(Naim first ever DAC)
Naim DAC is coming out this Sept. Prototype is currently demoing around shops in the UK. It has some interesting features like asychronic for all digital inputs whether it is USB, optical, BNC, coaxial. It uses memory buffering and also has 10 clock boards inside to remove jitter (one for each sampling frequency). In addition, it even can do what Wadia iTransport can do with ipod*, i.e. go direct into ipod's harddisk bypassing ipod's internal DAC! Thus making this a very handy device. For output it has RCA and DIN (Naim doesn't like XLR). You could upgrade performance further by adding a power supply as is the norm in Naim products. Price wise is just under £2000.
*Sound from using ipod will not be as good as from CD transport though according to Naim. The prototype DAC failed to work with ipod that day so we did not get to hear it unfortunately.
In term of sound, from my brief listening to the demo session (condition not perfect, limited by amps/speaker setup), it is better than CDX2 which lacks depth in soundstage. Also it is more detail, better quality of sound and has better beat than HDX (their new harddisk player). However HDX seems a bit more coherent though (not certain though due to non idea setup).
It would be very interesting if one could properly compare the Naim DAC to Stello DA220mkII (or similar product) and Linn Majik DS using quality headphone amp setup. This way one will be able to tell which is best and by how much.