Nad M33 Review

Nad M33 Review

nad m33 review

Nad Masters Series Streaming Integrated Amplifier M33

A dozen audio writers and critics gathered at Gilmore Sound Advice in New York’s West Side on February 19, 2020 to view new NAD/DALI products. They had just been announced at CES the month before. The group was friendly and enjoyed a cup of coffee, before settling down in the reserved seats to watch presentations or auditions. We didn’t realize it was the end of this familiar ritual.

John Atkinson was my friend, and we went back to Times Square. We were discussing amplifiers. John asked me how I felt about the NAD M33. He was familiar with both the, as well as the MDC DD BluOS module with “DirectDigital”, and the more recent “Hybrid Digital” amp with BluOS. NAD-developed amps, the first accepting digital signals at their input and the second requiring an analog signal.

The M33 represents the ultimate culmination of these developments. The M33 features a BluOS streaming portal, sophisticated control options, and power amplifiers based a class-D patent-pending technology that Bruno Putzeys developed, the inventor behind today’s almost ubiquitous nCore amplifiers.

NAD made the announcement at Munich High End 2019. It was May 2018. Purifi’s new, patent-pending class -D technology was introduced to international brands. The amplifier circuit, known as Eigentakt (meaning “self-clocking”), is the result of years of research by Purifi into the self-oscillation behaviours in class-D amplifiers with algorithms that, when applied in control loops, improve existing designs by an order of magnitude or more. The Eigentakt circuit will outperform all other audio amplifiers, no matter what technology they are. THD and IMD were quoted at below 0.00017% for all frequencies and power levels. The frequency response of the audioband is said to be within +- 0.01dB in all loads. Although it is not true that I felt sweaty my palms in February’s cold, I know I could have on an M33.

Like other NAD Masters Series products, the M33 is packaged in a double-insulated box with 2 trays of parts and accessories. One page of set-up instructions contains diagrams and detailed information that will help you connect and turn on your AC power, your wired or wireless LAN and speakers. Everything else is possible using the M33’s clear front touchscreen as well as the large volume control knob.

This touchscreen is great for continuous playback but it can make scrolling horizontally through menus and settings on a very vertical screen difficult. There are many other options to setup things, like the BluOS app that I downloaded on my iPhone. You can also use an iPad, or even a laptop. Android devices are also compatible.

The M33 is more than a streamer. Input from modern stereo systems can be received via the back panel. Digital inputs via optical, RCA, and XLR handle PCM up to 24/192, and the BluOS system will play PCM files from a USB drive plugged into the rear-panel USB port. XLR and RCA inputs can accept analog audio. There’s also a phono input that will play MM or MC cartridges. However, they are digitalized at 24-bit resolution with a sample rate between 48 and 96 kHz. Even the M33 has an HDMI/ARC output that extracts audio from your smart television’s HDMI/ARC connections. This allows you to add high-quality sound to your TV’s videos.

nad m33 review

Performance

Streaming service support is comprehensive When a product is designed to be better than one you’ve already loaded superlatives on, there is an unavoidable weight of expectation heaped on it. It is proving to be a worthy product. Although I didn’t have an M10 to compare it with, I did change rooms between my review. However, there are many places where the M33 feels more powerful than its brother. The key word across both is ‘unflappable’, which I grant you is not as easy to contextually place as ‘exciting’ or ‘dynamic’ but is the most accurate.

So, you are able to choose to listen at deeply antisocial levels to My Own Soul’s Warn by The Killers. And the M33’s cool is unwavering. You never feel like it is being pushed past (or indeed anywhere near) the limits of its operating envelope. There should be no expectation that this will result in a limited or dull performance. NAD has a quick, dynamic and hard hitting performance that is easily attainable if there’s a lot of headroom.

This is also an example of how these all-in-one products work. Ignoring the effect of the M33’s digital decoding or amplification is futile, since they complement each other. Because of this, the NAD can present a consistent presentation to all users. Bluetooth can be used in a similar way to other digital inputs. You can use the Bluetooth in any way you like, but the M33 just gets on with the job of delivering the goods.

