NAD M10 Streaming Amplifier Page 2

There's also a USB Type A input below the Ethernet port (the M10 also has Wi-Fi, of course). This will accept music on USB memory devices plus the microphone for Dirac Live set-up supplied in the box.

sqnote Point-And-Play

Before you get to dive in, there's a spot of housekeeping required. As is usually the case with such devices, initial power-up was accompanied by a demand to update the unit's firmware – fortunately a fast and totally automated process – and then the need to find network shares and index them. Also fortunately I had to hand both a Bluesound Vault 2 and the ability to connect to the M10 via Roon, which was the usual simple matter of point-and-play.

It's also worth noting that the M10 comes complete with a gold-coloured USB thumbdrive, containing information about the unit and its options: BluOS, Dirac Live, MQA and so on. Suffice it to say that this 16GB device could also be used to plug some music into the back of the amp!

And the Dirac Live calibration? The sample we had, despite being provided with the relevant hardware and responding to the Dirac app, was yet to receive the full Dirac implementation. But then from past experience I remain unconvinced that the system brings anything that careful speaker positioning couldn't achieve. I'm usually a big fan of Audyssey and the like in multichannel systems but somehow for stereo sound Dirac and I don't typically see eye to eye. You may think otherwise, but at least it's good to see the option there as part of the M10's crammed specification.

Thrilling Stuff
All that done, I was able to take advantage of that big, effortless sound the M10 delivers, especially when used with speakers capable of exploiting its substantive output. With the likes of B&W's 603 [HFN Dec '18] and GoldenEar Triton Reference floorstanders in harness, the sound was truly room-filling even at modest volume levels.


And it just got more exciting as the level was increased, the great wash of sound that is the finale of the Saint-Saëns Third Symphony [Reference Recordings RR-136] delighting not just in the way the fullness of the combined orchestra and organ were delivered, but also in the tonal detail of the solo instrument, the twinkling piano and the strident stabs of brass against the sheer air-shifting ability of the organ. It's thrilling stuff, and the M10 handled it with total ease.

Play the infectious blues-pop of Blues Traveler's North Hollywood Shoutout album [Verve Forecast 0602517817234] and the M10 convinces with its firm grip on the rhythms. This extends from the moody introspection of 'Forever Owed' to the more slamming 'The Beacons', and even when the band doesn't seem to have that much of a grip, as on 'Free Willis', complete with the Die Hard star – does that count as rapping, or just ranting?

Whatever, the M10 chugs it out with excellent clarity, as one might hope from a musical all-rounder, and when one switches to something rather more focused, such as the carefully crafted pop of B A Robertson on his 1981 Bully For You album [Cherry Red CDMRED 679], the ability of the player/amp to dig deep into the mix of a track like 'In The Bar At The Munich Hilton' – we were still all a bit Cold War back then! – is consistently informative. Mind you, just as enjoyable is the exuberance with which it plays 'Hey Presto', probably the only musical tribute to Tommy Cooper and Paul Daniels in one song.

From the same era, The Alan Parsons Project's concept album The Turn Of A Friendly Card [Sony BMG 82876815262], with its pounding rhythms and swirling synths and strings, pushes the M10 almost as hard as did the Saint-Saëns, with the title suite building from gentle piano and woodwind through to the full-on rock opera treatment of the final movement. The NAD M10 is entirely in control here, as one might hope, even able to blast out the music at old-school prog levels if required.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
NAD has taken its time coming up with a networked all-in-one to rival the Linns and Naims of this world, but the resulting M10 is a little cracker, with both the looks and performance to take on established rivals. The sheer flexibility may take some time to absorb, but beyond that this is an exceptionally impressive debut, and well worth exploring if you are looking for a stylish 'just add speakers' solution.

NAD Electronics International
Supplied by: Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, UK
01732 740 944