NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC Impressions

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by estreeter, Mar 27, 2012.
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  1. wotef
    I've uploaded the 1.39 firmware and installation instructions PDF here :D
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  2. Ajward549
    Good morning everyone!

    I am new here, and am considering the M 51 to replace my Maverick D2 with a NOS Tesla tube in the tube buffer stage. I really like the Maverick and think it was a great deal for the $, but I am attracted by the M51.The prices on Crutchfield right now are pretty great, and comparing on NAD's site, there is essentially no difference between the M51 and the C510. My amp is a NAD 356BEE and my CD player is C516BEE... I like NAD products! I play a lot of vinyl, but am enjoying streaming more and more.

    So, I haven't had any experience with DACs other than the Maverick D2. Number 1, and I assume I know the answer to this, will the M51 be a significant upgrade from the Maverick? If so, how? Number 2, Is this an antiquated DAC at this point, or still relevant? Keep in mind, I am just dipping my toe into the digital realm, and will continue to spin vinyl as long as I can listen to music! Finally, number 3, has anyone had experience comparing these two DACs directly?
  3. m8o
    $1k USD brand new?! Holy cow! Wish I could justify buying a second.

    No experience with the Maverick D2. But for me, it was a slightly noticible upgrade from the dac built in to the McIntosh MHA-100 amp, and a dramatic upgrade from a Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus.

    I used the latter for sound from tv and dvr; usually those singing competitions, or performances on late night tv. I have this one recording of the 2nd performance of the 1976's on SNL. A really fantastic recording and mix of a very energetic performance. Once I switched to using HDMI to feed my M51, I was floored by how much better it sounded. How musical, yet precise everything was, with every instrument having separation from every other one, vs. the 'blend' the DacMagic Plus was giving me.

    The up sampling tech used is quite unique, and not outdated IMO. And music from dual HDMI in is another feather in its cap to 'future proof it. I'm using both. At $1k new, I can't recommend it enough.
    Ajward549 likes this.
  4. Ajward549

    Thank you for this, very helpful!
  5. jeenam
    Just picked up a M51 and it has firmware v1.41 installed. I have copies of the 1.39 and 1.50 firmware. Can someone please send me the 1.41 firmware so I can flash my unit back to this version after testing 1.39 and 1.50? TIA

    BTW, this replaced an Arcam irDAC. I've only listened for about an hour but the M51 is smoother in the high end, and more dynamic in the low end. I paid $650 for the DAC and am happy with the purchase overall. Thanks to all on this thread who have posted their experiences with the unit.

    NAD M51 --> Doge 8 (4x Genalex 12AT7) --> Van Alstine 350EXR (2x Sylvania 12AT7WA) --> PMC OB1
  6. VideoVareZ

    Here you have the NAD M51 firmwares I have available (1.39, 1.41, 1.43, 1.50), the 1.39 is only valid with old M51's with different motherboard, but I think you can flash another version if M51 does not start after 1.39, at least I did this with my M51 (currently I use 1.50 and sounds fantastic, beside I can not compare 1.39 with old M51's):!K4AkxLoZ!G3zsDcfkLV6zWMXI56KFRg

    I have also an Arcam irDAC for a second setup, M51 is playing in another league, with the correct amplifier and speakers you will not think to buy another DAC.

    My digital setup is NAD M50 -> NAD M51 -> Audio Research REF 3 -> Pass Labs XA30.5 -> ProAc D48R -> Sub REL Stentor III
  7. dillpixels
    Like most of the posts in this thread, I too would like to try the latest version of the firmware (1.50) to see first hand whether or not it sounds better on my system.

    But I’d prefer to know that I can revert back to version 1.39 just in case. The support staff at NAD would not provide a copy of the 1.39 firmware. They said they don’t keep older versions once new firmware is available... Seriously!?

    My M51 is currently using version 1.39 and there doesn’t seem to be any way of making a backup of it before I update to 1.50.

    Can anyone please provide me with 1.39, and possibly the other versions as well?

    Thanks in advance,
  8. VideoVareZ

    In the previous post you have a link with the firmwares!K4AkxLoZ!G3zsDcfkLV6zWMXI56KFRg

    Best regards
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  9. ToroFiestaSol
    Hey there, just a little question to NAD M51/C510 owners:

    I see that it has two HDMI audio inputs (not talking about the video one)...what's the correct way to use them with a computer?
    For example:
    - only one of the HDMI inputs connected to the motherboard's HDMI?
    - the two at the same time, connected to a dual HDMI graphics card?
    - only one, connected to a special I2S PCIE card, like the Pink Faun I2S bridge?

    Would be glad if someone can clear this a bit, I've been searching but couldn't find a good answer.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  10. pontusj
    having had the M51 for a number of years, i just stumbled into an issue together with my Mac Mini (macmini6,2 late 2012). latest Mac os X. The mac reports the NAD draws to much power via the USB, and then shuts the USB down (other USB seems to be working fine, can charge my Iphone X, read usb thumbnails etc). ive done the SMC reset that is recommended when USB fails, it worked once and the NAD was up again, but a few hours same issue and havent been able to resolve it since. i have been using the M51 together with the Mac mini all the time, i did replace the USB cable from Wireworld 7 to the Silver one, tried the old USB cable, no difference.
    Connected it also to my sony vaio laptop and an error came up for a second about drawing to much power, but everything worked. and connecting it once again there was no message.

    anyone had USB issues like these with the NAD M51? any suggestions?
  11. Walderstorn
    Nope, windows or mac, everything works here but the mac the gf had was 2013 i think.
  12. simonsheng
    Did there has any new firmware later than v1.5? Thank you.
  13. Walderstorn
  14. VideoVareZ
    I had issues with the USB port and have to service the M51 because the USB port stopped to work no matter which computer you used. They changed the motherboard and said that it is not common the USB to fail.

    I am not sure if this have to do with your issue. I had using the USB regen when USB fails and I do not know if this device could influence on the problem. Currently I use an Audioquest Carbon USB cable direct from laptop to DAC.
    Anyway the M50 through the AES/EBU digital input sounds much better than a Laptop via USB.
  15. Walderstorn
    Wirth the exception of schiit Eitr, at least for me, i perceive no audio difference.
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