NAD DAC 2
Wireless USB DAC
Our take on the NAD DAC 2 by Crutchfield's Dave Bar
High-res music with wireless convenience
Liberate the music trapped in your computer with NAD's DAC 2. This USB digital-to-analog converter gives you an easy way to send music wirelessly from your computer to your existing home theater or stereo, while providing clear, detailed sound. Anything that you can listen to on your PC or Mac® you can now enjoy on your best speakers. The DAC 2's two-piece design features point-to-point wireless technology that delivers uncompressed, full-bandwidth audio — including high-resolution music files up to 24-bit/96kHz. And because it's a closed wireless system, you don't even need a Wi-Fi® network to use it.
Simple to set up. Easy to use.
Right from the box, the DAC 2 is ready to play in just moments. Simply plug the included transmitter module into a USB port on your computer, and the DAC 2 becomes your PC's sound card. The transmitter bypasses all of the analog circuitry in your PC and transmits a digital signal directly to the receiver module that's connected to your hi-fi system. The digital signal then gets converted and sent as an analog signal to your stereo amplifier. The DAC 2 uses premium components in a proprietary circuit for accurate, musical sound. It also sports a coaxial digital output that allows downstream digital processing by a different DAC or a home theater receiver.
- high-quality Burr-Brown op amps and digital-to-analog converter for detailed sound
- supports audio sample rates up to 96kHz/24-bit for streaming high-res music files
- wireless USB transmitter plugs into your computer
- Wi-Fi network not required uses point-to-point 2.4GHz wireless technology for uncompressed, full-audio-bandwidth transmission
- built-in driver for USB connection
- stereo RCA and coaxial digital outputs for connection to a stereo or home theater system
- transmission range: up to 131 feet
- frequency response: 20Hz to 48kHz (± 0.5 dB)
- THD + Noise: 0.05%
- signal-to-noise ratio: greater than 80 dB
- external power supply with 58" cord included for DAC receiver
- 7" mini-USB (type-B) to USB (type-A) adapter cable for USB transmitter included
- 50" stereo audio RCA cable included
- 5-1/2"W x 2"H x 4-1/16"D (DAC receiver)
- 1-1/2"W x 5/8"H x 3-1/4"D (wireless transmitter)
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Wireless USB DAC receiver
- Wireless USB DAC transmitter
- AC power supply (with attached 58" DC cord)
- 4 AC plug adapters (US/AU/EU/UK)
- 7" mini-USB (type-B) to USB (type-A) adapter cable
- 50" Stereo audio RCA cable
- Federal Communication Commission Interference Statement
It works exactly as advertised. I ripped my CD's in FLAC format and played them on my laptop via my Marantz 2 channel receiver. It sounds fantastic.
Ed, Goochland, VA
NAD DAC 2 Reviews
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Overview: The NAD DAC 2 Wireless USB Digital-to-Analog Converter lets you wirelessly stream your high-resolution music from your computer (PC/Mac) to your Hi-Fi stereo system with high performance sound. The NAD DAC 2 uses point-to-point 2.4GHz wireless technology which means you can just plug in the two-piece DAC 2 and start enjoying computer audio from your home entertainment system in minutes.
2.4GHz Wireless Connection: You don't need a Wi-Fi network to connect the NAD DAC 2 to your computer and home audio system. The NAD DAC 2 Wireless USB Digital-to-Analog Converter uses point-to-point 2.4GHz wireless technology which features the full audio bandwidth (20-20kHz) and remains uncompressed to maintain HD sound quality.
Simple Installation: The NAD DAC 2 Wireless USB Digital-to-Analog Converter consists of a wireless Receiver and Transmitter. Simply plug the DAC 2's Transmitter into your computer's USB port and it becomes a sound card that transmits your computer's high-resolution audio wirelessly to the DAC 2's Receiver, which connects to your home receiver via a stereo analog or coaxial digital connection.
Note: There are Channel switches (1-3) on the Receiver and Transmitter. Make sure these switches are set to the same number.
