• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

NAD M33 Streaming Amplifier Review

Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
16
Likes
8
I am in contact with Nad support, and my local dealer. I now know of 3 pieces of M33’s in Norway with this problem, and now 4 with you.
Nad support haven’t had any reports of this issue before I contacted them, which makes me believe people don’t hear very well Or; don’t use subs...
Also, try Ellen Krauss - the one I love. especially these slow songs with female voices are problematic. I do notice it on many other tracks too, but it comes more forward as general noise/ bad recording - which it is not...
I've had a few teething problems with my M33 bought in October.

Firstly I found it occasionally shut down during a listening session and could only be restarted by back panel switch off and on again. Also occasionally the app didn't see the M33 when the app was loaded. Therefore the M33 couldn't remotely be switched on. Both problems (actually the same problem) fixed by a firmware upgrade obtained via Bob at NAD. Now fixed without the need to return for repair.

Dirac - poor results and balance way out for all frequencies. This was a problem at first and required a download of latest BluOS software, factory reset of M33 and latest Dirac from Bluesound - not from Dirac if I remember correctly. Again a successful fix - via Bob at NAD who is aware of both these problems and can offer fixes- and is most helpful incidentally.

Another fault that I have not experienced but some 240 V units have reported is mechanical noise (buzzing I believe) from the M33 unit itself. This is a known problem affecting a few units where one small component isn't happy. A replacement PCB is available via your distributor - I understand SSAV in UK have stocks of this board.

Apart from these niggles, a brilliant box of tricks that performs way above its modest price, although I choose not to engage Dirac as I find it slightly degrades the sound of the upper frequencies despite using the supplied sub-500 Hz version. I put this down to extra signal processing that DSP systems employ and results in a little life and sparkle being lost.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
16
Likes
8
Yes, I just tested the same track on my M33 and it definitely has some audible distortions with subwoofer enabled.
I don't have independent subs (my Avantgarde speakers include active subs), but I've tried to replicate the problem you describe. I've played both tracks mentioned with the sub setting set to No Sub. They sound fine. Then I played them with 1 Sub in Settings and Crossover at 40 Hz to minimise the loss in bass. Some bass is lost understandable but I hear no distortion. Have you tried simply using the XO in the sub to control the XO frequency? With Sub Off the M33 will send the full frequency range to the sub of course and also send the full frequency range to your main speakers. This shouldn't be a problem for all but the smallest stand speakers. Try this to establish whether your problem is in fact related to the filter in the M33. Interestingly the earlier M32 (and M12 preamp) allowed you to set the cut off frequency for the sub and main independently (eg above 100 Hz for Main and below 120 Hz for Sub), or in fact to feed the full range to the Main and below 120 to the sub. A nice feature abandoned in the M33!
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
3
I don't have independent subs (my Avantgarde speakers include active subs), but I've tried to replicate the problem you describe. I've played both tracks mentioned with the sub setting set to No Sub. They sound fine. Then I played them with 1 Sub in Settings and Crossover at 40 Hz to minimise the loss in bass. Some bass is lost understandable but I hear no distortion. Have you tried simply using the XO in the sub to control the XO frequency? With Sub Off the M33 will send the full frequency range to the sub of course and also send the full frequency range to your main speakers. This shouldn't be a problem for all but the smallest stand speakers. Try this to establish whether your problem is in fact related to the filter in the M33. Interestingly the earlier M32 (and M12 preamp) allowed you to set the cut off frequency for the sub and main independently (eg above 100 Hz for Main and below 120 Hz for Sub), or in fact to feed the full range to the Main and below 120 to the sub. A nice feature abandoned in the M33!
I'm also having problems with distortions when the sub on m33 is activated. That you don't hear any distortion suggest that it is a hardware problem rather than a software problem.
 

pogo

Active Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2020
Messages
169
Likes
44
There seems to be a bad charge of the M33!
Can you and the others with this issue give the serial number area?
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
3
There seems to be a bad charge of the M33!
Can you and the others with this issue give the serial number area?
An update. NAD support have perfomed a test on their own M33, and experience the same distotion. So I'm sure NAD will make a fix anytime near the future for this.
 

