Have your say & ask the experts!

NAD M51 - one week on.

8 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2 Sep 2007
Posts: 1748

Just a few rambling thoughts regarding the NAD DAC. 

 

I've had this DAC for nearly a week and it's making quite an impression. I thought my Chord 64 would take some beating but the NAD just about does it across the board. 

Each piece of music I'm playing is revealed in hitherto unknown detail. The slight trade off for this, surprisngly perhaps, is a tinge of warmth to many recordings. Not quite up to the levels I recall from previous Arcam amps I've owned, but a warmth nonetheless. 

I'm still not quite sure which connection wins out between coaxial (CDP) or optical (streamed lossless). Based on a few hours switching between the two last night, I'd plump for coaxial. Yet the majority of my CDs are streamed these days so will have to settle for optical conveniece. I've not tried the USB yet, but plan to via the Apple Camera Kit work around soon. (as my HiFi is nowhere near my Mac, I can't link the two). 

 

The real star of the show for me though is the HDMI out from my PS3 and into the NAD. My mini-stash of music-orientated Blu-rays sound stunning. Neil Young's Archive Box on Blu-ray is fantastic. I've owned this since it came out and only now heard its full 192/24 wonders. Time to seek out some more Blu ray audio discs. The HDMI (only 2.0 enabled) feels like a bonus as the vast majority of my digital music is on my Mac and/or CDs, but it great having it. 

 

So overall, the NAD is a winner. The smidgen of smoothness takes a bit of re-acclimatising to after the Chord but there are so many things I've played in the last week that just sound so much better. More of it. Not always in spades but a notch up. 

__________________

Roksan Caspian Pre amp, Caspian Mono Power amp x 2, NAD M51 DAC, B&W 805 Signature, Roksan Radius turntable, Denon-1713UD, MF phono & headphone amps, PS3, Mac/AE/Apple TV

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

Good to hear your thoughts.......slightly smoother, but with more detail, is the way to go (imo).

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

Joined: 2 Sep 2007
Posts: 1748
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

CnoEvil wrote:

Good to hear your thoughts.......slightly smoother, but with more detail, is the way to go (imo).

 

Yep, think so too. It's the reason I still vinyl, at it's best, so it's good to have some sort of digital equivalent. 

__________________

Roksan Caspian Pre amp, Caspian Mono Power amp x 2, NAD M51 DAC, B&W 805 Signature, Roksan Radius turntable, Denon-1713UD, MF phono & headphone amps, PS3, Mac/AE/Apple TV

SteveR750's picture
Offline
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 3096
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

Interesting to hear your thoughts Charlie. Keep us posted. I'm pretty sure the DAC is the same as that contained within the C390

__________________

JRiver MC17 -> Cambridge Audio DACmagic+ -> Roksan Caspian M2 -> ProAc D18 

CustomCable's picture
Offline
Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 169
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

Great to see you picked one up Charlie, looks like I was right with it beating the DAC64. I thought it might. Smile

Best regards and great review

 

Phil

__________________

Phil -  Custom Cable Service and Unilet Sound and Vision, South-West London

Shanka's picture
Offline
Joined: 10 Jan 2011
Posts: 471
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

Hi,

Only 'discovered' this dac the other day, warm and smooth sound appealing to my older ears, it is more than double my budget and not sure how the inputs will work for me , got to have a better look.

Intrigued by how you are getting on and hugely jealous of your NY Archives on BD, please update if you get the time and the urge.

Hope it is still giving you a thrill.

__________________

Roksan Caspian M2 cd/amp ; Proac Studio 140 Mk 2

Ariston RD11s SME 111 AT95e Rega Fono MiniA2D Exposure XXV B&W CDM1NT

Joined: 2 Sep 2007
Posts: 1748
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

Shanka wrote:
Hi, Only 'discovered' this dac the other day, warm and smooth sound appealing to my older ears, it is more than double my budget and not sure how the inputs will work for me , got to have a better look. Intrigued by how you are getting on and hugely jealous of your NY Archives on BD, please update if you get the time and the urge. Hope it is still giving you a thrill.

 

Well, the NAD is beginning to really settle in now. It's not a country mile better or worse than my much-loved Chord, but essentially it offers features lacking with the older DAC. 

This week I've really begun to appreciate the NAD, particularly for the HDMI enabled discs I'm able to play. The aforementioned Neil Young Archives is really getting a whole new lease of life. Also, Zep's Celebration Day on Blu Ray is fantastic. One of the best live rock concert I've heard. 

Still haven't sold my Chord though. Keeping it for now and will be running some more A/B tests this weekend. 

__________________

Roksan Caspian Pre amp, Caspian Mono Power amp x 2, NAD M51 DAC, B&W 805 Signature, Roksan Radius turntable, Denon-1713UD, MF phono & headphone amps, PS3, Mac/AE/Apple TV

SteveR750's picture
Offline
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 3096
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

Very interesting Charlie. I take it you're not bowled over then? 

__________________

JRiver MC17 -> Cambridge Audio DACmagic+ -> Roksan Caspian M2 -> ProAc D18 

Joined: 2 Sep 2007
Posts: 1748
RE: NAD M51 - one week on.

[quote=SteveR750]

Very interesting Charlie. I take it you're not bowled over then? 

[/quot

 

No, not exactly. I wasn't, thankfully, expecting huge gains. As stated above I was drawn to the added functionality of the NAD. I'm really enjoying many music-orientated Blu-rays and DVDs. In this regard the NAD clearly triumphs over the Chord. 

CD and Lossless files were, to my ears, virtually identical when I booked up both DACs in parallel. That A/B test was limited to streamed music through an optical cable, so it didn't compare either DACs capabilities when hooked up to a CD player. 

 

I''m keeping the NAD and also the Chord, for the time beimg. 

__________________

Roksan Caspian Pre amp, Caspian Mono Power amp x 2, NAD M51 DAC, B&W 805 Signature, Roksan Radius turntable, Denon-1713UD, MF phono & headphone amps, PS3, Mac/AE/Apple TV