AUDIO FORUMS >> General Discussion and Support >> NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC

Message started by stone_of_tone on 09/13/13 at 15:34:22

Title: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/13/13 at 15:34:22

I ordered the M51. I should have it my System by Tuesday or Wednesday night. Hooking her via coax with an Illuminati D-60 into the M51 for CD redbook standard. I like this PWM concept on anything it is feed. The proof is in the Listening though.

I will have it for couple of weeks before the FEST...if she does what all the Review Monkey's say it does...even for redbook....I will bring it to the FEST. Or heck, I will just bring it anyway. It take just minutes to plug and play directly to an Amp.

....So were not just "feeding" on high res files all Weekend.  Lets take the Redbook and pump it up high res with PWM and see how it compares.

If it blows and does not pass scrutiny at the FEST....I will have it back on the road with an RA# on the 7th or 8th of October.   -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/13/13 at 15:42:57

Cool. I've been disappointed with NAD digital products I've heard and owned in the past in comparison to other makers. Will be interesting to hear your opinion.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/13/13 at 15:54:37

Hi Stone, the M51 seems like an interesting product and concept (especially the PWM conversion) and the price seems reasonable compared to a lot of other things out there.  Have you thought about the other components in the chain such as the M50 and/or the M52?

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/13/13 at 16:06:34

Lon, this should be fun. I know Steve allows customers to bring Speakers etc...for the first day Friday...and this should be interesting. I am going down Thursday night and plan on being at Steve's by noon-1 o'clock on Friday the 4th, with this bugger in hand and my Sony T-Port via Sony DVP-NS57P and Illuminati D-60. Will use Steve's IC and Speaker Cable.

Some might scuff at this T-Port. However, I played with quite a few to settle on this one (and have a few new ones in boxes on the shelf)...and I would put this model up against any Oppo being used as a T-Port (for example).

I know their are owner's here of the Wyred for Sound Dac2. The Dac2 will make it my way if the NAD M51 leaves my way.... .

The Weiss DAC202 looks nice too......but up there $.

Nope, beowulf, this all about the redbook in its basic form as I posted. Steve has a better mouse trap than the M50-52 for hi - rez that we can pump into the M51..... .

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/13/13 at 16:12:26

Cool. That sort of procuct and the Zenfest are both not my sort of thing. But you'll have fun!

I would think if you didn't like the PS Audio Duo you wouldn't be impressed with the Wyred4Sound, all the reviews of that say that it's similar to the PS Audio.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/13/13 at 16:20:03

Lon, that is why I went with the NAD before the Wyred Dac2.

Did you get in to streaming and/or hi-rez files Lon?

This would be right up your alley (inserting CD on platter) from T-port to DAC like you currently do with the PWTransport & PWDAC right?

I should bring this simple Sony T-port of mine and my AA front end and blow peoples minds that have only been into outboard DACS for the last 8 to 10 years (redbook from CD Transport not hi-rez).

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/13/13 at 16:35:15

I don't stream and I do have hi res material though I don't really listen to it that often.DVD-A and SACD and a few hi-res wav files burned to cdr and played in the Duo (I can't burn my own so I don't have many). And lots of vinyl listening when I can (the original hi res). No interest in streaming, digital files, etc. None. I have thousands of discs and I like them. Don't do portable or computer audio.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/13/13 at 16:48:48

I'm with you brother. I am not saying I will never get into it. However, I to, like you, am not interested in Ripping all of my 900 CD's to a Hard drive....etc...etc.....for the rest of the chain.

Yes, I can appreciate it.

But, like old Sam Telig has so eloquently stated....even SACD came to the party a day late and a dollar short for those of us whom have large CD collections and HAVE FOUND A GOOD TPORT - DAC COMBO TO MAKE MUSIC .......already. (....but, the M51 intrigues me for my pursuit of the better mouse trap for my ear brain connection when/if my AA gear dies).....

I suppose I'll be forced into it when the CD physical media no longer exists for purchase. The Chesky brother's stuff/site looks cool too where a lot of what I like is turning up.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/13/13 at 16:56:14

Yeah. I have more than 15 times as many cds that would or could be ripped. It's just not worth my time. I could enjoy more hi-res tracks on DVD-R via the Transport but I don't have the time to make these nor the equipment and I obviously don't want them enough. Unlike you I love the PS Audio Duo (especially through the CSP2+ which just complements its strengths) and am just set with one in each system, a Torii Mk III in each system, soon a CSP2+ in both systems, great Blu-ray players and SACD players in both systems, and soon (well, who knows, they're ordered and paid for) HR-1s in both systems (can't wait to try my ERRs in my Dad's living room). I'm just going to be playing around with wire and isolation stuff now. Ah, feels so good.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/13/13 at 17:06:35

Lon, I should have given the PS Audio more time (and I duly take note of your mention through the CSP2+). I am very pleased with Music Direct and their service.  It was excellent.  I might have those back in. Not kidding, as I continue my quest....because my AA stuff could die.

I look forward to having fun at the FEST...but also seriously listening to Steve, his new products and learning something.... .

The HR 1's are getting serious attention from me. Have a great weekend Lon and I hope you enjoy the Ohio Fall weather coming up....even though you must miss Austin a bit.    -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/13/13 at 17:37:59

I miss Austin a TON, mainly because the love of my life is still there and can't be here (she's taking care of her Mom and has an incredibly important job she won't leave).

Looking forward to fall. . . maybe not winter. . .here in Ohio. Wish I could get out in it more!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/13/13 at 20:25:26

I also wanted to mention we bring our own biases to the Table.

I think this is not a bad thing. For instance, I had over 80 hours on the PWT/PWD combo and used both the HDMI and D-60 Coax. However, I could not get the extension in the Treble that I love to exploit with the SE84CS with my Sveltlana original SV83 Tubes (simply the best tubes IMHO-in the SE84CS). My Audio Alchemy gear can get that extension in 20 bit dither. So, I probably won't have the Combo back in.

Furthermore, my biases, of what I have come to find, is best for my ear brain connection are:
-I went through quite a few Transport Trials and found this cheap DVD Player I listed above, bested a Marantz that could not even output the bits and lock to my DTI Pro 32 for example.
-If you take the Illuminati D-60 Coax Digital Cable magic is gone.
-If you take the Cryo treated i2s Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver out of the chain... music magic is gone.
-The DTI Pro 32 & DAC 3.0 work together....separate magic is gone.
-Take the Kimber Select 1030 IC out and replace with the very good Kimber KCAG, Kimber Hero or AudioQuest magic is gone with my SE84CS.
-Take the 3033 Speaker Cable out of the magic is gone.

-Bring the  Parker Audio High efficiency speakers in the Listening Room...these 95db SPL at 1 watt/1 meter can't handle the resolution of my front end in 20bit dither through the SE84CS with my Kimber Select Reference Cables. Period.

So, the moral of the story is...we like what we like and we know it when we hear it....if it is involving for our ear brain connection.

Lon, I hope you see your Gal soon.  -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/13/13 at 21:05:16

Oh definitely we like what we like and all our rooms are different. For instance if you couldn't get the treble extension out of the PS Audio DAC Mk II. . .  I don't know what to say because I wouldn't enjoy it at all if what it has you find that lacking. I cannot handle a lot of treble, just enough, and the PS Audio DAC (and any front end I've had) is always tempered with the Toriis' treble cut switch. As this switch seems to have more limited range in the Mk IV, and Steve says that amp is more aggressive, that convinces me I should stick with my Mk III.

