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Future-Fi at CES 2020: the NAD Masters M33

  • Do you look at NAD’s M10, its BluOS streaming module, Roon Readiness, Dirac Live room correction, Gorilla Glass touchscreen and wish it were a full-size unit with proper volume rotary, IR wand, headphone output, MM/MC phono input and that it delivered more power to your loudspeakers?

    Well, wish no more: joining NAD’s Master Series this week is the Canadian company’s M33 integrated amplifier.

    Working inside a full-width all-aluminium chassis (bye-bye Kallax-Fi), NAD’s HybridDigital Purifi EigentaktTM amplifier technology promises twice the output power of the M10 – 200wpc into 8 Ohms (and 4) – and measured performance that NAD asserts approaches the “limits of even the most sensitive and sophisticated test equipment available”.

    Unlike the M10, access to the M33’s internal BluOS multiroom/hi-res streaming module isn’t restricted to its 7″ touchscreen or BluOS’ Android and iOS smartphone apps. The new model adds a front-panel volume rotary for those of us who prefer to turn the volume up/down and it ships with a remote control wand.

    BluOS gives us access to 20+ streaming services including Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music and Spotify (Connect). Roon Readiness and MQA compatibility (pending certification) are also part of the package. aptX HD Bluetooth presents for those who like to keep it simple and don’t mind lossy sources. All inputs are decoded by an (unspecified) ESS Sabre chip.

    Want to go completely hands-free with playback control? Support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa will optionally integrate the M33’s BluOS module into existing voice control systems. For example, we don’t talk directly to the M33 but via a separate Amazon device, which passes our voice command onto the M33 via the host network. Apple AirPlay 2 support brings Siri into the picture. The M33 will also talk to Crestron, Control4, Lutron and KNX smart home systems.

    In 2019, we saw the M10 apply Dirac Live room correction to BluOS streaming, HDMI eARC, coaxial, TOSLINK and single-ended analogue inputs. The M33 expands Dirac Live’s reach to additionally include AES/EBU, balanced XLR analogue and MM/MC phono — hello vinyl playback. The M33’s already extensive connectivity can be expanded still further via a pair of MDC slots – a list of currently available modules can be perused here.

    Lastly – and certainly not least – the 6.4mm headphone socket on the front panel is, according to NAD, backed by a dedicated headphone amplifier circuit.

    The M33 is an integrated amplifier that lands squarely in Future-Fi territory. Just add loudspeakers. And/or headphones. And/or a turntable.

    CES 2020 attendees can catch a first glimpse of the new NAD amplifier in Las Vegas this week. Head to the Lenbrook Suite on level 29 of the Venetian Hotel. The rest of us will have to wait until the M33 begins shipping in March. Price: US$4999/€4999/£3999.

    Further information: NAD

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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