Lots of views no thoughts? Struggling with front end ideas with limited budget and have narrowed it down to these two.
They are probably both good choices. The NAD Master Series stuff is great, very well reviewed. I own the M5 and love it. I bought new, you only loose one year of warranty on refurbished. I am hearing good stuff on the new Sony also, I have no way to compare. One paper it looks to me the NAD is a better built unit, as the Master Series stuff is exceptional in this area. The Sony ES stuff is a 5 year warranty I believe. You can find some thoughts on the M5 also over on Audio Asylum in the SACD/Hi Rez section if you do a search. Tough choice. I believe at this level of performance from either of these, you can spend more, but have to decide if it is worth it to you. Price wise the list on the M5 is $1800, and that may have gone up, so it is certainly not a budget unit, and since NAD and Sony are larger then many audio companies, you will usually see generous discounts on both brands.
Yes The M5 has balanced out, as the M3 Integrated has balanced in. I forgot about the HDCD, and HDCD is not totally dead. The latest Gold Cd releases from Audio Fidelity, mastered by Steve Hoffman are HDCD. My guess is they both have strengths, and you will always have someone either that does not like a unit, while the next guy says it blows everything away ? Crazy Hobby !