The Swiss brand Nagra is perhaps best known for its analog recording equipment and foundations in the film and broadcast industry, but in recent years it has made great strides in high-quality digital equipment for home use.
The original Classic DAC was a prime example, delivering a combination of finesse, insight and dynamic expression that few high-end alternatives could match. Nagra has decided it can do better and has now launched the Classic DAC II, which we saw at the High End Munich show this week. This sequel now features the same digital engine used in its award-winning £55,500 / £65,000 / $114,995 HD DAC X.
As would be expected, the Classic DAC II is compatible with all current high-resolution audio formats, including DSD256. Despite the extensive file compatibility, the company’s engineers also focused on getting the best performance out of traditional Red Book CD standard 16-bit/44kHz files.
Elsewhere, the Classic DAC’s output stage has been improved. It features discrete components and operates in Class A. The circuit topology is designed to be closer to the fluidity and natural heat of the valves used in the company’s more expensive digital converters. The price for all this goodness? It’s in the region of €18,000, about £15,500.
Yes, the Classic DAC II is positioned as Nagra’s ‘entry level’ DAC, but that’s the price you pay for a company that impressed us with its obsessive attention to detail with regards to quality when we launched the beautiful Classic Preamp/Classic AMP combo (£25,500 in total), not to mention the exceptional sonic performance.
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Read our Nagra Classic Preamp/Classic AMP review