Going to be a long time til I see my gal again Stone, maybe not til next year. Thank goodness I got to spend a few days with her in August.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by orangecrush on 09/14/13 at 03:51:44

Stone, I listened to the Nad, the Weiss and the WFS Dac 2. I settled on the little known boutique made Anedio D2. It is simply many layers more transparent then all the others. Which is quite a statement. In order of preference based on transparency and resolution it would be:

1. Anedio D2
2. Weiss
3. Nad
4. WFS

The WFS was too dark, thick and veiled. But if a system or room is bright it might be just the thing. I liked the Weiss and Nad allot, but the Anedio D2 is just simply divine and the digital volume control is fantastic. Part digital and analog. Remote control, and sounds best with NO preamp. I tried some preamps just to see if i was missing anything and everything just took away from the transparency and resolution. Its great with Redbook and high res. High res is so smooth and yet so detailed, I keep shaking my head in disbelief. Imaging is unreal which comes from the great care taken with channel separation.

To my ears USB and Coax (I am using the pure silver Oyaide DB-510 BNC Coax) both sound equally good. I sold my Audiophileo with Pure Power as it added nothing to the Anedio D2. It is also a killer head phone amp to boot. Mine is fed with a Bryston BDP-1 and I just could not be happier.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by AiDee on 09/14/13 at 06:50:02

^ Interesting. I had decided on the Anedio D2 as my ideal DAC following a lot of reading, analysing and the occasional PM with owners. Just as I made this decision, Anedio decided not to deal internationally any more :(

The NAD is one I was pretty interested in, alongside Lynx HiLo, Schiit Audio's yet-to-be released Yggdrasil, and PWD2 among others.

Never mind. Have been evaluating the new BMC PureDAC the last few days. So far, remarkable.

Looking forward to hearing how the NAD works out...

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/14/13 at 17:26:26

Lon, I understand, I am just into that extended treble deal.... .

Orangecrush & AiDee, thanks for pointing me towards the Anedio D2. I will receive my M51 on Tuesday (fedx is great around here). I look forward to spending time with it as described in this OP/thread.

I am going to order the D2 on Monday and do a head to head comparison over the next two 30 days.  One of them will be returned (or I might keep them both). Thanks again Orange Crush.

Aidee, not cool, they stopped international shipping. However, looks like you have a winner on your side of the ocean in the BMC PureDac.  -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by AiDee on 09/15/13 at 00:31:30

Stone, yes I'm very happy with the PureDAC, no regrets at all. I'll post some impressions once I've done some comparisons and calmed down a bit ;)

I could understand Anedio's decision to focus on the US; seems they're too small to handle an international market right now, and made the right call to maintain good service and have time for new designs.

Tongue hanging out to hear the results of your M51/D2 comparison!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by orangecrush on 09/15/13 at 01:38:34

That Pure Dac looks very promising indeed especially since it DSP ready. I was on a long quest for a Dac that I just feel in love with. I started off going down the NOS and tube Dac road but contrary to popular opinion I found them all harsh, muddy and slow. Can't wait to hear more from both you and Stone. I even tried a ZStage with my Anedio D2 and Torii to be able the ride the gain, but it just added noise, lowered the resolving power and took away the transparency. I think that is the best thing about these new breeds of Dacs with well implemented volume controls. Less is more.

At first you might think the Anedio is a little light sounding. Then you realize it is just that the noise floor is so low that the extreme clarity just shine through like pure sweet golden sunlight. You will play your music at higher levels due to this without any fatigue. After a year, it still gives me goose bumps.

I have never heard the PSAudio Dac, but I heard someone compare it to driving in a Cadillac while obeying the speed limit on a cloudy day and the Anedio D2 to an exotic sports car, full speed, with the top down on a sunny day. Just different strokes for different folks.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by AiDee on 09/16/13 at 11:18:15

Very interesting notes about the Anedio orangecrush! I am definitely sorry I didn't get to try this DAC.

Never mind. I didn't expect to post this soon but you'll find I started a thread (I expect it'll be quite short-lived) that relays my initial impressions of the PureDAC. I'm not sure I calmed down yet, but I hope I did manage to be fairly sober with my notes anyway!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/16/13 at 11:37:28

Thanks for the impressions! I know how it is when you find a front end that just sings with your system (I'm in love with my PS Audio DAC Mk II and Transport---one in each system!) Will be fun to read your further impressions.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by kana813 on 09/16/13 at 18:24:58

There are a lot of interesting new DACs, but I don't think I'd buy anything that doesn't do DSD.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/16/13 at 20:54:26

If anyone is interested Anedio is having a free 2 week sample evaluation with the D2 DAC ... this is a great opportunity for anyone considering this product.  All you pay is shipping and handling both ways!

Contact: and put Sample Evaluation Program in the subject header ...

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by kana813 on 09/16/13 at 22:37:12

"If anyone is interested Anedio is having a free 2 week sample evaluation with the D2 DAC ... this is a great opportunity for anyone considering this product.  All you pay is shipping and handling both ways!

Contact: and put Sample Evaluation Program in the subject header ..."

Don't they already give you 30 days?

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/17/13 at 05:09:01

kana813 said,
Don't they already give you 30 days?

If you buy it from them yes, however this is not a purchase it works similar to an Audio Circle (or other forum) Tour.  There is no purchase, you put your name on the Anedio evaluation list and it is sent to you for a 2 week period in which you can evaluate before committing.  It's a pretty cool idea if you happen to have another DAC or 2 for comparisons.  For instance Stone already purchased a M51 DAC for evaluation, if he wanted he could get on the list and instead of having to buy the Anedio he could just be part of the tour and it will be sent to him (less money out of pocket, etc.)

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by orangecrush on 09/17/13 at 17:42:00

I personally see no reason to buy a DSD DAC today. The format was good idea many years ago (before hi res PCM) but not now. It presents serious challanges and does not necesarily any sound better than Hi Res PCM. Lots of audio engineers and dac makers are speaking up on this subject to dispel the many misconceptions and hype around DSD. Look around, there is lots to read. It is not by any means the holy grail of digital audio and it will take years to see if it going to make any substantial impact on high end audio. Many audio engineers feel it is already dead but just been kept alive my zealots and marketing departments.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by kana813 on 09/17/13 at 20:48:58

The list of available DSD recordings grows everyday:

There are DSD DACs for as little as $149.99.

Here's another take on the format:

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/17/13 at 21:14:42

I was fortunate to get home today and sign for my M51. I have now spent almost 3 hours with it and I am very pleased right out of the box. Marcus Miller I type....just wonderful via coax Illuminati D-60 into M51.

I have come to realize this past hour, it has a lower noise floor in my estimation, from how dead silent it is with an ear up to the Speakers and of course, at the Listening Chair in my Listening Room. Tone-Timbre-Texture is there, with detail that I like and love about my Audio Alchemy gear. Soundstage is deeper and this NAD M51 is flat out musical running into my SE84CS with Kimber Select! I am also playing louder without audible compression kickin' in through my CS.....and it is singing music!

Now I can move my Audio Alchemy gear to my bedroom System/CKC. It takes cables & Tube Amps plenty of time to burn in-in my 23 years of experience. For example, my SuperZen CKC is still coming along and sounding sweet (10.5 months). However, digital gear?  I can tell pretty damn quick...after a few key full Discs/songs.  Thank you NAD=great job!

