I'm hoping to get a demo of the Rega and Naim this week, so I'll report back. There is a local stockist that has both.
Regarding the Muse thread, there are very polarized opinions over there, and I really can't take any of them seriously without doing some listening for myself. Of the few hi-fi reviewers that I think has a clue, one does use a Naim DAC. I'll be very surprised if the Naim doesn't outperform the Rega, but whether it offers value for money at four times the price is another question.
Power supplies matter; Kingwa has this absolutely right. Rega equipment is among the select group that plays music in time though, along with Naim. Naim are also advocates of strong power supplies, and they definitely make a difference.
I haven't ruled Audio-gd out, but I'd want to hear one before spending, and that's difficult in the UK.
Prices: the UK and the US are likely to be very different on this. I suspect that in the US, Rega/Naim are more expensive than in the UK. The Rega and Audio-gd prices aren't that far apart here.
PCM 1704 based DACs. Based on the research I've done, I doubt if they'll sound like hi-fi. 'Hi-fi' is the impression that I formed of both the Anedio and EE MInimax (and a very long list of others), which is why I ruled them out. I sold hundreds of Rega turntables (20-25 years ago) and have owned Naim amps for as long, and they both play music rather than being 'hi-fi' sounding. Admittedly, this is not to everyone's taste.
Having said all that, I also find the Metrum and Hegel units to be intriguing; and the Metrums may turn out to be an amazing bargain, especially within the EU.
My concern is that while Srajan's review is consistent with much else that I've read, and contains good insight, he does write in a way that uses a lot of 'hi-fi' language. That makes me nervous based on my experience of some other hi-fi journalists. I realize that this is probably unfair to Srajan.
Originally Posted by bobeau
I too toyed w/ a Rega and actually almost purchased on two occasions. The thing w/ the Rega that bothers me a bit is that the Audio-GD NFB-2 and NBB-3 use a higher specced version of the same family of chip for a fraction of the cost. And w/ the Rega people report a huge change by swapping the power cable. So I'm thinking, hmm, Audio-GD uses better chip and they take power filtration pretty seriously, just get that. Could still find that the Rega is better, but I imagine it would be splitting hairs to a degree.
Same w/ their PCM1704 DACs, sure they're wonderful. _But_, they do perform alot of processing w/ their DSP unit and filtration. Kinda worried it would end up a bit too 'hi-fi-ish' for my taste.
The Naim... I believe a guy in the Muse thread did a comparison and preferred his lowly Metrum quad.
In the end, they're all probably pretty nice. I've been doing a minor shootout w/ amps (old singlepower slam, DNA Sonett, WA6SE maxxed, WA6SE regular, Anedio, HDP) and it would be cool to do that with some more DACs. Guess at this point I'm tired of buying and selling and hoping this guy is truly special like 6Moons is implying.