Naim today confirmed the arrival of a new product in its core range: a performance upgradeable preamplifier including full network audio and zero S/PDIF jitter DAC.
The NAC-N 272 streaming preamplifier will be available from Naim’s specialist retailers in March at a cost of £3,300 or £3,595 including a DAB+/FM module.
Naim envisages that many customers of the NAC-N 272 will be upgrading from SuperUniti, or NaimUniti 2 if they are already enjoying network audio or from an existing pre-amp like a NAC 202 if they are not. In both cases the likely matching power amplifier would be the NAP 200 or NAP 250. The NAC-N 272 will also bring new customers to the Naim brand possibly initially as a front end to their existing power amplifiers or “for someone looking for an extra degree of performance over a Uniti solution without losing out on convenience and functionality”.
Inputs and music sources include: UPnPTM hi-res streaming, Spotify® Connect, Bluetooth® (aptX®), iRadio, DAB+/FM, 6 digital, 3 analogue and one USB input for iPod or USB sticks. A combination that should be ideal for music lovers.
The NAC-N 272 is the first Naim product to be DSD64 compatible.
DSD files can be played back on the 272 via the UPnPTM, electrical S/PDIF or USB inputs. The digital header information is stripped out by the DSP leaving only the audio, which is optimised for the DAC by integer resampling the stream at 40bit/768kHz, using Naim software to maintain the high sample rate and accuracy. This adapted DSD stream then enters the 24bit DAC, bypassing the DACs internal digital filter.
The S/PDIF inputs on the NAC-N 272 utilise Naim’s proprietary zero S/PDIF design using the SHARC processor to buffer the incoming S/PDIF signal and clocking it out of the buffer referencing a precision quartz crystal.
The SHARC runs unique Naim-authored software to create an ultra-high precision 40-bit floating-point filter. The filter over-samples by 16 times on 44.1kHz data and provides stop-band attenuation of -156dB. The analogue output includes Naim’s classic discrete five-pole Sallen Key filter.
The analogue and digital sections of the 272 are isolated to reduce noise and communicate using fast opto-isolators. Four separate secondaries from the transformer ensure the optimum power supply isolation and also the ideal voltages and regulation for the Analogue, DAC, and two digital rails. The circuit boards are float-mounted to reduce microphony.
The 272 volume control is derived from the design featured in the flagship Naim Statement NAC S1 preamplifier. It uses hand-selected, through-hole analogue components which are isolated from their digital controller using optical chips.
All the analogue inputs, outputs and mutes are relay switched and completely disconnected when not in use. The relays, in traditional Naim engineering practice, are fed from constant current sources for the lowest interaction and lowest noise.
The moment headphones are plugged in the output current drive is automatically increased by five times to give dynamic drive for all headphone impedances. The amplifier runs from a high voltage power supply so has the ability to drive high impedance headphones with the voltage swing they require for open and dynamic sound.
Outputs Preamplifier (2 x DIN, 1 x RCA), Line (1 x RCA), Digital S/PDIF (1 x BNC), Headphones (1 x 6.3mm)
Preamp Output 775mV
Line output 275mV
Frequency Response 4Hz – 40kHz
S/N Ratio 87dB (measured at 2V in, 775mV out)
Analogue Inputs 3 ( 1 x DIN, 2 x RCA)
Analogue Input Sensitivity 275mV
Analogue Input Overload 34dB
Digital Inputs 6 (1 x BNC, 2 x RCA, 3 x TosLink)
Digital Input Sample Rate Max Coaxial – 192kHz, Optical – 96kHz
Other Inputs DAB/FM, USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
iRadio Service vTuner 5* full service
Audio Formats WAV and AIFF (up to 32bit/192kHz), FLAC (up to 24bit/192kHz), ALAC (up to 24bit/96kHz), WMA (up to 16bit/48kHz), Ogg Vorbis (up to 16bit/48kHz), MP3, M4a (up to 320kbit/s), Playlists (m3u, PLS), DSF64 and DFF64, Gapless playback supported on MP3, M4A, AIFF, WAV, FLAC and ALAC.
Internet radio formats supported: AAC, Windows Media™ formatted content, MP3 streams, MMS, Ogg Vorbis, Spotify® Connect: Ogg Vorbis (up to 320kps) Bluetooth: SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX-LL
Upgrade Interface mini-USB
Wi-Fi Compatibility 802.11b, 802.11g
Idle power consumption 21W
Mains Supply 100V, 115V or 230V, 50/60Hz
Power Supply Options 555PS, XPS, XP5 XS
Dimensions (H x W x D) 87 x 432 x 314mm
Finish Black anodised aluminium with brushed and black anodised fascia