NAD’s $2,750 M10 media streamer is an built-in amplifier and media consolidator of vast scope and talent that produces pristine sound. It’s additionally straightforward to arrange and use (principally), and can look nice nestled amid your different gear or by itself.
It’s all goodness, besides that for some cause, NAD didn’t leverage the unit’s massive contact show for setup or choosing streaming sources. For that you just want a pc or cellphone. It’s an odd omission in an in any other case complete hi-ficomponent.
Design and options
The M10 is a squarish black field measuring 8.5 x 10.25 x about 4 inches (WxDxH) and weighing about 5 kilos. The entrance is devoted solely to a 7-inch colour LCD contact show that’s used for transport management, displaying album artwork and tune info, selecting inputs, fundamental operations, and minor tweaks. On prime is the NAD brand, which is backlit to double as a standing indicator.
The again of the unit is dwelling to 2 pairs of binding posts for audio system, two RCA analog enter pairs, preamp and subwoofer outputs, coaxial and optical S/PDIF inputs, an HDMI ARC enter, in addition to an ethernet jack and USB Type-A port. There’s additionally a mini-USB port for servicing, a 12-volt set off port, and an IR port. There’s three-prong AC connection, in fact, in addition to a service button to provoke firmware upgrades from USB media.
The amp is rated for 100 watts steady into an 8-ohm load with lower than 0.1 % distortion. An onboard DAC handles MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-Lossless, ALAC, OPUS, MQA, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, as much as 32-bit/192 kHz PCM, in addition to transformed DSD playback through the BluOS desktop app.
You might need observed MQA on the listing. Some TechHive editors like it, however I’m nonetheless undecided what’s up with this codec, or supply system, for those who want. It helps high-definition audio, however past that, the web site and docs that I’ve seen discuss rather a lot with out saying a lot. That’s not an unusual prevalence in boutique audio thoughts you.
On the opposite hand, the M10 additionally accommodates Dirac Live, which is without doubt one of the causes you would possibly wish to pay the premium worth.
Dirac is room and speaker acoustic evaluation system that can optimize the EQ of your amp for its environment utilizing what are generally known as impulse responses. These are created by emitting take a look at tones (usually a frequency sweep) out of your audio system, recording the reflections, after which mapping the time it took for them to replicate and/or which frequencies diminish or enhance.
NAD gives a license for the required Dirac Live app, which is out there for the Mac, PC, and Android/iOS units. The Live model is proscribed to frequencies of 500Hz and beneath, however you may improve to the 20,000Hz model for $99 on Dirac’s web site. If you purchase the M10 to play with tune-to-the-room stuff, the improve could be value it.
NAD consists of the required microphone, and USB adapter which appeared to work simply nice when plugged into the again of the M10. Once it’s linked, you run the Dirac app from no matter platform and comply with the directions. The course of includes enjoying the aforementioned sweeping take a look at tone and ends with the generated filter being uploaded to the M10.
Note that you just’ll have to redo the method everytime you transfer your audio system or your main listening spot, so to keep away from repetition, determine on these things first. If you recurrently dance about whereas listening, you would possibly keep away from the hassle. You can learn extra in regards to the Dirac course of at NAD’s website.
It’s one factor to leverage cellphone or PC connectivity to make a product simpler and extra handy to make use of. In this case functioning as a distant management. It’s one other factor to make the product dependent upon these units for fundamental performance. When you’re standing proper subsequent to a really costly gadget with a big touchscreen, it’s only a tad annoying having to make use of your cellphone, pill, or PC for fundamental setup and choice.
Where this offloading philosophy went from irritating to really irritating was after I introduced the M10 dwelling from the lab and hooked it up with out connecting it to ethernet. Apparently the field didn’t like that the Wi-Fi community it had been beforehand linked to was lacking, and dutifully commenced screen-blanking and rebooting each two minutes or so. If the gadget have been able to standing by itself two toes, I’m darn positive this programming mishap wouldn’t have occurred.
On the opposite hand, when ethernet is linked, the M10 could be very straightforward to pair with the cellphone and BluOS app. As lengthy because the cellphone and the field are on the identical community, they need to discover one another. It’s auto-magical (with the aforementioned tunnel imaginative and prescient) on the field’s half.
The BluOS app (I used the Android model) is first rate sufficient, although I feel NAD and BluOS may provide you with a extra refined interface. It has the texture of being designed by engineers. I’ve a ton of music on a NAS field, and as much as 5 NAS containers in use on my native community at any given time. The cellphone app discovered just one, which sadly wasn’t the one with all of the music. The net browser interface, run from my PC, discovered every part.
Note that the M10’s BluOS will solely let you choose the foundation folder of the network-shared folder, not subfolders, so arrange issues appropriately; i.e., put your music within the root of a shared folder named Music or some such. Generally that’s a good suggestion anyway on the subject of networks; some working system lims the character rely in file paths.
BluOS helps a veritable boatload of streaming providers, as you may see beneath within the cellphone app. But it could be good for those who may choose them from the touchscreen on the M10 itself.
The app gained’t play music in your cellphone. I understand that the cellphone is solely appearing as a distant, however it could be a pleasant contact as many customers nonetheless preserve their favourite tunes on their telephones. To play them, you’ll want to hook up with the M10 through Bluetooth.
Back to the good things. The M10 sounds superb; musical and distortion-free to my ears by way of all my assessments on three totally different units of audio system, each 4-ohm and 8-ohm. Of course, amplification is so good throughout the board as of late that it’s onerous to name out one high-end product over one other. At least if in case you have common listening to. Golden ears? I feel they’d nonetheless just like the M10.
Despite the 100-watt-per-side ranking, the M10 didn’t actually sound all that loud to me. At maybe 75 %, listening by way of audio system in my moderately small take a look at room was nonetheless greater than bearable. It’s definitely loud sufficient for any common listening expertise, if not a full-on rave (or no matter sort of events are in vogue as of late).
I attempted Dirac and the ensuing impulses a number of occasions. There was a noticeable distinction, however being completely sincere, I couldn’t let you know which I most well-liked, or that I didn’t want the unaltered sound. Tastes fluctuate, and so do my moods and EQ tastes. Some would possibly name me sonically fickle, however I additionally suspect I’m not alone on this.
Case in level: I as soon as instructed somebody I used to be going to work on a mixture they didn’t like that night time, however didn’t get the prospect. I fired up the previous combine for them the subsequent day and was about to make excuses once they instructed me how a lot better it sounded. I stored my mouth shut.
Great, however please make the field standalone
I fairly favored the M10 in motion. It seems good, sounds nice, and the Dirac was enjoyable to play with, even when the outcomes weren’t notably vital to me. If you don’t care about cellphone/PC dependency, or even perhaps want it, the M10 will make n glorious addition to your audio setup, each audibly and visually.
But I’ve to be sincere. If I pay $2,750 for a streaming amp with a contact show, I wish to use stated show. For every part.