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NAD M51 just got demoted - to the NAD C510


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It looks like the NAD M51 just got demoted as NAD rolls out the new Master series M12.

 

The "new" C510 has identical back panel to M51, a volume control on the front and sells for $1300! It was a great deal at its original price, I wish mine had that volume control on the front ...

 

NAD - C510 - Preamplifier / DAC-Audio Advisor

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That's great. I might get it at that price... but I wish it didn't have that ugly volume knob on the front. Can't you just control volume with a remote?

 

Don't worry, the M51 is still there. It says 844kHz, whereas the new one does not, so maybe it doesn't upsample to that high a frequency?

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 4.18.09 PM.png

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I haven't heard the M51, but I did audition the less expensive C390DD for two days in my main system, and I had a low opinion of it. Its sound was critically dependent on the output impedance setting (in the configuration menu). That seems like a bad design approach because almost all loudspeakers have a complex impedance that varies markedly as a function of frequency.

 

Even after I settled on the best settings (4 or 5 ohms) for my loudspeakers, I did not think it had a natural or extended treble. (Yes, I did use the AES input, having read, and confirmed, that the USB input was inferior.)

 

I hope NAD solved their reliability problems. The fellow audiophile from whom I borrowed the C390DD had to send it back to the factory 3 times, each time for a different problem. However, he said NAD's customer service was friendly and prompt.

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Ha! Nice one there. The specs are close enough to identical with an identical dimension and layout. The weight has changed as they have finally moved towards the cheaper faceplate. The display appears identical. Nothing has changed on the NAD website just yet, but the M12 is already showing up on Audio Advisor.

 

Curiously, the M12 has the same identical specs as the M51, but it has "super op-amps" in the output stage. I understand NAD (and Zetex) developed a dac chip of their own which is a tremendous investment.

 

The C510 is the same thing, and it even has a volume knob and a smaller, sleeker remote! This model is a way to get rid of the older stock at a lower price.

 

My main hope is that the M50 goes on super-sale as the C500 Streamer because M12 is designed to absorb the streaming function with the optional BluOS module.

 

That's great. I might get it at that price... but I wish it didn't have that ugly volume knob on the front. Can't you just control volume with a remote?

 

Don't worry, the M51 is still there. It says 844kHz, whereas the new one does not, so maybe it doesn't upsample to that high a frequency?

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]14146[/ATTACH]

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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Maybe they don't believe the hype (or believe that the direct digital PCM to PWM upsampling is equivalent, but without the ultrasonic noise problem).

 

well that could be the answer, but i don't think so. I am SURE they will come out with a flagship dsd dac soon enough and this one was already in the works...after all they are engineers...they should be able to realize that dsd is superior.

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I really like NAD gear, but.... no DSD! Drat it all. Mr. Stinson - what *are* you thinking?!

 

The recent NAD "Direct Digital" gear is all based on a proprietary PCM to PWM conversion in their engines. I guess they haven't figured out (or bothered) to include DSD in this scheme which is in some ways surprising given that they included HDMI in their recent products. Even as I listen to my iFi micro iDSD I'm just not convinced I really think DSD is that much better. Looking at Bluesound, NAD M12 and M50 streaming devices, NAD has put their bet on streaming services which will undoubtedly be Redbook (at best) for the foreseeable future. They don't support DSD, but the Bluesound/NAD environment already supports Spotify, WiMP, Qobuz, Deezer, Rdio, etc... It's about the content.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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I haven't heard the M51, but I did audition the less expensive C390DD for two days in my main system

 

It lists for $700 more.

 

 

 

I hope NAD solved their reliability problems. The fellow audiophile from whom I borrowed the C390DD had to send it back to the factory 3 times, each time for a different problem. However, he said NAD's customer service was friendly and prompt.

 

pn22.jpg

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The recent NAD "Direct Digital" gear is all based on a proprietary PCM to PWM conversion in their engines. I guess they haven't figured out (or bothered) to include DSD in this scheme which is in some ways surprising given that they included HDMI in their recent products. Even as I listen to my iFi micro iDSD I'm just not convinced I really think DSD is that much better. Looking at Bluesound, NAD M12 and M50 streaming devices, NAD has put their bet on streaming services which will undoubtedly be Redbook (at best) for the foreseeable future. They don't support DSD, but the Bluesound/NAD environment already supports Spotify, WiMP, Qobuz, Deezer, Rdio, etc... It's about the content.

 

I feel a little odd, in that, normally I would agree with you. But the audiophile part of me - the part I usually repress in an attempt to at least maintain a fiction of keeping to a budget - tells me that I content is not always the king. Sometimes is it just the content you really love, and want to hear in the best possible quality. That's probably the reason a lot of people still stick with vinyl - the music we grew up loving doesn't always sound right in digital format. (The reasons are arguable. :)

 

I think it is just NADs typical reluctance to buy into the new technologies- they specialize in making mature technologies sound really good at a reasonable, almost mass market, price point.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Few european DAC manufacturers support DSD in their products. It could indeed be that they are looking at the importance of DSD as music release format (official DSD downloads, not SACD rips), which is currently negligeable and might never really take off compared to PCM, because DSD releases are narrowly linked to previous SACD releases of the same albums.

 

What would really make DSD support interesting with the NAD DACs is the rare presence of HDMI inputs. A Blu-ray/SACD player with DSD output over HDMI (Oppo, Sony, etc) could be connected, so that the NAD could become an external DAC for SACD playback (stereo), without the PCM conversion that is currently necessary.

Claude

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Few european DAC manufacturers support DSD in their products.