McGowan, needs to quit dinkin' around with his firmware and changing  his so called Native 44.1 too, when he dinks on the USB firmware upgrades. I know some people (maybe a lot), are not happy about it over at the PS Audio Forum/from what I read. I put 80 hours on the PWT/PWDII PS Audio units....and they were veiled and just like that cozy Cadillac metaphor Orangecrush, you were so succinct with/the PS Audio gear was.....the NAD is better for my System.

I have not forgotten about ordering the Anedio D2 Dac....should/will happen. I am going to enjoy the NAD M51 first.  She's a keeper. -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by will on 09/17/13 at 21:47:40

Stone I am really glad the NAD adds up! Good to know.

As we try to climb the res ladder, feel out format, and with still, relatively speaking, such a small proportion of excellent sounding high res files, I love my Tranquility NOS DAC. It makes Redbook sound like music. Though I get the issues, as Hider at DbAudioLabs has said, 44.1/16 bit is a lot of information, that is if you can pull it and put it back together with finesse!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/17/13 at 21:57:55

Wow, I would go as far to say if it sounds this good right out of the box - it's a winner!

I just checked out a cool video explaination on some of the features over at:

I know you're just using it for redbook correct?  But I could see this as a great tool for watching movies in 2 channel as well (not to mention PC streaming).  Very interested in this product.

Thanks for your impressions!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/17/13 at 22:01:21

Will, hiRez will get there....and price might get better too.

However, mean while, I'll stick with perfecting Redbook with the capability to go hiRez when I'm ready.  I need to hear the NAD M51 via the balanced outputs into the Mystery Amp and/or BAT - VK-55 SE Tube Amplifier.  Cheers, Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/17/13 at 22:08:19

Beowulf, I do like that it has two HDMI inputs to pump some DVD audio and Blu-Ray audio out of it.  If compatible/not wonky....firmware this and firmware that..... . -S

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by will on 09/17/13 at 22:25:57

It is sort of amazing that it sounds great right off. Good sign! It would appear that just the caps in there are going to take a little time to reach their potential, not to mention everything else! Great news for NAD.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/17/13 at 23:22:29


Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/17/13 at 23:28:57


I have a W4S DAC-2 and a few others at the moment.... and though I have never heard or seen the Anedio D2 or the Weis, I have compared my W4S to the NAD and at least a dozen other DACs... I have never heard the W4S sound:

"dark, thick and veiled"

compared to anything I've tried.. very interesting.  I never heard it described this way.  Its certainly not "forward" if that is ones definition of "detailed", but it has about as much rez, air and transient speed, dynamics, snap and realism as any DAC I've heard.  Makes me wonder what the context of the system was you heard it in and if the unit you heard was "in spec" or something else was fubar.

Just goes to show how so many companies can make $$ producing and selling DAC's... as there are so many varying sonic tastes, systems and room synergy to contend with.

I also am a firm believer that in today's digital world you do not have to possess a 2nd mortgage priced DAC in order to get world class sound.  The DAC chips are getting so advanced that performance differences are pretty narrow.  The real variable is the analog output stage after the DAC and filter.  And the implementation of the input to allow for different bit and sampling rates, input format, remote control, etc. are the only real distinguishing traits.  If you don't believe it, just go have a listen to any of the current crop of sub $500 overachiever's in volume matched A/B's and prepare to be stunned!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by orangecrush on 09/18/13 at 03:25:18

Compared to Anedio and Weiss, its like black and white for me. The Nad I place just above the WFS in the transparency department.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/18/13 at 16:41:12

doesn't line up that way to my ears or the systems & rooms I've tried it in... about 5-6 A/B's to date.  

In fact I haven't heard what I would classify as "Night & Day" differences between DAC's/players in years.  The gaps in SQ have narrowed significantly as the processing chips have advanced.  Generally one can hear/identify "differences", but not night & day like you could with dacs/players back in the late 80's and thru the 90's.  The quality of the recording/production in most cases has far greater impact on the SQ coming out of the speakers anymore - just my experience (2-3 DAC's per year pass thru my systems on average, I have 5 at the moment) and opinion.

but as we all know, hearing is an individual "perception" - if you think you hear it - then you do - end of argument.

but I would encourage anybody out there who is DAC shopping in that price range, listen to the W4S for yourself.  And you should also have a listen to the Schiit Audio DAC's too before you lay down any more of your hard-earned $$$$.  Mike Moffat at Schiit goes way back with Theta Digital, and they know what they're doing.

As always, let your ears be the judge!  

happy listening..!!   :)

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/18/13 at 20:23:05

Yes, let your ears be the judge.

I am getting transparency with the M51 (and my AA front end) because of the transparency and wide bandwidth that the SE84CS provides with the original Svetlana SV83. Plus, my Kimber Select 1030 IC & Kimber Select 3033 Speaker Cable....the resolution with these does not allow me to use my Parker Audio Crusader or Zu Audio Union Speakers.  These two Speakers just flat out can't handle the resolution...especially in the extended highs.

Furthermore, the low noise flow of the internal preamp and quality precision of to praise NAD with deep pockets for doing so.  Cheers, Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/19/13 at 18:08:34

.....I am going to get the Anedio D2 in the next few weeks. With every intention of keeping it along with the wonderful M51. It is great that their are a half dozen good DACS out there and reasonable.

I had a chance to Listen to the M51 again this morning...and you just want to turn it up more and more! I am very pleased.  -S

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by will on 09/19/13 at 18:17:08

Great news. Thanks for keeping us up on your explorations!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/19/13 at 18:31:07

Will do Will.

Different flavor's of slight variations.


SuperZen CKC
Mystery Amplifier......Pending Purchase... .

Digital Front Ends:

Audio Alchemy (DTI Pro-32 & 3.0 DAC with preamp)
Anedio D2...............Pending Purchase... .

Over & Out...for a little while. But, I will return with impressions of these 3 Digital Front Ends compared...and down the road....the Mystery Amp on its respective thread.  Cheers all, Stone of Tone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by orangecrush on 09/19/13 at 20:59:36

That's awesome Stone, can't wait till you get the Anedio as it is so much more transparent. Definitely could be too much for some set-ups, but if your a resolution junky, you will love it.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/20/13 at 16:39:29

How can I stay away!

I ordered the Anedio D2 this morning!

Orangecrush, I am a resolution junky. The Holographic Kimber 1030 just gets the hell out of the way and is so musical.

Fourth day on my NAD M51 and my initial impressions still hold...and she is burning in nicely. I think because of the lower noise floor/preamp integration in conjunction with the 35 bit...etc...has me loving this DAC.

Big, bold & clean....great Timbre. Last word in Transparency like my Audio Alchemy front End = NO. However, what the NAD51 is doing in other area' is still in my System and staying. It might end up in the Living room Rig (to be detailed at a later date)...or my great Bedroom System (to be detailed/explained), the NAD M51 is staying.

The Anedio D2 might very well dethrone it. But, it also has to dethrone my Audio Alchemy too.  Orangecrush?...I am betting it is a keeper.

I still have to A-B-A it back to my Audio Alchemy reference.
Of course, I look forward to comparing the 3 of them. A lot of fun and to hell with 30 day returns....I am keeping the 2 of them and will offer impressions of them in 3 different Systems over the next year...and with the SE84CS, CKC.........AND MYSTERY AMP.  

