With the introduction of the Evolution DAC-2, NuPrime offers a worthy successor to the much-praised Evolution DAC. In combination with the Evolution STA power amplifier, NuPrime offers a very strong music duo with which you will continue to enjoy music for many years. With the equipment level, the available connections and the sound quality, the NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 occupies a very solid market position.


  • Sound quality
  • Wide choice of entrances
  • Design and build quality
  • Full-fledged analogue preamplifier


  • No headphone jack
  • No individual gain control of inputs
With the introduction of the NuPrime Evolution DAC-2, NuPrime has a beautiful new preamplifier DAC in its Evolution top segment and this succeeds the much-praised Evolution DAC of the first generation. HIFI.NL manages to obtain a review model at an early stage for an extensive test. Does this NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 surprise in a positive way? 
NuPrime Evolution
Despite the fact that NuPrime has only been around for a decade, it has now launched a wide range of excellently performing hi-fi components and has already won over many music lovers in its relatively young existence. After receiving the new NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 and the matching Evolution STA power amplifier, I can only say that I am charmed by the design and construction. Perhaps I can best describe the components as contemporary gems that deserve to be given a prominent place in the listening room, which also optimally reflects the beautiful design.
The look of this evolved designer duo is progressively minimalist and – just like the previously reviewed NuPrime Series Nine – radiates elegance. The use of buttons, lights and frills is kept to a minimum with this Evolution set. The unique design, characterized by sloping surfaces and breaking lines, gives the NuPrime audio components a unique look and feel.
The NuPrime logo is milled into the front with CNC precision and stands out with shiny contrast. All contact surfaces of the housing fit together perfectly and nowhere does an out-of-place detail catch the eye.
Digital Evolution
When I compare the Evolution DAC-2 with its predecessor, apart from the use of a double ES9038Q2M chip instead of a premium ES3038PRO variant and the current support for MQA files, I cannot discover many differences. Both chipsets have been delivered for a while and we are therefore not talking about an upgrade with the latest available chipset. Is one better than the other, you might ask? If implemented properly, both chipsets have sublime sound properties and will not be much inferior to each other.
Like its predecessor, the Evolution DAC-2 is completely dual-mono and equipped with separate C-Core transformers and AC power filtering for the analog and digital sections.  This time the clock circuit again uses the NuPrime PSRC IC chip to either leave the incoming signal undisturbed or to bring it to a fixed sample frequency between 44.1kHz and 768kHz in PCM or DSD512. Digitally input signals are re-clocked after arrival, so that the digital signals are processed with as little jitter as possible. That’s where the comparisons end.
The manufacturer has technically adapted the NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 in almost every area and has completely redesigned the DAC preamplifier. The power supply circuit has also been redesigned, which improves the stability of the sound image. Finally, the manufacturer has added two analog line inputs, a USB audio input and an extra I2S port to the arsenal.
The mainboard has a new clock circuit and is equipped with a 32-bit ESS9038Q2M DAC chip per channel instead of an 8-channel ES9038PRO in the previous generation.
The big difference between the DAC models is that the ES9038Q2M has been developed for mobile use and has a significantly lower power consumption than the ES9038PRO flagship. Due to the dual-mono configuration, the Evolution DAC-2 has a higher channel separation and a lower noise threshold compared to its predecessor. Due to all the technical interventions, the coaxial and AES-EBU digital inputs can now process higher bit rates and the I2S ports can now also handle players from other brands.
Our first impressions
The NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 preamplifier DAC is equipped with two rotary/push buttons on the front. The left button provides input selection and also serves as a standby button. The right volume control mutes the volume control when pressed lightly and if I hold it down for longer, I gain access to the settings menu, which I can then scroll through with the left rotary knob.
