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NAD M33 Streaming Amplifier Review

SIY

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I'll be interviewing some tech folks from NAD shortly as a follow-up to living with the M33 for a few months and doing a pile of measurements. Anything you guys would like me to ask?
 

Alexanderc

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That’s a kind offer. I would like to know where they are on fixing the subwoofer issues many seem to be having. I’m also curious about the supply: it seems demand was higher than expected with everyone being sold out of these. Are they ramping up production or will things level out on their own (not a technical question, I know)?
 

Nullproblemo

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upgradeable MDC modules may alleviate some of the longevity issues.
Longevity for me is directly linked to ease-of-use, not only hardware. People here are discussing the absence of roon certification for months. I'm pretty sure that in the future Roon will make an important update of it's UI that will no longer be compatible with today's equipment.Than you either buy new equipment or give up the user friendly solutions that worked well before. I have seen this with TVs for instance. You buy a reference TV for 3k and 4 years later youtube no longer works or Netflix has no user profiles because your OS is considered outdated.
Clearly I'm not the kind of guy who spends a lot of money on expensive equipment because I've got tons of dollars and who changes his equipement after 3 years like in a normal consumer behavior cycle. If I pay more, it's because I expect more, in terms of quality and reliability over the long term. I don't want to spend 5k every five years for an amp. It has to work for at least 10, 15 years with all it's features.

Can anyone provide a good looking alternative with separate small Monoblocks or a Stereo amp, and a separate or combined Streamer, Dac and pre-amp for 5k ? I learned about all the separate solutions here in the chat, for half the money but ****** looks. But I'm ready to spend around 5k, so what are the solutions worth 5k in terms of technical performance with decent looks? What about his Apollon Purify stuff? Is that some experimental hobby stuff for sound engineers or can I go out and buy those things to combine with a bluesound ?

My point is price/performance ratios. If the overall feeling is that you pay extra 1500 Usd for a M33, does it mean that among all those brands no one offers a correct solution where sound and quality is worth every dollar at 5k.
 

Nullproblemo

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That’s a kind offer. I would like to know where they are on fixing the subwoofer issues many seem to be having. I’m also curious about the supply: it seems demand was higher than expected with everyone being sold out of these. Are they ramping up production or will things level out on their own (not a technical question, I know)?
I agree, what about the subwoofer issue. My dealer recommends to take bw 805 with a sub on the Nad M33. I didn't know that a single sub can do stereo but it remains an option ;)
 

Peacemaker

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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 ! :)

Welcome and thank you for sharing this. I am in a very similar phase in my journey.
 

Peacemaker

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If I had $5K to spend, I would probably buy this. You can get similar performance for less money (like half as much money), but not all in one box, and not as pretty. My only real concern is the issues some people are having.

Agreed and it appears that users are experiencing usability issues with not only the M33 but also the T 778 A/V Surround Amplifier as expressed on AVS Forum. This is especially concerning given that two flagship products from NAD are experiencing seemingly similar software related issues. Causes me, and I'm sure others, to take pause and question the long term value proposition when considering an investment of this magnitude in either of these units.

My other concern, which was mentioned earlier, is what happens to the M33 when NAD announces that it has reached EOL, where they will no longer support it with software/firmware updates? Has NAD released modules for previous products that update and improve functionality? Now, I realize that products aren't supported "forever" and that makes sense, however, when investing $5K on a unit like this I would expect it to not have these persistent and annoying problems and to maintain full functionality for the next 10-15 years.
 

Mnyb

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Returning to this topic.

