Bronze MemberUsername: Logos
Kopavogur, IS Iceland
Post Number: 34
Gold MemberUsername: Nickelbut10
Post Number: 1822
Silver MemberUsername: Afj
Post Number: 117
Bronze MemberUsername: Logos
Kopavogur, IS Iceland
Post Number: 39
Well folks I am sure many have been waiting for someone to test this player and compare it to some other gear. I started out dreaming of very expensive DVD players from Denon but in the end I decided that I would rather try and buy a good cd player and then a pretty good but not to expensive DVD upscaling player with SACD and DVD-audio. I did check out Denon 1940, CA DVD99, Nad T535, Pioneer DV-600 and beyond that there were no other players here in Iceland within my price range and available in the country. I did audition The Nad and CA DVD99 in the sellers showroom and compared them to other players they had. But to make a long story short The Nad T535 and CA dvd99 had, to my eye, no difference in picture quality (bear in mind I had to try the out in two different stores but both played on 60" Plasma screens). It was very difficult to compare cd playback since they were in two separate stores but I did try the NAD t535 and compared it to the Nad M5 cd/sacd player. The short time I tried the player there I could not hear any difference but I didn't think that the listening area in the store was not good enough nor were the speaker the type I would have wanted to try the player through. And on top of that the staff wasn't really interested in helping me much at the time.
But I ended on buying the CA dvd99. The unit is light and I was a bit worried that I might have made the wrong choice. Video quality was great and it sounded good on both DVD-audio and CD but I couldn't really compare it extensively to the old Pioneer dv-565a player I have because I decided to return it. Why did I do that you ask? Well I found out that Cambridge audio is making a new DVD player called the Azur 640D with four Wolfson DAcs. I know it sounds great. But after trying to get information about when the player would be due and getting nothing from CA except ,,not yet" I gave up waiting. According to the brochure from CA they say the Azur 640D is going to be available early 2008. After waiting a bit more I decided to stop waiting since I would imagine the Azur 640D would probably have a higher price tag then the NAD. So I decided to give the NAD t535 a go. I bought it for the same price as the CA DVD99.
So Now begins the review/test of the Nad T535.
The good thing about this player is that it is heavy (3.9kg). Why is that good? well eeeee because eeee, it makes me feel like the put more effort in it compared to the 2.5 kg DVD99 and the 2.6kg Denon 1940 and the 1,9 kg Pioneer dv600. One thing I liked better about the NAD compared to the CA and Pioneer is that it has 5.1 out and a separate stereo out. The NAD uses the Cirrus logic DAc as the Azur 540D uses (and that player has always had good review in regards to CD playback). So I believed I was getting a better player audio wise then the DVD99 from CA (which I think it uses some type of Wolfson one chip DAcs). Other minor details that are different from the CA is the DVD player menu or setup menu, everything just feels like they put more effort to it on the NAD. While the Ca was ok it just felt like I had seen that kind of menu layout on many other cheap DVD players, but the CA was quicker to respond compared to the NAD. I decided to skip the Pioneer in my test, I know it has gotten fine reviews and its upscaling stuff works well. The pioneer just feels so puny compared to the others, but it was the cheapest one in Iceland I could get (267$ by today's rate). The price for each player was DVD99 386$, Nad 386$ and the Denon 1940 564$. But this all comes down to how it sounds and displays films.
I used the following disks for comparison, Peter Gabriel UP (on SACD and CD) and SO, 10.000hz by Air, Pink Floyd dark side of the moon SACD, Radiohead, Todmobile spillt album, Porcupine tree DVD-audio, Blue man group dvd-audio and a bunch of other disk. So how did sound, well I compared it to the Cambridge audio Azur 540C player and the Pioneer LD/DVD 919 player and to cut it short the Pioneer LD/DVD player which is 10 years old sounded the least good of them, then the Nad and the best sound for cd playback was the Azur 540C. But how much different was it you ask? Well not so much. At least I doubt if my girlfriend would notice any difference unless I would point it out to her and let her listen ALLOT. But the main difference in cd playback was that the Nad sounded a bit more laid back while the Azur 540C was a bit more open and just a tiny bit more detailed with more depth to the sound. In no way was the NAD cd playback bad and I would rather describe it as different taste compared to the 540C. I probably would have been peachy about the NAD as my only cd player and I wouldn't say it would be a must to have a cd only player, but there is a slight difference. SACD playback sounded great and more detailed than Cd and DVD-audio was also pretty impressive and the bass management controls on the NAD are much better than they were on the Pioneer DV-565 player. At least my SACD disk Dark side of the moon has more bass. You might hear more of a difference in cd playback perhaps if I had better resolving speakers and amp than mine but generally I think this Nad Player can function as a good cd playback player. Will a dedicated cd player be better? Most likely but not by much unless you buy maybe the 640C or 740C or 840C or something in that category from the other brands. One thing did surprise me when comparing the Peter Gabriel Up SACD to the CD version I found it very strange to hear very little difference between the Stereo cd version (played through 540C Azur) and the stereo SACD area (played via NAD). In fact I preferred the Azur 540C playback, but then I found out that the volume was bit higher from the Azur and after compensating for audio level difference I found the SACD Stereo version to be a bit better, but just a tiny bit, shows how well they can master a CD today. This was totaly different when playing the Peter Gabriel So album (stereo CD and Stereo SACD). The CD album I have been probably mastered in 1986 and compared to the SACD version released 2003 the difference is huge. The SACD is open has more depth and far more impact while the 1986 Cd is flat and dull. But this is probably because of the mix and mastering at the time.
The Nad has the Faroudja chip and looks as good to my memory as the CA DVD99. At least I could find no fault to the video quality of the player. Every disk I played looked good. The only thing I think is a huge design flaw is that you have to manually chance Pal/NTSC setting depending on the disk. If the player is set to Pal and you put a NTSC DVD it will convert it to Pal, unless you stop the player and press the Pal/NTSC button on the remote (at least they mad a special button for it on the remote). My plasma screen is 720p so I only tested it in 720p.
What do I not like with the NAD?
Remote response is slow, you can't press skip button twice in a row fast, and you have to wait half a sec and then press again. Setup menu is a bit slow, The Nad takes it's time to open and closing the disc tray. Having to switch manually between NTSC and Pal.
what do I like
SACD and DVD-audio playback. Video quality. Looks like it means business and cool looking. Easy to make Region free.
Equipment used for review
Cambridge audio Azur 540C
Cambridge audio Azur 540R
Dynavoice M-85 front speakers
Pioneer 919 LD/DVD player
Philips 42" plasma screen 720P