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NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC Impressions - Page 32

post #466 of 1192
Thread Starter 

Which 'Calyx' are we referring to ? Femto is inching into EMM Labs territory pricewise - hardly a fair fight for the M51.

 

My brother in London, England just traded in his $11,000 dCS Debussy for a Femto DAC and claims that it delivers significantly superior performance

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/612111/calyx-femto-dac

 

If you have that kind of money, you can afford a plane ticket to audition both of these DACs and several others.

post #467 of 1192

Heck no, I'm talking about the around $2K. 

post #468 of 1192

Obzilla did a few posts comparing the Calyx 24/192, M51, and W4S DAC 2. He kept 2 of them (Calyx and M51) and sold the DAC 2. He did like the M51 better overall though. Not by much, and I'd say either is a good investment. Depending on what kind of unit you're looking for I'd consider the new Cambridge 851C as well. You get even more flexibility than either one, and when I compared the Calyx DAC to the 851C I didn't hear a difference.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

Heck no, I'm talking about the around $2K. 

post #469 of 1192
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Obzilla did a few posts comparing the Calyx 24/192, M51, and W4S DAC 2. He kept 2 of them (Calyx and M51) and sold the DAC 2. He did like the M51 better overall though. Not by much, and I'd say either is a good investment. Depending on what kind of unit you're looking for I'd consider the new Cambridge 851C as well. You get even more flexibility than either one, and when I compared the Calyx DAC to the 851C I didn't hear a difference.

Another contender is the Anedio D2.
post #470 of 1192

one thing to be wary of with the m51 is if you have a library of music that is sub standard in its recording or mastering as i discovered and as a result of this i have now had to write off a large portion of my own library as it is now unpleasant to listen to due to my systems upgraded transparency from the m51 and spdif converter upgrades.

 

such is life.

 

mind you stuff thats well recorded sounds magical now, truly magical :)

post #471 of 1192
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjay View Post

one thing to be wary of with the m51 is if you have a library of music that is sub standard in its recording or mastering as i discovered and as a result of this i have now had to write off a large portion of my own library as it is now unpleasant to listen to due to my systems upgraded transparency from the m51 and spdif converter upgrades.

 

such is life.

 

mind you stuff thats well recorded sounds magical now, truly magical :)

 

Fair enough, but that is a huge slab of popular music unfortunately, often perpetrated at the hands of producers who saw themselves as bigger than the bands they were paid to produce. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Rubin

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Californication_(album)

 

The album received criticism for what Tim Anderson of The Guardian called "excessive compression and distortion" in the process of digital mastering.[41] Stylus Magazine labeled it as one of the victims of the loudness war and commented that it suffered from digital clipping so much that "even non-audiophile consumers complained about it".[42] An early, alternately mastered version of the album with a different track listing and mixing, probably a pre-release candidate, has been circulated on the internet.

post #472 of 1192

One of my favorite RHCP albums... frown.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

 

Fair enough, but that is a huge slab of popular music unfortunately, often perpetrated at the hands of producers who saw themselves as bigger than the bands they were paid to produce. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Rubin

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Californication_(album)

 

The album received criticism for what Tim Anderson of The Guardian called "excessive compression and distortion" in the process of digital mastering.[41] Stylus Magazine labeled it as one of the victims of the loudness war and commented that it suffered from digital clipping so much that "even non-audiophile consumers complained about it".[42] An early, alternately mastered version of the album with a different track listing and mixing, probably a pre-release candidate, has been circulated on the internet.

post #473 of 1192

If you can er... find a rip of the vinyl versions of RHCP albums they're mastered by different people IIRC and are slightly less offensive to the ears.

 

Btw haven't commented on my M51 yet because I want to live with it for a while - but one thing that stood out straight away is how good the digital volume control is - seems seamless even at low volume.

post #474 of 1192

i have St Elsewhere by Gnarls Barky and its in FLAC but its now unlistenable with my current combo, the mastering is that bad.