Wireless USB DAC Transmitter: The DAC 2's Transmitter consists of a mini-USB (type-B) connector with a mini-USB (type-B) to USB (type-A) adapter cable. Using the included USB cable, the DAC 2's Transmitter plugs into your computer's USB (type-A) port and bypasses all the analog circuitry in your PC and then wirelessly transmits high-resolution audio directly to the DAC 2's Receiver, which is connected to your hi-fi system, using the native digital format for the best possible sound.
Wireless USB DAC Receiver: The DAC 2's Receiver consists of a integrated Digital-to-Analog Converter with analog & digital audio outputs. Once the wireless HD audio is received at the DAC 2's Receiver from the DAC 2's Transmitter, the digital signal is converted and sent as an analog signal to your home receiver through stereo analog audio outputs. There is also a coax digital output that allows downstream digital processing.
24-Bit/192kHz DAC: To achieve the best possible sound, the DAC 2's Transmitter digitally transmits the HD audio from your Mac or PC to the DAC 2's Receiver, which then converts the digital signal to analog using premium Burr-Brown OPAmps (TI PCM1781) and 24-bit/192kHz Delta-Signma DACs with selected passive components in a proprietary NAD circuit.
Compatible Sampling Rates: The NAD DAC 2 Wireless USB Digital-to-Analog Converter supports high-resolution audio sampling rates up to 24-bit/96kHz.
Audio Outputs: The NAD DAC 2 Wireless USB Digital-to-Analog Converter is fitted with both analog & digital audio outputs
- Analog Output: The NAD DAC 2 features one stereo audio RCA output to connect to your home stereo receiver.
- Digital Output: The NAD DAC 2 features one coaxial digital output to connect to your home theater receiver.
AC Power Supply: The NAD DAC 2 Wireless USB Digital-to-Analog Converter includes an external AC power adapter.
Sample Rate: 96kHz/24-bit
THD+N: 0.05% (ref 0dBFS)
Signal-to-Noise: > 80dB
Analog Output Level: 2V
Coax SPDIF: 500mV +/- 50mV
Frequency Response: 20Hz to 48,000Hz (+/- 0.5dB)
Time Delay: <18ms
RF Band: 2.4GHz
Transmission Range: 131' (40m)
- W = 5.5"
- H = 2.0"
- D = 3.8125"
- W = 1.5"
- H = 0.625"
- D = 3.25"
Our Product Research Team
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Why did you buy this?
I have this product already and really love it, but I broke it yesterday [ Michael Apr 23, 2018 ]
Much less expensive than Audioengine and does the same thing. [ Michael Nov 26, 2017 ]
Use existing stereo system with digital library. [ Douglas Oct 05, 2016 ]
Price and NAD reputation. As described it seems to fit my needs [ William Sep 05, 2016 ]
Great Mfg [ Robert Apr 03, 2016 ]
Switching from an ARCAM wireless DAC that provided nothing but spotty connectivity to the NAD DAC. Adding this to a NAD system that has provided trouble free quality performance at a reasonable price. [ Gregg Mar 16, 2016 ]
I was looking for a replacement for the Audioengine D2 wireless DAC's which did not perform well. I wanted to give the plug and play wireless DAC one more chance before looking for a more expensive alternative. [ Edward Feb 03, 2016 ]
10 questions already asked
Very likely access for diagnostics to D>A operation or op amp. It isn't instrumental to the use of the device. Are you concerned about it? [ L M C May 08, 2018 ]
Used for connecting to diagnostic electronics if the DAC 2 needs servicing. [ Dan May 07, 2018 ]
3 answers I assume the digital output is necessary in order to be used in a 3.1 setup then? If so, is it just a pass-through or does it still decode the signal internally and then send something else? I ask because I'm wanting this for playback of tidal masters but my home receiver is not mqa compatible. [ Hoku Mar 02, 2018 ]
Actually, I can't answer this because I run 2 stereo systems, each with only 2 high quality speakers. This is a question for NAD. However, I believe the DAC 2 does nothing to the signal except to transmit the computer digital output to the DAC receiver, straight D to A limited to 24 bit/192kHz (transmission limited to 96kHz). The beauty of the device (other than being cheap) is it replaces the computer sound card. The weakness (may be) not improvement from jitter. For what I play through this, doesn't matter. If you are playing hi res classical music, may matter. There is not a lot of technical information available for the device, hence talk to NAD. I tried to attach the data sheet (available on NAD website), could not. [ L M C Mar 06, 2018 ]
