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Stereophile 2020 Products of the Year

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by hoffmanuser2020, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. Bryan T

    Bryan T Forum Resident

    Location:
    L.A.
    Absolutely not.
     
    siebrand and ogdens_sliced like this.
  2. ogdens_sliced

    ogdens_sliced Walnut Plug

    Location:
    Albion
    Thats what I was thinking / worried about. I'm getting more into streaming since I started using Tidal with Roon during lockdown. But I still mainly listen to and prefer vinyl. Having an amp leave digital remnants on my phono signal would be a deal breaker for me.
     
  3. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    I'm guess this NAD represents a "night and day" difference over what came before it? ;)
     
  4. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Well, you left out the actual amplifier module conversion to PWM and back to analog, but of course it's not pure analog, I doubt many people looking into class-D amps are too hung up on that aspect, they are a hybrid design.
     
    ogdens_sliced likes this.
  5. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    That last stated concern isn't borne out in auditions in my own listening rooms. At this level of streaming integrated amp I think it's best (and audiophiles are better serving themselves) to set aside thoughts about digital conversion artifacts that, while possibly still present in budget DACs and some other notably less costly streaming integrated amps, simply don't exist in the output of the M33.

    Speculation does not inform, nor do my personal listening descriptions. Auditions inform, though in the current pandemic climate they're triply difficult to organize and risk. Eventually, auditions tell us one of four things: that we really like a component, that a component is good but not an upgrade for us, that a component is average, or that a component does not sound good to us.

    My advice is to set aside expectations and preconceived notions about digital and class D, class A, class A/B, streaming, analogue, etc., etc., for any component. Bring along some of your favorite music and sit down to challenge the component to impress you. It will or it won't. But I think the less bias we've got rolling around in our thinking prior to sitting down for an uninterrupted listen, the better and more definitive an audition will be and the more reliable our conclusions will be.
     
  6. ogdens_sliced

    ogdens_sliced Walnut Plug

    Location:
    Albion
    I hear you?:righton:
    In all honesty it's more of a feeling on, whilst listening, telling yourself that digital remnants are maybe there rather than actually hearing any digitization in the output of a solid amp.
    Kind of an OCD thing......
     
    Agitater likes this.
  7. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer

    Location:
    Netherlands
    The M33 is good, but it is evolution, not revolution!

    If you are not into streaming, there are better amplifiers.
     
    siebrand and ogdens_sliced like this.
  8. darkmass

    darkmass Forum Resident

    All technology is interim technology.
     
  9. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    the accessory of the year is thought provoking. the CAD grounding box noise control. i have not heard of such a thing and the reviews are quite positive.
     
  10. spacemanrick

    spacemanrick Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Vancouver B.C.
    I have had my NAD M33 for 4 weeks and I really enjoy the sound improvement from my previous NAD M10 and Cambridge Audio 840 W amplifier and 840 E pre-amplifier with my B&W 802d2 speakers. The NAD M33 is beautiful sounding and crystal clear with powerful punchy bass and lots of power on tap and extra headroom when required. There is also a nice wide big sound stage to contrast the dead silence between tracks.

    I also have experienced a few bugs and unexplained shutdowns and re-boots of the NAD M33. I think since the last software update a few weeks ago the stability has improved but I still had an unexplained re-boot yesterday. Hopefully the stability improves as they have ongoing software updates. Spotify connect seems very stable while the newly released Tidal connect seems a little less stable - at least for now. Overall I am very happy with my purchase of the NAD M33. I was having a tough time deciding between the Hegel H390 and the NAD M33 but so far I think I made the right choice especially now that Tidal connect has just been added.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
    Agitater and gabbleratchet7 like this.
  11. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    BS. I pick what I want to review and have no idea who advertises or how much.
     
  12. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    My decision to stop subscribing to Stereophile just keeps looking like a better and better idea.
     
  13. hoffmanuser2020

    hoffmanuser2020 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    The M33 is not just a streamer. Its two main features are: (1) the Purifi class-D amplifier module, and the (2) Dirac Live correction.
     
    gabbleratchet7 likes this.
  14. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Why?

    For my part, I'm a long-time subscriber and I'd never give it up. Same goes for HiFi News. The online controversies and the things I've disagreed with in both magazines over the years have mainly served to deepen my interest in them. If Stereophile stuck only to things I approve of, I'd never come across a challenging point of view in the magazine and that would definitely be boring. Sometimes, when Stereophile publishes something I disagree with, there's an opportunity for me to write a heated email decrying the magazine's deplorable error! Now that's fun, and not something that can legitimately be done if one isn't a subscriber.

    I still look forward to my magazine subscriptions arriving in the mail every month. I can settle down with it in the room I prefer, and take my time. To me that's a vastly more enjoyable experience than swiping up on a tablet.
     
  15. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    It's a double-edged sword, for sure, as are nearly all audio mags and sites.

    On the one hand, it's a nice storehouse of knowledge... whether or not you particularly buy into Stereophile or TAS or whoever's reviews, when you're researching components, you probably do at least check some of those out in order to get info. Most of us do, even those of us who decry the mags.

