NAD M5 Masters Series CD/SACD CD Players

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M5 Masters Series CD/SACD

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.

User Reviews (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2  
Rudy Deblieck   AudioPhile [Jun 03, 2009]

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

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
james   AudioPhile [Jul 18, 2008]
Strength:

Good customer service...

Weakness:

EVERYTHING but the sound when it works.

I would like to sart this review with one thing in mind, other gear! I have been an avid audiophile for the last 15 years. I currently own Jm Lab Nova Utopia Beryllium speakers, Pass Labs XA-200 monobloks, Pass X0.2 Pre-Amp, ExactPower EP15A Power Conditioner and a slew of other top-gear. My main cd player is the Esoteric X03SE. I bought the NAD M5 CD/SACD Player with the idea of creating another system in my home office that can't happen the way I want it to due to room size. Now to the player. It is a great sounding player. Detailed are clean and crisp depending on your system as not all are the same in terms of sound. Imaging is great as well as soundstage and depth. In terms of sound, I will give the M5 A 4 out of 5 rating as I think it needs a bit more life in the upper registers but a real nice sound none the less. STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLAYER! I am on my 3rd unit in 5 months and all three went bad! It is the most unreliable piece of gear I have had in the 15 years I ave been in audio! You will be sorry if you buy this unit!!!!!JUNK, JUNK,JUNK!!!!!

Customer Service

Great so far....Wait till they hear from me on Monday!!!!

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
John   AudioPhile [May 05, 2008]
Strength:

Imaging
Bass
Soundstage

Weakness:

Build quality
Electronics
Transport

The M5 sounds very good overall. When compared to other CD players in or right above this price point it holds it's own. Imaging, clarity and base are above average. I would not say that this would fit into a Audiophile type system however.

The real issue with this CD player is the poor build quality. Yes it is heavy, yes it is pretty. But the electronics are problematic at best.

I have had issues with: CD player shutting off un expectedly, CD player not reading CD's...if I turned it off and on again...it would read the same CD. The door/transport not opening...and sound not being delivered to Pre-Amp. These issues were always present. In my opinion the build quality is awful. The sound is pretty good overall, but not outstanding.

This unit was "designed" in Canada and "made" in China. Need I say more.


If you are looking for a good CD player...take my advice and please look elsewhere.



Similar Products Used: Rogue Audio M150
Audio Research Pre-Amp
Balanced Audio Technology CD Player
Martin Logan Vista

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
2
Ceki Gabay   AudioPhile [Apr 07, 2008]
Strength:

Perfect sound reproduction for CDs.
Balanced outputs, RCA outputs and Multichannel outputs in one box.
Very good SACD sound reproduction.
Less in price comparing similar products.

Weakness:

None so far.

I replaced my former ten year old player Pioneer PD-S06 with M5 just a month ago. My specifications was playing both CD and SACD, having balanced output with reasonable price. I also tested and listened Marantz SA15S2 which is little bit mre pricier but having same fetures for me. To my ears sound reproduction in SACD stereo they do almost same. However, CD reproduction is far better in NAD M5. More neutral, more in details. Some CDs may sounded little bit more rich in high frequencies while low and mid frequences were just correct for me.

I use Accuphase E530 Amplifier and B&W 703 speakers.
Balance and speaker cables are Van Den Hul Hybrids.
Power cables are from Furutech and Audio Quest.

The overall system performs perfect. I started listen my old CDs which I did not like their recordings and boxed them years ago. They are not that bad anymore.

I did not connected it multichannel yet. I have second setup at home composed of an old Yamaha Receiver RX2095, Klipsch Center and MBQuart QLC series for main and surround speakers. I will try this weekend with them. I think it will perform well in this second ancient setup.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
tonio_k   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 12, 2007]
Strength:

extreme resolving power
extended bass and treble
good-looking, very sturdy housing
digital bass and speaker distance management
value for the money

Weakness:

resolving power = slightly cold sound sometimes (or excess treble)
limited crossover options in bass management

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.

Customer Service

The guys at Audio Alternative are the best. No problems with the unit however.

Similar Products Used: Marantz SA 8260
MF X-DACv3
Oppo Digital DV-981HD
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-2 of 2  

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