For best results the NAD Dac2 is best used by sending a pure digital signal to a separate DAC which converts the digital to analog. Unless you have an MQA converter chip in your DAC, you will not get the full advantage of MQA. [ Dan Mar 06, 2018 ]
I believe the device, like all DAC's , decodes before sending. I have mine hooked to a laptop and am able to play Tidal Masters. I use an older NAD integrated that is not MQA compatible by itself. With the DAC it sounds great. I do download flac files and it also decodes those. [ William Mar 06, 2018 ]
The NAD DAC 2's transmitter consists of a mini-USB (type-B) connector with a mini-USB (type-B) to USB (type-A) adapter cable; which requires a connection into your computer's USB (type-A) port in order to receive power and wirelessly stream audio from your computer to the NAD wireless receiver. If you would like to discuss in more detail, feel free to contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Larry May 03, 2017 ] Staff
Yes. RCA cables if no digital input via coax. [ L M C Mar 06, 2018 ]
Yes [ William Apr 28, 2017 ]
Im very pleased with it it hooked up to tape 1 on my Onkyo TX8255 receiver, considering it is a dig to analog unit, dont see any difference between amp or receiver. mine isn't line of sight, about 16 ft around 1 corner of the room, works great! [ Jeff Apr 26, 2017 ]
I have the receiver DAC connected into the "aux in"connection, left and right channel, of a integrated amplifier (preamp/amp combination). My integrated amplifier is not designated as a digital or analog amplifier, and the wireless DAC works fine. I would assume that you would either need to connect it to an integrated amplifier like mine or connect it to a pre-amplifier first. hope this helps. [ Edward Apr 26, 2017 ]
Yes. That is how I use mine. [ JAMES Apr 26, 2017 ]
Yes. That is what I did. [ ROBERT Apr 26, 2017 ]
Yes. RCA jacks, shown in specs. [ L M C Apr 26, 2017 ]
Yes. I hooked it up to my Yamaha A-S501 and it works great! [ Steven Apr 26, 2017 ]
Anything with RCA inputs. Yes. PS~ I'm pretty happy with mine! [ Brad Apr 26, 2017 ]
Yes. Just plugs into any line level input--CD, Aux, etc. It's a great sounding unit--way better than bluetooth, and better than Chromecast. [ don s Apr 26, 2017 ]
Sure, the receiver end has two RCA analog outputs which can be used to connect an analog amp. [ Lingyun Apr 26, 2017 ]
NAD does not sell the receiver separately so, while they do not state that the transmitter & receiver are uniquely paired, the absence of the receiver sold separately would indicate they do not support the option. You can also contact NAD directly for confirmation: 800-263-4641 I hope that helps. My Bio: https://www.crutchfield.com/Support/Bio.aspx?bio=5 [ Ryan Mar 10, 2017 ] Staff
Hi Donovan, discovered inadvertently in cleaning out cables that the input port to the transmitter is the same USB connector as for a camera port. My camera cable fits fine. Means your camera cable to your MacBook should work. I have several camera cables, thrown some away. Would give you one if you lived here :-) [ L M C Sep 22, 2016 ]
Hi Donovan - If your Mac has USB C, you could buy a USB C to USB adaptor cable, but you would lose the ability to power you Mac. You could also buy a USB C adaptor cable that has USB, power and HDMI from Apple. That's what I use with my NAD DAC 2 and it works great. [ Gregg Sep 22, 2016 ]
I don't believe the NAD DAC 2 was meant to be used by anything except for a computer with a USB connection. I don't think an iPhone or iPad will work as the music source. [ Jason Sep 21, 2016 ]
Sorry I'm not much help here as I use my Nad DAC 2 directly from my laptop. The transmitter is plugged into my computer and the receiver is plugged into my integrated amplifier. No problems except it doesn't work outside of 50ft, direct line of site of each other. Other than that I am happy with it. Good luck. [ Edward Sep 21, 2016 ]
