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NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC Impressions - Page 67

post #991 of 1536

this is different. the Weiss does not look like all cheap components. the proof is in the pudding though. the nad measures and sounds very good. I choose something else but that is just personal preference. the truth is I can't really insult the topology of the nad because the thing works very good. you are also correct, the 35 bit is really only a handful of dacs. I was just commenting at first glance it looks cheap but you really have to just listen. some very simple things do work wonders. not everything has to be rube Goldberg style. I did not mean to make an idiotic statement but I guess I did.

post #992 of 1536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcalibur255 View Post
 

I've moved my consideration over from the M51 to the D100 for the same reasons.  Only nitpicks are reports that the NAD is actually a bit better sounding when used as a pre-amp (the D100's analog variable output stage seems to leave just a little of something on the table), and the remote control is absurd.  All those buttons on that big remote and exactly 7 of them perform a function on the D100.   A product at this price range should have a remote made specifically for it, not some cheap looking generic piece that also comes with $99 Bluray players from some OEM provider.  Wyred4Sound gets it right with their mPre and mInt.

 

The headphone jack and 12V trigger out to turn on power amps downstream are major features the M51 lacks as a pre-amp and I think having those features is worth the possibly minor performance difference.

 

Listen carefully before you buy the D100 and take some time doing it, if you can. I had one in the house for a week and REALLY wanted to like it, but I found some pretty discouraging operational quirks and ended up sticking with what I have. FWIW, I think the M51 is better-sounding, but the Mac has a good headphone stage and a decent pre. It is lovely too. 

 

o

post #993 of 1536
Quote:
Originally Posted by orkney View Post
 

 

Listen carefully before you buy the D100 and take some time doing it, if you can. I had one in the house for a week and REALLY wanted to like it, but I found some pretty discouraging operational quirks and ended up sticking with what I have. FWIW, I think the M51 is better-sounding, but the Mac has a good headphone stage and a decent pre. It is lovely too. 

 

o

I appreciate the heads up.  To clarify this is for 2-ch speaker system, not for headphone use.  I've been searching for other options, but everything I find always has at least one deal-breaking detail.  For the M51 it is the lack of both triggers (to turn on monoblock amps downstream) and the headphone out.  I could work around the missing headphone feature, but I really do not want to manually turn on the power amps every single time I use the system.

 

The D100 is literally the only product on the market I know of that has the quantity of digital inputs I need AND all of the convenience/control features a true pre-amp should have.  I thought I had found a nice "in the meantime" option in the Emotiva Stealth but it lacks the 12V triggers.  Then there is Wyred4sound's mPre but the word is that the DAC section of that unit is its weakest feature and I have only digital sources.  Everything keeps leading me back to the D100. 

 

Could you elaborate on what operational quirks you experienced?  My greatest fear would be a unit defaulting to fixed out and blasting me with full volume, but the D100 has separate fixed variable outputs so unless the internal processor could somehow "forget" the referencing position for the analog volume circuit I can't see this happening in this design.  With the M51 if anything caused the unit to reset I definitely *could* see such a thing happening because the volume implementation is completely digital.

 

Opinions and suggestions are very welcome, is there something out there I haven't stumbled across yet?

post #994 of 1536

This should take care of turning those mono-blocks off and on... Bob's your uncle.

 

 

Just kidding!  ;)

 

I never really wanted my DAC to have a bunch of pre-amp functionality until I had the M51, then I realized how convenient it was... and I started to notice that a few more features would really set it apart.  An analog input would have been a nice addition for my rig.

post #995 of 1536

I've actually considered using the Niles trigger based outlet adapters, but I don't want to risk a sonic bottleneck for the convenience.  Anything that sells itself as a full feature pre-amp really should have 12v trigger out.  That the M51 has a trigger IN but not an out is even more baffling....... why stop halfway, especially since a pre is highly likely to be in front of a separate power amp that needs to be turned on by trigger.

 

This is an all new setup and the goal is simplicity.  I've even considered active monitors to skip the monoblock amps, but deep down I know it's gotta be a pair of traditional tower speakers.  What bothers me about the D100 is people seem to like it more as a DAC than a pre, and the device seems like it was intended to be a digital pre first and a DAC with fixed level out second so that worries me a bit.

post #996 of 1536

I speculate that these DACs that are showing off pre-amp functionality are really just the result of the manufacturers realizing how good they are getting with digital volume control.  My dCS is the same, the DAC came first and foremost.  Great digital volume control, but limited pre-amp functionality.  

