NAD M50 Network Player

Written by on June 28, 2013 in Latest Auditions - No comments

NAD M50 (2)

For the past few weeks we’ve been getting into our new NAD M50 Digital player. Although the M50 may appear to be another CD-player from NAD’s high-end Master Series line, playing CD’s is perhaps one of its more arbitrary functions. These days it’s all about ripping, music servers and streaming music files over local area networks.

The M50 thus falls into the category of Digital Player because it can play and accept data from various data storage devices and discs. It also connects to networks via LAN or Wi-Fi thereby allowing direct access to existing NAS devices. The road-map for the M50 holds even more promising attributes such as higher density disc reading via its high speed Blu-Ray derived disc drive. There is even an HDMI output socket on the back despite being inactive within the scope of its current firmware version.

To say we’re excited about this new product from NAD is perhaps a bit of an understatement. We’re ecstatic especially when considering the exceptional value for money price tag of only R29995 incl. VAT. The NAD M50 offers similar performance and functionality to other players costing three times more.

The M50 however should be viewed along a similar vein to the traditional CD-transports of yesteryear. It contains no internal DAC and thus exits a low jitter digital data stream via all popular interfaces such as S/PDif, Toslink & AES/EBU. The way we’ve been connecting our M50 is through the AES/EBU outlet connected to our resident collection of DAC’s each in turn with Transparent Audio’s much applauded Premium Balanced 110ohm Digital link.

The M50 sounds clean,  on the laid back side of neutral and perhaps most importantly uncongested throughout the range.  A very low jitter spectrum is perhaps more than likely with this unit. Experience proved that with rising digital jitter within the output the onset thereof is usually marked by glare at the outlines of instrumental images within the soprano ranges and beyond. Often such presentation could be somewhat tamed in the context of knowledgeable component matching and may be overseen especially when a component displays otherwise good behaviour and comes at a reasonable price. Despite being excellent value the M50 does not fall into this category. Neither does it fall into the subsequent category where digital jitter artifacts begin to impact on instrumental separation.

The M50 instead displays exemplary sonic behavior in the way it keeps complex music program beautifully separated and defined in near good old analogue fashion. Multi-instrument compositions sound as well defined as through the best CD-transports we’ve come to love and admire over the years. This aspect holds true especially when using the M50 as Streamer of music files from a NAS again perhaps pointing to recent experiences with other well designed streamers that music data transmission in packets yield definite sonic benefits.

Tablet and i-Device control is the suggested way of enjoying an interactive experience with the M50. NAD’s app on Apple’s iTunes is a free download and once experienced the player will rarely see the comprehensive remote control (included) pointed at its front panel again. We’ve not used the remote other than when figuring out why our M50 wouldn’t reconnect with the iPad after unexpected power outages. Our country’s electrical supply commissioner this year preferred to simply begin with load shedding unannounced perhaps in a feeble attempt to avoid official criticism within the press. Sneaky… but not improbable considering the “We’re part of Africa, anything goes” attitude this country has succumbed to in recent years.

At least the M50 is one of those devices that once installed in your system will never seize to bring relief from worldly pressures. The enjoyment of music at the advanced levels the NAD is capable of producing will never fail to rejuvenate those in its presence. It inspires often lengthy playlist compositions and therefor music enjoyment is no longer limited to dedicated listening sessions. Background music is a spontaneous element of M50 ownership and music is after all what we’re on about. Reading this article will mean you’re part of our world, so be forewarned: With the NAD M50 Network Music player you’ll be playing a lot more music than ever before.

CelestialSounds is an authorized NAD Master Series Dealer. We have M50 stock on hand. Feel free to ask us about suitable NAS servers and network devices to go with it.

NAD M50 App

About the Author

Audio Engineer, Critic & Retailer twenty-seven years in the making.

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