A lot of fun!  Cheers, Stone

PS-I should mention, I'm currently doing Redbook only via Illuminati D-60 output from Transport. However, I will dive into hi-rez with the Blu-Ray Audio offerings....gleaning the 2 channel layer via the HDMI input of the NAD M51...and go from there.... .

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by will on 09/20/13 at 18:07:35

It is great to hear your enthusiasm for these new pieces. Great fun! I am looking forwards to future developments!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/20/13 at 20:49:38

You bet Will.

The fall/winter with the 3 front ends will be fun.

I hope to place my order for the Mystery Amp by Nov 1st....with delivery February 1st or better.  It would be nice to wrap up the Winter enjoying and breaking that in.  Have a great weekend!   -S

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by orangecrush on 09/21/13 at 16:56:47

Maddog, I find with DACS, you need to live with them for a while, a few weeks, to really hear their differences and personality. Like anything else in audio, DAC are voiced by the designer. I hope you can hear the Anedio one day to compare and hear the difference for yourself. I am not saying it is better, just the most transparent DAC I have heard to date from any other DAC. In COMPARISON, the W4S is dark in my system. I am not alone in this, John Darko wrote a good review of the W4S. However, as you said, we each hear differently.  

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/21/13 at 18:04:51

impossible to hear every component that comes down the pike... even if you are retired & financially independent.  I am pleased that you are satisfied with the Anedio in your system.  Satisfaction is what its all about.
By a huge overwhelming margin, there are more rave reviews on the Wyred than there are less enthralled, poor or less favorable reviews.  So what!  What does this prove?  Nothing!  Building ones system based solely on somebody else's opinion of something is a recipe for discontent and empty pockets.  Last months, "this is the greatest thing since sliced bread review" will be old news and considered less than stellar by next month.  Reviewers preferences and hearing are as varied as ours... and they have vastly different motivations for their written opinions!

"live with them for awhile" - if once broken-in (if new) and warmed up and you still have to listen hard and carefully "for awhile" to hear differences... hmmm... one may be acclimating to the sound... humans do "adapt" - make no mistake.  And perhaps there just isn't that big of a difference if you have to listen "long and hard" to hear it - which was one of my points to begin with.  I try a lot of new, latest and greatest stuff out during the course of a year... most of the new & improved, is well...ugh, just "new".  So it goes back or is passed along to the next "seeker of truth"...

I have had my Dac-2 for about a year.  The others I currently have, I have had for 2 years or more.  I've had my Theta the longest and have been a "fan boy" of Theta every since they came on the scene in my locale in the late 80's.  An older Theta DAC will hold its own with anything made today on redbook CD sourced sound.  I don't expect anyone to take my word for it - just listen for yourself if you get a chance.

Also...our "age" comes into play.  If you're the age of 25, you can't hear 20khz anymore.  If you're over 50, one would be lucky to hear much above 10-12khz.  This means... that as we age... we tend to find sound that it is tilted up in the treble more to our liking simply because we can't hear "up there" very well anymore and a system that is tilted up in those frequency ranges will sound more detailed, more resolute, more clarity to one who's hearing is less than perfect at those frequencies.  And thus... our children, and younger "philes" tend to find sound that I find well "balanced" and to my liking to be "bright" and forward.
Always a good reality check to pull out the disc with the 1/3 octave test tones on it and your SPL meter and listen at least yearly.  Adjust to comfortably loud at 1khz, and then watch the meter and run the scale from 20hz up to 20khz... the meter will tell you what you should be hearing, your brain will tell if you ears can hear it anymore - assuming the given system can reproduce the frequencies.  I like to pull my 23 yr old daughter or teenage nephews and nieces into the room when doing this occasionally... they can clearly demonstrate the limits of my hearing to me...  ;D

Anyway... Wyred DAC-2, to Aesthetic Calypso to Torii-3 to my single,full-range, high efficiency driver speakers... no darkness detectable.  I can hear Diana Krall wet her lips, sense the deflection of her head turning away from and toward the mic, I can hear musicians turn pages on the music, chairs creek as the players shift their positions and the hum of guitar amps, voice echoes off the walls of the recording studio - it's good enough - I'm there.  Lots of paths to sonic nirvana... and it sounds like you've found yours - I'm also pretty content at the moment - we should be thankful and just "enjoy the music"!

orangecrush... are you attending the fest next month?  would be a pleasure to meet you and "talk shop"...

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by orangecrush on 09/21/13 at 21:39:38

I wish I could attend, but I am geographically challenged. Western Canada.

I find that I am gradually increasing the treble on the Torii more and more. I think my V-Caps are still breaking in. Just around the 1000 hour mark now.

I have never heard a 'bad review' about the W4S, just preference comes into play. Have fun at Decfest.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/24/13 at 04:24:21

I take delivery on the D2 Thursday. They lowered the price! I am receiving a $222 credit off the $1470 I paid.  .....gotta like it!

This gives me a couple more nights on my M51. She is spreading her wings....with more time on her. I like the fact that NAD knew despite all the hi-rez capability....that includes HDMI input....they better make sure out of the box....plugged into Coax/SPDIF/RCA...(old School out of Transport) it better show it has something to stick around for (and burn/break it in)! IT does.

I do suspect that the Anedio D2 will be the same. It has USB, Coax & I doubt I will be disappointed. I have BNC with my Alchemy gear.

The Mystery Amp just got posted up for PRE-ORDER. I am debating whether to order this Amp or a Pass Labs. Good problem to have...I think I will try the PASS first, because I have great sound with two of Steve's Amps....and need some muscle with the PASS when in the mood.     -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/24/13 at 11:53:35

Really? Pass Labs? You didn't learn your lesson with the Prima Luna?  Just go Decware! :D

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/24/13 at 16:13:21

I know Lon, I should have my head examined!  ;D

With careful thought....I ordered a Simaudio MOON W5.3 SE Power Amplifier!
I should have it by Thursday or Friday. I will get the shipping details later today. I got it with a PS Audio 10 Power Cord too.

Anyway, I will be running my NAD M51 & Anedio D2 directly into this Behemoth... .

My SE84CS will always be used & the Super Zen CKC. However, I am going after some serious muscle in the Listening Room when I want it.

I do plan on ordering the Mystery Amp too (for serious muscle). I am going to let the early adopters "flesh it out" and I will order one in the Spring!  -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/24/13 at 16:36:47

Okay. Send the Moon back and keep the AC-10. :)

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/24/13 at 22:01:22

Moon? I thought I read somewhere that it was only going to be Decware from now on ... oh wait that was last week and now it's this week ;D

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by AiDee on 09/24/13 at 23:17:14

^ Yep, a week is a long time in audio ;D

Stone, way back on page 1 you commented on the Parker Audio speakers. I was considering buying their 95mk2 or their 92 dB trolls. Sounds like you don't find them resolving though? Slightly O.T. but could you elaborate on their good and bad points?

Looking forward to the forthcoming D2 and M51 comparisons!

Meanwhile, the BMC puredac is going from strength to strength...possibly when Audio Addict gets his, we'll hear how it stands up to the PWD2...

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/25/13 at 02:58:32

Speaking of Speakers ;)

Has anybody heard the Verity line?  I noticed that they are a tube friendly manufacturer (which seems kind of rare these days).  Some of their line is towards the mid 90's in efficiency and they do something with the crossover that seem tube friendly too.  IMO that's not too shabby!

I know they are on the expensive side of things, but the Decware Torii review on Tone makes me think that they might play nicely with Decware.

