Playing DSD in Direct Stream vs Naim nDac

Naim just upgraded (software upgrade) their reference dac nDac last month with DSD capabilities (and also lots of other stuffs for general updates). Naim did this update almost after 5 years.

I then compared the same with DirestStream. Could not do an apple to apple comparison as I don’t have any other streamer except DS Brdige II.

My Naim set up is - MacMini (ssd version) having the music files, Audirvana+ as the music server, Musical Fidelity Vlink 192 as aync USB adapter connecting to nDac at SPDIF. Audirvana+ Remote.

My DS setup is - MacMini (ssd version) having the music files, Minim Server as the music server with UPnP, Bridge II and DS. Bubble UPnP as controller.

The result is (constrained to my hearing capabilities) -

  1. For the non DSD files DS is clear winner. The analogue like warmth sound even from not so great recording is so clear and engaging in case of DS. Naim is very dynamic but still sounds digital, discreet sounding.

  2. For DSD files (Santana’s Black Magic Woman), Naim is clear winner. I believe the LP like analog sound is there in both cases. But Naim is more engaging, foot tapping. I heard surely more details than in DS.

Not want to compare as such. I am happy with both of these two products. But surely I would like to here opinions on these observations.

Any takers ?



It depends on the amplification.

Naim dac paired with Naim amps has a synergy that is hard to beat. The DS dac sounds better if paired with amps like McIntosh.

Speaking from experience as I have two systems at home:

  1. Naim NDS/555DR, 252DR, 300DR

  2. DS dac/McIntosh C1100/McIntosh MC452

The two systems sound very different but great in their own right.

Well my amplification is all McIntosh. MC2300 and 2 MC275.

And surely PS Audio does a fantastic job too. It is just that only for DSDs in USB cable mode (through Audirvana plus) I found Naim more engaging than DSDs in ethernet based streaming mode (through minim server) with PS Audio bridge and Dircetstream DAC.