NAD M51 Direct Digital D/A converter Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital Sources: Apple MacBook Pro computer (2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD) running OS 10.6.7, iTunes 10.6, Sonic Studio Amarra 2.3, Songbird 1.9.3, XLD; Western Digital NAS Device (2TB); Oppo BDP-83 universal Blu-ray player; Meridian Digital Media System (Sooloos Control 15 & TwinStore x3); Apple iPad 2 and 3, Apple iPod Touch 1G; Benchmark DAC1 USB, Ayre Acoustics QB-9, T+A Music Player D/A converters.
Preamplifier: Marantz AV7005 (Pure Direct Mode).
Power Amplifier: Classé CAM 350 monoblocks (2).
Loudspeakers: MartinLogan Prodigy & Descent subwoofers (2).
Cables: USB: Cardas Clear. Interconnect: Cardas Neutral Reference S/PDIF. Speaker: Kimber Kable BiFocal XL. Interconnects: Kimber Kable, XLO HT Pro. Digital: XLO S/PDIF.
Accessories: Dedicated power lines: power amplifiers (20A), digital & analog components (15A).—Jon Iverson

NAD Electronics International
633 Granite Court
Pickering, Ontario L1W 3K1
(800) 263-4641

mrhyfy's picture

Great write up seems like a fantastic dac. 

I love the Marantz AV7005 and believe it offers outstanding performance HOWEVER I think you might be doing the Nad a deservice by feeding a $2k dac into a $1700 home theater preamp.

The particular problem for me is that the signal from the Nad has to run through the ADC first,then the dsp then the DAC in the Av7005.Ultimately you're reviewing the dac in the Marantz AV7005!!

 I realize that you used the pure direct mode but it is not analogue pass through in this receiver. 

Would it be possible to evaluate the Nad dac with the signal DIRECTLY connnected  to your amp?  That's the whole point of having the volume control feature in the dac.

Jon Iverson's picture

Whenever I receive a DAC that can also run as a preamp (with volume, input switching, etc), I always connect the DAC directly to my power amps. I then compare this sound to  running via the Marantz in Pure Direct Mode. Rarely have I (or those who are listening with me) ever been able to detect a difference.  To compare to other DACs (which do not have a preamp function) I usually run everything via the Marantz - maybe not perfect, but as fair as I can make it.

VandyMan's picture



I love that they included HDMI, but who only needs two HDMI inputs? I need five and I don't have that complex a system. Before someone suggests adding an external switch, keep in mind that they sometimes causes problems. I have two devices that refuse to work when run thru a switch (and I tried several brands). Besides, one of the points of a "home theater" pre-amp, two channels or not, is to act as a master control switch to all sources.

Surge's picture


Thank you for the review Jon.  I would be really interested in knowing how it compares to the AMR DP-777 that was reviewed in March.

I know the AMR is $5,000 vs. $2,000 for the NAD; but I am curious to know if in your opinion it is worth the additional cost.

Many thanks

Jon Iverson's picture

Surge - I have not yet heard the AMR in my system.

raykkho's picture

Thank you Jon for the very exciting review.  One thing though is how can someone merge his M51 with an existing MC home theatre setup, when the M51 does not have any analogue input or HT bypass? I hate to add an AB switch before the poweramp but can't see how it could be done any other way. sad

Amir the Great's picture

last Xmass I did a mistake. Paying 15000SDK for the M51.
it sounds vry good as JA's review, if it souns! The USB Windows driver is a hell. Win8.1 find the dac some times!!!
wrot to NAD. answer: M51 was before Win 8.1!!! and?

How... mush time putin on a product? ok, gott back to win7, same hell. the PC find the dac sametimes!

then they came with "NAD USB Audio Driver for Windows 7 and above" wow the king waked up finally!

but problem was the same. M51 sings when Trump write the order!

Even the JA link above is empty. even if the song finish, efter some minuts the dac dyes! turn itself off! and again Windowes can not find it!

I should turn off the dac Not mr. Stidsen! "is there any body at home?"
shall I teche him a warm bird sings better than a frozen one?

NAD does NOT send the first v1.39 firmware to anybody!!! why? Ayatollah's fatwa maybe.

my 15000 NAD does NOT work properly!

a good product is good in evry manner. NAD isn't an eBay $15 dac who NOT works when you want!

ergonomically NAD is NOT wright either. what happen if U can't find the remote? or battery ...
2 small bottoms at front panel (volume up/down) costs $1. it is the Master NAD isn't? after so many years of iconic amps? oh sorry it is a dac not an amp!

the hole gole is playing music when you want. not waiting for the president to push the bottom.

too tired to play on the NAD.


lev80's picture

Yes! its a great product and there is nothing wrong with the M51. No one forced you to buy it if its ergonomically dose not work for you.
I got my M51 early 2014 brand new and never had any issues with it nor its windows drivers, worked like a charm all these years and still i enjoy it everyday. and i don't think i could depart with it although my other PARASOUND gear sound much sweeter but there is something special about the soundstage of the M51.
You should have returned it if u felt that its not for you, as simple as that.