Centrally located on the front is a clear display showing all relevant information. After this, I scroll inquisitively through the settings menu and find unique features in this segment. With ‘Sample Rate Adjust’ you can adjust the incoming sample rate to a fixed frequency if you wish. You can set ‘Jitter Tolerance’ to low, mid or high, enable or disable RCA and XLR outputs, switch both line outputs to left-mono, right-mono, left-right stereo and right-left stereo and finally choose the line outputs can be output fixed or variable. If you have made so many changes that you no longer remember how the machine left the factory, you can reset everything as it was the first time with the ‘Load’ option.
All functions that can be operated via the front can also be called remotely via the remote control, made entirely of aluminium, and you have two additional functions at your disposal. With ‘Dimmer’ you adjust the intensity of the display and with ‘Search’ the preamplifier intuitively searches for an active analog or digital input. We left all settings at the factory configuration during the review period.
We then combine the Evolution DAC-2 with the fine Evolution STA power amplifier that the importer supplied for this review. The power amplifier has a minimalist design and only has a standby button concealed flush in the front and a small white LED that indicates when it is positively stimulated by the power network. The rear of the Evolution STA power amplifier is equipped with a single-ended RCA line input per channel, a balanced XLR line input, input selector switch, speaker terminals and trigger connections.
The hybrid class A/D amplifier has a dual-mono construction and delivers an output power of no less than 230 Watts at 8 Ohms per channel. The Evolution STA is equipped with NuPrime Only Distortion Cancellation, which, according to the manufacturer, allows it to compete with the sound quality of the NuPrime Evolution One monoblocks. Thanks to the powerful transformer and the high-current power circuit with a total power supply capacity of 52,000uF, the amplifier has considerable dynamic reserves. The high switching frequency of 650kHz contributes to the high resolution of the amplifier, which particularly benefits the detail and sound depth. I am therefore very curious about the performance of this Evolution duo.
Listening results
For the review of the NuPrime Evolution DAC-2, in addition to the Evolution STA power amplifier, we also used a Bryston BDP3 digital player and Usher MD2 floor standing speakers from the Beryllium Series. The cabling comes from the Dutch Driade. The power supply is provided by the PowerQuest 707 from AudioQuest and a Bonn 8 switch from Silent Angel switch with upgrade power supply ensures that the data is presented to the network player in an orderly manner.
During the sessions we use audio files in high resolution and Redbook CD quality. Regardless of the music pieces I put on, I am treated to music with a wide and deep soundstage with a surprising number of subtle details. Nothing suggests to me that I am listening to the music with a hybrid class A/D amplifier. The set plays my music with a wonderful warmth and there is no harshness that previous class D designs can sometimes be accused of.
After letting the set play for a week, I start the actual session with the album “Dark Side Of The Moon Redux” by Roger Waters from 2023. Waters, advocate of fundamental rights and freedom of expression, adapts the message to the public in this recreation. spirit of the time. Whether I agree with him or not, I am soon drawn into the music by familiar sounds and snippets of familiar lyrics and I am drawn into his dark, murky worldview through this album, which he has revised.
With the NuPrime combination I experience a perfect interpretation of his gloomy peace of mind. This album has a powerful bass foundation and is immortalized in excellent sound quality with spatially mixed samples, instruments and effects. Waters’ Leonard Cohen-esque growl is reproduced even into the dark depths of depression by the NuPrime combination. When listening to this album, the NuPrime set does not so much deliver a heavy music experience, but rather a delicate explosion of feelings.
In my experience, the wide arsenal of inputs and the pampering of the digitally input signals makes this Evolution DAC-2 ideal as a digital to analogue converter for reviving a retired compact disk player or a first generation network player.
Not much later I pull an old Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 network player and a Denon DCD-1460 CD player from storage to test them in turn with the EVO DAC-2. After I have presented the digital coaxial output signal and the analog output signal to the DAC-2, I can easily compare the old and new DAC sections. To do this, I listen to various music albums from my library alternately via the analogue and via the coaxial digital output of both digital sources.