    But OTOH, the ubiquitous 'Will Rogers' style of reviewing, where these mags and sites have seemingly never met a component they didn't like – and pls no one bother quoting me the very few exceptions that just prove the rule – that does not lend confidence. Nor should it.

    It's simply the economic model in action... if you rely on paid advertisements for a big part of your revenue stream, you are beholden to the companies buying the ads. That's pretty much inescapable, regardless of the usual protests to the contrary.

    And, this is true of most everything, not just audio. For instance, I'm into bicycling. I used to buy bicycling magazines. They all had tons and tons and TONS of ads from various bicycle and bike component companies. Did any of the MANY companies buying ad space in any of the major mags ever get a bad review? Not really, not that I ever saw. The ONE mag I can recall that kinda sorta did went out of business a long time back.

    So, I read the 'inherently compromised' mags or sites more as entertainment and audio/bike/whatever-porn than anything else. And if occasionally some serious issues get raised and editorialized about that don't run afoul of the advertisers, bonus, I might read and trust that.

    But, little else. Just the way things with dollar-signs attached work. Most big companies see magazine and site reviews as advertising... which it pretty much is, at the end of the day. And no one is gonna pay for negative ads against one's own products.
    /
     
  16. hoffmanuser2020

    hoffmanuser2020 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Somewhat off-topic: What's the best way to subscribe to Stereophile on an all-digital basis? I don't want the print magazine. I would ideally like to get a PDF containing the magazine as if it were a print magazine.
     
    Tim 2 likes this.
  17. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    I don't doubt what your saying Kal.
    But can you honestly say that non advertisers get equal time with advertisers ?
    Keep in mind I've been a subscriber since JGH days.
    [​IMG]
    Photo taken today.
     
  18. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Six pack of stout, and a stick of sensi

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    After jumping through hoops, unreturned emails and phone calls, I gave up trying to get a subscription to Stereophile. Maybe I'll try again, I would like the hard copy, as I have on and off for years. Couldn't believe the issues in trying to get a subscription in Canada.
     
    Tim 2 likes this.
  19. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Location:
    Boston MA
    That NAD wouldn't get anywhere near my vinyl rig. That thing will be obsolete in 5 years.
     
    ogdens_sliced likes this.
  20. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    I cannot but, IIRC, John Atkinson did a study in which he found that they did. I suspect it is somewhere on the Stereophile website.
     
    Stone Turntable likes this.
  21. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    OK. I understand.
    I was happy to send it back to NAD because it doesn't have enough channels for me. :D
     
  22. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    wonder how much NAD gives in advertisement to Stereophile every year.

    anyone knows?
     
  23. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Jumping through hoops? From Canada? Hit the Stereophile web site and subscribe. A good friend in Toronto whose sub had lapsed for a couple of years recently (in July) re-subbed online. Perfectly straightforward and unfussy.

    Better still, rifle one of the mags for a blown-in sub card and grab whatever the current print discount happens to be.
     
  24. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    A comment, not a criticism...

    I have a large number of mostly old/vintage (for them) NAD components: power amps, preamps, tuners, receivers. I really like the brand. That they have been around a long time is certainly a testimony to the quality of their products and their success as a company. However I have no experience with NAD support because, well because I've pretty much never needed their support and what I have of theirs does not have upgrade modules or firmware anyhow.

    Now contrast NAD with another company: Sony.

    Sony has been "around for a very long time" but has a very well-deserved reputation for having some of the worst continuing product support. I like their products as much as NAD's; but I absolutely detest their so-called (non) support. As soon as the last-sold model of a certain Sony product reaches its end of warranty is pretty much when replacement parts will never again be available. Firmware updates? The history of the UBP-X800 is that firmware "updates" actually remove functionality that was part of the originally-sold device! Just try to get help from Sony support. Submit your question / request and yes, someone will get back to you within a day or two, but they will never solve the problem or actually answer the question. What they provide is the equivalent of "have you rebooted the device?" I have a current ticket that's been open for several months now, and once a week I send them another message asking when they will address my concern, and all I hear back is... crickets.

    So just being around for a long time is no guarantee that that will be of any use to anyone. (And again, I am NOT criticizing NAD!)

    Jeff
     
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  25. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    That's an obvious limitation for us lovers of multichannel music.

    Taking off that hat, and asking myself if I'd ever perhaps want one for a stereo-only set-up... I've just downloaded and given the owner's manual a quick read. It looks like a pretty impressive system but I'm left with an observation and a question (or two.)

    It does not appear to support DSD. I'd see this as a limitation for a device of this type / in this price range.

    I was about to be upset by what appears to be a lack of proper bass management capability (the sub outputs seem to provide only a variable LPF - which is at best redundant given that just about any sub has one of its own. Where's the HPF bass management?) Then, near the end of the manual, I finally saw the section on Dirac Live. Is it safe to assume that this will provide all the bass management (and more) that anyone should need? There's no real details about its operation in the manual; apparently that comes when you download and run the Dirac Live App.

    Jeff
     

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