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NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC Impressions - Page 48

post #706 of 1155

This thread is becoming a big pile of suck.

post #707 of 1155

Apologies if I'm heading off topic here... but has anyone had experience putting the M50 and M52 together with the M51?  I've been thinking about getting my music off my PC and considering different options.  While this may not be the most economical solution I find the idea of having the complete line appealing, but I'd want it to perform well...

 

If this is too far off the original topic I can take it elsewhere.

post #708 of 1155
Quote:
Originally Posted by shipsupt View Post

Apologies if I'm heading off topic here... but has anyone had experience putting the M50 and M52 together with the M51?  I've been thinking about getting my music off my PC and considering different options.  While this may not be the most economical solution I find the idea of having the complete line appealing, but I'd want it to perform well...

 

If this is too far off the original topic I can take it elsewhere.

 

It's appealing, but ultimately files on a proper NAS seemed more appealing (and cheaper) - I'd rather keep the mechanical drives in another room then be able to access them from any capable device on the network with a bit of redundancy built in should drives fail - plus I didn't like the idea of not using something well-known/proprietary to control it all. Easier to go NAS > laptop/computer w/software or SBT type thing > DAC > speakers and way more cost effective. The M50 and M52 seem very expensive for what they are.

post #709 of 1155

Thanks for that.  I have to agree that the cost probably makes it a non-starter.  When I consider what I could drop $5k on in my system I find it hard to even consider it, but as I said it has a strange appeal to me still.

 

The M52 does appear to have raid back-up built in.

 

I am making the assumption from the reading the specifications that you'd want to connect the M50 to the M51 using HDMI?

post #710 of 1155

I'd have to check. The thing is, HDDs make noise, so I'd much rather have the drives/NAS in another room, away from the listening area. I got my NAS for £100 (HP Microserver) as they were doing £100 cashback on it, SBT 2nd hand for like £100 as well, then I just need a USB to S/PDIF converter that plays nice with the SBT's EDO app. That should be a whole lot less than the admittedly nice looking triple NAD stack, and money I could spend on better speakers/headphones etc.

post #711 of 1155

That was a good price on the SBT. You can use a large capacity SSD instead of a traditional HD but they don't come cheap. I had to resort to a SSD after trying, and failing, to get the SBT to play 192KHz WAV files without buffering.
 

post #712 of 1155
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

Well, The Monkey was right about the slight warm tilt. The NAD on initial listen presents a fuller sound than the Gungnir. The Schiit may have the slight edge in terms of depth, but the M51 is less abrasive overall. The Gungnir has a tendency to spotlight micro details at all times. Exciting at first, tiring and unnatural in the long term. The NAD is just as detailed, but there's better (micro) dynamic range. It's not always in your face, though it can be explosive when called for. The Gungnir has less finesse. It's like a Grado/Alessandro in its presentation.

 

The other notable improvement is the smoothness of the upper registers. The Gungnir has a slight etch in this region. The M51 has the same extension, without the harshness and without sacrificing any aspect of the SQ.

 

Some have tried to pin the source of my gripes to the Mjolnir (aggressive/forward) or HD800 (bright/harsh). I've lived with these components for some time now and in different configurations. I suspected that these components were merely presenting the signal as fed from the source. I was right. The M51 wins.


Hi  Olor1n,

I am currently owning the Gungnir and looks like you may have owned one too. I am thinking of getting the M51 and would like to get your opinion if the M51 is significantly better in SQ over the Gungnir. If you are to give an overall total score, how much would you give to the Gungnir vs the M51? Like you said, I find that the Gungnir is not quite full body in its sound quality but it is non-fatiguing to me thus far.

post #713 of 1155

Those were my initial impressions when the M51 first entered the stable. I've lived with the NAD for some time now and the only thing I would retract is the comment on depth. There is nothing the M51 concedes to the Gungnir in terms of SQ. The only thing I wish the M51 had that the Gungnir features is the additional set of RCA outputs. That's it.

 

Not going to wax lyrical about how much better it is, other than to say the M51 is unobtrusive. I'm not necessarily talking about transparency and neutrality in the absolute sense. Just that there is nothing distracting to my ears about how it presents my music. It gets out of the way and for me that justifies the expense.

 

Note: In Australia, the Gungnir is a $1k+ DAC, while the M51 can be secured brand new for <$1.4k. In this market the Schiit is overpriced and the M51 is an absolute steal. Perhaps the comparison is an unfair one. Bottom-line for me though is that the Gungnir is a stopgap component if you're going beyond mid-tier cans and you also have considerations like speakers.

post #714 of 1155

I'm currently just going to go with a nice glass optical cable for now, as it goes, seeing as it's the galvanically isolated connection, so yeah. I wouldn't mind trying a good USB to S/PDIF reclocker, but I'd rather spend a few hundred quid on room treatment first as this is really going to step the SQ up over everything else. Just looking round at different cables while I'm at work lol.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boldlygo View Post


