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New Naim headphone amp/DAC - Page 4

post #46 of 192

No. I have no idea how long until it arrives.

post #47 of 192

The first comments are now posted over on the Naim forums; they're very positive!

 

Edit; used into speakers with the new NAP 100.

 

Link


Edited by Paul Meakin - 3/8/13 at 6:42pm
post #48 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHawk View Post

No. I have no idea how long until it arrives.

 

They're definitely now on the street, see my other recent post.

 

Hope you don't have to wait too long.

post #49 of 192

Thanks! Yeah, I just noticed that thread. Very positive comments! 

post #50 of 192

One of the UK Naim dealers has just posted his impressions over at the Naim forums;

Link

post #51 of 192

This is looking really good. Can't wait to hear some impressions!

post #52 of 192

Yes, the Bryston BHA-1 that it was compared with has been very well reviewed (including being highly regarded by the guy that posted the comments), so if the V1 is different to it rather than inferior then it must rate as one of the better all-in-one headphone sections available.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thathertz View Post

This is looking really good. Can't wait to hear some impressions!

post #53 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by thathertz View Post

This is looking really good. Can't wait to hear some impressions!

 

I'll post something later as I'm getting to hear one this afternoon... the anticipation is almost too much! biggrin.gif

post #54 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Meakin View Post

 

I'll post something later as I'm getting to hear one this afternoon... the anticipation is almost too much! biggrin.gif

 

Great :) I was planning on getting the Eximus DP1 but the Dac V1 has entered the race now.

Hope you enjoy your afternoon.....please post back with your findings!

post #55 of 192

So, here is a report of this afternoon's listening.

 

The system used was similar to my own but not identical, all Naim components in this case, as opposed to just Naim amps in mine. I'll put approximate UK list prices in to give some context to the level of the system auditioned.

 

CD5 XS (transport only) £2k

DAC-V1 £1250 (first as DAC only, then driving headphones)

NAC 282 pre-amp £4k

Hi-Cap power supply £1200

NAP 250 power-amp £3100

Ovator S400 passive £3500

 

So, the back end (the variable part in the system as the transport/DAC was later used with headphones) comes to £11-12k.

 

The main purpose of the first part of the audition was to relax and form a view of the system compared with my own which substitutes a Densen B400 for the CD player and Shahinian Arcs for the speakers (and no, I didn't pay anything like that much for my set-up, partly because I used to work for a Naim reseller, so I used to get access to known ex-dem and trade-in gear, and my kit is much older).

 

So, how did it sound?

 

Like proper, grown up hi-fi. I'd never particularly liked Naim speakers in the past (e.g. SBLs), but the Ovators were pretty good, although not good enough to want to trade in my Arcs. There was plenty of detail, but not forced at you. Timing and impact was very good, but the area where I really preferred the Arcs was the sound stage/image which felt slightly closed-in on the Ovators. I listened to this for about 45 minutes, using a range of Jazz, Blues, Rock, and some Shostakovitch. Some of the music was known to me, some was not, as I find a good test of a system can be to listen to new material and see if it interests you.

 

It all sounded very good, but then it's hardly an inexpensive system, so it ought to. The key takeaway for me from this is that the system didn't sound as if the source was holding it back. Given that the larger part of this the source performance was probably due to the DAC-V1, this was overall a very creditable performance.

 

 

 

On to the headphone test, where the amps and speakers were replaced by my own pair of Sennheiser HD-650s, dropping the overall system price by around £11.5k. Obviously, this was going to sound like a pile of junk by comparison, right...?

 

Well, no it didn't. In fact it was not at all embarrassed in comparison with the bigger system. Different yes, but only slightly inferior. The only track that was much better on the speakers was the Shostakovitch where the headphones just couldn't match the scale of the sound. I actually preferred the Stevie Ray Vaughan I used on the headphones, but this was largely down to the more intimate presentation that the headphones gave.

 

I'd also swear that my 650s must have been abducted by aliens en-route to the demo, and replaced by a different species. They bore no resemblance to how I'd heard them sound before; faster transients, tighter bass, clearer more extended treble, better detail, and crucially much more sure footed timing. I'm very sensitive to timing being wrong, much more so than to frequency response - this could be blamed on me being old and having no useful high-frequency hearing left (that's a fact), but I was always more sensitive to timing, so there! tongue.gif

 

 

The 650s sounded ridiculously good for a relatively inexpensive headphone, the only issue now is I'm wondering how good LCD-2 or 3s or Fostex 900s would sound... rolleyes.gif

 

I'd been listening to the 650s with an iPod into an Algorhythm Solo and a Just Audio AHA-120, but always felt that was not quite as it should be regarding timing; it always sounded slightly forced, as if the tempo of the music was very slightly speeded up. No such issue with the DAC-V1.

 

I also now really understand why other HD-650 owners say that they scale so well. I didn't expect this level of improvement though.

 

Conclusion; Highly recommended, well worth a demo. My order has been placed, ETA mid-April.


Edited by Paul Meakin - 3/26/13 at 10:51am
post #56 of 192

Thanks for a very informative review!

post #57 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by thathertz View Post

 

Great :) I was planning on getting the Eximus DP1 but the Dac V1 has entered the race now.

Hope you enjoy your afternoon.....please post back with your findings!

 

The Eximus is an interesting one;  I was also strongly considering it. What convinced me to try the Naim first was a review I read at the weekend where the Bryston BHA-1 was strongly preferred to the headphone section of the Eximus. Given the comments that I linked to about the Naim and Bryston being neck and neck but different in presentation, this convinced me to try the Naim first. Plus it's significantly cheaper, and I have had lots of positive experience both using and selling Naim.

post #58 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHawk View Post

Thanks for a very informative review!

