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NAD announces Masters M66 streaming DAC/pre-amplifier

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    Further information: NAD


    NAD Electronics, the highly regarded manufacturer of high-performance audio-video components, announces the Masters M66 BluOS Streaming DAC-Preamplifier at the High-End Munich show in Germany ahead of its retail launch. The M66 is a no-compromise component so advanced, it represents an entirely new category of hi-fi separates.

    In addition to an audiophile-grade DAC and a network streamer based on the acclaimed BluOS multi-room music platform, the M66 has a wide range of inputs, including MM/MC phono and HDMI eARC. The M66 also features both Dirac Live Room Correction and Dirac Live Bass Control, enabling it to deliver more accurate in-room response than any two-channel component ever offered.

    Build quality is outstanding. With its aluminium casework, vibrant 7″ touchscreen, and super-smooth volume control, the M66 will inspire pride of ownership for decades to come. Visually, sonically, and technologically, it’s a perfect match to NAD’s award-winning M23 power amplifier. But of course, the M66 can be paired with any high-performance amplifier.

    Demonstration sessions of the NAD Masters M66 BluOS Streaming DAC-Preamplifier will run, for the first time, at the High-End Munich show in Room D108 in Atrium 3. Global retail availability will begin this fall at a suggested retail price of US$5,499 / GBP£4,499 / EUR€5,999 / CDN$7,299.

    A World of Music
    Featuring a network streamer based on the renowned BluOS multi-room music management system, the M66 provides access to nearly all the music ever recorded, in resolution up to 24-bit/192kHz. Like all BluOS-enabled components, the M66 has full MQA decoding and rendering capability. The intuitive BluOS Controller app, available for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, has integrated support for more than 20 streaming services, including several that offer lossless and high-resolution music. BluOS users can also access thousands of internet radio stations, and play music stored on local or network drives.

    Share the Music
    With the M66, users can play music just in one room, or share music over a home network with up to 63 other BluOS-enabled components from NAD and other hardware partners. The M66 can also be integrated into control systems from smart home specialists such as Control4, Crestron, ELAN, RTI, and URC. In addition, users can control playback by voice using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri.

    TUNE the ROOM
    Featuring Dirac Live Room Correction, the M66 enables users to address the weakest link in any audio system: the listening room itself. Connect the supplied calibrated microphone to the M66’s USB port and launch the Dirac Live app on a smart device or personal computer. After playing test tones through the listeners’ speakers, Dirac will analyse the results, then upload filters to the M66 that compensate for common acoustic problems like standing waves and unwanted reflections. The results are transformative: listeners will enjoy tighter bass, improved timbral accuracy, vastly improved clarity, and more precise imaging.

    All About the Bass
    In a first for a stereo component, the M66 has four balanced (XLR) and four unbalanced (RCA) subwoofer outputs and integrates the full version of Dirac Live Bass Control, which allows independent calibration of multiple subwoofers. Dirac Live Bass Control optimises bass output in both the frequency and time domains, resulting in a seamless blend between the main speakers and subwoofer(s). Listeners will enjoy smooth, consistent low-frequency response throughout the listening room, not just in the sweet spot.

    The digital section of the M66 employs ESS Technology’s flagship ES9038PRO Sabre DAC, an audiophile-grade design acclaimed for its ultra-low noise and distortion, exceptionally wide dynamic range, and superb time-domain performance.

    For volume adjustment, the M66 employs an ultra-precise resistor-ladder control circuit. Compared to traditional analogue circuits, the M66’s digital volume control markedly reduces thermal and related distortions, maximises dynamic range, and more accurately matches left- and right-channel output across the entire volume range.

    The M66 is the first component to feature NAD’s innovative Dynamic Digital Headroom (DDH) circuitry. When enabled with a control in the BluOS app, DDH eliminates digital inter-sample peak clipping distortion, which can occur during digital-to-analogue conversion of sudden high-frequency transients. The benefits are especially obvious with percussion instruments: cymbals are less splashy and more realistic; rim shots are less strident and more impactful.

    Pure Analogue
    To enable functions like Dirac Live Room Correction and Dirac Live Bass Control with all signal sources, analogue signals are converted to digital by ESS Technology’s ES9822PRO flagship ADC. However, the M66 has a selectable Analogue Direct mode that bypasses all digital processing. The M66 has separate signal paths for digital and analogue sources, and separate power supplies for the digital and analogue sections, so that analogue signals are unaffected by digital interference when the Analogue Direct mode is engaged. Users can even disable the M66’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth circuitry to minimize RF interference.

    With its full suite of analogue and digital inputs, the M66 can accommodate all user source components. For vinyl enthusiasts, there’s an ultra-low-noise MM/MC phono stage with precise RIAA equalization, high overload margins, and an innovative circuit that removes infrasonic noise without compromising bass response. For TV and movie viewing, the M66 has an HDMI eARC interface for connection to an HDTV. In addition, the M66 has two coaxial and two optical S/PDIF inputs, an AES/EBU balanced digital input, two sets of RCA analogue inputs, and one pair of XLR balanced inputs.

    Output Options
    The M66 has balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs for connection to a power amplifier, as well as four XLR and four RCA subwoofer outputs. Its dedicated headphone amplifier has very low output impedance and very high maximum output voltage, enabling the M66 to drive demanding high-impedance studio monitor headphones. The M66 also has Bluetooth connectivity, with support for the AAC, LDAC, and aptX HD codecs.

    On the M66’s rear panel are two expansion slots that support MDC2, the latest version of NAD’s Modular Design Construction future-proofing technology. In the future, this will allow M66 owners to add new capabilities simply by inserting an optional MDC2 module.

    Everything about the NAD Masters M66 BluOS Streaming DAC-Preamplifier will inspire pride of ownership: its elegant aluminium casework, gorgeous front-panel touchscreen, and ultra-precise weighted volume control.

    With features like BluOS streaming, Dirac Live Room Correction, and Dirac Live Bass Control, the Masters M66 is truly a masterpiece of sound. “We believe the M66 represents the pinnacle of what is technically achievable today,” said Cas Oostvogel, product manager, NAD Electronics. “And thanks to NAD’s MDC2 future-proofing platform, the M66 will remain at the forefront as technology evolves.”

    Written by John

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

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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