Just curious...

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/25/13 at 14:55:07

.....ahhh, come on guys....the Moon W-5.3 SE will be fun...far as sand amps go!
Actually, a great value in Solid State Hi-End.
-Class A for the first 5 watts
-No overall feedback
-JFET input
-10 year warranty
-some serious muscle (read: Higher SPL-big time)

It probably won't stay long in my Listening Room....because nothing beats a SINGLE output tube per channel via the Sveltana SV83! Push Pull will always have some it is not as transparent. But, if you need the power/and listen in a non-treated room above 76 to 82db SPL...then you need push pull. You have the best with Steve's design's with no negative feedback in push/pull.  I just have to have single tube in pentode run in triode = transparency that is not debatable....with musicality above all.

Now, back to the Moon W-5.3 SE. I will break it in with my reference cable and 3 different front ends....but ultimately, it needs to go out in the Living Room System, driven direct by either the: NAD M51, AA Gear or Anedio D2.....with my Polk SRS SDA 1.2 Speakers.  

However, as stated: I will be having the Mystery Amp in for 30 days some time next year....and willing to pay the to & from freight + restocking fee....if need be.  I hope it gets to stay?! I certainly will have the 3 front ends, SE84CS, CKC, Moon W-5.3 SE & Kimber Select to compare to and with it..... .

I will comment on the Parker's to go.  -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/25/13 at 19:01:44

I came home early today to cut the grass. While waiting for the grass to dry, I decided to spend some time A-B-A-in' the M51 against my AA front end.
I have used the M51 eight days straight and have 32 to 36 listening hrs on it and about 45 total playing. I DVR all my HBO & TV shows....allows me more time for Music.

I like my AA gear better. Their is more aire and timbre in the high's, especially with Alto & Soprano Saxophones. The overall presentation is just more musical. By comparison, the M51 sounds closer to (but better than) the PWT/PWDII PS Audio combo. ....good imaging....but synthetic sounding. Of course you need to make the comparison to hear the difference....and that is what I just did.

You could argue it needs more burn in time. I don't think so...for digital, 45 hours and counting is good (I put 80 hrs on the PWT/PWD II). Or, I am accustomed to the AA Gear? NO, I can tell blind folded, the name of at least 15 to 20 Saxophonists within 3 notes. Once again...Tone/Timbre is everything...and it is better on my AA gear, with better sound staging as well.  

Good news, tomorrow both my Anedio D2 & Moon W-5.3 SE come. I will put the 5.3 SE out in in the He-Man Rig/Living Room System for burn in. The Anedio D2 gets hooked up for the next week in the Listening Room to hit the 40 hour mark and then I will commence with an A-B-C continuation of all three DAC front ends (in the Listening Room/keeping all things equal-as I have done/except the DAC rotation).   -S

Off, to jump on my Cub Cadet! To nice to be inside right now....... .

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by will on 09/25/13 at 19:37:59

Thanks for keeping us up Stone.

I don't think you can categorize digital component burnin that broadly. I think any component's burn in time is dependent on the electronics present. Especially things like transformers and caps. Then look at the range of burnin for different types of caps in a signal path...probably something like 100-1000 hrs. I think I could hear differences in even the amazing Jupiter caps for quite a least 100 (probably more). But also everything else...just look at ICs, power cords and speaker wires...the wires organizing with he dielectrics in time, sometimes a long time.  Subtler in shorter runs of components, but I think present.

I was pretty sure my ZDAC took 200 hours to really show up. It had a lot of caps in it. Seems it would depend on the number of parts in a circuit, but even one cap requires a certain amount of play to really come out fully.

Anyway...may be relevant to run those new DACs while you are away if you can to get the hours up before making final determinations???


Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/25/13 at 20:11:15

Nope, 80 hours on Digital is plenty in my 23 years experience.

Plus, being the owner of a real relevant outboard DAC for the past 19 years....I know what I am hearing with 45 hours on the M51.

Orangecrush, your reply #13 is in agreement with me....with my comparisons.   -S

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/25/13 at 20:50:51

Ok, so does that mean the NAD may eventually go back if the Anedio D2 comes closer to the sound your looking for with the AA gear as your set standard?

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/25/13 at 20:59:50

I fall more in the camp of Will in this instance I think. I believe digital in particular takes a lot of time to bloom. My PWT and PWD Mk II duo took hundreds of hours to really be what they can be, they're very different 380 hours in than 80 hours in. My Denon 100th Anniversary players have taken hundreds of hours to really shine.

Anyway, I'm glad you're happy, and we're all different. For example, if you did not get enough 'liveliness" out of the PS Audio Duo, then your taste is not mine, as I tame the liveliness of mine down a tad, and also find it anything but synthetic sounding.

In the NAD you have a tool that can take you into new format territory, I think you'll really get gobs of enjoyment out of it. And how amazing to have that AA gear all these years!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by deucekazoo on 09/25/13 at 22:27:43

Sorry to highjack this thread but from all the DACs you guys have or had a chance to listen to, have you had/heard the Shiit Gugnir DAC and how does it compare to the rest of these guys.
Thank you.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/25/13 at 22:30:13

boy this thread has run the gamut, dacs, wires, burn-in, tubes, old-tech, new-tech – what’s left ?????
Audio Alchemy was what got me started down the outboard, hi-fi DAC road so many years ago.  So long ago.. I can’t remember exactly which ones I had.  The original DDE V1.0 I believe and then one after that, it was a two box setup that had a wooden cabinet that the two metal components fit in side-by-side as I recall… Whew.. had to dust off the memory banks for that one. Then along came Theta Digital… blew away everything I had owned or heard, and I became a Theta fan boy.  Still am actually… but since Moffat and Sinclair exited stage left.. not much of the “heart” left behind.  And I choose not to afford a Gen VIII – have never even heard one.  Though I have experience with the Gen V and Va.  If that DAC would provide me with the input and format flexibility of the Wyred, I would currently be happy with it sonically.. probably for a long time – certainly for redbook CD input.  
Someone has already mentioned “implementation”.  I would add “execution” to that.  For my ears, Theta house sound was more “life like” than anything I’ve ever heard – implementation and execution of the technology at the time.  And now Moffat is one of the two behind Schiit Audio.  I have a bud with a Bifrost and I have heard his system.. can’t really give a meaningful opinion there – his system sounds very good.. but I’ve never A/B’d his Schiit Bifrost to anything, nor had it in my system.  But I think it would be penny-wise for anybody DAC shopping to give the Schiit boys a look-see… 15 day audition period, 5-yr warranty.  If their functionality and cosmetics suit you.  I plan to as soon as I have time, which will probably be after the first freeze of the season!  There is nothing more enjoyable about this hobby, than discovering an inexpensive over-achiever that goes toe-to-toe with the "reviewers favorite" five figure component of the month...

On the topic of burn-in… I have found, in general, that the more “parts” there are in a component… not only does it take longer to reach its optimal performance when new, but each time its turned on/played as well.  And if you haven’t used the component for a long time, its practically like starting all over with the new break-in process again – for most, not all, gear.   I suppose that goes a long way toward explaining why some designers, especially solid-state, design their components with a “stand by” mode… where the component is really “on”, but perhaps just the final output stage powered down, etc.  I have a PS Audio P5 power plant.  One of the most interesting things I have found about this devices functionality is its ability to display the power being drawn by the components connected to it.  My Theta draws 45 watts in stand-by mode.  It draws 55 watts when it's "on" and playing.  My Wyred draws about 2 watts in stand-by - 4 when it's on.  This "green" switch-mode power supply technology isn't just whistling Dixie – it’s for real.  Anybody checked what their Torii draws at idle and/or at full song?  Might surprise you – you will at least find it interesting.

