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NAD M51 Matching

Oxonrich

Well-known member
Dec 27, 2010
8
0
18,520
I was very happy to see this month that the NAD M51 Dac got the award for best premium DAC. I recently purchased one of these on a whim after a very short demo. It sounded amazing in the store and I've been delighted since I got it home.

I purchased it to improve the 2 channel performance on my home theater setup: Onkyo TX SR608, B&W 684 Theatre with various budget sources (PS3, Sky, Mac Mini, Dodgy old samsung DVD player) but I've been enjoying listening to music so much, that it has inspired me to build a dedicated 2 channel system in our second living room.

This is quite a small space. Maybe 4m x 4m. The wife uses it as a reading room. I'm going to use it as a listening room. There won't ever be a TV here so i'm only worried about stereo performance. I can tuck all the stereo kit out the way, but in order that I don't upset the wife I am probably looking at some bookshelf speakers, rather than floor standers.

Here are my thoughts on options:

Speakers:

Spendor SA1, B&W PM1, B&W CM5.

Intergrated Amps:

NAD M3, Roksan Caspian M2

Or, I could use the M51 as a Pre and just add one of these power options:

Bryston 2BSST, Dual Cyrus 8 Power in Mono Mode.

Source:

NAD M50 Transport/Streamer, Cyrus Stream X,

Living in Auckland, New Zealand, it can be hard to demo some of this stuff individually, let alone together so I'm hoping to narrow it down to a preffered system and then audition what I can.

Any advice on pairing this stuff together, or suggestions on different kit would be appreciated. This is a long term project. I'm not going out to be buy it all in the next month. There is quite a big price difference in some of these items but rather than compromise quality, I would rather be patient and take longer to get it all.

To give you some idea of what I listen to: Modern Jazz, Classical, Rock. I'm a huge Foo Fighters fan, but also love chilling out to Norah Jones. It's quite an eclectic collection. Mainly stored in Apple Lossless on my iMac, but I still use CDs and am leaning toward moving over to a Flac based system for the future. I have a decent amount of HD music in 24/96 and am looking forward to getting into 24/192 when it becomes more common.

Thank you all for any feedback!
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
511
16
18,895
Caspian + CM5

or

NAD C390DD and sell the M51. Less boxes, wires, ideal for a small room and man that has to keep a wife happy! (The C390 has the same DAC onboard).
 

Oxonrich

Well-known member
Dec 27, 2010
8
0
18,520
Thanks for your suggestions Steve. The Caspian is definitely on my audition list. Although Roksan seems to be one of the harder brands to find here in NZ. I'd be curious to see how the Caspian M2 integrated compared to me using my NAD M51 as a pre and adding the Roksan Caspian M2 power amp.

I would definitely prefer to go with a multi box solution rather than something like the NAD C390DD, even if it is less tidy for the wife. In my mind, digital tech will change much more rapidly over the coming years than analogue. The DAC might want upgrading in 5 years, but if I buy the right Amp it could last me 10yrs, or possibly even 20 if Brystons warranty is anything to judge by. If everything is in one box, you have to upgrade the lot. Although perhaps that's your ploy to get regular upgrades! :)

Regardless, are you sure the C390DD has the same DAC? I know the NAD M2 does, but i thought the C390DD was trickle down tech from the M2 and might be missing some things.
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
511
16
18,895
Oxonrich said:
Thanks for your suggestions Steve. The Caspian is definitely on my audition list. Although Roksan seems to be one of the harder brands to find here in NZ. I'd be curious to see how the Caspian M2 integrated compared to me using my NAD M51 as a pre and adding the Roksan Caspian M2 power amp.

I would definitely prefer to go with a multi box solution rather than something like the NAD C390DD, even if it is less tidy for the wife. In my mind, digital tech will change much more rapidly over the coming years than analogue. The DAC might want upgrading in 5 years, but if I buy the right Amp it could last me 10yrs, or possibly even 20 if Brystons warranty is anything to judge by. If everything is in one box, you have to upgrade the lot. Although perhaps that's your ploy to get regular upgrades! :)

Regardless, are you sure the C390DD has the same DAC? I know the NAD M2 does, but i thought the C390DD was trickle down tech from the M2 and might be missing some things.
I'm waiting for thre alleged new M2 series pre/power (at 150wpc) so that could be interesting.

From whathat I have read the DAC in the 390DD is pretty much the same as the M51, apart from the supply rail, but IME the sonic delta between DACs is not the same per ££ or $$ as analogue equipment. The interesting thing about the 390 is it's digital preamp, and class D output stage. It seems like an M2 at much less cost (though how that makes the 390 a world beater when the M2 isn't top of the tree I have yet to reconcile)
 

Charlie Jefferson

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2007
229
0
18,790
When it arrives I'm going to try the NAD DAC in place of my Caspian M1 pre-amp. As suggested by one of the HiFi dealers I spoke to.

However, how would I connect my two sources (DAC and turntable) when, I believe, there's only one analogue connection around the back of the NAD?
 

Oxonrich

Well-known member
Dec 27, 2010
8
0
18,520
Sorry to disappoint you - but there are no analogue inputs on the back of the NAD M51 so it will not work in as a pre-amp in your situation. Unless you add an ADC, of course.

Would love to know what you make of using the M51 with your Roksan power amps and your digital sources though. This is definitely an option for me, although I think your B&W 805s are well and truly out of my budget!
 

gregvet

New member
Dec 24, 2008
102
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0
My understanding is that the nad can be specified with an analogue input (and therefore adc ability) if required.
 

Charlie Jefferson

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2007
229
0
18,790
Oxonrich said:
Sorry to disappoint you - but there are no analogue inputs on the back of the NAD M51 so it will not work in as a pre-amp in your situation. Unless you add an ADC, of course.

Would love to know what you make of using the M51 with your Roksan power amps and your digital sources though. This is definitely an option for me, although I think your B&W 805s are well and truly out of my budget!
I thought that may be the case. I wasn't intending to use it's dual purpose, just the DAC part.

However, I am curious to see how it functions as pre, so will hook up my digital sources to it at some stage and compare to the Roksan pre amp.

Thanks.
 

Charlie Jefferson

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2007
229
0
18,790
Oxonrich said:
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts Charlie.
The NAD DAC has arrived at my local dealers, earlier than expected, so will be picking it somtime this afternoon.

Feels strange removing my Chord DAC from it's slot on the rack. It's been a great unit for 7-8 years. My dealer is going to service it for me, before I decide whether to sell it on or put somewhere else in this house of HiFi. My wife will have a separate set-up in the near future and her kit is good enough to benefit from the Chord. Then again, may have to replenish funds to cover some of the NAD. I'm rambling with pre- NAD DAC installation thoughts. Sorry.

Will report back findings when I have any.
 

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