 

More of my own speculation, there will be a next generation of DACs that come out far more thought out as pre-amps.

post #997 of 1536

For me unless steps have been taken to completely eliminate bit truncation within the attenuation range, as NAD has done with the M51 by using 35-bit, digital volume will always be a no-no.

 

Amusingly enough I just found another product that meets every single one of my needs:  the $269 Emotiva XDA-2.  Full pre-amp with analog resister ladder volume control, tons of digital inputs, 12V triggers, and headphone out.  So I have a choice between $2,500 and $269.  I think I can guess which one sounds better, but the Emotiva is really tempting as a stop-gap measure to use for a while until other new DAC/pre products hit the market.  For the price the feature set is insane.

post #998 of 1536
Quote:
Originally Posted by shipsupt View Post
 

This should take care of turning those mono-blocks off and on... Bob's your uncle.

 

 

Just kidding!  ;)

 

I never really wanted my DAC to have a bunch of pre-amp functionality until I had the M51, then I realized how convenient it was... and I started to notice that a few more features would really set it apart.  An analog input would have been a nice addition for my rig.

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands ... crap - why does my sound system keep turning off ??  :blink:

post #999 of 1536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcalibur255 View Post

For me unless steps have been taken to completely eliminate bit truncation within the attenuation range, as NAD has done with the M51 by using 35-bit, digital volume will always be a no-no.

Amusingly enough I just found another product that meets every single one of my needs:  the $269 Emotiva XDA-2.  Full pre-amp with analog resister ladder volume control, tons of digital inputs, 12V triggers, and headphone out.  So I have a choice between $2,500 and $269.  I think I can guess which one sounds better, but the Emotiva is really tempting as a stop-gap measure to use for a while until other new DAC/pre products hit the market.  For the price the feature set is insane.

What you really want is the Emotiva DC1 dac/preamp.
post #1000 of 1536
Quote:
Originally Posted by shipsupt View Post
 

I speculate that these DACs that are showing off pre-amp functionality are really just the result of the manufacturers realizing how good they are getting with digital volume control.  My dCS is the same, the DAC came first and foremost.  Great digital volume control, but limited pre-amp functionality.  

 

More of my own speculation, there will be a next generation of DACs that come out far more thought out as pre-amps.


Agreed.  I have also been looking for a DAC with quality preamp and 12v trigger out....I hope and suspect that we will see a lot more of these within the next year or two.

post #1001 of 1536
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post


What you really want is the Emotiva DC1 dac/preamp.


It doesn't have the 12V triggers.  Also fewer inputs.  Considering it uses the same digital engine I've been curious what exactly justifies its higher price actually.

post #1002 of 1536
The XDA2 uses one AD 1955 dac chip.

The DC1 uses two, in a differential balanced configuration which lowers noise and distortion very substantially.

These same chips are used in the new Cambridge Audio Dac for $1,650.

Check the specs at the EMO site.
post #1003 of 1536

i have the xda-2,  the noise is inaudible, so, with twice the parts and nearly twice the cost, you can make the noise twice as inaudible

post #1004 of 1536
Whatever suits you.
post #1005 of 1536

Hi all, another newbie just started out on digital audio. I have had my M51 for about 3 months and I am quite pleased with it. I have a Synology NAS connected to the M51 with a Cardas usb cable and play music via the NAS audio software which is very convenient. But I have gone through a few sites including here and get the general opinion that the usb input of the M51 is only average compared to the spdif input and that the use of a good usb to spdif converter would help to further improve the sound quality of the M51. The OR5 and other high end converters are out of my reach so I ended up trying JK's Ciunas converter. I have it running it for about 2 weeks now and to be honest I can't hear too much difference. Is the M51's usb input chipset of the same level as JK's Ciunas which is why I am not hearing much difference? My M51 firmware version is 1.42 if that helps. It does not seem to be mentioned here.

 

For those who are still using the M51 with a usb-spdif converter any advice on what I can try or is my hearing going south? I am using an old Audioquest VDM-1 cable from converter to the M51. Would a better grade digital cable help to improve the sound or should I use a laptop with a different player for my files? Thanks.

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