NuPrime DAC10 digital to analogue preamp at Totally Wired

NuPrime DAC-10…awesome analogue & digital goodness – NZ$3600

The perfect upgrade for any existing DAC. Designed to be the heart of an audio system, NuPrime’s DAC-10 high resolution Digital to Analogue converter with DSD is also a high end preamplifier with analogue inputs capable of matching with the most demanding power amplifiers. The DAC-10H includes a high power balance headphone amplifier – $4000.
All about the new NuPrime DAC-10 high resolution Digital to Analogue converter with DSD. 

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The DAC10 will make just about any system we’ve helped build (and a great many we haven’t) sound much better. Also being a preamplifier with analogue inputs it’s capable of matching with the most demanding power amplifiers. This allows you to both upgrade and simplify your system with a single component.

Obviously derived from the fantastic integrated flagship model – the NuPrime IDA-16, this DAC takes the design further again with features borrowed from the Reference class P-20 preamp. Which makes it ideal for anyone who has already has an amplifier they are happy with. We suggest if you own a Plinius or Perreaux of any description should be seriously looking at NuPrime – in the NZ made context we have some great analogue heritage but the USA is where the serious digital development is happening.

The sparkling new NuPrime DAC-10 is far more than a Digital to Analogue convertor…

As NuPrime’s flagship digital product, the DAC-10 is the perfect upgrade for any existing DAC – the improvements made in digital to analogue conversion have been rapid over the last few years and it’s the right time to look at making the most of this progress. As good as any of the NuForce, Wadia, Meridian, Cambridge, Perreaux, HRT or Firestone DACs we’ve enjoyed may have been in either performance or value for money, the NuPrime DAC-10 is a whole different ball-game and will transform your digital replay.

Designed to be the heart of an audio system, the DAC-10 supports an extensive number of inputs and formats. Utilizing the world’s best performing 32-bit audio DAC is only a first step for designing the ultimate DAC. NuPrime recognizes that merely supporting standard sampling rates and hi-res music formats is not sufficient. To satisfy all music enthusiasts, the NuPrime DAC-10 must do many things exceptionally well. This is what you’ll hear –

  • A vast soundstage – compared to ordinary digital systems, the DAC-10 will make music fill the room.
  • Lightning-fast, wide-range dynamics – The DAC-10 makes any system immediately more powerful and controlled. It’s a big sound.
  • Ultra-low distortion and noise – which means music emerges from a pristine background, with delicate details and nuances intact.

As a DAC, the NuPrime delivers the best digital performance we have heard from all inputs – USB, Coaxial and optical. Despite the ability to deal with sampling rates right up to 384 kHz – that’s over 8x the CD standard – one of the things we love about NuPrime is that ALL our digital music sounds better – that includes plenty of free downloads, iTunes Store stuff and ripped CDs. Which gets to the heart of why the DAC-10 is so highly specified – it’s the serious digital firepower that not only makes special high resolution productions deliver the promised benefits, but also gets more out of the everyday music we all listen to and enjoy. Recordings you might have thought to be ordinary are brought to life.

Unlike most DACs, the NuPrime is much more than a one-trick-pony. The addition of both analogue inputs and a seriously good preamplifier stage with both front panel and remote control takes it to another level again. Contradictory as it may sound, this is the digital product for analogue enthusiasts. The NuForce pre-ampliers were all quite exceptional in terms of both value and absolute performance. NuPrime build from this base and even when taken as just an analogue preamplifier the DAC-10 would qualify as more than a credible performer – transparent is the key descriptor here. Connect any phono stage/turntable combination and you’ll hear what we mean.

We’re not into pushing one format over another here – there are plenty of recordings you’ll never get on vinyl and visa versa. CD or download, via disc or computer, connected or wireless: it’s all covered. Digital is so easy and accessible and making comparisons between formats is simply the road to madness. What the DAC-10 promises is better sound from all sources, all formats and all sampling rates. For the full specification visit the NuPrime site here.

With a high performance product such as the DAC-10, you’ll find that the attention to connections pays real dividends. You’ll gain by far the greatest benefit from the interconnect between DAC and your amplifier – this is where the KLEI gZero cables come into their own – with an exceptionally low noise floor they build on the NuPrime’s strengths getting every last bit of detail out. And because there is so much extra information, the improvements made by stepping up the grades in the KLEI range is magnified. How far you might go is your choice.

For digital input cables, the DAC-10 will show you the differences between types in no uncertain terms. KLEI have two new Coaxial digital cables which are creating a real buzz and you can’t go wrong with the better options from Kimber – especially the new silver USB – and Optical cables are where QED do well. Talk to us about what is going to work best for you.

You’ll also see that the DAC-10 has a pair of balanced outputs. If you already use balanced cables with your amplifier, by all means continue this with the DAC-10. But given what we have heard with the KLEI cables and also noting design choices made by people like Pure Audio, the assumption that balanced is better doesn’t always hold true.

Here’s what one of our clients thinks of their new DAC-10….

‘Thought you’d want to know that for me the NuPrime DAC10 does everything as promised, John. I always like reading your descriptions of new products because they turn your personal experience into an enticingly seductive account of the sound pleasure to come for only a (comparatively) small expenditure. But what I like best is that these are no idle promises; what you describe is what we get. I hope the companies who supply your equipment appreciate your skill in this matter.