 

You're most welcome.

post #59 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Meakin View Post

 

The Eximus is an interesting one;  I was also strongly considering it. What convinced me to try the Naim first was a review I read at the weekend where the Bryston BHA-1 was strongly preferred to the headphone section of the Eximus. Given the comments that I linked to about the Naim and Bryston being neck and neck but different in presentation, this convinced me to try the Naim first. Plus it's significantly cheaper, and I have had lots of positive experience both using and selling Naim.

 

To explain this further, I've formed a view by reading a  lot of forums and reviews that most DAC/amps are either DACs with an amp as a convenience, or the opposite. Not too many seem to be strong contenders on both fronts.

 

The Naim and Eximus both seem to be good at both, plus from memory the Invicta (I'd love to hear one but it's silly money in the UK), Burson Conductor, Grace m903, Lynx Hilo... and most probably a few more that I've forgotten and hence done a huge disservice to. I'd still argue that the list of those biased one way or another is much longer, though.

post #60 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Meakin View Post

So, here is a report of this afternoon's listening.

 

The system used was similar to my own but not identical, all Naim components in this case, as opposed to just Naim amps in mine. I'll put approximate UK list prices in to give some context to the level of the system auditioned.

 

CD5 XS (transport only) £2k

DAC-V1 £1250 (first as DAC only, then driving headphones)

NAC 282 pre-amp £4k

Hi-Cap power supply £1200

NAP 250 power-amp £3100

Ovator S400 passive £3500

 

So, the back end (the variable part in the system as the transport/DAC was later used with headphones) comes to £11-12k.

 

The main purpose of the first part of the audition was to relax and form a view of the system compared with my own which substitutes a Densen B400 for the CD player and Shahinian Arcs for the speakers (and no, I didn't pay anything like that much for my set-up, partly because I used to work for a Naim reseller, so I used to get access to known ex-dem and trade-in gear, and my kit is much older).

 

So, how did it sound?

 

Like proper, grown up hi-fi. I'd never particularly liked Naim speakers in the past (e.g. SBLs), but the Ovators were pretty good, although not good enough to want to trade in my Arcs. There was plenty of detail, but not forced at you. Timing and impact was very good, but the area where I really preferred the Arcs was the sound stage/image which felt slightly closed-in on the Ovators. I listened to this for about 45 minutes, using a range of Jazz, Blues, Rock, and some Shostakovitch. Some of the music was known to me, some was not, as I find a good test of a system can be to listen to new material and see if it interests you.

 

It all sounded very good, but then it's hardly an inexpensive system, so it ought to. The key takeaway for me from this is that the system didn't sound as if the source was holding it back. Given that the larger part of this the source performance was probably due to the DAC-V1, this was overall a very creditable performance.

 

 

 

On to the headphone test, where the amps and speakers were replaced by my own pair of Sennheiser HD-650s, dropping the overall system price by around £11.5k. Obviously, this was going to sound like a pile of junk by comparison, right...?

 

Well, no it didn't. In fact it was not at all embarrassed in comparison with the bigger system. Different yes, but only slightly inferior. The only track that was much better on the speakers was the Shostakovitch where the headphones just couldn't match the scale of the sound. I actually preferred the Stevie Ray Vaughan I used on the headphones, but this was largely down to the more intimate presentation that the headphones gave.

 

I'd also swear that my 650s must have been abducted by aliens en-route to the demo, and replaced by a different species. They bore no resemblance to how I'd heard them sound before; faster transients, tighter bass, clearer more extended treble, better detail, and crucially much more sure footed timing. I'm very sensitive to timing being wrong, much more so than to frequency response - this could be blamed on me being old and having no useful high-frequency hearing left (that's a fact), but I was always more sensitive to timing, so there! tongue.gif

 

 

The 650s sounded ridiculously good for a relatively inexpensive headphone, the only issue now is I'm wondering how good LCD-2 or 3s or Fostex 900s would sound... rolleyes.gif

 

I'd been listening to the 650s with an iPod into an Algorhythm Solo and a Just Audio AHA-120, but always felt that was not quite as it should be regarding timing; it always sounded slightly forced, as if the tempo of the music was very slightly speeded up. No such issue with the DAC-V1.

 

I also now really understand why other HD-650 owners say that they scale so well. I didn't expect this level of improvement though.

 

Conclusion; Highly recommended, well worth a demo. My order has been placed, ETA mid-April.

 

 

Thank you for your impressions so far. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments - you have quite a set up there! I've only been reading about the DAC-V1

for a couple of days now and I must say it's now at the top of my list. As I mentioned earlier I was planning on getting the Eximus (once the cash is ready) as it's

had superb reviews (not least at 6moons) and it ticked most of the boxes for me. All that was missing was a remote and display but that was something I was prepared

to live with. I do all of my listening through headphones so a high performance headphone section is a must. I've tortured myself over the Invicta and actually welcomed the

inclusion of the SD drive but like you I thought that the price was just too much in the UK.

 

My current phones are Denon D7000's but I'm also looking at the LCD-2's and the TH900's :). My current head amp is a SinglePower Extreme Platinum which is superb but I'm ready for a change I think ;)

 

Thanks again for taking the time and I look forward to hearing more impressions - this looks like a winner for Naim!


Edited by thathertz - 3/27/13 at 3:07am
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