Thursday, August 25, 2005

NAD's high-end ambitions

Source: NAD Web-site, not-yet-published (?) marketing material

According to various industry sources, "budget king", high-value-for-money NAD is going up-market - and in a big way. Company will announce in this month "Masters Series Reference Audio and Video Components." What is fascinating is that beyond the AV components there are M3 Dual Mono Integrated Amplifier ($2799.00) and the M55 Universal DVD Player ($1799.00), see picture below. Other members of the Masters family are the M15 Surround Sound Processor ($2999.00) and the M25 Seven-Channel Power Amplifier ($2999.00). Build quality seems to justify the price, but actual sound remains to be seen - although I suspect that we might have here some new category winners. Musical Fidelity, beware!

I could not help smiling when I read the marketing material of the M55 Universal player. Hear this out: "Since the high-density data recorded on DVD must be read with absolute accuracy, vibrations from outside or from internal sources, such as the power supply, will adversely affect sound and picture quality. A variety of special measures have been incorporated in the NAD M55 to suppress these unwanted vibrations, from the carefully engineered heavy gauge steel chassis, to the vibration isolating silicon rubber foot design." Although above is related to video performance, quite often it is the NAD owners who trash audiophiles in regard to isolation devices, excessive focus on power supply etc., and now NAD is using the same jargon. But heck, if you want to sell to audiophiles, then use jargon of the target segment ;)

I suspect that M55 is yet another player based on Pioneer's reference design akin Bel Canto PL-1A, McCormack UDP-1, Simaudio Moon Orbiter, just to name a few. Yet if the M55 sounds as good as other Pioneer based players, then its indicated price of $1.799 is competitive.

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