Hi Donovan. My DAC is through my iMac so USB. You must have a MacBook, depending on vintage will have ports that can go to a USB. I recommend you go to the Apple store, tell them your model, and purchase a connector. For example, new MacBooks have USB-C mini ... so get a USB-C mini to USB-C cable. Amusingly, I have to go the other way with my external portable backup drives that only have USB-C mini (looks like the port on the NAD sending unit is a USB-C as an example). [ L M C Sep 21, 2016 ]
I forwarded your question to an Advisor and they responded with the following: The NAD wireless DAC is meant for a computer connection. Your can use the Bluetooth on your phone to send music wirelessly to a receiver. If you would like to discuss further you can contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Krissy Aug 18, 2015 ] Staff
On Mac OS X the volume setting is "fixed" when the Sound setting is set to "USB". I suspect Windows has a similar feature. Re playback you will get the best results if you rip your CD's uncompressed (flac, aiff). I'm skeptical MP3/4's will sound better although they certainly won't sound worse. [ L M C May 08, 2018 ]
It is important to remember that the DAC 2 is used to transfer a digital signal wirelessly. The 24bit 96,000Hz capability far exceeds any mp3 file. I play flac files from the PC and the unit works perfectly. Once it receives the signal from the computer, it converts it to analogue and sends it to your receiver or amplifier. Your only limitation is what the amplifier and speakers can handle. The quality of conversion makes any software audio enhancements of mp3 files unnecessary. The DAC 2 is intended to enhance the file signal in the analogue conversion. I do not use any equalizer or Bass and Treble adjustments. It is easily the best sound quality enhancement for the money in my entire system. It costs less than the speaker cables. If you are playing digital files from a computer, without a doubt, get it. The NAD DAC 2 becomes the sound card for your computer, and with 24 bit 96kHz digital capability anything you can hear on your PC, including Studio Quality HD Audio, is digitally transmitted to your Hi-Fi! To enhance your experience there are several smartphone apps available to remotely operate your PC or Mac and deliver the rich user interface of the computer right to your fingertips. The Transmitter digitally transmits the audio from your Mac or PC to the DAC 2 Receiver, which then converts the digital signal to analogue using premium parts like Burr-Brown OPAmps and 24/192 Delta-Sigma DACs with selected passive components in a proprietary NAD circuit. You want to reduce the volume of your computer software playing the files so that your receiver or amp is playing at least 50 to 75 %. This will allow your audio system to have a more accurate playback of both high and low frequencies. [ THOMAS MARK Oct 13, 2014 ]
This unit includes AC plug adapters for US, AU, EU, and UK. [ Jeff Sep 26, 2014 ] Staff
7 answers Similar question to Alex G. - does this truly have to be line of sight to work? My laptop is on 3rd floor and home stereo is on first floor. Also, what is the interface like to control iTunes since that is what I will mostly be streaming that from laptop to stereo? [ Fred C. Feb 26, 2014 ]
Yes, it does. And if there is too much mass and distance from transmitter to receiver, the signal breaks up. I was using one unit then thought to send music to the LR main stereo, tried it out. Unfortunately, I didn't try it out long enough or in enough situations before buying. I now have an extra NAD DAC 2 that doesn't work for what I wanted to do. The alternative was a $1K Cambridge that didn't accommodate iTunes play lists for my ripped uncompressed tracks ... aside from cost doesn't work. Since this operates at 2.4GHz, try a 2.4 phone and check reception. This isn't infallible. The amount of information transferred is orders of magnitude less. [ L M C Mar 06, 2018 ]
Mark, great answer and thanks. I have a NAD CD changer and agree on the quality but this may just be a limitation of the DAC using its own dedicated system. Either I will try this product or come up with another solution for streaming my digitized library. [ Fred C. Feb 27, 2014 ]
NAD makes really good stuff so I was a little disappointed when I tried the DAC-2. It worked ok line of sight for about 20'. Unfortunately I had no luck using it with a wall between the units. WiFi works just fine in the same area from a WAP that is further away. Probably worth a try though. These things seem to depend on your particular situation. As far as interfaces go it's really simple. It's just a USB audio device. No setup in my case. The PC just found the new audio device and started using it. I have several wired DACs and similar for those. [ MARK Feb 27, 2014 ]