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With 200 watts on tap, there is little the M33 cannot drive That prodigious power output also means that the NAD can be relied upon to drive pretty much anything you choose to connect to it short of a length of wet rope. The Focal Kanta No1 is unsurprisingly effortless… but then so is the Kudos Titan 505. You can’t find a partner it doesn’t like. This also means that you can eliminate some parts of the spec that would normally be a problem. The phono stage in its moving coil setting is not possessed of huge gain so, connected to the Planar 10 and it’s 0.3mV output Apheta 3 cartridge, you need to use rather more volume than you do for the digital. This doesn’t matter though as the gain is sufficient to hit all levels.

Not less impressive is the TV performance. The NAD dealt with a… wide range of works, including Masterchef The Professionals and Die Hard 2. It didn’t make a mistake at all. The ability to effortlessly extract the source material from the computer and then deliver it without any compression or congestion, is addictive. Dirac’s benefit seems more evident when this material is used than music. The stopping correction at 500Hz does not seem to be detrimental, but it is due to the fact that I am in a room that has properly placed speakers. Those in more challenging environments might feel differently.

While the M33 can be considered an impressive kit, it is not without its flaws. I feel that it is still a very valuable piece of kit. But there’s one issue with this M33 that I just cannot shake off after spending two weeks working with it. It is its ridiculously talented younger brother. Although the M33 performs better than M10, I have to be clear that I don’t think it does feel PS1,800 superior. While the extra functionality is appreciated, it doesn’t mean that the smaller unit has less features. While the M10’s extra power offers an appealing feeling of effortlessness, you will struggle to move it beyond its limit in any UK lounge. Comparing it to the Naim Unitis who each constructed on the same specs as the M10 in a coherent way, one gets the feeling that NAD developed the M10 to defeat the Uniti Atom. But that leaves the M10 with only a small number of tools to fight the Uniti Nova.

There is more to the M33 than meets the eye.

nad m33 review

A Potential Swiss Army Knife Of An Amp?

I must admit, when I received the M33 I was shocked at how lightweight it was in comparison to its boxed weight. The packaging that NAD’s M33 Master Series flagship M33 Master Series is protected by was very substantial. I quickly appreciated this after moving the box into my listening space. To be honest, I hadn’t done any research on the unit, and I usually don’t. It’s also not something I do if I have to review a product.

After working my way through the packaging’s multiple top flaps and removing the substantial inner carton’s bullet-proofed cardboard ceiling, lifting the M33 out was a doddle. The M33 was so heavy that I had to straddle my legs, brace for the backbreaking process and nearly fall backwards when it arrived. It’s not because of a poor build or quality material. This is simply due to NAD’s lack of unnecessary and large power transformers. NAD also incorporates Purify Audio’s Eigentakt Class D amplifiers. While the M33 might not seem very lightweight, its appearance is deceptive when compared with its dimensions.

The M33 features a distinctive front panel that includes a large display and large volume control. You can place it in cabinet, or right next to an enormous tv.

The rear of the M33 has a wealth of inputs and has clearly been designed by a very thoughtful team of engineers to incorporate every wired and wireless connection needed – with 2 future proof MDC expansion card slots too.

Four conical feet run to the bottom of the M33. Thoughtful from an isolation standpoint, but I did consider potential scratches on my nice bamboo shelves. I wasn’t worried at all, because I looked through the various accessory boxes within the main box, I came across 4 pairs of matching shoes that fit these spikey toes. “Going to have to be careful when lifting the chassis to pop these underneath” I said to myself. But, they were magnetically attracted when I put foot to shoe before installation – which was massively thoughtful.

A remote control is included, along with aerials to Bluetooth AptX and WiFi HD, Ethernet Cable, Power Cable, and Literature.

