Category Archives: Digital Music

NAD raises the quality bar for iPod docks


Given how popular iPod docks have become in recent years, it’s surprising that hi-fi specialist NAD has taken so long to launch one of its own – but its new Viso 1 system has been well worth that wait. In fact, it’s good enough to worry class-leaders such as the Geneva Model M, which is some achievement for a first-time effort.

Of course, not being the first to market does have its advantages, and it’s clear that NAD has spent a lot of time poring over its competitors’ efforts to help hone its own product. If you can see hints of the B&W Zeppelin in the Viso 1’s design, we’re not at all surprised: everyone in the office made precisely the same observation the moment the NAD emerged from its packaging.

That’s not necessarily a disadvantage, mind you. The Zeppelin is a looker, so it follows that the Viso 1 is, too; while it’s surprisingly light, especially compared with the hefty B&W, it certainly looks as upmarket as it ought. As an added bonus, its slightly squarer proportions (48cm wide and 26cm high, against 64cm and 17cm for the Zeppelin) mean it occupies a smaller proportion of your desk, shelf or table.

The Viso 1’s docking cradle provides further evidence of NAD’s thorough benchmarking. Like the similar assembly on the B&W Zeppelin Mini, the Viso 1’s can rotate through 90 degrees to allow for landscape orientation of your iPhone or iPod Touch, a desirable asset for fans of iTunes’ Cover Flow feature. But here, it’s made all the more attractive because NAD has incorporated a clever clamping mechanism to lock your portable in place, avoiding the unwelcome ‘sagging’ effect that can afflict the Zepplein Mini’s dock.

NAD DAC1 Wireless DAC Received Recommended Award

“There is no shortage of detail where available but it is presented in a very refined and controlled way that means that it never becomes fatiguing or harsh.”

Key Features

  • Wireless Dongle based
  • Closed Wireless System
  • Burr Brown Chipset
  • Choice of Channels to avoid Conflict


  • Simple and completely foolproof connection
  • Smooth and involving sound
  • Digital output allows for use with other DAC’s


  • Limited to 16/48khz
  • Only one input
  • Can sound a little safe Review: NAD M51



  • Open, transparent sound
  • Immense levels of detail
  • Realistic balance
  • Extensive connectivity
  • Large, legible display


  • Build doesn’t quite reflect the price

NAD’s most recent hi-fi separates have struggled to stand out from the crowd, but its latest arrival could change all that.

The NAD M51 Direct Digital DAC is certainly a bold move, but it’s also a logical one, given that DACs are getting plenty of exposure at the moment and the potential sonic benefits they bring to any digital-based system can’t be underestimated. But the M51 has a trick up its sleeve: it can also act as a digital preamp.

NAD claims the M51’s technical wizardry is second to none. A DAC converts digital signals from PCM (Pulse-Code Modulation) to PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation), but NAD claims the M51 does so using a rate much higher than traditional machines and so achieves a high level of sound quality.

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