Direct Digital NAD M2

NAD is well known for its traditional, high-quality, and relatively affordable integrated amplifiers. At this year's CES, NAD introduced a revolutionary new integrated, the M2 ($5999). NAD's Stephen DeFuria (right) told me that the M2 is what NAD calls a "Direct Digital" amplifier—there is no analog circuitry!

First, the M2 offers a wide variety of digital inputs: one S/PDIF, one AES/EBU, two coaxial, and two optical. The amp also offers two pairs of analog inputs (both balanced and single ended), which are converted to a high-resolution digital signal so the rest of the amp's many digital features can be utilized. Second, the output stage is a class-D design using technology developed by English company Diodes-Zetex, which features what NAD calls Direct Digital Feedback. This method of amplifier feedback determines any pulse error and passes this information back to the digital domain section of the amplifier where compensations can be made.

This was one of the products at the show that I felt warranted a full write-up and evaluation in Stereophile—when I told the well-known class-D skeptic John Atkinson about the M2, he explained that not only did he agree but that his enthusiastic review will appear in the March issue of the magazine.

Zero-Equals-Infinity's picture

I own it and love it. From a workflow standpoint it is: Source -> M2 -> Speakers, and I have noticed no difference between digital source of the same bit-depth and sampling frequency, (due to re-clocking/upsampling).I have not used an analog source, so I cannot comment on the quality of the A/D conversion process, and I have not used a 24-Bit 176.4 master, (as produced by Reference Recordings), though I am looking forward to doing so once I build a server with AES/EBU soundcard, (i.e. Lynx AES 16).If anyone else has experience with this amp, please chime in. For me, it is a one stop solution which eliminates a lot of mess, expensive cabling, and produces a gorgeous soundstage and detailed, effortless sound. Can you do better with very expensive separates ... of course, but you may end up spending 10 times the amount to climb the curve an incrementally small amount.

Justin's picture

Erick, you have some great reviews. Thank you. Can you tell me if at CES you are finding that companies are offering better value propositions for their products given the recession versus past years?

Erick Lichte's picture

Well, this was my first CES so comparing this year's convention to others would be silly for me to comment. Most folks seem to be complaning about the price of everything on this blog so "value" seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

Charlie's picture

Or it shows how utterly quixotic the Hi-Fi market segment is from the perspective of mainstream competitive options offered by far east electronics conglomerates. Dinosaurs, like Bentleys in the age of the Camry.

Elliott's picture

I am very interested to learn what Stereophile thinks of this product. Class D amplifiers are the future, but no one has been able to do them right. Is this new NAD any different?

nunh's picture

I think I read an advance blurb review but, of course I am excited to read Stereophile will be covering this highly interesting product. I love those tubes (valves) but, I love new technology as well!

Zombie's picture

Who's the funny blue guy? Why is he standing in front of the gear? Couldn't we have been given a nice closeup of the component instead?

Gotham's picture

"First, the M2 offers a wide variety of digital inputs: one S/PDIF, one AES/EBU, two coaxial, and two optical"Presumably, the optical and coax inputs are all S/PDIF, making a total of four.

Steve's picture

Really looking forward to the review - looking for an M2 to drive my Quad 2905's. Presently using a Weiss Medea DAC and a Vitus Audio SS010 - midrange is simply divine but the amp lacks the grunt to extend the soundstage. fingers crossed...

stu gatz's picture

Blue shirt boy ought to go to the gym