The results? These are interesting. In addition to the fact that the definition in the middle and the detail in the highs increase significantly, I experience a significant gain in power in the sub-bass when I input the signal digitally. Via the digital input of the Evolution DAC-2, voices emerge razor-sharp from the center of the sound image, the imaginary stage is now wall-to-wall and the sound depth has also increased slightly. 
These differences increase a notch when playing high-resolution albums with the Stream Magic 6. Everything sounds just that little bit more lively, transparent and refined. As the sampling frequency and bitwidth of the tracks increase, the sound quality increases a fraction each time, until we reach the limits of the old Cambridge at 24-bit 192kHz. Because the DAC also supports MQA, I am curious whether I can get a quality difference from the different file formats with the Cambridge.
For this listening test I compare the 24-bit 96kHz high-res version with the 24-bit 48kHz MQA counterparts from the album “Dark Sky Island” by Enya. Even though the Evolution DAC-2 recognizes the MQA stream as such, I do not listen to any audible gain in sound quality with a non-MQA supporting network player. Using an older generation network player that does not support MQA will not provide any noticeable quality gain in this configuration.
The NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 surprised me in several areas. It is a beautifully shaped and easy to operate digital preamplifier that combines excellently with the Evolution STA stereo power amplifier. Compared to its predecessor, this DAC-2 has received important new functionality. It doesn’t matter with which audio component or in which file format you want to listen to the music, with the nine digital inputs and two analog line inputs and a maximum resolution of 32-bit 768kHz PCM, DSD512 and MQA support, this full-fledged DAC preamplifier can really be used anywhere. get along.
During the review, the NuPrime preamplifier DAC proved that it also provides a significant step in sound quality for older (digital) audio components. The compact disk player and older network player get a nice second youth via the digital input of the NuPrime, but you should not expect the impossible. If you really want to get the most out of your digital collection or streaming service, it is worth investing in a better quality player in the long term. A high-quality positioned streaming bridge, for example. This is fully tailored to the processing of digital data streams and, in addition to a more stable and sometimes even linear power supply, a more precise clock circuit and significantly better digital signal processing.
In any case, the Bryston-NuPrime combination lets me experience that the NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 has considerable reserves. During the review period I experienced that voices and instruments with the Bryston streaming bridge are reproduced even better defined and with more reality via the Evolution DAC-2 than with an older network player from the then upper mid-range segment. I notice the biggest difference in the sound depth and gain in emotion when playing music albums. This depth increases proportionally to the increase in streaming resolution. The NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 therefore offers a very good basis for a music system that can be expanded in the coming years with high-quality hi-fi components.
Do I really have nothing to criticize about the NuPrime Evolution DAC-2? Of course it is. During the sometimes late listening hours I regularly felt the need to return to my headphones. Because the NuPrime preamplifier DAC does not have a headphone connection, like the NuPrime Series-9 preamplifier DAC, an additional headphone amplifier is required. However, this can easily be connected via either the unused RCA output or XLR output. The gain of the analog and digital inputs cannot be adjusted individually, so you will sometimes experience small volume differences when switching music sources. Terribly? No. Thanks to the unique sampling functionality, the two I2S inputs and the addition of two analog line inputs, I have quickly forgotten these minor drawbacks and I believe that this new NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 is a worthy new top model.
With the introduction of the Evolution DAC-2, NuPrime offers a worthy successor to the much-praised Evolution DAC. The Evolution DAC-2 is also equipped with two analog line inputs, which completely replaces the analog preamplifier. In combination with the Evolution STA power amplifier, NuPrime offers a very strong music duo with which you will continue to enjoy music for many years. With the equipment level, the available connections and the sound quality, the NuPrime Evolution DAC-2 occupies a very solid market position. 
NuPrime  Evolution DAC-2 Digital
3,695 euros |
NuPrime  Evolution STA Class A/D Stereo Power Amplifier
5,495 euros |
Rating 4.5/4
Sound 4.5 out of 5
Imaging 4.5 out of 5
Connectivity 5 out of 5
Functionality 4 out of 5
Build quality 5 out of 5
Price-performance 4.5 out of 5