Stone… I think you are into “rez”.  I got one for you to give a go… get yourself a Class D Audio SDS-470c amp and put it on your SDA-SRS’…. Then sit back and brace yourself… I have never heard transient speed, snap, dynamics and rez like this from "anything" - sand based or valves - at any price.  It will flat-out scare you at times.  Your SDA's will need the bass brace connected to keep them from toppling over backwards!  I do not jest... and if/when you check out the price of one, you'll be even more stunned & amazed!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by AiDee on 09/26/13 at 11:05:06

deucekazoo, there's some information over at about the Gungnir. Useful impressions were slow to come and thin on the ground though.

I've not heard it myself. Perhaps unfortunately, Jason & Mike announced their statement DAC before Gungnir was released. I think this had the effect of diluting impressions of Gungnir as many people bought it as a "fill-in" while they waited for the 'real' DAC! It's taken time for consensus to develop that it's a very solid unit for its price.

Maybe the best place to read about it is the 'pirate' site changstar. Go here,933.0.html for a link in their 1st post to their spreadsheet where they compared several DACs using a quite well-defined set of subjective rating scales. Gungnir scored second only to the PS Audio PWD2 IIRC. Elsewhere, you'll find discussion about this and other dacs, and even some comment from Jason.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lonely Raven on 09/26/13 at 12:14:06

I just skimmed several reviews of the  SDS-470c, and all of them pretty much repeat (though much more long winded) what maddog07. And at the price, I could buy one today....but it would keep me from getting a Torii....

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/26/13 at 16:30:29

Lonely Raven… OK... so you want long-winded?  here you go!  ;)

I don’t know what kind of speakers you have or anticipate having.. but if you have a pair of “Lowther” type speakers, i.e. single, full-range, high-efficiency type drivers with No crossover – you “Need” a Torii.  My brain could not “accept” what my ears were telling it, the first time my Torii was hooked up to a pair of these.  Then I remembered a little blurb I read in one of Steve’s white papers about the Torii’s circuitry and how it actually delivers more power into higher impedances.  In the Tori IV thread I started, Steve confirmed this again when I was asking about if the Tori IV retained this characteristic of the Torii III – cause I DO NOT Want to give up this trait in my Torii III – read on…..  This completely explains what I have been experiencing… most of these types of full range drivers have rising impedance curves in the bass frequency range.  My particular drivers, Audio Nirvana Super Cast Frame 12” Alnico’s impedance starts rising at about 200hz and reaches a peak at about 54hz according to the curve published by the manufacturer.  And these drivers, powered by my Torii have “weight” in the mid-bass/power region that just about has to be heard to be believed.  This is a sonic match-made-in-heaven.  And not just in the bass region either.  Piano, stringed instruments, voices, are “in the room”, scary real.  And there is astonishing PRAT… transient speed, snap, resolution way into hearing slap-echo off the back of the recording studio walls, the performers amps humming, singer wetting their lips – we’re talking serious “rez” here.  There are plenty of highs too… but not to the level and caliber you experience, with for example, a Heil AMT or good ribbon tweeter.  This is not the Torii’s fault, this is the nature of full-range drivers.  But you won’t notice this unless you do an A/B.  But at this point, a guy is just “looking for things” – it’s not something you will ever “notice” when enjoying music played thru this combo.  I know this sounds like a bunch of reviewer blathering.. but I’m hearing music I’ve owned for decades “for the first time”.  

The Torii exhibits a bit of this nature with every speaker I’ve hooked it to so far – including my Martin Logan electrostats – yes… that’s right, the Torii will drive the Martin Logan’s.  Not to the same volume levels as my higher power, solid state, muscle amps, but to a comfortable level.  But the Torii mated with single full-range, high-efficiency drivers, no crossover is a step up into a whole nother league… sound that is “right there” with the best I’ve ever heard – anywhere – at any price – cost no object.  I believe this “more power into higher impedance” characteristic of the Torii is also a common trait of OTL amps as well – which I have no personal experience with.. yet - but that is on my bucket list, since Transcendent Sound is practically in my backyard.  

Anyway the nature of the Torii about power into higher impedances, is as I understand it, basically opposite of most amps.  Especially solid-state amps, where the design goal, for whatever reason for the last few decades seems to be for the amp to deliver more current into lower impedances – I think the engineers call this a “true voltage source”, where if the amp will put out 100 watts into 8 ohms, it should put out 200 watts into 4 ohms (doubles down).  Of course you have to look at the given drivers frequency response overlaid on its impedance curve to be able to predict how it will sound… but let there be no doubt, that the Torii “was made” for the crossoverless, single, full-range, high sensitivity type drivers/speakers.

Where the Class D Audio SDS-470c amp excels is with more conventional types of speakers(more on that in a moment).  Of course, I’ve hooked the SDS-470c to my full-rangers…just to see how it sounds.  And they have even more transient snap, “jump factor” and rez than with the Torii.  But the full-rangers exhibit a serious lack of bass driven by this amp.  Yep.. that’s right, the 25 watt Torii has more bass than the ubber power Class D… “on this type of speaker”.  So though the full rangers have high power magnification rez and dynamics that will scare you when driven by the SDS-470c.. the whole balance of the sound is “off”… sounds too light, thin, forward, bleached out – no “flesh on the bones”.
On the contrary, the Torii just sounds so “right” and balanced top to bottom on the full-rangers.. it just can’t be denied – fluid resolution that will keep you up way past your bedtime on work nights listening when you should be asleep.  Your spousal unit traveling to your listening room multiple times… “turn that down”… “are you going to come to bed tonight!”….  be prepared for relationship stress if you get a Torii and some high-sensitivity full-rangers.

Now… another combination that is in the same “OMG” league as the full-rangers/Torii combo, is the Class D SDS-470c and Magnepans.  I have had a soft-spot for Maggie’s for decades.  But as anybody who is very familiar with them, knows.. they can be a bit lacking when it comes to dynamics and “lively” sound.  Though the newer models are much, much better than the older ones.  Any who… I have a friend with a pair of 3.6’s… after I was able to finally “wrap my feeble brain” around the SDS-470c’s sonic abilities and my brain could accept what my ears were hearing, I called him up and said Stephen… you gotta hear this $695 amp on your Mags.  So I picked up the little 20lb SDS-470c and tucked it under my arm and headed out.  About 30 seconds into the first song played with the Class D driving his Magnepan 3.6’s… the party was over.  He has now sold his big Pass Labs amp.. and purchased two SDS-470c’s(he has multiple systems).  The SDS-470c replaced another well known, highly regarded solid-state muscle amp in my own stable also… but I’ve probably already done enough “name dropping” to ruffle feathers, so I’ll cease before making it any worse.

So… Lonely Raven, if you have or are attaining a Decware speaker or any speaker, similar in design concept to a Decware speaker… get the Torii – and never look back – you just probably can’t do much better than this combo – similar probably – but better – hmmm… hard to say.  You might have to search a long time, and part with lots of $$ and endure lots of frustration along the way.
If you’re contemplating some other more conventional, multi-driver speaker with a crossover and a more common(i.e. lower) sensitivity that is not really compatible with a Torii… you might ought to give the Class D Audio SDS-470c a listen before you spend more.

