Category Archives: Digital Music

NAD raises the quality bar for iPod docks

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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 AVForum.com Recommended Award

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“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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Limited to 16/48khz
  • Only one input
  • Can sound a little safe

WhatHiFi.com Review: NAD M51

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FOR

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

AGAINST

  • 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.

More reading at whathifi.com