So, yes, the NuPrime DAC is brilliant for people like me, as you predicted, with Plinius amplifiers and Meridian or Oppo DACs. No question the DAC is excellent and as you described for the NuPrime Ida-16 it only took 5 seconds to work that out. So the biggest improvement for me is in the PCM discs since I need to send DSD discs by analogue which bypasses the NuPrime DAC. Still, the pre-amp clearly works better than the Plinius as well, which improves the DSD sound even if with less of a mark-up. And the advances are as described by you and NuPrime: a more expansive sound stage, greater clarity and detail, speed of response, and minimal distortion.

I had excellent detail: this is better. The sound stage in particular is terrific, filling the middle between the speakers even more than after gzero10 cables were added, and the tonal quality is equally enhanced, notably in middle registers and with strings which is always a hard task. All this was more or less prepared for. But what I didn’t expect was the amazing improvement to the bass end — more clarity, more pronounced instrument timbre, more presence, more weight even! And that without the sub… So I’m amazed at having replaced $6000 worth of equipment for a third of the price and getting such a distinctive improvement.”

As regards matching amplifiers – as we suggested at the outset, the NuPrime DAC-10 is the perfect upgrade for anyone who enjoys one of the classic NZ made amplifiers. Being both digital and analogue capable, the NuPrime is likely to be a full replacement for most pre-amplifiers as it’s more than capable of driving almost any power amplifier. In the context of integrated amplifiers, you’ll be able to match perfectly with via any line input. Or in many cases, a direct connection where the DAC-10 takes over volume control and input switching. Experimentation is recommended.

The NuPrime ST-10 Reference LE power amplifier is the natural partner to the DAC-10. Sharing the same case and footprint, the pairing is flexible and compact. While the rated power is a little less than the mighty IDA-16 integrated, and the functionality and size of the two boxes together is about the same, we’d suggest the separates are that much better again by virtue of the independent power supplies and physical isolation of the sensitive preamplifier and DAC sections from the high current and voltage of the power amplifier. So this is certainly a sensible and effective upgrade path.

There is also a headphone capable variant of the DAC-10 – not surprisingly called the DAC-10H – this is a really serious headphone product by anyones standards with both conventional and balanced options. While NuPrime are concentrating their marketing on this model in the States, we think the straight DAC will be the most popular here so this is the model we are carrying in stock. What is different is that we now get NuPrime directly and so it’s only a few extra days for us to get the DAC-10H version in. And happily there are both silver and black finishes with the Nuprime so your new DAC is going to look perfect in any setting.

The DAC10 will make just about any system we’ve helped build (and a great many we haven’t) sound much better. NuPrime have continued with the original ethos of NuForce in making real high end performance much more affordable and accessible. By flattening the distribution structure we’re able to keep the price right in line with that in NuPrimes US home so you get exceptional value. In some ways, the IDA-16 integrated DAC and amp was just a taster to get us excited – the DAC-10 has applications within many more systems and is more easily affordable. Not to mention providing further options for upgrading.

Is the DAC-10 right for you?

NuPrime DAC-10 DAC and preamplifier with analogue inputs and remote control – black or silver finish. NZ$3600 including GST and delivery.

Enquire now.


Inner Fidelity July 28 2015“I’ll cut to the chase and say the DAC-10H is a very fine DAC. It’s neutral, clean, and highly detailed, presenting a clear window into the music as only the best DACs can…I especially appreciated the well-done preamp section with precision volume control.”

Audiophile Review July 28“When it comes to digital electronics there is no readily-apparent reason other than the lack of any economies of scale that DACs need to cost over five figures to be sonically excellent. I’ve heard a number of recently released DACs all priced under $2,000 that sounded as good as I’ve heard any DAC sound – these include the Aurender “Flow”, Geekout V2, and the NuPrime DAC-10. Granted, none of these DACs have thick luxuriant front panels or gold-plated knobs, but they all did digital conversions with a level of finesse that rivaled many DACs I’ve heard in the past that do sport golden appendages.”

“Inner detail and low-level resolution through the DAC-10 are as good as I’ve heard through any DAC including the Antelope Audio Platinum DSD DAC. The differences in depth recreation and soundstaging precision between my original 128x DSD recordings and 44.1 downsampled versions were immediately obvious when comparing them through the DAC-10H.

Depth recreation, dimensionality, and image specificity were also exemplary through the ST-10. On my live 128x DSD recordings of the Boulder Philharmonic, the soundstage was accurately portrayed with the spaces between the instruments elucidated with a level of specificity that was equal to the best I’ve heard from any amplifier in my systems.

As it is a relatively new firm, NuPrime has yet to develop the reputation and visibility of more venerable audio companies. But given the quality of its first three products, the IDA- 16, DAC-10H, and ST-10, it’s hard not to predict that NuPrime will be a force to be reckoned with now and in the future. Even if you have far more in your equipment budget than the cost of the DAC-10H and ST-10, I recommend giving these NuPrime products a listen, if you can. They deliver true high performance for far less money than you might expect.”

More about DSD. Direct Stream Digital is one of the two main formats for high resolution digital audio. Nuprime are making a point of being compatible with, and making the most of both DSD and PCM. The best site to find start with DSD downloads is – last time we looked they they were offering 531 albums with 7,322 tracks from 29 labels in Direct Stream Digital. Also worth investigating is the Acoustic Sounds DSD selection.

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