 

Lindemann has just introduced two new native DSD DACs LINDEMANN.: Summary, HEGEL has a native DSD DAC on the way, Lampizator, Valve Audio Devices, Unison Research, M2Tech, Pro-ject Audio, iFi Audio among other European companies already support DSD.

 

On a side note, this year's EISA awards were awash with DSD products.

 

EUROPEAN DIGITAL SOURCE 2014-2015 - Sony HAP-Z1ES | EISA - The European Imaging and Sound Association

 

EUROPEAN HI-FI ACCESSORY 2014-2015 - iFi nano iDSD | EISA - The European Imaging and Sound Association

 

EUROPEAN USB DAC 2014-2015 - Asus Essence III | EISA - The European Imaging and Sound Association

 

EUROPEAN STEREO SYSTEM 2014-2015 - Marantz SA8005/PM8005 | EISA - The European Imaging and Sound Association

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Lindemann has just introduced two new native DSD DACs LINDEMANN.: Summary, HEGEL has a native DSD DAC on the way, Lampizator, Valve Audio Devices, Unison Research, M2Tech, Pro-ject Audio, iFi Audio among other European companies already support DSD.

 

On a side note, this year's EISA awards were awash with DSD products.

 

At the moment most of the buyers, dealers and manufactures in europe don't care about DSD because the content is almost non existable. Simple CD or blu-ray players still outsell streamers or seperate dacs.

The companies you mentioned are rather unknown to the public and sell their products on a niche market. Even here in germany most of the people don't know companies like Lindemann. And for his top model Lindemann even dropped SACD support because he thinks CD sounds better with it.

 

NAD was always known for simple and cheap products. This is the stuff that sells and makes money. So why should they care about DSD? They don't need the 2 or 3 persons that won't buy their stuff because of missing DSD support.

 

And this stupid EISA awards are only awarded by some magazines. They have nothing to do with sold components.

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NAD was always known for simple and cheap products. This is the stuff that sells and makes money. So why should they care about DSD? They don't need the 2 or 3 persons that won't buy their stuff because of missing DSD support.

 

Precisely. I couldn't care less about DSD, all my music is on 16/44 Redbook. It's all about content. I am a music lover first, and audiophile second.

 

I can only scratch my head about the DSD craze. But perhaps I am not a true audiophile… (shrug).

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Precisely. I couldn't care less about DSD, all my music is on 16/44 Redbook. It's all about content. I am a music lover first, and audiophile second.

 

I can only scratch my head about the DSD craze. But perhaps I am not a true audiophile… (shrug).

 

Your head scratching might stop if you heard the sound of 16/44 Redbook content upsampled (in real time by JRiver/HQPlayer) to double, or quad-rate DSD and fed to a high quality DSD DAC.

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Maybe they don't believe the hype (or believe that the direct digital PCM to PWM upsampling is equivalent, but without the ultrasonic noise problem).

 

I have not done wideband ultrasonic noise measurements on M51, but looking at narrowband measurements of Stereophile it certainly has bunch of it's own problems:

NAD M51 Direct Digital D/A converter Measurements | Stereophile.com

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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I have not done wideband ultrasonic noise measurements on M51, but looking at narrowband measurements of Stereophile it certainly has bunch of it's own problems:

NAD M51 Direct Digital D/A converter Measurements | Stereophile.com

 

But he ends with this:

 

NAD's M51 Direct Digital DAC offers measured performance that is almost beyond reproach. Color me impressed.—John Atkinson

 

I have no idea. Are these problems likely audible?

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Your head scratching might stop if you heard the sound of 16/44 Redbook content upsampled (in real time by JRiver/HQPlayer) to double, or quad-rate DSD and fed to a high quality DSD DAC.

 

That is simply absurd.

 

I don't doubt it may sound different—something in the chain of all those transformations can be altering/deteriorating the sound. But by upsampling you can't add something that is not there to start.

 

I think up sampling only makes sense when you are going to process the audio with DSP. But then, that's a different story.

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I have not done wideband ultrasonic noise measurements on M51, but looking at narrowband measurements of Stereophile it certainly has bunch of it's own problems:

NAD M51 Direct Digital D/A converter Measurements | Stereophile.com

 

I had a keen interest in the M51 and wound up owning and enjoying it for a few years. It has a very pleasing sonic character and I loved the unique HDMI/Video 2.0/Digital Preamp functionality. But ultimately, I wanted DSD decoding - especially after the availability of real-time DSD upsampling, so I moved on.

 

However, I lost a bit of respect for Stereophile because of that M51 review.

 

They took a DAC that has a highly touted volume control, multiple digital inputs and both single-ended and balanced outputs... and ran its analog output through a home theater receiver that has no analog pass-through. In other words, the sound that they reviewed was that of the M51 DAC with additional A-D and D-A steps from a home theater receiver. I could hardly believe what I was reading. Someone pointed it out in the comments section and the reviewer responded by saying that the receiver was sonically transparent.

 

It was a facepalm moment.

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Your head scratching might stop if you heard the sound of 16/44 Redbook content upsampled (in real time by JRiver/HQPlayer) to double, or quad-rate DSD and fed to a high quality DSD DAC.

 

My BADA2 already upsamples CD, but to 176 kHz PCM. Why would I convert to another format on the fly with all the losses in fidelity that this should bring?

 

Here is a link I just found:

 

Why DSD is a terrible idea in 2013

 

It's from a Linn staffer. Perhaps you disagree, but he does make technical points to be considered.

 

Sure, from what I have repeatedly heard DSD may sound sweeter and warmer than PCM, but while this may be attractive, is it more realistic?

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