fcracer

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 10, 2020
Messages
50
Likes
60
An update. NAD support have perfomed a test on their own M33, and experience the same distotion. So I'm sure NAD will make a fix anytime near the future for this.
Would it be possible to share the settings you’re using to get the distortion to appear? I’d like to test using REW to see if it picks it up.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
12
Likes
4
Would it be possible to share the settings you’re using to get the distortion to appear? I’d like to test using REW to see if it picks it up.
Second this. I do not use a subwoofer due to the small space I currently have, but I do have one and connected it to my M33 after reading the original post. For each of you that experienced this problem: Was the sub-woofer included in the original Dirac set-up for your system? Does it happen with Dirac engaged, off or both? What is the size of your listening space? Was the distortion audible at moderate levels? Etc.....
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
16
Likes
8
How can you only use the power amps of the M33?
If you want to use the M33 as a power amponly, there are balanced XLR and single-ended phono sockets for connections from your analogue preamp. In fact the M33 will digitise this analogue signal because there are so many options with the M33 that can be used to fine tune the signal - tone controls, room correction, etc, As a power amp, you'd simply set the volume to maximum or some other suitable level that allows your preamp the range of adjustment you think best.

However, what a waste! The M33 is very capable as a preamp, DAC, streamer and room correction system, so perhaps just get a power amp if that's all you need. I believe the NAD C298 has the same Pruifi module so perhaps a better choice as a simple power amp. Peter
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
2
Would it be possible to share the settings you’re using to get the distortion to appear? I’d like to test using REW to see if it picks it up.
I don’t use a subwoofer either but I can reproduce the issue with Lost Without You by Frey’s Ridings or The One I Love by Ellen Krauss tracks by enabling 1 or 2 subwoofers in the menu. The crossover can be set to any value, at the default 80Hz it‘s pretty noticeable, especially in The One I Love track. I’m using pretty much default settings on the M33, Dirac is not enabled.

I checked this with the latest firmware 3.12.15 from last week and the issue is still there. Also my issue with the M33 cutting off the first second of the song is still not resolved after this firmware update.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
16
Likes
8
I don’t use a subwoofer either but I can reproduce the issue with Lost Without You by Frey’s Ridings or The One I Love by Ellen Krauss tracks by enabling 1 or 2 subwoofers in the menu. The crossover can be set to any value, at the default 80Hz it‘s pretty noticeable, especially in The One I Love track. I’m using pretty much default settings on the M33, Dirac is not enabled.

I checked this with the latest firmware 3.12.15 from last week and the issue is still there. Also my issue with the M33 cutting off the first second of the song is still not resolved after this firmware update.
I've checked my M33 again today and like you I don't use subs but selecting one or 2 subs and setting XO at 80 Hz I get no distortion from those tracks. So perhaps it's a batch that has a fault. If so, unlikely to be resolved by firmware.

However on the Ellen Krauss track (and others including the Norah Jones Come Away with me album) I think I detect a little sibilance, although maybe it's always been there and my new Avantgarde Duo XD speakers make it a little more noticeable. Peter

PS If you could describe the distortion and highlight a particular timing on the Ellen Krauss track where it's noticcable, I'll check once again
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
2
I've checked my M33 again today and like you I don't use subs but selecting one or 2 subs and setting XO at 80 Hz I get no distortion from those tracks. So perhaps it's a batch that has a fault. If so, unlikely to be resolved by firmware.

However on the Ellen Krauss track (and others including the Norah Jones Come Away with me album) I think I detect a little sibilance, although maybe it's always been there and my new Avantgarde Duo XD speakers make it a little more noticeable. Peter

PS If you could describe the distortion and highlight a particular timing on the Ellen Krauss track where it's noticcable, I'll check once again
I can hear the distortions as soon as she starts singing around 12 second mark. Here’s my attempt to record the issue, not sure if it will play everywhere. First recording is with the subwoofer output disabled and the second one with it enabled, I think I set the crossover to 40Hz here.


 

Alexanderc

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
588
Likes
831
Location
Florida, USA
I hear little clicks while she sings "... the one I love...." That's what you're hearing? It's fairly subtle in the video, but I imagine it comes through clearly in person.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
2
I hear little clicks while she sings "... the one I love...." That's what you're hearing? It's fairly subtle in the video, but I imagine it comes through clearly in person.
Yeah, it’s kind of a crackling sound, definitely more noticeable in person and higher volume.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
12
Likes
4
pdxaudio, I could definitely hear the clipping in your sample, especially listening with a pair of IEMs.

