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NAD T587 review

The NAD T587 Blu-ray player is well-specced for the money, but when it comes to performance it falls short of its rivals Tested at £850.00

Our Verdict

We hoped for better than this from NAD – in fact, at the price we must simply demand it

For

  • Spec is pretty comprehensive
  • reads discs faster than any other player we’ve used

Against

  • Too many picture shortcomings
  • can readily sound hard and thin

A glance at the Buyer's Guide at the back of of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision magazine reveals a not-entirely unexpected fact: every Blu-ray player we've reviewed has been built by a huge company from Japan or Korea.

Until now, that is. NAD may have latterly become a division of Canadian outfit Lenbrook Industries, but its UK roots are still strong. As a first strike against Far Eastern hegemony, how does the T587 stack up?

Initial impressions are good. For an £850 player, the NAD may look a bit humdrum, but it's got some specification highlights (Profile 2.0 and a LAN port are always welcome, as is the USB input on the fascia) to make up for that.

Quick loading of Blu-ray discs
It's got a simple, logical remote control and easy-to-read, comprehensive on-screen set-up menus. There are no multichannel analogue outputs, but otherwise the T587 is on the money.

And when it comes to one of our pet Blu-ray peeves – the inexcusable length of time some players take to load a disc – the NAD is the best dedicated player we've tested. In the future, any player that can't spin a Blu-ray as quickly as the T587 is going to feel our wrath.

But with a Blu-ray of American Gangster gratifyingly swiftly loaded, the NAD looks less comfortable with its price tag.

It tracks motion as tenaciously as some of our favourite four-figure players, certainly, and is capable of very subtle modulation of contrast and colour, but there are many aspects of picture performance – outright detail retrieval, sharpness, edge definition, depth of field – where the T587 comes up well short of the best of its nominal rivals.

Audio lacks substance
The same is broadly true of HD audio. Multichannel LPCM, and to a lesser extent undecoded Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio, sounds strangely hollow in the NAD's hands.

There's no shortage of detail to its sound, and enjoyably vivid dynamism, but the T587 lacks substance and attack in the low frequencies and sharpens dialogue in the midrange to an occasionally uncomfortable degree.

A switch to some standard-definition content (in this instance we've stuck in a DVD of There Will Be Blood) doesn't bring any relief.

The NAD handles movement confidently and colours pictures convincingly, but there's an all-pervasive softness to images that's far from flattering. And again, sound is lightweight and veers easily into hardness.

Our experience with recent NAD two-channel efforts suggested the T587 would claw back some much-needed credibility where CD playback is concerned, but here too the NAD is a trifle disappointing.

Playing Radiohead's OK Computer the T587 brings some much-needed solidity and mass to the low frequencies, but the same sharpness of both midrange and upper frequencies is apparent.

Fast loading alone isn't enough
We're yet to hear a Blu-ray player that can entirely convince when playing in stereo, but unfortunately the NAD's relative timidity of sound and shortage of stereo imaging means it's just as underwhelming here as when playing movie soundtracks.

We were hoping for better from the T587, and not only for vaguely jingoistic reasons. The alacrity with which the NAD loads and reads Blu-rays is an advantage that anyone who's twiddled their thumbs for three minutes or more while their Blu-ray player ambles towards readiness won't underestimate.

However, for this to be the high point of the T587's performance is an undeniable let-down. It seems the Japan/Korea cartel is safe for a wee while yet.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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