I do not recommend it. I couldn't get it to work well in the next room (same level). I returned it to Crutchfield. It should perform much better especially for its price. [ JACK Feb 27, 2014 ]
No, it will not work floor to floor, or room to room even without a direct sight line. I absolutely love this product, of course I wish it had more range too, but you can't have everything. I use it on iTunes as well and it works flawlessly. You just have to change your output from the headphone jack to the USB port [ Michael Feb 27, 2014 ]
I had mine set up pretty much in line from computer to amp. It worked great, and the lack of wires. There is really no interface to speak of. The NAD DAC2 takes control of your sound card, and becomes another audio out channel. How that interfaces with iTunes is unknown to me as I do not use it. In the players I do use, it is simply a matter of selecting the NAD Audio Driver as the output and off you go. [ Rich Feb 26, 2014 ]
Hi Fred,My set up was only 25 ft away and in another room. It worked ok, but if someone walked in front on reliever, the signal was lost. Sound was great when it worked, but when I had people over, signal kept dropping when someone walked in front of receiver. Maybe if you put it up high it would work better. I bought an inexpensive DAC online and hooked it up to my Apple TV optical out and that worked fantastic. Not just my computer streams to it, but also iPhone and iPad. And the sound is really good. Plus the DAC 2 has to be set as sound output on computer. If you want to listen just to computer speakers , you have to open prefences and change sound output. Hope this helps. BTW, I've been a recording engineer for over 30 years, so audio is my life.Bobby [ ROBERT Feb 26, 2014 ]
I had a similar problem, only mine was wishing to listen in 2 places. After trying out the first unit in the living room furthest from the transmitter, it seemed to work, bought a second unit to get the receiver (with D>A). Unfortunately, I was wrong and the interference killed listening pleasure. Noow have a spare :-( Reorienting the transmitter and receiver didn't help adequately. [ L M C May 08, 2018 ]
I purchased the NAD DAC 2 in order to address, what seems to me, a similar situation as yours. Our home computer is on our second floor with the main stereo system on our first floor. I, too, wanted to be able to stream music from the itunes library on the computer upstairs to the hifi system on the first floor. The NAD DAC 2 works splendidly!! I first had trouble with a great deal of interference and thought I may have to return the product. The receiving unit was initially placed inside a cabinet, in close proximity to our staircase, containing a blu-ray player, integrated amp and an aging NAD CD player. With this configuration, any time someone ascended or descended the stairs, the music would cut off, hesitate, or garble. I then repositioned the receiving unit out the BACK of the cabinet (still using very short (~18 in.) RCA cables) with a now relatively clear "path" to the transmitter unit atop the stairs, with nearly perfect results (there is now, only VERY rarely an occasional "hiccup" when initiating a listening session from itunes via apple remote (there are no issues DURING listening or switching tracks etc. even with 4 active kids supplying potential "interference" problems)! I would not hesitate to recommend this product with the proviso that there may be some optimization of signal path required for it to work properly. Great sound! Fantastic convenience! Hopefully this helps you with you query :) [ NATHAN Dec 21, 2013 ]
Hi I have been using this DAC for the past few months and have fnd it to be excellent for thr price paid However if the dac reciever and the tranmitter are not in line of sight, it will not work properly. They have to be truely on line of sight. If you move even to the next room, it will not work properly and the songs will skip Trust that helps. [ SOMVEER Dec 21, 2013 ]
From your computer. [ Rich Dec 21, 2013 ]