A lot of reliability problems with the NAD line.
Google NAD M2 problems for a peek.
Plenty of good integrateds available at the same price or lower I would way rather have than the NAD.
I actually just realized I put the wrong model number in the post. I was looking at the NAD C 390DD. Have you heard of the same reliability issues with that model? Are there other integrateds you'd recommend in that price range? About 2500-3000?
You are proposing to drive a set of $10K speakers with a $2,500 integrated (list). I hate to say, but I think these speakers need better electronics. The C390DD seems to be 150 watts at 8 ohms and 150 watts at 4 ohms, although the NAD specs seem to say >150 watts at both 4 ohm and 8 ohm, which is a pretty unusually way to specify the power. NAD typically under rates their power, but an amp that puts out the same watts at 4 ohms and 8 ohms does not seem to have a very robust output stage. I would look into that. The Cremona M are nominal 4 ohms speakers.
I generally like NAD gear and I have not heard the Cremona M with this NAD, but I think you may not get the best out of these speakers with this amp. You might want to look at used gear if $2,500 is your price range.
I'm totally fine looking at used gear in that price range, that's how I ended up with the Cremona M, I got a good used deal. Eventually I do want to get better electronics but right now the $2,500 price range is all the budget can afford. I may end up waiting a while till I can afford something more.
Nothing wrong with price of amp vs. price of speakers as long as it has enough current capabilities. I drive Aeria 10's with Sunfire SRA amp bought NIB $450 for introductory price. Now would think twice before selling it for twice as much.
You might want to look at the HK 990. This is definitely a horse of a different color, as it has extensive digital signal processing capabilities (including room correction, bass management for subwoofers, and an internal DAC). It also has a Citation derived power amp section that should do well with Cremonas.
This unit can be had new for under $2k and, particularly if you use strictly digital source material, offers a lot of bang for the buck.
Some used options for integrateds currently for sale here
Ayre Ax7e - Ayre is usually a good match with SF
Conrad Johnson CA200
The Ayre does not have as high a power rating, but may do fine. You might want to find a Ayre/Cremona dealer and ask for some advice. They are a pretty common combination. At 91 dB, the M is pretty efficient.
I have not heard any of these with the Cremona M, so am just making some general suggestions. The NAD may be OK, but I would also look at some of the used options.
The speakers are very much better than the amp....
I would look at Musical Fidelity as well. I had the M6i integrated driving my SF Auditors and I thought it sounded great! Very organic. Some of the older MF amps and integrated can be found on here for a very reasonable price.
I find it interesting that the NAD amp's "goodness" is being measured by its price tag. This is ridiculous. It is either a good amp with good specs. and sufficient current to drive the speakers or it isn't, the price is irrelevant...
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Some of those amps look like good possibilities.
Rlwainwright - Do you think the NAD is sufficient to drive the Cremona M?
Rlwainwright - Please calm down.I like NAD gear. This unit has good specs, although from the specs I cannot tell how it handles a 4 ohm load, which is what the Cremona M specs give for its nominal impedance. I would just like to see a spec other than >150 for both 4 and 8 ohms. Just did some looking. According to Stereophile, it does 165 watts at 8 ohms, 250 watts at 4 ohms, which is good but not great for 4 ohms. I did find some references to some people having concerns with the unit when impendence dropped below 4 ohms, which may well happen with the M. I believe this has a Class D power stage.
The NAD is undoubtedly a very good unit. But the Cremona M are very fine speakers. My conjecture, and that is all it is, is that something like an Ayre VX-V would bring out more in the Cremona M than the NAD would, although, as I said, I have not heard either. That does not mean the Cremona might not sound pretty good with the NAD. I just think you can probably get somewhat better performance with some other gear.
Note that we are talking about integrateds, not power amps. The sound it produces with the M depends on more than just ability to deliver current.
I have a lot of SF speakers, although not the M. My experience is that SF is often somewhat finicky about electronics, although the M was designed to be less finicky than previous speakers. When I got my amp for my Cremona I tested several before finding the one I liked. And they were all high current amps.
I understand that lesser priced equipment can preform very well. But, without some real comparisons I would not automatically assume, based on its specs, that it would bring out the best in the M. If it in fact sounds as good or better than $10K integrates, that would be great.
On the side, if you want great specs at low prices, try Emotiva. A lot of poeple like them. You can get 250 watt at 8 ohm and 400 ohm at 4 ohm for $389 per monoblock. But I am not sure I would put them up against the likes of Ayre, BAT, Conrad Johnson, Levinson, etc. for driving the Cremona M.
Eventually I do want to get better electronics but right now the $2,500 price range is all the budget can afford. I may end up waiting a while till I can afford something more.
This may be the best advice, so maybe you have answered your own question.
I have to agree with Rlwainwright. What does price have tondo with it?
Donjr - First, the OP did not originally say that $2,500 was his price point. He just pointed out what he was considering. I doubt he set that point based on optimal sound but rather on financial considerations. Which is fine. I doubt he compared the NAD to the top end Ayre, for example.
