NAD M5 Masters Series CD/SACD CD Players

5/5 (2 Reviews) MSRP : $1799.99

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Product Description

CD/SACD player. Multichannel and stereo SACD output. Balanced and unbalanced analog stereo output for CD, unbalanced analog 5.1 output for SACD. Digital output for CD only. Digital bass and speaker-distance management.

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Rudy Deblieck a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 3, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I just did an extensive listen session of about 5 hours with my favourite CD's and SACD's at my HiFi dealer Klangpunkt in Aachen. I had the M5 partnered up with its ideal mate the M3 amplifier. Both were connected with XLR (balanced) InAkustik links and connected to B&W 804S (in the morning) and 805S (in the afternoon) with Inakustik LS1002 in biwiring. At home i have already a pretty good Marantz + B&W set and i was looking for the gear for a separate listening room.

Bottom line: This is a very very good, really high end CD player. I agree with the previous reviewer, it performs next to miracles extracting detailed information from not so well recorded & mastered redbook CD's. Just as an example, the Beatles Abbey Road album (not remastered) actually sounded far more detailed, controlled and interesting than on my Marantz SA8003 (and that is already a real goody). Also the Tales from Topographic Oceans Yes Album revealed new detail to me after 36 years... Another one: Brahms 4th Symphony DGG Wiener Philharmoniker led by Carlos Kleiber is not really an audiophile recording but artistically the best ever. On the M5 though it sounded very musically and beguilingly detailed.

SACD seems to sound even better, more loose, clean and detailed. As audiophiles tend to put it: : air around each instrument, they are separately discernable, attacks are clearly heard, but then SACD recordings are usually all audiophile and should sound better. Switching over to CD mode (all my SACD are hybrids and hence also contain a redbook layer) the same extremely high quality is perceived and the difference between CD and SACD becomes hard to establish (I again agree with the previous reviewer). I listened to Dire Straits'Brothers in Arms, Eleanor McEvoy's Yola, Mussorgsky on Pentatone (Russian NO led by Carlo Ponti; Diana Krall's tribute to NK Cole)

A note of caution: it might be necessary to partner the M5 with its M3 amplifier to achieve optimal results because these tools were developed ny NAD engineers to work and match perfectly together (Class A preamplified which matches the M3 preamplifier input).

Right now this M5 is my favourite and reference until I hear better at a comparable price

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2009

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tonio_k a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 12, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I have had a new M5 in my system for three months now, and I am very pleased with its performance. It replaced a multi-unit digital source comprised of a Marantz SA8260, Musical Fidelity X-DACv3, X-10v3 (tube buffer), and X-PSUv3 (power supply). I am running it with Parasound Halo A51 power amp, Von Schweikert VR4jr’s and LCR-15 center, and (for now) a 5.1 channel Onkyo receiver as preamp. (The Onkyo does allow me to run everything in bypass mode.) I listen mostly to classical and jazz, along with some world music.

The most astonishing thing about the M5 is the CD reproduction. It’s just phenomenal. Definitely betters my old setup, which I had liked very much. But the CD sound coming out of the M5 is more detailed yet smoother, absolutely grain-free, more substantial, and beautifully balanced. It reduces the difference between CD and SACD almost to a vanishing point. Hard to believe. (NAD’s literature says the M5 uses PCM converters with 24b/192kHz resolution; is this “upsampling” then?) Whatever it is, it pulls out greater solidity and realism from some CDs that I previously found almost unlistenable—for example Murray Perahia’s 1994 Sony recording of the Chopin Ballades. This player decodes HDCD also, and that has allowed me to hear more of what’s really on the handful of HDCD discs that I own. Nice. Now I no longer dread putting on a CD instead of one of my growing collection of SACDs.

The NAD M5 plays both stereo and multichannel SACD—which was a primary requirement for me. Easily (and relatively quickly) locates and switches between formats. Very nice SACD sound: I immediately heard deeper yet tighter bass, extremely musical microdynamics, and impressive detail. In fact it made me more aware of the differences in engineering between various discs, especially the variations among pure dsd recordings and some of the reissues. My old Marantz, as luscious as it sounded, couldn’t always manage that. The M5 can be quite revealing, which you will either welcome or find a mixed blessing. I edit a monthly CD review column for a music professionals’ journal, so I am glad to be able to hear some of these things more clearly. Occasionally a disc comes along with way too much treble energy . . .

Regarding material matters: the M5 is built like a tank, with the insides damped and heavy aluminum casing (full metal jacket, indeed!). The remote also feels substantial and is easy to use. Setup is easy and best handled via OSD (the video circuit can be completely switched off when you are done with it). There is digital bass management and speaker-distance (i.e., channel delay) setting available. Bass management probably does not offer the most flexible array of choices out there—crossover points are 80 or 100 Hz, period—but will be adequate for typical consumer multichannel arrangements. In any case, it’s very nice to have these things built into the player itself, and I especially found the speaker-distance settings to be helpful in locking in a solid image.

The SACD and CD signal paths are kept completely separate, so both circuits need an equal bit of “run-in,” but they open up and settle down in a couple of days. You will also need separate sets of interconnects to your preamp for SACD and CD. A pair of balanced analog outs is provided for the CD signal; I’m now more eager than ever to get a preamp that will accept them. There are also digital outs for the CD, but why would anyone want to use this unit as a transport? For the money, it’s the best CD sound I’ve ever heard. And the SACD is also mighty fine.

My dealer let me hear and compare this unit with an Ayre C-5xe “universal” stereo player, both M5 and Ayre running through an all-Ayre separates system driving big floorstanding Thiels. Of course the C-5xe came out on top; it was more delicately detailed and handled climaxes a bit better. But the M5 did very well. I realized I would have to spend three times as much to get something better, and probably be limited to stereo at that price point as well. So I feel good about getting the NAD and expect to enjoy it for years to come.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $1799.00

Purchased At:   Audio Alternative

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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