Home Amps/DACS NAIM DAC V-1 Review: Timeless Audio Excellence And Superior Craftsmanship

NAIM DAC V-1 Review: Timeless Audio Excellence And Superior Craftsmanship

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on
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Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

NAIM DAC V-1

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  1. Digital Inputs:
    • 5 x S/PDIF (2 x coaxial BNC, 2 x optical TOSLINK, 1 x front panel mini-TOSLINK)
    • 1 x USB Type-B (Asynchronous)
  2. Analog Outputs:
    • 2 x RCA Phono
    • 1 x DIN (for NAIM amplifier connection)
  3. Audio Resolution:
    • Maximum Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  4. Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC):
    • Burr-Brown PCM1704
  5. Frequency Response:
    • 10Hz – 20kHz (+/-0.1dB)
  6. Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N):
    • <0.002% (measured at 1kHz, -2dBFS)
  7. Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR):
    • 121dB (A-weighted)
  8. Dimensions:
    • Height: 70mm (2.76 inches)
    • Width: 432mm (17 inches)
    • Depth: 301mm (11.85 inches)
  9. Weight:
    • 4.75 kg (10.47 lbs)
  10. Power Consumption:
    • Typical use: 12W
    • Standby: <0.5W
  11. Control:
    • Front panel display with rotary encoder
    • Remote control

Reviewing the NAIM DAC V-1 is indeed a journey into the past, a fond reminiscence of an iconic piece of audio equipment.

This exceptional device has left a lasting impression in the realm of digital-to-analog converters and one that I enjoyed immensely.

However, as time marches on, it’s important to acknowledge that the DAC V-1 has been discontinued.

For those who may be wondering if there’s an alternative choice in the current audio landscape, I’m here to guide you in the right direction without revealing any spoilers.

So, let’s embark on this nostalgic journey and explore how the DAC V-1 continues to captivate audiophiles, all while keeping the alternative options a pleasant surprise.

Sound

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Design courtesy of HomeStudioBasics.

The NAIM DAC V-1 was a remarkable piece of audio equipment that stood out in the world of digital-to-analog converters.

It embodied the exceptional craftsmanship and audio expertise that NAIM is renowned for.

And when I say exceptional, I truly mean it. Holding one of these is like picking up a 16 lb. bowling ball. You can imagine how much work went into it.

First and foremost, the sound quality produced by the DAC V-1 was about as neutral as it gets.

For those unaware, a DAC like the V-1 takes your digital audio files and transforms them into an analog signal with an incredible level of detail and clarity.

Not only that, but the V-1 was a combo DAC + amplifier with Class A appeal and an Asynchronous profile.

For me, the music came alive in a way that’s hard to describe until you’ve experienced it.

The DAC V-1’s ability to reveal nuances in the music was truly impressive.

For many years, Audio Advice’s main setup during shows was the V-1, and certainly, there was a reason for it.

Listening to one was like giving yourself the cold water splash in the morning. To some, it was like hearing your favorite tracks for the first time.

The V-1 was renowned for its exceptional sound quality, but it’s worth noting that some users, including myself, found that its performance was incredibly detailed and accurate, at times to the point of sounding somewhat clinical or sterile.

While this level of precision is ideal for those seeking a transparent audio experience that faithfully reproduces the source material, it may not cater to those who prefer a warmer or more colored sound signature.

It’s important to consider personal preferences when evaluating the DAC V-1’s sound quality.

Build

NAIM DAC V-1 Review

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I ever took of the V-1 (pictured bottom)

 

It exuded a sense of solidity and durability that gave users confidence in its long-term performance.

The sleek and minimalist design was both elegant and functional, making it a welcome addition to any audio setup.

It featured a well-constructed chassis and precisely engineered components, reflecting NAIM’s commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail.

This build quality contributed to the overall appeal of the DAC V-1, enhancing not only its longevity but also its aesthetic presence in the audio landscape.

That iconic lime green aesthetic will forever live on in the hearts and minds of snobby audiophiles worldwide.

Connections

The NAIM DAC V-1 featured a comprehensive array of connections that made it a versatile hub for integrating various audio sources into a high-quality system.

Whether you were using a CD player, computer, streaming device, or any other source, the DAC V-1 had you covered.

