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rainsoothe's picture
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Sep 29 2013 - 7:10am
DAC match for NAIM Supernait/Supernait 2

Hey everyone.
(sorry if i'm posting this in the wrong forum section by the way)

So. I auditioned a Supernait a couple of months ago, and i kind of fell under it's spell. Now the Supernait 2 is out, I'm most likely to pull the trigger on either one of them. The DAC used with the Supernait in my listening session was a simaudio moon one (dont know whether it was the 100d or the 300d) and they sounded really good together.

I'm currently using a musical fidelity M1 dac, but i'm thinking it won't do the SN/SN2 justice. As it is difficult or impossible to audition the DACs i'm about to list with the amp or at my place, i'm asking people with prefious experience.

So, browsing through several reviews, I arrived to this shortlist:

1. NAD M51 - this seems like the one to own, but I'm wondering how it partners with the SN, since apparently the nad is a bit bass heavy, and the SN is very gutsy. So, anyone experience the NAD into a SN or SN2? Please share impressions
2. Chord Qute HD - not a fan of the auto input select, but hey.
3. Naim DAC V1 - an obvious candidate, since it's... well... obviously... :)
4. Simaudio Moon (well this one is in another price category, but asking about the soundmatch between the two). Simaudio sounded like a good partner for the Naim. So, having that as a reference point, how would you compare the Simaudio sound to the NAD or even the Naim sound?
Te SN i auditioned was powering a pair of Martin Logan Motion 40 speakers, which i also enjoyed a lot. I know that Naim are now in a partnership with Focal, but if the SN2 sounds a lot like the previous edition, i'm thinking of going with the Martin Logans anyway.

Im mainly listening to Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Zero 7 and U.N.K.L.E. kinda stuff (the last two are chillout/triphop/electronica for people who don't know them)

My source would be a laptop (and maybe later a streamer) that's gonna convey music from a NAS, and gonna probably use an Audiophilleo 2 USB to S/PDIF converter.

so the questions are these:
A. how do the above mentioned DACs match with either SN/SN2? (i'm asking about both amps to cover a wider range of users :)
B. what other DACs or even alternative sollutions would you suggest? (like "keep the MF M1 and raise cah for an NDX, you fool!!!" etc)
C. how important is this DSD malarky? 'cause if it's gonna be something that leads to a handful of websites that only have a handful of offers available, then I probably shouldn't bother searching for this featuer. or should I?
D. if i use a streamer (that has a DAC) via ethernet, will it only stream music from my computer or will it be able to also stream all sounds coming from it?

Thank you in advance for any insight.

shp's picture
Last seen: 1 day 5 hours ago
Joined: Nov 18 2007 - 4:57pm


Did you ever get an answer to your questions? What did you decide to go with?

audiophile2000's picture
Last seen: 3 days 13 hours ago
Joined: Oct 10 2012 - 9:51pm

Good question. I’m actually in the market for a new DAC as well so can comment on a few of them. Basically looking to upgrade from my Simaudio 380D and so far have tried the Benchmark 2 and NAD M51 and have heard the Bryston and Resonance Labs DAC’s in the store. Both of which were good but plan on trying the Ayre Acoustics as the next candidate.

First off would be the SimAudio 380D since I’ve lived with it for over a year. It’s a great DAC but it has its strengths and shortcomings. To me the Simaudio’s biggest strength is musicality. It seems to add a certain warmth to songs and the only way to describe it is that it has a somewhat analog sounding. The DAC seems to excel at keeping things polite and relaxed while preserving a good bit of detail. With that said it wasn’t until I heard the Benchmark Dac 2 at home that I realized how much the Sim was leaving on the table so to speak. The Benchmark Dac 2 is the polar opposite of the sim in my opinion. It is highly reveling and on certain tracks had the best rendition I have heard in my system. But I found it a bit bright and for lesser recordings I found myself feeling fatigued when I was listening to it. Also should mention the imaging on the DAC was amazing, everything was extremely precise and it made the NAD and Sim sound smeared in comparison.

Switching over the NAD, it was a very good DAC and shared some of the presentation with the Sim. It tended to be more forward in its presentation compared to the sim but still preserved a good bit of warmth. Actually the NAD for the price is an amazing buy from what I was demoing.

With that said, I kept coming back to the sim. There was something strange with the NAD that I couldn’t put my finger on. I don’t want to say it sounded a bit more digital than the sim, but that’s the only way I could think to describe it. It could be it just didn’t blend well with my system

TBH I think any of the three DACs above could sound great, really just depends on what gear that follows. I’m going to try and demo the Ayre Acoustic DAC next and see how that performs as I’m really looking for something with the Benchmark’s detail but the warmth and fullness that the sim had.

Also anyone looking at buying DAC, The below is a good read. It does a good job explaining why DACs can sound different despite them all using similar chips. Add USB into the mix and the implementation and design can make a difference. (Ayre Acoustic also has a white paper on the below subject)

Anyone else have additional experience with the above DACs / additional ones to recommend

shp's picture
Last seen: 1 day 5 hours ago
Joined: Nov 18 2007 - 4:57pm
I think we're roughly in the

I think we're roughly in the same market. I currently have a Naim CD player from ~2000 when Stereophile gave it a Class A rating. And I'm looking to transition to a computer/DAC combination.

You shouldn't underestimate your M1. It's Class B rated by Stereophile and MF's products are never slouches. Unless you have a real itch to get a new one (or a compelling reason to chase DSD), you maybe should get the SN/SN+, burn it in for a month, and see what you think before spending another $2k.

Of the music you list, I imagine only Pink Floyd will ever be released on DSD. But you can browse DSD download sites and see for yourself.

My Naim player is 14 years old (maybe even 15) and works flawlessly. I'd say the sonic signature is kind of soft though. Assuming Naim has maintained a similar house sound, consider if you want soft in the amp and soft in the DAC. It might say something that the dealership you visited hadn't paired an all Naim system.

As for trying at home, the Benchmark mentioned in the thread offers a 30-day in-home trial. And sites like AudioAdvisor sell NAD and offer the same policy.

I have not had a chance to trial the Benchmark yet (I travel a lot and finding that 30-day window can be tough). But I have heard the Chord. I would like a pre-amp feature (mostly for the remote) which the Chord doesn't have. But I heard it at a dealer in LA connected to a Chord amp and KEF Reference speakers. Playing Zeppelin's Going to California from How the West Was Won was completely magical. If I had the bucks I would have bought the whole setup on the spot.

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