Merging Technologies NADAC (Network Attached DAC)

Merging has been long respected in the pro recording industry with mastering engineers such as Bruce Brown using the company's Horus network audio converters in his studio. They have also been instrumental with DSD recording technology, so not surprising when I saw the new NADAC in Philip O'Hanlon's On a Higher Note suite at the very top of the Mirage hotel, Philip being a big DSD proponent himself.

The NADAC was officially launched in Munich earlier this year, and is interesting in that it is specifically a network attached DAC. This means you get SPDIF, AES/EBU and more importantly an Ethernet port for use with ASIO drivers on Windows and CoreAudio with DoP on MacOS for any PCM resolution up to 384kHz, as well as DXD and DSD256. The NADAC uses the Ravenna networking protocol that Merging Technologies helped to develop for high sampling rate applications. There is no USB input.

There are both 2 and 8 channel versions of the NADAC and the outputs are driven by an ESS9008S SABRE Reference Audio D/A IC. This IC has 8 separate D/A converters and in the stereo version of the NADAC, each channel uses 4 D/A converters with the outputs summed. The 8-channel version can also be switched to work as a stereo unit, with the converters configured in the same way. Both versions have separate headphone outputs using the same method of combining the channels.

You can control the NADAC with a tablet or phone using their app which features large clear graphics. The stereo version goes for $10,500 and the multi-channel version is $11,500. O'Hanlon conducted another of his legendary demos and the sound was clear and focused.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Cool DAC. Review of the multichannel version will be in our March issue.