The NAD M10 is undoubtedly one of the best amplifiers/network streamers of 2019, and it deserves the spotlight awarded globally given that it translate the pinnacle of Class-D technology, implemented in a compact, versatile, and affordable design for today's mainstream homes. And it also served to show how good the existing Hypex NCore modules can be - that is, until Purifi Audio launched its latest Purifi Eigentakt (self-clocking) Hybrid Digital amplifier technology.
As previously confirmed, the Masters M33 amplifier design was the first mainstream product to implement the Purifi modules, and follows NAD’s long-standing tradition in identifying and developing cutting-edge amplification technology. With a minimum of 200W per channel, it delivers outstanding performance, exemplified by ultra-low distortion and noise. The measured performance is remarkable in that it exceeds the capability of even the most sensitive and sophisticated test equipment available.
Physically, the all alloy casework is elegant yet practical. The single control knob for volume is supplemented by a color TFT touchscreen display. Rigid panels with magnetic iso-point feet provide a solid foundation for the multi-layer circuit boards and intricate internal construction. And internally, the DAC section offers the latest ESS Sabre DAC chip supporting up to 32-bit/384kHz, and a core platform that will be continuously evolving with software updates.
"The NAD Masters M33 has created tremendous excitement since its preview at CES. As the first amplifier to utilize Purifi Eigentakt amplifier technology, its performance must be heard to be appreciated," says Cas Ooostvogel, NAD’s Product Manager.
"The M33 is a true state-of-the-art audiophile amplifier in the traditional sense yet with a distinct difference: It fully caters to the modern world where the majority of music is delivered over the internet with an entire catalog of recorded music readily available at your fingertips. This is obviously a wonderful convenience. Then, the M33’s ability to distribute that music in a multi-room audio system just adds that much more enjoyment, simplicity and value."
Unusual in a class of products often associated with complexity is the M33’s intuitive operation, courtesy of the 7" inch touchscreen color display combined with BluOS. NAD considers it the most advanced network streaming and multi-room operating system available.
Part of a growing ecosystem of compatible products, BluOS tightly integrates hardware and software for an improved user experience. The only true wireless High-Resolution multi-room system available today, BluOS supports Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) High Res streaming, and also supports over 20 free and paid subscription services as well as supporting locally stored music libraries.
With BluOS, the M33 further adds a range of facilities that will expand its capabilities yet simplifies ease-of-use at the same time. Operable with the BluOS app, the supplied remote control or through hands-free control with any Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant device, the M33’s front panel doesn’t actually need to be touched. To expand the multi-room locations, adding additional rooms is both easy and affordable.
And like the M10, the M33 also features advanced room correction, courtesy of Dirac's latest technology, helping to tame room reflections, not just adjusting frequency response but also optimizing the impulse response. Dirac comes as standard on the M33 with corrections possible up to 500Hz, and an upgrade to the full bandwidth is available for a modest fee. Supplied with the M33 is a precision microphone to measure the room at and around the listening position.
Each of the 5 Dirac memory profiles can store a unique room measurement (curtains open or closed, different listening positions, etc) and speaker configurations. The M33 also supports Dirac’s advanced Bass Control feature, with up to two independent subwoofer outputs.
In its standard form, the M33 is very complete with a wide range of inputs/outputs, BluOS, Dirac, HDMI eARC and more, already fully integrated, meeting the requirements of the most demanding users. To minimize the risk of future obsolescence, the M33 comes with two MDC slots that allow for further expansion. NAD introduced the MDC platform well over a decade ago and allowed updating products with new technologies which didn’t even exist at time of introduction.
The M33 comes well equipped to connect digital or analog sources, with 5 digital inputs and 3 analogue inputs, including Balanced XLR's, and MM and MC phono inputs. The rear panel also hosts two sets of speaker outputs capable of bi-wiring and a dual subwoofer output with a fully configurable crossover. Airplay 2 and Bluetooth aptX-HD allow for local wireless streaming from a phone or tablet.
The built-in discrete headphone amplifier is able to drive even planar and high impedance studio phones, and for those who wish to enjoy their headphones but not be tethered to a cable, the integrated Bluetooth module also makes it possible to enjoy wireless headphones, including with aptX-HD.
The M33 is also fully compatible with all the leading smart home systems from leading companies like Apple, Crestron, Control4, Lutron, KNX and many others. The M33 is also compatible with the Roon music platform. Suddenly, the $4999 (U.S. MSRP) asking price starts to feel a whole lot lighter - considering that users just need to add speakers.