  1. Digital Inputs:
    • 5 x S/PDIF (2 x coaxial BNC, 2 x optical TOSLINK, 1 x front-panel mini-TOSLINK)
    • These inputs allowed users to connect a variety of digital audio sources, including CD players, streaming devices, and more.
  2. USB Input:
    • 1 x USB Type-B (Asynchronous)
    • The asynchronous USB input was particularly noteworthy, reducing jitter and ensuring high-quality audio playback when connecting a computer. It made high-resolution audio streaming a seamless experience.
  3. Analog Outputs:
    • 2 x RCA Phono
    • 1 x DIN (for NAIM amplifier connection)
    • These analog outputs provide options for connecting the DAC V-1 to amplifiers and other audio components, delivering the converted analog signal to power your speakers.

These connections not only showcased the DAC V-1’s adaptability to various audio sources but also emphasized its versatility in accommodating different types of audio equipment.

Front Panel

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Design courtesy of HomeStudioBasics.

The front interface of the NAIM DAC V-1 was notable for its simplicity and functionality.

It featured a clear and intuitive front panel display accompanied by a rotary encoder.

This combination allowed users to navigate through settings and configurations with ease, and man when I tell you it felt great to play with, I mean it.

The display provided essential information about the audio source, format, and playback status, ensuring that users had a quick overview of their audio setup at a glance.

This straightforward interface design made it convenient to adjust settings and tailor the audio output to one’s preferences.

Additionally, a remote control was included, enhancing the user experience by allowing for easy adjustments and customizations from a distance.

This feature was particularly convenient for fine-tuning the listening experience without having to leave the comfort of one’s listening position with their gigantic bag of Cheetos and 12-pack of Pepsi Cola.

Overall, the front interface of the NAIM DAC V-1 exemplified NAIM’s commitment to user-friendly design, making it accessible and enjoyable for audiophiles to interact with and customize their audio setup.

Closing Thoughts

The NAIM DAC V-1 was a remarkable digital-to-analog converter that set a high standard for audio quality and craftsmanship during its active years.

If you were looking to elevate your listening experience and appreciate the finer details in your music, this DAC deserved serious consideration.

It was an investment that could truly transform your audio setup into something extraordinary.

While the DAC V-1 is now in the past, its legacy lives on in the hearts of audiophiles who experienced its exceptional sound quality and build. 

In the fast-paced world of audio technology, manufacturers often retire older models to make way for newer innovations.

While it’s sad to see the DAC V-1 go, there’s still good news for those seeking NAIM’s exceptional audio quality and craftsmanship.

As an alternative, I’d like to point you in the direction of the NAIM Uniti Atom.

The Uniti Atom is a powerful all-in-one streaming amplifier that combines a DAC, preamp, and power amp into a compact and stylish package.

It offers an excellent blend of modern streaming capabilities and the signature NAIM sound quality that audiophiles have come to love.

The Uniti Atom provides a wide range of features, including support for high-resolution streaming, Bluetooth connectivity, and compatibility with various streaming services.

Its intuitive touchscreen interface and remote control make it easy to use, while its compact size allows it to fit seamlessly into various audio setups.

OK, that’s a lie. This thing is bigger than a Super Mutant Behemoth. I actually tried picking it up but wasn’t quite strong enough. xD

With the NAIM Uniti Atom, you’ll get the benefit of NAIM’s expertise in audio engineering and a modern, versatile solution for your audio needs.

It’s a fantastic alternative for those who are fans of the DAC V-1 and are looking for a contemporary NAIM experience.

While we bid farewell to the DAC V-1, the Uniti Atom ensures that the legacy of NAIM’s commitment to exceptional sound quality lives on in a new and exciting form.

And yes, I tried it. It’s blatantly overkill in the best way possible LMAO. The darn thing should come with its own zip code. xD

Learn More:

 

If it’s too pricey for you, don’t buy it. It’s that simple.

Instead, look to this all-in-one alternative.

Well, that’s about it for today my friend. I hope you enjoyed this NAIM DAC V-1 Review and came away with some valuable insight.

What are your thoughts on the OG V-1? Would you buy the Uniti Atom? Let me know!

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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2 comments

Rigsby September 5, 2023 - 8:11 am

Worth noting that pre-owned V1s are often available on eBay etc, for what amounts to peanuts given the build and sound quality they still deliver. I bought a V1 and NAP 100 (the matching power amp) for less than £1000 the pair, and the combo sounds amazing through a pair of KEF LS50 Metas. If you’re looking for a system of exceptional quality at a reasonable price, you could do a lot worse.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black September 5, 2023 - 6:13 pm

Nice! I always loved the NAIM DAC V-1. I got a chance to try the Uniti. It’s ridiculous lol. It’s like a 20 lb. dumbbell. xD

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