I think Stone.. needs to hear an SDS-470c on his big party-animal Polk’s – and report back to us.  I used to have a pair of 2.3TL’s myself…. They were/are a fun speaker – specially for high SPL events.  I suspect the larger VMPS models might mate well with the SDS-470c also… and as I’ve recently experienced, it is “the amp” for Magnepans.  I have another friend with 1.6 Maggie’s and the Class D brings them to life also, but the SDS-470c was a freakin’ revelation on the 3.6’s.

I also acquired a 1990’s vintage pair of Klipsch’s a couple months back.  They have some issues… need the xovers rebuilt for one thing I suspect.. the 23 yr old caps are probably shot … and I probably need to replace the diaphragms on the tweeters and maybe the squawkers too.  I hope to get to this project over the winter.  I hooked my Torii to them and I think this could be another good match.. but the speakers had a terrible “awk”, cupped hands coloration in the upper mids/lower treble… xover issue is my suspension.  Just haven’t had the time to futz around with them yet.  Suffice it to say.. the Torii/full-rangers combo blew the Torii/Klipsch combo into the dust.  And I know the problem Is Not with the Torii…

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 09/26/13 at 23:08:51

@ maddog07

Hmm, I have the Omega's which have Louis' latest full-range crossover-less drivers.  At 8 Ω and 95dB they can easily be driven by Decware's flea watt amps such as the Super Zen to very loud levels ... I wonder how they would sound with the Torii? :o

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/26/13 at 23:52:31


I had an SE34i for a bit before the Torii.  I was also at the Zenfest and heard all the Decware gear last year.  As best as memory serves...and I can correlate, as I did not have the "exact" same speakers paired with the SE34i that I do with the Torii... but they were very similar.  The SE34i was more laid back sounding overall.  Some would say smoother, more "gooey" thru the mids.  And I do not remember(did not notice) it having nearly the kind of bass the Torii is producing in my current, xoverless, full-rangers.  And I feel pretty confident that I would have noticed...  because that is the very first thing I noticed when I first heard my Torii driving my current speakers.. it was a profound difference that would grab your attention immediately.
Steve could probably give you a pretty definitive answer to your quandary.  Another forum member Rivieraranch I think might be able to shed some light on your question also.  He has vast experience with most of the Decware amps and maybe even the same Omega speakers.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/26/13 at 23:56:15

My experience with the SE34i and Torii Mk II and Mk III match maddog's --the Integrated has a warmer, smoother, sound, less bass impact and more forgiving nature. This with Decware speakers. I imagine a similar difference with the Omegas, but can't say for certain as I have not heard them. I'm in love with Decware speakers and will have them as long as I can.

To be honest, I slightly prefer the Integrated sound. But love the power on hand with the Torii--the Integrated didn't quite have enough cojones for my (then more than now) needs.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/30/13 at 18:55:02

Man, you guys have been rockin' this thread...I will read and catch up with the other posts. This is a great time to be into top notch equipment like Decware & the available DACS out there... .

Okay, I have had the Anedio D2, going head to head with the NAD M51 for 4 days now...and I love the added "AIR" it is providing over the NAD M51. However, I moved the M51 to my bedroom system today, and I am liking it with my Kimber Hero, Zen Styx & SE84CS! ....As you eluded to Lon, I think I might regret returning the M51, with its future capabilities. I am keeping it in the bedroom system and will see what the future holds for it, startng with the HDMI input(s) for Blu-Ray music etc...for starters.  

Well, I have to say I am going to the Dark Side in my Listening Room. My research paid off on the Simaudio MOON W5.3 SE Amplifier, run directly from my AA gear or the Anedio D2 with my reference cables. I just added the PS Audio AC-10 today, and that bumped her up a notch too. This Amp is effortless and has a smooth top end like my SE84CS...but with the muscle that will scare you!

To add to it.....I am purchasing a pair of Legacy Audio FOCUS SE Speakers. (NEW)....  ...yes, the Focus SE will be delivered by a Tractor Trailer, in a crate....on a pallet to my Home.

I will finally have what I want in 3 different Listening environments. My Reference Solid State in my Listening Room. My wonderful SE84CS & CKC Reference Tube, in my Bedroom....and my Polk SRS SDA 1.2's in the Living Room with HSU MBM 12, for solid Hi-FI.    -S
PS-notice: I said Hi-Fi...on the Living Room System -not-Reference, like the Listening Room or Bedroom....but the Living Rm a lot of fun!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 09/30/13 at 19:03:47

Wow. Happy for you! Hope your happiness grows!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/30/13 at 19:48:01


I think you and I must have crossed paths in another life or something.  In addition to having owned a pair of SDA-SRS 2.3tl's long ago.  I also had a pair of Legacy Focus' in the mid 90's.  I traveled up to Springfield and met Bill and ended up getting a pair Focus'.  I was strictly a SS guy back than and could never get them to get "holographic" or do the "imaging thing", which seemed to be my sonic priority at the time, so I eventually moved on.  But from a tonality and dynamics perspective, they would have been tough to beat.  And despite all those drivers, they were very easy to drive and they were also very efficient.  You might want to try your flea-watt amps on them just for fun when you get a chance and see how they sound.
Year before last, I ran into Bill at RMAF again.  We listened to his Whispers driven by an all AVM (class d amps) system as I recall.  Legacy is into recording now too, and he had their own demo disc.  There is a drum kit track on this disc that is the most realistic sounding recording of a drum kit I have every heard – ever.  Via the Whisper/AVM combo, it literally scared some show attendees and it even startled my buds and me – and we knew it was coming.  If Legacy still has copies of this disc available, I would recommend to all that you get a copy.  Legacy was giving away copies at RMAF and I got a copy.  We used it at other exhibitors rooms at the show all weekend long.  Every exhibitor who heard it, either went themselves or sent somebody down to the first floor ballroom where Legacy was exhibiting to get a copy.  One exhibitor even tried to buy my copy – no way jose.  Just be careful with the volume control... as it will test the dynamic range of "any" speaker and "any" amp made.
I could see myself enjoying a pair of Legacy Whispers someday… if I can get past the WAF – they are huge.. not to mention their $$$$.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/30/13 at 20:11:02

I think you're right maddog.....deja-vu'...we have met before.

The reason for my 3 environments (regarding your post) one System does it I need 3! Actually, 4.....I have Klipsch RF-7 II's in my as strip club for one neighbor stated. We had a couple girls dancing that .

The NEW Legacy Audio FOCUS SE just recently bumped up to the ALL full Air Motion Tweet's...... . I wish I could make RMAF this year!

YES! I am aware of that drum kit track. Their is a equivalent to pick up...I found on their Website...if I can't get that one. You also hit the nail on the head...that my two flea powered amps...might actually drive these speaks.....and CERTIAINLY Steve's new Mystery AMP will.... .

I plan on bringing the Mystery Amp across my 10 to 18 months from now.