I tried every combination of subwoofer on/off, crossover settings, Dirac on/off, at various volumes through my speakers. I then repeated each of those combinations using planar headphones plugged into the M33 as well**. I could not repeat the distortion you experienced. As an aside, that is a beautifully performed and recorded track.

**When you use the headphone jack in the M33 with Dirac engaged, you can hear the altered signal that is produced to correct your listening environment (almost like the audio equivalent of photo negative, if you will). So unless Dirac is off, all the processing going on is audible. For that reason I thought I may be able to hear the clipping issues, with the subwoofer on, using headphones as well as speakers.
 
Last edited:

Nullproblemo

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
21
Hi there,

I'm new here and not a native english speaking person. So please forgive any mistakes. It's kind of refreshing to discover this forum, because for the first time I have the impression that things are discussed in a different way than anything I've seen before. The review of the NAD M33 starts with unexpected technical details, switches to marketing and even Purify financials and the last pages are full of details on issues discovered by owners.

I decided to registered and to leave a feedback not because I have something interesting to contribute but to share my experiences over the last couple of months and weeks. I'm not an "audiophile", whatever that means btw... but I like music and especially good sounding music. 20 years back I bought B&W 603 with an Onkyo AVR with all the money I had put aside, trusting the magazines that an AVR can produce excellent 2 channel and amazing surround. My Onkyo is even THX ultra II certified, woooowwww... I was always happy with the sound, especially surround was pretty cool.
I stopped listening actively to music because I felt stupid paying for a whole CD where just a single track was amazing to me. Kids...Home.... blabla....I also felt -like many others I guess who can't afford anything more expensive than what they just bought- that spending more money on equipment was certainly "snake oil" and nothing would be really much better and worth the extra price.

Snake oil is the term I heard most for the last weeks and I can't hear it anymore; like all those other terms coming back again, all the time, in all the reviews, chats and youtube videos... Now I have Deezer (not Hifi) and I listen all the time to music on my ****** setup by streaming aptx to a Philips bluetooth receiver connected to my Onkyo. That's the background.

Why I'm here ?! I became friends with a guy owning a 20 years old B&W 802 combined to a huge 20 years old Mark Levinson amp and more recently a Linn Streamer + amp. And that's just 10times better than what I have at home. So I decided to change my AVR and the speakers. I've got 10-12K aside to upgrade my current car, but I decided to put the money into audio instead.

I actually start regretting the decision and this statement also answers the questions from some members here "why would someone spend 5k for a M33". Btw it's 5500 euros in Europe, if I apply FX rate that's 6.600 USD..... and just to make things clear: I didn't buy one and I didn't find new speakers.

I'm writing here because I'm frustrated. After hours and hours, and more hours......I have no idea what to buy and what I can expect for the money. (sorry!, today I've got a somehow clearer idea thanks to you guys). I had to learn everything I missed for 15 years: cable technologies, what's HiRes, amplifier classes, damping factors, decoding speaker specs, DACs, Devialets' 300 patents (exagerated), what's Roon..... room acoustics:OMG!, MSB real 26 bit vs fake 32 bit filters applied to 6bit... I'M LOST !

All that information put together is worthless !!!!!!!! According to all the "experts" nothing is good and everything is good. The same arguments everywhere, the same marketing terms everywhere. All the amps are better than their pricetag and often better than far more expensive amps, but I can read nowhere that an amp is not worth the money...... strange..... Same for the speakers,... same for all type of audio equipment.

I really didn't imagine making my choices would become so hard: there's internet today, reviews, videos, independent sources and a lot of information... nothing comparable to just trusting your dealer and nice printed brochures 20 years back in time.

