well Avforums you have just gone down several steps in my estimation as a site that cant be trusted to provide objective reviews. Instead of objectively reviewing and testing the Naim DAC-V1 technically as you do so with tv's you have resorted to the typical "we have golden bat ears" and used descriptions like "bass was tight and well timed", "delivering the acoustic majesty" and "refined precision and smooth delivery". I have no idea what these nonsense statements are meant to mean. How abut measuring the performance and checking the DAC's distortion, frequency response etc is as it is claimed. If i wanted to read crap review from people who think they have superior bat eared hearing than the rest of us i would read whathifi, who produce equally crap subjective nonsense reviews.
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Still not understanding the bypass.

Completely agree that the DA component is a only a part of the success of whole product. It's just odd to pick a DA component less capable for that amount of money.

Doesn't appear to be firmware upgradeable.

So on reflection - probably is over-priced despite the fact that there are far more expensive units out there.
On paper specs don't always tell the whole story about chipsets. A case in point is my old stomping ground Cambridge Audio. They still use the Wolfson WM8740 in a number of applications even though the 8741 and 8742 exist. They prefer its performance when used with an external upsampler and I suspect that something similar is being done here. Certainly, I think the same DAC is used in the ND5 XS I used day to day and I rarely sit there lamenting Naim's decision to use it. Value is a subjective area but, I don't consider £1,250 for a UK built DAC/Preamp that is built like a lorry and performs like this one to be over the odds.

With regards to upgrades, other Naim products like the streamer update over USB so I would imagine that you can do the same here.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
You state in cons (negatives) the half width design... I always thought that was a pro!! :)
Well I liked it but it could be considered a possible con.
 

jakesterboy

Standard Member
I am considering both of Naim;s DAC's, the more costly DAC and the DAC V1 - is the extra cost of the DAC worthwhile - I use a NAS and rip CD's using Apple lossless. Thanks for any advice.
 

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