OK, the M33 has arrived and my initial project is to compare its sound quality with my existing M32.
The M33 uses the latest Purifi Class D technology, whereas the M32 uses Direct Digital – unique to NAD I believe.
I’ve always considered the M32 to be very good and exceptional value after comparing its amplifier section with numerous more costly power amps – GamuT, Micromega, Sugden, Accuphase, Benchmark Diavelet, Quad and others. I concluded that the M32 was the best overall and have sold or returned the others.
I have a Beresford TC-7220 MKIII switcher that allows me (using lots of rather long speaker cables) to A-B compare one amp with another by simply pushing a switch at the listening position. It also allows connection of 2 pairs of speakers, but that’s for another day. Details - http://www.homehifi.co.uk/S/tc-7220mk3.htm
I connected the M32 and M33 to my new Avantgarde XD speakers via the switcher and set the volumes to match. The M33 at -43dB and M32 at -36 dB. This shows that the newer amp is appreciably more powerful than the older one. Not important to me with 107dB speakers but perhaps relevent to those with less sensitive ones.
So far, I’ve used only BluOS to play music streamed from Qubuz or from my own ripped CD library stored in FLAC format and internet radio. No analogue, no room correction, no tone adjustments, no subwoofer settings – just straight through the DAC and amp to the speakers.
I don’t know whether amps need breaking in and they improve after time, but straight away there were subtle differences. The M33 is a little clearer with slightly more detailed sound and some instruments seemed a little closer than with the M32. A little more sparkle perhaps. Bass was at least as good, maybe slightly more precise than the M32, but these were all pretty small improvements, as I was anticipating.
The LED touch screen of the M33 is much bigger than the earlier model, but it takes a bit of getting used to. Various different displays can be chosen as default for each source. This can show little detail or plenty, analogue and digital VU meters, etc. A different default screen can be set for each source, so streamed and library music could be artwork + artist + album + track, whereas internet radio could be simply station + show + music detail if the station can be bothered to provide it!
All clever stuff, but I miss something from the M32’s standard display. You can’t see your progress through the track and there are no Next or Previous icons on any of the screen options, although a touch on the screen or an adjustment of the remote’s volume control will bring these up immediately for a few seconds.
That’s all for now – I’ll play around for a few more days before attempting to look at the Dirac Live and other features included with the M33. The microphone supplied looks a bit Micky Mouse, but it may do a reasonable job. I’m anticipating that a better (calibrated) mic may be needed to get the best out of Dirac. Time will tell.
This unit has been well received so far from the reviews I have watched on youtube, it will be interesting to hear from an owner of the product though. As joeinid indicated, this is really nice all in one package.
I'd really like one of these... have the M17 v2 now and it's nice, but looking for something with a better DAC, and this one if implemented right, should be among one of the better ones. However, I think I'll wait until they get the bass control modules ready.
Each speaker is separately measured by Dirac so each sub (if connected to separate outputs) are measured for timing and for frequency.
The M33 has 2 RCA outputs specifically for Subs where the cut-off frequency can be set within the M33's Settings. There are 2 more pre-outs that have no cut-off but could be used for additional subs if you have 3 or 4 of the blighters! As with most integrated, pre-outs are RCA and not XLR.
I'm having difficulties using Dirac because instructions are pitifully poor and as it requires a 64 bit PC . 2 of mine are 32 and the 64 one seems not to meet Dirac's requirements for some ".dll" reason. I'm not sure how I'll get around this. I have an iPad that may do the job, but I've not tried this yet.