Many of course say: trust your ears! Come on guys....... When you think you would have managed to center your interest around a few products, you find out that there's no dealer around for a demonstration. 2. You won't be able to waste their time and ask to hear 10 different speakers or amp combinations out of the 2000 possible combinations in the markets. After sorting out all those combinations which are not available for a demo, the remaining 50% are made of bestsellers due to the marketing efforts and recommendations of commission taking experts. Imagine you have -like me- chosen just 2 or 3 amps, lacking more choice because of what I said here before, and than your dealer tells you "Cambridge audio doesn't sound and we don't have Lyngdorf, neither the new Yamahas (that's not audiophile enough)". To be fair: they told me to consider the M33, seems to be a good recommendation... Actually my first idea was to replace the Onkyo with a new AVR... many people say, 2 channel amps are not better, maybe paying a little bit more to compensate for the hardware for multichannel and video capabilities. Than I was told the new 7K Arcam is maybe as good as the 3k Nad M10...maybe... Okay. I forget AVRs for now, I now prefer Stereo at home, the WAF steps in and the 40m2 room is not furnished in a way to have surround behind my sofas.

My first preference went on to buy separates. Cambridge DAC+pre-amp and Monos. I don't need any analogue inputs or phono stage. I won't buy a CD player so rather upgrading my Deezer to TIDAL, Quobuz or whoever delivers CD quality streaming. My understanding is that MQA and HiRes in general is b....shit and marketing and paying licensing fees, ...without the consent of Neil Young :) . I performed a test with a doctor, I'm 40 years old and I can hear up to 16 khz.

So I would like to avoid anything with a MQA stamp but that's seems complicated too.

I discovered the present forum because of the Purify Eigentakt, highlighted in red (mentioned before) and I've read all 22 pages here because I felt having no other choice than buying a M33. Even though I still consider buying a used Devialet Expert Pro 220 or a used Mcintosh or the Noname Purify MB from the Slovenian website Apollon that also brought me to this forum. One brand seemed to offer more quality for the money, generally speaking (not in comparison) Advanced Paris. Big amp, heavy, McIntosh styled VU meters 3500 euros etc but even though I can't judge any specs I discovered a BurrBrown 24bits /192khz chip...... that I have in my 15 years old Onkyo TX SR805.... WTF ?!

Unfortunately I still don't understand 90% of all the nice graphs from the reviewer and I have to trust the experts here when they say "it's not bad, but could be better..... a little to expensive for the performance...." It's the first time in 6 months ! that someone makes a non-hocuspokus technical performance analysis and shares a honest opinion. THANK YOU ! IT HELPS ME, even without understanding the technical stuff.

For those who made all the efforts to read along, SORRY ! I just wanted to get rid of my frustrations. I'm the type of guy who will probably spend too much money for a semi-AVR NAD M33 with several inputs that I don't need, without knowing which speaker I will have but with a small percentage of certainty that the NAD might be what I'm looking for and there is enough consensus that it sounds ...great enough. It avoids further headache on how much I should spend on cables interconnecting separates, it looks great, even though I prefer MBs like the Cambridge or Mcintosh or Devialet but all those solutions are even more expensive.

Design matters (to me), otherwise I would simply try to find my friend's old 802 with an old Mark Levinson and putting a Bluesound on top.

I feel better now ! :)
 

Nullproblemo

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
30
Likes
21
That's even an another issue on top . No matter how much you spend, there's no guarantee that there won't be issues. And I strongly doubt that an M33 will last 15 years like my Onkyo. I guess that in 5-10 years someone will tell us that the app doesn't work anymore to stream the music.....
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
6
Likes
3
That's even an another issue on top . No matter how much you spend, there's no guarantee that there won't be issues. And I strongly doubt that an M33 will last 15 years like my Onkyo. I guess that in 5-10 years someone will tell us that the app doesn't work anymore to stream the music.....
upgradeable MDC modules may alleviate some of the longevity issues.
 

Alexanderc

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
588
Likes
831
Location
Florida, USA
That's even an another issue on top . No matter how much you spend, there's no guarantee that there won't be issues. And I strongly doubt that an M33 will last 15 years like my Onkyo. I guess that in 5-10 years someone will tell us that the app doesn't work anymore to stream the music.....
You’re probably right, but that’s true of anything. If they stop updating the software in the m33 the core functions will still work. And those core functions measure well enough that no advance in technology will make an audible difference. No one can see the future, but I don’t know why this product would be less likely to stand the test of time than any other set of products with the same functionality.
 
Top Bottom