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Lil Caesar

NAD M51 Listening Impressions...

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A discussed a page or two back, I quickly reverted back to 1.39. Firmware 1.41 sounded bad to me. I'm usually a version junkie and have to have the latest, but not in this case. 1.41 sounded spatially constrained and lacking in bass. I don't know if this was part of some botched fix for clipping at 0db, or if there are simply more or less processes running, changing the power supply noise spectrum.

However, others haven't noticed any change in quality.

 

 

i'm a version junkie too, and must have the latest version of firmware everytime, Didnt think i notice the difference until I reverted to the EE mini max plus with LME 49720/10 that the M51 had a slight reduction of dynamic and a loss of bass, unfortunately I didnt have 1,39 to load for comparision, I no longer have the EE mini max dac plus to compare either and one of my ribbons have finally had the gong. 

Through the Stax there is clearly a reduction in dynamics with 1.41 and there is a difference in SQ.  And no I actually didnt take much notice as I though everything was OK.  I did read your post and someone elses post reporting this SQ differences and dismissed it until i reverted the EE for comparision.  Thats why a put out a call for 1.39.

You could be right about the fix on zero db clipping, im going to do more investigation especially when I have my ribbons back up and running.

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Probably a crazy question but anyone have a PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII to compare to the M51?

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any of you guys use the nad purely as a dac instead of dac/digital pre? when using the output/ volume, is it best on a specific setting, ie 0 or -1? or are we free to use any level without adverse effect/sq degradation?

im asking because im experimenting with a tubed pre (arc sp16l) in the chain and i find the gain on the pre a bit on the high side. i already set the gain on the inputs of my dynaudio active speakers to -10 and i find its still a teeny weeny bit high. so i was thinking if i should trim further on the nad but not sure if there would be some degradation

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From what I have read - it is a digital volume control on the DAC therefore 0dB would be best so no information is 'lost'? Correct me on my terminology. But I have heard people now having to source preamps because the gain on the M51 is a bit on the high side at 0dB.

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It's no problem to dial back the nad a touch - it should have very little effect on SQ - I used both nad as Dac and preamp.

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Hiya ninja, what version firmware do you have? Pre v1.39 the nad m51 allegedly runs hot so -1 on the nad may be a good idea however I'm concerned that you're playing with potentially too many gain settings in your hifi chain. Stunned that you run the speakers @ -10 ?!?

A tube pre should not be running that hot into these active monitors.....

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nk7: i remember something like that, oh here i managed to dig up a snippet from stereophile's review:

The M51's volume-control technology is impressive, though. According to NAD, "The extreme headroom afforded by the 35-bit architecture allows for a DSP-based volume control that does not reduce resolution. Even with 24-bit high definition signals, the output can be attenuated by 66dB (very, very quiet) before bit truncation begins."

aj: that's what i was thinkin, ive been using the nad previously as my dac/pre... i recently bought the used tubed pre for my cousin and he's letting me use it for a month or so as he's away on business so experimenting a bit as ive always wanted to revisit tubes

lil caesar: im still on ver 1.39, same ver as when i bought it... ahhh so the -1 recommendation was for pre-1.39 fw huh... you might be right bout the gain, before the tube pre it was all good. ill try later without the nad m51 in the chain, see if the nad and tube pre combo is the culprit

Edited by ninjagosg

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nk7: i remember something like that, oh here i managed to dig up a snippet from stereophile's review:

 

 

Quote

The M51's volume-control technology is impressive, though. According to NAD, "The extreme headroom afforded by the 35-bit architecture allows for a DSP-based volume control that does not reduce resolution. Even with 24-bit high definition signals, the output can be attenuated by 66dB (very, very quiet) before bit truncation begins."

 

 

Hmmm....they say that. But I was under the impression any digital volume control can degrade SQ especially using high resolution gear. Here's to hoping I don't have to purchase a preamp once I save enough for the M51....

Edited by nk7

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The volume control on the M51 is the best I have ever used, better than any Alps, Panasonic, Allen Bradley, bourns etc that are typical mechanical with carbon or plastic film taper, the balance is second to none, you will not get accuracy like this even from the most expensive Alps RK50 @ $k. I listen to this @ -59 - -57db not ideal but great for 5.00am.

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nk7: most likely you won't need a separate preamp, as pchan and most others are saying, the digital volume control is one of the best implementations.

that said, i can see a few reasons someone might want to use a separate analog preamp... eg for sacd since the nad doesnt do dsd and via spdif and hdmi it decimates it to 88kHz, or if you want tubes in the chain and dont want to use a tubed power amp nor buffer

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Just checked Nads official site and it looks to have a newer Nad usb audio driver when downloaded.

Old driver was dated Feb 2012 - ProductVersion=1.55.0

New driver is dated Dec 2012 - ProductVersion=1.63.0

 

Direct link: http://nadelectronics.com/download-agree/130213151103-NAD-USB-Audio-Driver_20121205.zip|NAD%20USB%20Audio%20Driver

 

 

post-107190-0-83465300-1361286295_thumb.

Edited by rocky500

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Just checked Nads official site and it looks to have a newer Nad usb audio driver when downloaded.

Old driver was dated Feb 2012 - ProductVersion=1.55.0

New driver is dated Dec 2012 - ProductVersion=1.63.0

 

Direct link: http://nadelectronics.com/download-agree/130213151103-NAD-USB-Audio-Driver_20121205.zip|NAD USB Audio Driver

Don't discard the old driver yet, see if there's a differents in SQ

Well done Rocky!

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Just checked Nads official site and it looks to have a newer Nad usb audio driver when downloaded.

Old driver was dated Feb 2012 - ProductVersion=1.55.0

New driver is dated Dec 2012 - ProductVersion=1.63.0

 

Direct link: http://nadelectronics.com/download-agree/130213151103-NAD-USB-Audio-Driver_20121205.zip|NAD%20USB%20Audio%20Driver

 Assume this is only for Windows users not Mac?

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