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nad m33 review

Primary Navigation

NAD M33 streaming DAC amp – HiFi review My very first integrated amplifier was NAD 3020e, a variant of the highly successful NAD 3020. It launched in late seventies. By the time that the e-version arrived, it had already been improved with an elegant front panel and push button source selection for four inputs. Additionally, there were rotary controls for balance, bass, treble or treble. It was amazing! All my friends were raving about their graphic equalizers. But I felt content knowing that the source of my audio was free from electronic noises caused by routing it through extra circuits. I had so few buttons to play with, apart from a mono selector and a low-level switch for listening to low volumes, I was confident that I was listening to the purest audio signal possible. The technology and how we listen to music has changed tremendously over the years. This is evident in NAD’s most recent generation integrated amplifier as well as this review of NAD’s M33 streaming DAC amplifier.

This just-add speaker music solution from M33 is expensive. It retails at about PS4,000. You get a large package with everything needed for home networked music streaming, multi-room connectivity, and even audio streaming. This box contains a lot of technological goodies, including digital room correction software (a modern-day graphic equalizer) as well headphone compatibility and turntable compatibility.

nad m33 review

You must listen carefully

To be a little more analytical about things, I recalibrated the Dirac software to a focussed, single listening position. It has a pleasant, wide soundstage thanks to the NAD M33. The vocals are well placed in the soundstage but sound more stripped back than their counterparts. Higher quality recordings come into their own, such is the DAC chip quality. This system is a great deal of fun and energy. The Chromatics Sound of Silence, and a 24-bit version of Better (Zayn’s new album Nobody is Listening) are both excellently produced and have a lot of energy when played on NAD.

When the NAD is playing the right track, the NAD will deliver plenty of detail. For example, Tin Pan Alley (Stevie Ray Vaughan’s beautifully constructed and recorded song), the NAD will provide plenty of detail. Jamie Cullum’s observation can be found below.

It was just now that I realized how little I used the remote. I have been controlling streaming, volume, settings, libraries, etc. I use the amazing BluOS app on either my Pixel smartphone, or iPad.

For personal listening and a little bit of private listening Oppo’s PM-2 Planar Magnetic headphones were used. Atlas Zeno Headphone Cable was also added to the NAD. Though the PM-2s needed a lot more power than I was expecting, the M33 protection circuitry protects against accidental removal of the headphone jack socket from the front panel.

The Focal Bentley Radiance headphones, which I recently reviewed, gave me the best performance. The M33 is easier to drive, and they provide incredible detail. Jamie Cullum’s vocal in Gran Torino sounds amazing with the additional resolution.

nad m33 review

Nad M33 Streaming DAC/Amp

Ever at the cutting edge of both analogue and digital Class D amplification, NAD’s new M33 is the first to utilise Purifi’s groundbreaking modules. All this, plus streaming…

Launched last year, NAD’s M10 all-in-one streaming system [HFN Jun ’19] was remarkable in two ways. First, this compact just add speakers’ package belonged to NAD’s elite Masters Series. Second, it was extremely good. This system sold for approximately PS2000 and was lauded in HFN. Finally, the M10 was awarded an EISA Award as the Best Smart amplifier 2019-20.

According to EISA, NAD was referred to as “a true master in modern music playback”.

There are now two networks systems – the PS3999, M33 or NADspeak, a BluOS Streaming DAC Amplifiers’ – in the PS3999 line. The M33 takes the M10 concept and scales it up into a full-size hi-fi component, complete with network and Bluetooth/Apple AirPlay 2 connectivity, and a new amplification section delivering ‘a minimum of 200W per channel’, against the 100W of the M10.

Evolution To Revolution. Class D Eigentakt is an amp module that hails from Danish Purifi. It was established by Bruno Putzeys/Philips/Hypex, Lars Risbo/TacT/TI, Peter Lyngdorf/Hi-Fi Klubben/DALI and Steinway Lyngdorf. It represents an evolution in technology that was used in NAD previous designs. The M33 has more power than the rated capacity and is more capable of surpassing its rating.

The M33 appears very similar [HFN Jul 18] to the M32. In that all M-Series models share similar styling, the M10 has a Gorilla Glass-covered 7in touchscreen screen and the M10 also features an integrated amp. The M32 integrated amp cost around PS3500 and the M50.2 streaming media player at PS3799 respectively, so the PS3999 price tag for the M33 might seem like a good deal, provided that it performs well.