What do specs have to do with it? Do all amps with the same specs sound the same? Not in my experience. Exactly what specs for the NAD make you believe it will be a good match with the Cremona M?
As a generality, higher priced components often sound better than entry level products with high end speakers. Not always, but often. If you have different experience, please share.
It is all about how it sounds. My experience is that some of the equipment I listed above often sounds better than the entry level NAD equipment. If you have experience to the contrary fine.
I have experience matching electronics to my SF Concertino (original and home), Concerto (original), Grand Piano (home) and Cremona. My experience with them is there is a lot more than current ratings to making them sound their best. The Cremona M are a newer design, but from what I know, their still respond differently to different electronics.
The NAD will probably drive the Cremona M well. But, as I said before, if the OP wants to get the most out of them, I recommend he looks beyond the NAD, if and when possible.
If you think the NAD is a great match, or even the best match, for the Cremona M, lets hear your reasoning.
Lets not high jack this thread any more. It does the OP no good. We need to talk specifics about specific equipment.
NAD may have made their name with budget products, but the M2 is not and does not sound like a budget product, IMO. It was an all-out assault on the reasonably-priced high-end, using a new technology that has many advantages. It's not your grandfather's digital amp.
The M2 has received near universal praise from professional reviewers (TAS, Stereophile, Hifi News, 6Moons) as punching way above it's price class. The trickle down has the 390DD performing similarly, but with less power and a cheaper price tag (and maybe somewhat smoother/ softer in the highs). The M2 will have no problem driving your SF speakers and can be found used for just a little over your budget.
I use an M2 in a system with $35K speakers, and find it a good match. Like many SF designs, these speakers (Peak Consults) are elegant and slightly warm through the mids and a little soft on top. The M2 replaced a well regarded $4K amp and gave me more of everything I value. It's quiet, dynamic, neutral while allowing for good tone, and controls bass lines with an iron fist. No, it doesn't sound like a tube amp, but it should be kept in mind that these NADs are (true) digital amps taking a digital input, and the volume control does not lose bits or affect the sound quality in any way I can determine.
Whether it will float your boat (or anyone's) or match with your speakers in the way you like is a different matter. But I'd be hard pressed to recommend a similarly priced integrated to try that obviously betters it. Maybe the Modwright or Pass or Hegel or Ayre will give you a take you like better, and if you already have a really good digital set up, or want to spin vinyl, the NAD may not be your best option. But otherwise, I'd consider giving it a spin.
And FWIW, I've had no problems with mine....
Richards - glad the M2 works for you.
I believe the M2 uses Mosfets and the 390DD use a digital switching technology for amplification. It is a little hard to nail down the 390DD amplification technology from the NAD website. But they fact that they do not discuss the A and AB design of the M2 when discussing the 390DD amplification makes me believe the reports of it being a switching technology are true. If it really is a switching technology, then the 390DD is a trickle down in the digital/analog processing but not in the amplification.
I am sure the 390DD is a excellent piece, but I also know that many people are not convinced that switching technology amps sound as good as traditional designs.
I like NAD equipment and it probably would do a fine job with the Cremona M, at that price point. Against $10,000 electronics, which are commonly used with the Cremona M, I think there may be other options. Hence, my original comment. Actually listening is the only way to be sure.
I've had a NAD C 390DD for a couple months now driving KEF LS50s. I know these are no Cremona Ms but I'm sold on the NAD Direct Digital amps. This thing is nothing short of a revelation. The M2 is also uses Class D amplification and the C 390DD benefits from the trickle down technology as well as a few improvements. I'm honestly amazed more these two amps are not more popular. I'm certainly a convert.
809nola - Glad you like your M2.
I do not believe the M2 uses Class D amplification. At least according to what I read on the NAD website the M2 uses traditional Class A and Class AB technology, not Class D.
It really looks to me like the 390DD uses the M2 digital front end technology but changes the amplification stage for A/AB to D. I may be wrong, but I think the 390DD introduces Class D into the line.
If you have different information, please let me know. I really like NAD products, but the M2 and the 390DD are new to me.
So guys, I stand corrected. Both the M2 and the 390DD use Class D switching technology. The NAD M2 descriptions all contain a comment of combining Class A and AB noise levels with digital technology. The Class A/AB line refers only to the noise level, not to the technology used. My mistake. NAD has dropped that terminology from the 390DD descriptions. Those descriptions lead me astray.
The 390DD is indeed a trickle down from the M2, with less power and more digital inputs, like USB. My apologies.
From what I have read, the 390DD is a very worthy option at its price point. However, I am not yet ready to put it up against electronics at 4 or 5 times its price driving the Cremona M. But as Richards points out, it really depends on how each one sounds to you and how how its digital input structure fits with your existing digital/analog equipment. And, as always, how much you can afford to spend.
Good luck with your Cremona Ms.