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NAD M55 Audition

 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 907
Registered: Nov-05
I auditioned the NAD M55 yesterday. At this stage I was only interested in the audio aspect of this universal player. It was set up with a T753 AVR and pair of Boston Acoustic floorstanders (didn't note the model).

Firstly, the machine looks terrific and the build quality seems truly excellent. The sound quality from SACD and CD was also very good but hard to compare as the components used are different to my home system. But, the M55 was somewhat of a disappointment in a few areas.

To change the CD/SACD layer one must turn on the OSD and use the navigation buttons. My Denon 2900 has a faceplate button for this function. Also, when playing DVD-A, one must go into the OSD menu again and select the stream rate manually for 2 ch 24/196 whereas the Denon 2900 does this automatically. There is no depiction on the display that signifies which channels are in use with multi channel formats e.g. 6.1, 5.1, 4.1, 4.0, 2.1 or 2.0. So one needs to leave the listening position to put an ear to the speakers to know for certain which channels are being used when the surround sounds aren't so obvious or the information is not available (which so often happens) on the disc leaflet.

When we returned home, I fired up the 2900 and compared cd and SACD (2 channel) with our Marantz AVR and the 602S3's. Both wife and I could not discern any real noticable SQ difference with the exception of the speakers - the 602's were preferable to our ears than the BA's. Then, I played both formats through the NAD 163/272 and the SQ went up quite a few notches. next was the CD played with the same amps but on our C542 and the SQ improved yet again.

Conclusion: the SQ of the M55 I heard in the store did not justify an upgrade. That is not to say it wasn't good. I would really need to compare it on the same equipment to make a fair comparison. However, the audio selection peeves I mentioned would really make me think twice about this player even if the sound quality proved much better on my own equipment.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 4458
Registered: Dec-04
Quite a nuicence to have to power on the monitor for sound selection. But considering it is a uni, I guess it's justified.
How did the M55 price out?
 

Silver Member
Username: Daniel_canada

Canada

Post Number: 203
Registered: May-06
The all in one product strikes again. The m55 on the receiver seems a little much. Interesting the 542 out-did the m55 considereing the price difference. But hey, all in ones never seem to be the best way out, audio or not.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 917
Registered: Nov-05
I'm still considering a future upgrade. The NAD M55 is not out of the running, however, according to specs, for the same price here, the new Denon 3930CI seems to beat it hands down for features including HD scaling, user friendliness, video performance figures, output frequencies and on and on. But features don't always account for musicality.

As far as the M55 not sounding as good as the C542, I can't say as the test gear was much different. That's the problem with auditioning anything. I'd like a day or two alone with it it my listening room.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 918
Registered: Nov-05
Oh, and if I was to upgrade, the trade in price for my other univeesal would have to make it worthwhile.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4570
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, M.R. This is the sort of thread that makes the forum really useful. You noticed the details you would have to learn to live with if you bought it.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 921
Registered: Nov-05
Thanks John.
See the latest HiFi Choice mag (The NAD Master series on the cover) for CDP comparisons (the Apollo scored highest). And they give a free Linn CD sampler which makes the price worthwhile.

For those interested these links will give you an idea of the comparison between the new Denon 3930 and the Nad M55. To me the Nad has the looks, but the Denon seems to have all the goods. Audioholics gave the 3930 the video bench test (see in their review). Where the much lauded 3910 received 75 out of a possible 130, the 3930 got a perfect score.

http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/denon-DVD-3930CI-DVD-player p2.php

http://nadelectronics.com/products/dvd-players/M55-Digital-Disc-Player/specs

http://www.denon.co.uk/site/frames_main.php?main=prod&ver=&MID=3&sub=1&action=de tail&Pid=292
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 928
Registered: Nov-05
After discounting the NAD M55 (darn I loved the look of this player) and deeming the new Denon 3930 overkill for our needs - and bank balance - I brought home a Denon DVD 3910 to try before buy this weekend and I must say I am quite taken with it so far. In fact, a little gobsmacked that it is definetely such a step up from our 2900. With the new '3930' about to hit the stores here, I thought a 'good deal' on this model would be a cinch. Well I was wrong - they are like the Tasmanian Devil, extinct. But, there was a demo still lurking at my dealers store so I badgered him for a good deal providing I could audition the player first.

Loyalty has it rewards I guess. My dealer offered a 'reasonable' trade price for my 2900, but the cash deal we settled on was very attractive and if I can get a few more dollars for our 2900 on Ebay, we will do really well on the upgrade. The only little problem is the unit is silver, but we don't listen to color - or at least we shouldn't.

CD playback is pretty darn good, perhaps a tad better than the 2900 and it does HDCD, but still not up to par with our NAD C542 on that format or normal redbook. SACD and DVD-Audio sounds - well - more open, with a wider, deeper soundstage and a certain sweet rhythmic feel that obviously was missing, or was there to a lesser extent, from the 2900. Mrs R agreed with this assessment also. The bass crossover variables, SACD frequency switch, bass level refinements, extra DAC's, connection and video output upgrades, and sound quality, make this player seem likely it will become a new member of the family.

The DVD-2900 has been heavilly used for almost three years and never missed a beat. I hope, if the 3910 is a keeper, it will be just as reliable.

I think hi-res surround will be having a big resurgence in the Rantz household. (Also posted on Old Dogs).
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