Was at NAD's website and discovered the M12 DAC preamp nice i thought sub outs to :) but there is no Dirac in the M12 ? sub integration without some kind of DRC is simply not going to work ? :rolleyes:
 

Alexanderc

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Longevity for me is directly linked to ease-of-use, not only hardware. People here are discussing the absence of roon certification for months. I'm pretty sure that in the future Roon will make an important update of it's UI that will no longer be compatible with today's equipment.Than you either buy new equipment or give up the user friendly solutions that worked well before. I have seen this with TVs for instance. You buy a reference TV for 3k and 4 years later youtube no longer works or Netflix has no user profiles because your OS is considered outdated.
Clearly I'm not the kind of guy who spends a lot of money on expensive equipment because I've got tons of dollars and who changes his equipement after 3 years like in a normal consumer behavior cycle. If I pay more, it's because I expect more, in terms of quality and reliability over the long term. I don't want to spend 5k every five years for an amp. It has to work for at least 10, 15 years with all it's features.

Can anyone provide a good looking alternative with separate small Monoblocks or a Stereo amp, and a separate or combined Streamer, Dac and pre-amp for 5k ? I learned about all the separate solutions here in the chat, for half the money but ****** looks. But I'm ready to spend around 5k, so what are the solutions worth 5k in terms of technical performance with decent looks? What about his Apollon Purify stuff? Is that some experimental hobby stuff for sound engineers or can I go out and buy those things to combine with a bluesound ?

My point is price/performance ratios. If the overall feeling is that you pay extra 1500 Usd for a M33, does it mean that among all those brands no one offers a correct solution where sound and quality is worth every dollar at 5k.
A thought might be: Anthem STR Preamp (US $4K, but on sale sometimes, maybe could be had for $3200?), a Purifi stereo amp ($1K-$1.5K and will last practically forever one would think), and the streamer of your choice (Bluesound Node 2i for $550 for example). I would not expect the preamp or amp to ever become unusable (Anthem might not support ARC forever, but you could still use it as a preamp), and the other components can be interchanged.
 

Hear Here

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Yeah, it’s kind of a crackling sound, definitely more noticeable in person and higher volume.
I've listened several more times and I hear no distortion or crackling sound whatsoever on that track. I detect slight sibilance but it's identical with or without subs.

I'm using Avantgarde Duo XD speakers that are likely to made any such sound very noticeable. I can only assume that you're trouble may be a hardware one that can't be fixed by software alone. In fact my M33 must be one of the very early ones as I received it in October. Another thing that some 240 volt country users have mentioned is a physical buzzing sound from the M33. Again, my unit doesn't suffer think thankfully, but NAD distributors can now change the PCB that includes the dodgy component that causes the buzzing. Peter
 

Hear Here

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Returning to this topic.

Was at NAD's website and discovered the M12 DAC preamp nice i thought sub outs to :) but there is no Dirac in the M12 ? sub integration without some kind of DRC is simply not going to work ? :rolleyes:

The M12 is an earlier product and very much like the M32 without power amp.

Remember that 90% of sub owners adjust the balance between their main speakers and the subs by using the sub's own built-in controls. DSP shouldn't be used for these basic adjustments - only for flattening out the response of the lower frequencies that the room acoustics may mess up.

I have the M12 (and had the M32 before the M33) and those units have a distinct advantage over the M33 regarding the Sub Settings. With the M12 and M32 you can independently set the cut off frequencies for the sub and the main speakers, so for example you could choose sub below 120 Hz and main about 100 Hz. This overlap is not possible with the M33. Also the 12 and 32 allow you to leave the full frequency range to go to the main speakers and say below 120 to the subs - again not possible with M33. Moreover the 12 and 32, but not the 33 allow the Main and Sub volumes to be trimmed to balance their relative volumes.

There are several other minor control annoyances with the M33 that are so easy with the 12 and 32. For example, how can you adjust?:

Left Right Balance - M33 only via LED screen (but not with a Dirac filter), 12 and 32 via apps, or screen, or IR remote.

Bass and Treble tone controls - M33 only via LED or apps, 12 and 32 by LED, apps or IR remote.

Full Settings menu - M33 via LED or apps for most (not all) settings, 12 and 32 via apps, or LED, or IR remote.

I'm hoping that NAD will develop firmware that will add hugely to the usefulness of the splendid IR remote that is the same as used by M12 and M32. With these older units the remote is much more useful!