 

My PMC speakers do not help matters ;)

post #475 of 1192

So, i got my M51 a little earlier than I initially expected. Fed Ex delivered it on Friday. I saw that my dealer had an open box demo deal, so I cancelled my back order and got this one. I have to agree with every one here who had a great experience with it so far. With the m51 feeding my Sonett and/or the Phonitor my HD800 sound amazing -- my Beyers T70 sound much better (i.e. fuller) than they ever have. Like some of you said previously, the imaging and separation is amazing. I totally agree that "there is more music" to listen to with this DAC. Absolutely stellar. I am so glad I pulled the trigger on it. It is such a huge improvement of the DLIII> 

 

Having said that, I am having an issue. When I turn up the volume up to 1dB and above, I am getting serious distortion. At first I thought I blew out my headphones. I sounds kind of like that -- like the drivers are blown. It is associated with lower frequencies. I hear it when the kick drum hits during electronic music tracks. I have ruled out possible issues with other components and I hear it regardless of whether am feeding it my iPod through Onkyo dock via optical or my MacBook Pro via USB. 

 

I currently have it set to -9dB and and have no issues there. However, I would like to upgrade my speaker system soon enough and use the m51 as a preamp. Perhaps the 0dB threshold is loud enough so that the problem would not rear its hear. Still, I would like to have a fully functional preamp and not take chances. 

 

I have emailed NAD and my dealer with this issue. I did it on Saturday, so I am not expecting to hear back till sometime next week. I was hoping that some of you more experienced Head Fiers could provide me with some input and suggestions on troubleshooting. Thanks a lot in advance. 

post #476 of 1192

I think some others had that issue when not using the M51 as a pre and not using any volume reduction (i.e. it was at 0db). I use mine as a pre and couldn't say if I have that problem as I'd be deaf long before I got anywhere near the max volume (and my Focal monitors are only set to about 50% volume as is).

post #477 of 1192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cante Ista View Post

 

Having said that, I am having an issue. When I turn up the volume up to 1dB and above, I am getting serious distortion. At first I thought I blew out my headphones. I sounds kind of like that -- like the drivers are blown. It is associated with lower frequencies. I hear it when the kick drum hits during electronic music tracks. I have ruled out possible issues with other components and I hear it regardless of whether am feeding it my iPod through Onkyo dock via optical or my MacBook Pro via USB. 

 

I currently have it set to -9dB and and have no issues there. However, I would like to upgrade my speaker system soon enough and use the m51 as a preamp. Perhaps the 0dB threshold is loud enough so that the problem would not rear its hear. Still, I would like to have a fully functional preamp and not take chances. 

 

 

 

I don't know for certain, but I'd assume that any volume setting above 0dB is going to apply digital gain to the incoming stream, and will result in clipping if the signal is maxed out. A way to test this theory would be to try apply volume control through your playback software on the Mac which would reduce the signal before the M51. If the problem goes away, then it's a good bet that the problem is clipping due to applying gain. If it persists, then it may signify a bug in the M51.

 

The M51 works very well as a preamp, but only if your downstream gain is sufficient to enable you to run the M51 in attenuating mode.

post #478 of 1192

Thank you so much for the reply. The volume setting on my Mac was maxed out initially. The moment I dropped it down a notch, the distortion went away -- even if volume on the m51 was maxed out! If I am interpreting what you said correctly (and pardon me because I am pretty green when it comes to this, and please correct me if I am wrong) the issue is not with the m51. I was worried though because before I read your reply I connected the DAC via optical to my rather budget Onkyo SACD player and (playing a CD) the issue was there as well. However, if I am reading you correctly, the problem is not with my DAC, which makes me happy because i would hate to have to part with it for service or an exchange (this DAC is simply amazing!) Besides, I do not really listen to my music that loud. I only discovered the issue because I like to test the performance limits of my gear. Anyway, thanks again for the input.

post #479 of 1192

  Every review of the M51 I've read seems to say it starts clipping at 0db, it usually gets listened to at -1db by the reviewers.
 

post #480 of 1192

i cant comment on this bug as anything over -20db will piss the neighbors off using a 60w tube amp, god forbid i try it with my 2 x 250w solid state setup.

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