User Review: M50 Digital Music Player - Fantastic digital music player but software needs to improve
June 20, 2013
Products: M50 Digital Music Player
I bought this player with a view to simplify my digital music setup. I demo'd a few digital player offerings from NAIM and Bryston, but ultimately found that the M50 sounded better with my dac, an AMR DP-777 dac. I've connected the M50 to the AMR dac via AES/EBU input using a Furutech 110ohm digital cable and the output of the AMR dac via balanced outputs to a pair of SGR CX4F active speakers. Physically, the M50 has enough digital, usb and network inputs for most users, but the addition of a USB3 input would have been good for future proofing. The first thing that is very noticable was the soundstage and depth of music from the M50 was far larger than my existing Sony X7ESD cdp on cd tracks. Vocals are less sibilant and highs are a little more sweeter. Bass has a more 'punchier' quality on the Sony, but the M50 offered much deeper and natural bass. It played and passed all files bit perfect, 44.1khz, 48khz, 88khz, 96khz, 176khz, 192khz files no problems to the dac. Internet radio is a breeze to use and sounds quite good. The M50 is dead easy to use once its fully configured. There are some annoying instances when using the M50. Firstly, I found that I needed an Ipad as a remote. The bundled remote is practically useless and cannot dim the display! I tried the android app and it was visually and functionality lacking over the IOS version, so I had to invest on an Ipad mini. The initial setup required a wired ethernet connection from my router. I tried to setup the unit wirelessly and found that it couldnt get updates and track info from Last fm properly. So i invested in an Ethernet Over Power adaptor and that worked flawlessly for me to access updates and song/track infor from Last FM. Ripping cd's from the M50 drive takes ages, but the quality of the rips are quite good. Do yourself a favour and rip your cd's using DBpoweramp. That way you get proper tagging and track metadata installed on to the FLAC files. Also, make sure that your tags and metadata are correct, otherwise it will play havoc with your views of songs in the playlist view. Its a shame that I still need to use a PC to create my FLAC files and tag them correctly before migrating them to the external hard drive. I am using an 1TB external USB3.0 drive as my music library. Although USB3.0 speeds are not supported, its compatible with the USB2.0 input on the M50. I've also tried it with a 32GB USB2.0 thumbdrive and it was easily recognised by the M50. Also, you must re-index the drive to ensure that all your songs are recognised, along with the tag metadata. Once this is done, you're all set. I havent attempted on setting up a NAS, to test out the streaming functionality but will do so in the near future. In my opinion, the NAD M52 storage unit is a good way to store all your ripped cd's and 2TB is a lot of space for it. But it didnt make financial sense for my needs as I dont have many cd's to rip and can be quite easily ripped as FLAC files to my external HDD. The playlist is another area for improvement. Since purchase, i've done 2 software updates, which tells me that NAD is definately improving the software on the M50. To be fair, 3rd party apps like MPAD/MPOD took a while to get to its current level of maturity, so I believe that NAD's software will get there eventually. Overall, i'm very happy with the unit. It offers great sound, simple to use, but has some software quirks that needs to be sorted. Pros ------- PC/Laptop not required..period! Great sound Good level of connectivity Internet radio and cd playback function works well M52 not needed for storage, generic USB storage device works well. Cons ------- Software maturity and needs further improvements! Dimming functionality needed! Would be good if NAD enabled USB output for connectivity to USB dacs Included remote is practically useless for those without an M51 dac.
Godfrey - Melbourne