Peter
 
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pogo

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I'll be interviewing some tech folks from NAD shortly as a follow-up to living with the M33 for a few months and doing a pile of measurements. Anything you guys would like me to ask?

My questions:
Are there already SBs (service bulletins) for the M33? Where can these also be viewed in the future?
With the current firmware update not all issues have been resolved. What issues are generally known and when will they be corrected?
What is the wider MDC slot for?
Will there be another bridged Purifi power amplifier that can be used in conjunction with the internally bridged power amplifier?
 
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Alexanderc

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I've listened several more times and I hear no distortion or crackling sound whatsoever on that track. I detect slight sibilance but it's identical with or without subs.

I'm using Avantgarde Duo XD speakers that are likely to made any such sound very noticeable. I can only assume that you're trouble may be a hardware one that can't be fixed by software alone. In fact my M33 must be one of the very early ones as I received it in October. Another thing that some 240 volt country users have mentioned is a physical buzzing sound from the M33. Again, my unit doesn't suffer think thankfully, but NAD distributors can now change the PCB that includes the dodgy component that causes the buzzing. Peter
I can hear it on my MacBook speakers.
 

Hear Here

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I can hear it on my MacBook speakers.
Do you mean that you can hear the distortion as described by others when using your M33 (set to 1 or 2 subwoofers) feeding the speakers in the MacBook? And can you hear no such distortion when you play this track with the M33 set to No Subwoofer? Seems an odd way to listen to music! Can you hear this problem when your M33 is connected to proper speakers? Surely any 200 watt amp feeding speakers in a small PC is going to sound dire!
 

Alexanderc

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Do you mean that you can hear the distortion as described by others when using your M33 (set to 1 or 2 subwoofers) feeding the speakers in the MacBook? And can you hear no such distortion when you play this track with the M33 set to No Subwoofer? Seems an odd way to listen to music! Can you hear this problem when your M33 is connected to proper speakers? Surely any 200 watt amp feeding speakers in a small PC is going to sound dire!
I can hear it in the YouTube video played on my laptop. Maybe I misunderstood your reply before.
 

pogo

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I'll be interviewing some tech folks from NAD shortly as a follow-up to living with the M33 for a few months and doing a pile of measurements. Anything you guys would like me to ask?

My questions:
Are there already SBs (service bulletins) for the M33? Where can these also be viewed in the future?
With the current firmware update not all issues have been resolved. What issues are generally known and when will they be corrected?
What is the wider MDC slot for?
Will there be another bridged Purifi power amplifier that can be used in conjunction with the internally bridged power amplifier?

Was the supply chain of the M33 affected during production (due to corona, among other things)? Are there any differences in the batches?
If so, were components from different manufacturers, different specified temperature ranges (I-TEMP / C-TEMP), from other sources (distributors), ... used?
 

Hear Here

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I'll be interviewing some tech folks from NAD shortly as a follow-up to living with the M33 for a few months and doing a pile of measurements. Anything you guys would like me to ask?
Yes, could you ask when the supplied IR remote will be able to be used for more things, eg adjusting balance and other Settings? At present the CH/Source buttons are void and changing source requires the up and down central navigation buttons. Similarly the left and right navigation buttons are used for next and previous track when there are bespoke buttons for this. It should be noted that the identical IR remote when used with the M12 and M32, offers full access to all Settings and the CH/Source buttons are properly used to change the source.

Thanks. Peter
 

SIY

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One question I have- why do people use the remote rather than their phones with the BluOS app?

That remote is a deadly weapon!
 

Hear Here

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One question I have- why do people use the remote rather than their phones with the BluOS app?

That remote is a deadly weapon!
The remote is always instantly on - it doesn't need to be activated and the app loaded before you can adjust the volume. Also because you use it for nothing else, you don't have to interrupt any other use - unlike your phone.

Would you like your TV to comr with no remote controls? It's so useful but such a pity that the M33 takes little advantage of it's features - unlike the M12 and M32 that use the identical remote.
 
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