Originally Posted by magiccabbage
I heard the NAD M51 back in November last year. I had about 2 hours with it on my own in a closed off room. I was using NAD - WA2 - HD800/T1. I was comparing it to my Arcam Rdac.
Now before hand I had anticipated a huge increase in quality when going from the Rdac to the NAD. I know that DAC's are hard to discern the differences between but I thought that only applied to similarly priced DAC's.
I was under the assumption that the NAD would kick the Arcams ass. What actually happened was, well, nothing really. I could barely hear a difference. I remember at the time being really annoyed and then scared that i had terrible hearing. I just couldn't really tell any difference at all, apart from the NAD being the slightest bit smoother.
Later on when i thought about it i think my time with the gear could of been tainted because i barely slept the night before. When your tired i have found that everything kind of sounds the same so maybe that was a factor. Also the amp i was using - the WA2 maybe is a tad colored for this task so that also could of come into play.
The whole experience has kind of ruined the idea of getting the NAD for me, but maybe I am being a little harsh and should give it another go who knows.
My interest has moved onto other DACs for now.
Maybe i will have the same experience no matter what DAC i get. I remember Purrin saying that it takes a long time to notice the differences - like 100's of hours. So when i do
Decide on a DAC, be it the Audio GD M7/ BDA2 or Schiit YGDD (and have it connected to the DNA Stratus instead of the WA2) hopefully after spending time with it i will notice the differences in detail and nuance. Even if that never happens it is a risk that i am willing to take.
In which configuration did you listened to the M51?
If it's USB input, believe me, you definitly not heard it at it'a max potential. Not even close. I have a M51 for one year now. I had a good deal on a used one with trial and MBG if I didn't liked it. So I compared it with my W4S DAC-2 in USB configuration. M51 was better, so I sold the W4S to a relative. Soon after, another relative of mine loaned me an Audiophilleo2 (without PurePower) USB to SPDIF converter. Wow! What a difference in performance. I then decided to try the Audiophilleo2 with PurePower. Another BIG step in performance.
I know that involve another $1000 but it's simply not the same dac anymore. Much more musical and accurate with fantastic low end with Ap2 + PP.
We held a mini meet last august at my workplace (around 12 headfiers were there). Five of the participants accepted my invitation to test the differences in performance when comparing USB direct to the AP2/PP converter, They were ALL floored by the magnitude of the improvment with the AP2/PP combo. This is not subtle at all.