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However, before we proceed, let’s have a look at NAD M33, which measures 13.3cm in height. It looks huge, but it only weighs 9.7kg. For a start, it’s worth noting that the combination of aluminium and gloss finishes gives the unit a real feeling of solidity, as is usual with NAD Masters products, while the ‘magnetic iso-point’ feet help keep vibrations out. With its standard remote handset, Android and iOS BluOS apps, it’s unlikely that you will touch or leave fingerprints on the glass front panel.

nad m33 review

Amazon.com Music – The Police – Best Hits

Classical music was my first choice, as that’s what I like to review. I chose to go with John Williams best hits 1969-1999. Yes, movie themes. Williams is the only contemporary composer I own an album or CD. As a child of the 70s Williams wrote the themes to some of the most memorable movies of my young life. Star Wars is, incidentally, the 1st track on CD1 of a CD2 collection. This was my favorite movie growing up. As a youngster, I could hear the JAWS music every time that I went out in the water. John Williams music holds a special place on my heart.

NAD M33 is a truly amazing speaker. This made it necessary for me to pull out my Emotiva ERC-3CD player. This little gem is to me one of the most valuable in audio. This unit sounds very close to my Wadia CD player. It sounds very similar to my old reference Wadia CD player. Source, duh.

The NAD M33 was a great choice. Although it took me over an hour just to get the CD Player out and set it up, it was so worth it. STAR WARS blew me away. A sound stage was created and the instruments could be reconstructed. The instrument separation was excellent. You could choose a particular section of the instruments to be focused on. After the SUPERMAN song, the NAD had completely captured my affection.

Also, this collection will make you think about awards. How did SUPERMAN not win the academy award? EMPIRE TRIKES BACK was not victorious? RAIDERS FOR THE LOSTARK didn’t win? OK, Chariots of Fire was a good band. I remember it well. But you also realize, looking back, that not all awards give works that can withstand the tests of time an award. These are often given to the fads.

Here are the John Williams scores:

It was a great experience to listen to singles of groups such as Pink Floyd and Public Enemy, The Eagles. ZZ Top, Fresh Prince, The Highwaymen, The Highwaymen, ZZ Top, ZZ Top, ZZ Top, The Highwaymen, The Highwaymen, ZZ Top, ZZ Top, ZZ Top and many more. The NAD M33 just made me want to keep listening. Metallica finally won me over. Metallica’s Black Album.

Enter the Sandman, a favorite is mine. It was a great listening experience. It was evident that the M33 could reproduce excellent bass. There is no doubt that the M33 has plenty of power. On full display was the album’s dynamic. The M33 was a problem that I couldn’t locate. It was too late to listen to “Nothing Else Matters”. I was already wishing for an audiovisual recorder (A separate amp called the NADM28, which is 7 channel and uses the Purifi module).

Do You Think The Nad 33 Dac Is Good Enough?

Overall. The NAD M33 is one of the best all-in-one streaming DAC amplifier solutions around, easily. BluOS’ multi-room music app is an absolute joy and allows you to listen to all your favorite music regardless of source. January 28, 2021

Is Nad A Good Amplifier?

It proved once again NAD could make fantastic-sounding amplifiers for an impressively affordable price. While bass and Treble are impressive by themselves, the best part about NAD amplifiers is their clear midrange sound and effortless integration of all components. Nov 13, 2018

How Do I Factory Reset My Nad M33?

Click on Settings > Other and then select Factory Reset. The M33 will be restored to its factory settings. Follow the prompts. Hold and press the rearpanel RESET tact button. Turn ON the rearpanel POWER switch while doing this. The RESET tact toggle switch should not be released.

Does Nad M10 Have A Phono Stage?

A pleasant surprise with the M10 was its analog playback. The M10 does not have an internal phono stage. However, through my turntable and phono preamplifier, the sound was better than I anticipated. Because the analog signal is digitally converted by the M10, it is a pleasant surprise.

.Nad M33 Review