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User Review: M51 Direct Digital DAC - Fabulous! A dream come true for digital music

August 28, 2012

Products: M51 Direct Digital DAC

It is strange that nobody addressed the segment of a great preamp and DAC before NAD. The good news is that they did and what a success it is! As with many others, with my extensive collection of digital music, mainly FLAC from 96/24 to 44.1/16, I never listen to anything else than my digital files. Yet, one still need a great preamp and a great DAC between the source (in my case a dedicated PC running JRiver) and the amplifier. I've tried various permutations of components, including bypassing altogether the preamp stage - not recommended as the sound will miss a lot. Now that I have been the happy owner of a M51 for a few weeks, I not only elegantly solved my problem of linking the source to the amp, but what a spectacular difference in the sound quality! The sound is crystalline without being overly brilliant; the bass has considerably firmed up, and the overall musical equilibrium is a continuous joy. It truly brought the best of all my other components. Everything is very stable, including the computer driver and it has performed without a single glitch since day one; contrary to my previous experience with a high-end Xonar sound card with or without an external DAC. Considering everything, this product is a true bargain at its current price. Very highly recommended!! P.S.: I also tried NAD C390DD but did not like so much the amplifier section. I think that one is better off with the M51 with a traditional amplifier. I currently use a C272 from a few years back and I am extremely pleased with the results.

Marc Baillargeon - Montreal, Qc, Canada

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