Naim looks to desktop audio with DAC-V1 preamp/DAC and NAP 100 power amplifier

Naim has launched its second DAC, the DAC-V1, at CES 2013, which opened its doors in Las Vegas this morning.

The £1250 DAC-V1 is a compact preamplifier/converter, designed for connection to a computer or other digital components, and has its own remote handset, volume control and onboard headphone amplifier.

Partnering it is the NAP 100, a new 2x50W power amplifier also in compact casework, and set to sell for £650. Like the DAC-V1, it will go into production next month.

Naim says the DAC-V1 is ‘designed for the customer who uses a computer as their main source of music’: it has an asynchronous USB input, able to handle audio at up to 24-bit/384kHz, while the five S/PDIF digital inputs (BNC, 2x optical, 2x electrical) can handle formats up to 24-bit/192kHz.

It shares with the original Naim DAC the company’s custom-designed 16x oversampling digital filtering, implemented in DSP on a SHARC ADSP21489 processor which also controls the ‘zero S/PDIF jitter’ system. This takes the incoming data, buffers it, and then reclocks it out at a rate suitable for the DAC and digital filter.

The result is that the filtering and Burr Brown PCM1791A DAC, shared with the NDX and SuperUniti, are completely isolated from incoming jitter, whether the source is an S/PDIF input or the USB connection.

In addition, the DAC-V1 goes to great lengths to isolate interference from the attached computer: it doesn’t use the 5V power line on the USB cable, the USB ground is filtered and the digital and analogue sections of the unit are galvanically isolated, thanks to the use of optical couplings, to isolate noise. Even the S/PDIF inputs are transformer coupled to the same effect.

The DAC-V1 can be used as a conventional DAC into a preamp, using fixed-level outputs, or directly into a power amplifier, thanks to the provision of a digitally-controlled analogue volume control.

There’s also a high-quality Class A headphone amplifier included, with a 6.3mm socket.

The NAP 100 is a dual-mono power amplifier, delivering 50W per channel into 8ohms, or 100W a side into 4ohms.

Described by the company as a ‘classic Naim discrete transistor power amplifier’, it uses audiophile-grade selected components and a linear power supply with a large toroidal transformer, and like the DAV-V1 employs a non-magnetic low-resonance chassis and sleeve, and built by Naim at its Salisbury factory.

See all the news from CES 2013 in our dedicated blog

Follow on Twitter

Join us on Facebook

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.