Summary: Spectacular clarity. Clean, explosive dynamics. No need for a pre-amp. These are wired into two big Bryston 7BST mono blocks (balanced) and there is ZERO noise. I can pause a music track, turn the M51 up all the way, put my ear to the speaker and hear-- nothing. This level of silence creates a noise floor where every nuance is discernible. I have owned many high-end audiophile grade products, and I'm surprised this doesn't cost over $10k.
Summary: Almost can't believe the difference this unit has brought to all of my digital audio, CD's, internet radio, computer, any digital source all into another realm of sonic bliss. Pandora radio has such a huge sound stage now. Worth every penny at this price. Sounds nearly like vinyl on an expensive turn table.
Pros: Instant improvement to any digital source. A real bargain for the price.
Summary: This DAC replaced the Oppo BDP 105 in my computer based stereo system. The improvement over the high quality 2 channel DAC in the Oppo was immediately apparent. Most generally, it had a liveliness to it that I was missing in the Oppo. Sound was also fuller. Just more engaging with a variety of music from a variety of sources. Noteworthy for me was how much better streaming services like Spotify Premium and MOG sounded. That's special.
Pros: One of the best DACs on the market at this price with a proven track record of very satisfied users. Display has great visibility. Remote works great for me, and you don't need to use it often except to adjust volume ( there is also an option to lock the volume and adjust it through another component).
Cons: none really. One can always want different features, but this gets the essentials right.
Summary: The reviews from the various sources are spot on about this unit as far as the sound is concerned. The Benchmark DAC HDR was my first outboard DAC and I really enjoyed it but went to the NAD out of curiosity and because I did like the fact that it can act as a receiver of sorts i.e. wife can handle it better and it accepts HDMI with video pass-through, and because her and I watch more streaming tv on the 2.0 system I have than HT setup i.e.
Pros: Excellent sound, great for up-scaling media, great functionality.
Summary: Like many others, I've been transitioning over to streaming music - has been a hard sell for me, though, because of quality vs. convenience factors. (My main system is NAD T787 AVR, Marantz NA7004 NW Player, NAD C565 CD, Oppo 93 BR, PSB Synchrony Speakers, 5.2 setup). I've been running Airplay in 3 rooms + patio for a few years, basically as background music, using Apple Lossless files.
Pros: Sound Quality is amazing. Clarity, separation, soundstage, tight bass. My Synchrony towers seem like they're each about 4 feet wide, a true "wall of sound"! And my PSB 300 subs have NEVER sounded so musical.
Cons: Not really a con, but note that the M51 takes a LONG time to break in fully, took me several weeks of nearly constant play before harsh highs and boomy bass went away. Biggest gripe: I would have liked a couple more Coax & Optical inputs, had to reroute a few components thru the Marantz NW player instead of direct to the DAC. Eventually this will sort itself out, when mostly using streaming, but annoying for those in transition.
Summary: Outstanding DAC. It manages the holy grail in DACs---incredible detail with musicality and no digital glare/harshness. I auditioned 6 dacs before choosing this one. Base is tight, clean, nuanced and with a power and depth that is amazing. Imaging is excellent and wide. Instruments and voices seem to come alive and make you feel like the musicians are playing in your room.
Pros: outstanding bass, excellent imaging, instruments and voices seem to come alive.
Cons: perhaps price-- but they don't have competition at this performance level for this price
Summary: Replaced a Peachtree Grand Pre with this after also comparing with the Benchmark DAC2 HGC. The listening test was spread over 10 days after allowing the Benchmark to 'burn-in' for a week. The Benchmark felt very precise and clinical in sound and presentation. The Peachtree sounded very similar, though brighter. The NAD just seemed much more open and natural sounding, with a better sense of timing.
Pros: Sound Quality, Timing, Sense of Realism and being there, revealing, organic/natural, HDMI input opens up new possibilities
Cons: Lack of volume buttons on the Device. Boot Up time is very slow compared to all the other devices and therefore, when used with a universal remote like Harmony, it's tough to use automated activities that also switch the input on the NAD as part of the macro. I added a soft button for the right input for each activity, so that I can set it after boot up is complete.
Summary: A month ago, I wrote a post on my desktop audioblog on the long awaited NAD M51 35-bit/844 kHz DAC. It's time to update that post with some first impressions, because I was so fortunate to get a 30 min. listen on it Friday. I had been down in my local Hi-Fi Klubben to check out the finale release date and it turned out, that they had just received a sample of the NAD M51. Very generously, they offered me to get a listen right away.
Pros: Good connectivity and flexible with HDMI. Sounded very good with CD quality music.
Cons: Some will find the design too minimalistic. You miss a volume button on the DAC, when used a preamp