I understand the WAF thing. So, I divorced her....and now I just have the NGFIYDEMHYCBR!
New-girlfriend-&-If-You-don't-except-my-hobby-you-can-be-replaced! -S

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 09/30/13 at 21:02:40

you're singing my song....  yep - no perfect speaker for all kinds of music and rooms - after 30 years of chasing the holy grail.. I finally came to just accept that.  So now I only have "two" systems/rooms actually; the HT and the 2-ch rig in the man-cave.  But I have 5 different pairs of speakers for the 2-ch room, and a few amps also, so I can swap in whatever is floatin' me boat at the time.  I try to keep only one stable front end(pre and sources).  But manage to stray from that objective too often.  
I think you and I are in a similar place.... I just regret it took me so long to get there !!  Thankfully.. I didn't have to replace the spouse along the way!! :o  She has her "things" that I have to tolerate also... so we compromise... 32 years now...!!
mostly she just rolls her eyes  ::) when it comes to anything audio related.  Like heading up to Zenfest this weekend - she thinks I'm nuts!

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 09/30/13 at 23:07:54

Good for you maddog, I am jealous....32 years is awesome. I was married for 21 years and have 4 children I am very proud of.

Enjoy Zenfest!  I am compromising too.....I can't make Zenfest this year...taking the girlfriend to Cable Wisconsin to enjoy the good beer, food and the FALL Foliage.  -Stone

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by kana813 on 09/30/13 at 23:51:58

"no one System does it all"

I think I could live with this set up:

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 10/01/13 at 16:00:55

Kana, you have a wonderful system with your Sophia 3's.

However, this system would be on my audition list if I won the Powerball.

Anyway, I came to my senses: (keeping)
-Anedio D2
-Moon W5.3 SE
-NAD M51
-Super Zen CKC

NOT getting the Focus SE's.

I bought the KEF Q900's.
I think they sound just as good as the R900's... .

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 10/02/13 at 04:17:12

I've heard the Wilson's - several times in fact, in several different setups, driven by tubes and silicon... yes they are good.  But NO Speaker does everything "the best" for all types of music.  At least I haven't heard it yet - for my ears.  If you have the bank balance for Wilson's, you have to consider MBL Radialstrahler's too...which I personally could live with longer I think than the Wilson's - except for the 101e's bass(the 101e is the MBL I've heard the most), which is not that great IMO.  But bass can be "added".  Getting the highs, mids and imaging to suite is a much harder feat to accomplish I've found.  No matter what you have, you'll likely grow tired of it eventually, if not sooner and/or hear something else that gets your mojo workin' and then think you need that.  This is the only possible explanation for the vast array of speakers and types of speakers available to us music consumers <-- a fickle bunch we philes are!  Thus...  my 30+ year journey chasing the audio holy grail finally led me to multiple pairs of speakers and a few different amps.  Each of the 5 pair being completely different in design objectives and sonic qualities... and I'm about to add two more pair to the stable within the next few days.  Which means one or two current pair will likely rotate out to another fellow obsessed, or possessed as the case may be, fellow audio hobbyist.
I don't think we are ever meant to reach the end of this journey... merely to enjoy the ride along the way......

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 10/02/13 at 20:45:43

I hear you loud & clear maddog. As long as we are enjoying the music along the all that really matters (not cliche').

For me, I now own the Anedio D2, NAD M51 & AA gear for three different Systems now.

I wanted to find (and did find) a great solid state amp for $3750.00, in the Moon W5.3 SE (full retail $8800.00.....most of them sold for $5695.00). It was new/demo...and I have the 10 year warranty.

I did not buy the KEF's yet. Good word though about the Q900 & R900 at 5k.

I might still have the Legacy Focus SE in. I can have them shipped here for 30 days and only pay return freight of approx. $400.00.

I am jonesin' for a good 7 to 10k speaker!  I am going to audition the Sonus Faber Cremona M next week.  Cheers, Stone

PS-not to be a Debbie downer....but I figure I might as well get it' while the getin' is good...including the Mystery Amp in 10 to 18 months. I don't  think QE (Quantitative Easing) can last much longer than 10 to 18 months inflation is coming...and it is going to hurt.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by Lon on 10/02/13 at 20:58:16

You guys have an interesting viewpoint to me. I actually DO find one system works for me, covers all the bases. Especially with the HR-1s and the flexibility of the Torii Mk III and the CSP2+ I can have it all, for me.

I feel so grateful that my life led me to this point and I had the resources to have this rich a musical playback life. And I'm sitting back and enjoying it all.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 10/02/13 at 21:04:03

Only $400 for return freight ... those things must be MONSTERS ;D

Here's a couple speakers in your price range that sound very interesting:

1. Line Magnetic 755I ($8995/pair), in which two field-coil 755 EX drivers are installed in floorstanding cabinets and bundled with a pair of Line Magnetic PR-3 field-coil power supplies.

2. Devore Fidelity Gibbon 88 ($8500/pair).

3. The Orangutan O/96 ($12,000/pair) look pretty interesting as well however go above your price range.

4. The Rethm Maarga ($8450/pair)

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by stone_of_tone on 10/03/13 at 18:09:11

Beowulf, I will check out DeVore.....very cool.
I hear you too Lon, I don't take for granted being able to enjoy what I have...and recently have acquired.

Okay, I have things distilled down & fleshed out:

Solid State Mood = NAD M51 with Moon W5.3 SE AMP (Listening Rm)
Impressive synergistic match...definitely a couple of steps above my Emotiva XPA-2 in the Living Room.

Single Ended Triode Mood = Audio Alchemy Gear with SE84CS (Listening Rm)
My AA DAC 3.0 has adjustable voltage output....which is crucial to exploit the SE84CS in a positive manner.

Single Ended Triode Mood = Anedio D2 with Super Zen CKC (Bedroom System)

**all DACS have Digital preamps driving Amps directly... .

It's all good!  -S
PS-I need to bring my Kimber Kable PK-10 Palladian Power Kord off of my Emotiva my Moon W5.3 SE Amp. This Power Cord improved the performance of the XPA-2 a lot! The Palladian does not like Single Ended Triodes though. It will go up against the PS Audio AC-10 that is doing a stellar job right now with my Moon Amp.

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by beowulf on 10/04/13 at 03:23:09

Beowulf, I will check out DeVore.....very cool.

The Devore line is pretty tube friendly (especially the Orangutan O/96 at 10Ω @ 96dB)

stone said,
Solid State Mood = NAD M51 with Moon W5.3 SE AMP (Listening Rm)
Impressive synergistic match...definitely a couple of steps above my Emotiva XPA-2 in the Living Room.

Single Ended Triode Mood = Audio Alchemy Gear with SE84CS (Listening Rm)
My AA DAC 3.0 has adjustable voltage output....which is crucial to exploit the SE84CS in a positive manner.

Single Ended Triode Mood = Anedio D2 with Super Zen CKC (Bedroom System)

Wow, looks like you have a serious game plan here ... but very curious to know which speakers go with which setup?

Title: Re: NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC
Post by maddog07 on 10/04/13 at 13:37:06

Decware Torii goes with my Audio Nirvana's and Decware 945's, and updated vintage Klipsch... Torii with any high-efficiency speaker - its especially excellent with the full-range, high-efficiency, xoverless types.

Class D Audio SDS-470c(replaced monster Krell power amp in my system-my new reference - and cheap!) with my Martin Logan's, and any conventional dynamic type speaker with multiple drivers and xovers.

Emotiva XPA amps in our HT with Emo speaks and Velodyne subs.

I'm already in Decware country this morning... up at Hawthorne Audio to pick up my just built Trio's.  Which will be driven by my Torii for the highs/mids, Class D sds-470c for the Augie's.  Headed back down the road to Peoria for Zenfest this afternoon....

much more to report on all - next week Zenfest.

maddog signing off for the weekend  [smiley=13.gif]  !

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