Hi. I'm new to this forum. I currently own a NAD M51 and did extensive listening tests when I bought it last year. The first thing I did was to build a computer (I run my own computer business) running iTunes so I could use my I devices to control my music. I re-ripped my entire library using AIFF.
We tested all sorts of devices through the NAD including a MAC mini and a laptop using USB, and an iPhone and iPad using Apple's HDMI converter. We then tested using a computer's digital outputs-coax and optical. We found the optical out from the computer sounded the best over everything else we tested. So I proceeded to build my music server using an SSD drive for the OS and a pair of 2 TB drives mirrored for the music library.
post #715 of 1155

I just happened to move my box today while doing a little organizing, the M51 is double boxed.  The outer box is set up to be a tight fit around the innerbox, but it is double.  At least mine is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwk View Post

Somewhat OT, but for anyone that ordered this over the 'net rather than from a dealer, did it come double-boxed or was it just in the NAD box? I'm having to ship my unit, and while the standard packaging seems solid I'm wondering whether double-boxing would be worthwhile. The main problem being I don't have a box large enough to be the outer box.....

post #716 of 1155

 

Just swapped out my Calyx 24/192 for a NAD M51 feeding an Ayre AX-7E.  

 

The M51 has a unique character.  The Calyx and NAD are very different in my system...I shall keep digesting the pros and cons.

post #717 of 1155
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecapsretliab View Post

 

Just swapped out my Calyx 24/192 for a NAD M51 feeding an Ayre AX-7E.  

 

The M51 has a unique character.  The Calyx and NAD are very different in my system...I shall keep digesting the pros and cons.

 

 

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post #718 of 1155
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecapsretliab View Post

 

Just swapped out my Calyx 24/192 for a NAD M51 feeding an Ayre AX-7E.  

 

The M51 has a unique character.  The Calyx and NAD are very different in my system...I shall keep digesting the pros and cons.

 

Congratulations - you now have one of the DACs I want to audtion and the amp I lust after. Very keen to hear more impressions once the combination has settled in. The Ayre may only be rated at 50W, but I have yet to see an unfavourable listening impression. Ayre seems to be a quiet achiever.  

post #719 of 1155

M51 owners....have any of you compared to Mytek 192 DAC?

post #720 of 1155
This only relates to Calyx 24/192 sound character relative to M51. 
 
win7 > jriver/jplay > jkspdif mk3 > dac > ayre ax-7e > role audio kayak + sub @ very close desktop distance (not using my HE-6's at the moment)
 
CALYX 24/192
 
treble
+ smooth and relaxed.  (gentle leading edges).  nuanced and clean.   — might dull a dark system.
mids
+ neutral and clean.  (favors transparency above warmth and presence).   — might lack flesh for some tastes.   
bass
+ tight, clean, and fast.  (grip).
dynamics
+ more focus on micro over macro.  always remains smooth and flowing.   — can lack a little leading edge impact.
sound-stage
+ pretty wide.  deep.  laid-back.   — scales instruments small. 
imaging
+ focused, dimensional.  images can float with good speakers.   — front-stage not the most immediate.
detail
+ less forwardness and less presence means > foreground detail doesn't overshadow background detail. 
character
+ straight studio sound without edge or aggressiveness.  clean with a somewhat 'digital bent'.  crystaline.
synergy
+ partner with "un-solid-state sounding" lively-organic leaning equipment.  dac won't add extra punch, sparkle, warmth or larger than life scale.   
 
NAD M51
 
treble
+ sparkles.  breathy.  excellent decay.  sweetness.   — could still potentially overwhelm a bright forward setup.
mids
+ blooming.  warm and full.  vocals in the flesh.  strings sing.   — congesting of mid-band and forwardness might not suit all.  
bass
+ weighty.   — sometimes lacking zip (a little thick).
dynamics
+ micro and macro excellent, while sound always flows like silk.
sound-stage
+ width very impressive.  (puts you front row).  scales music big.   — though performers placed on a shallow stage.
imaging
+ left to right imaging excellent.   — front to back separation bunched (2D perspective).
detail
+ very detailed.   — though the forward syrupy mids and strong-presence have the effect of reduced mid-range transparency.
character
+ lush and crisp.  airy highs and very tubey mids.   — minus strong image depth rendition.
synergy
+ system lack luster?  hate digital?  timbre freak?  here's your dac.
 
**ymmv imho and all the usual bollocks.**  above heavily influenced by my taste, speakers, amp and retarded ears.

 

Some musings (Click to show)

 

The M51 reminds me of my brief encounter with the Spendor SA1.  Warmth, timbre, beauty, air.  But we just didn't get along on my desktop.
 
I've come to the conclusion that the M51's charm isn't to my taste.  Too forward in the mids and an over exuberant presence, and it doesn't give me image depth.
 
I favor holographic imaging, and a laid-back sound signature.
 
Can anyone recommend me a Calyx on steroids?  You see the Calyx is great to my ears, just too polite/distant.  If it scaled the music bigger/potent, added a touch of warmth & treble edge, while maintaining a laid-back-transparent character, I'd be a happy camper.
 
I hope this comparison was useful to someone.  Sorry I'm not a professional writer or reviewer, but did my best to categorize the two dacs.

 

 

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