thoughts on NAD M3

Hi All,

The professional reviews on the NAD M3 are mostly positive.However, I find that the user opinions (from various forums) are not as positive. Any thoughts?
Listened to the M3 extensively when I was auditioning for a new amp around 12 months ago. It was very impressive driving some PMC speakers (OB 1's, I think) generating a wide soundstage with solid bass and good integration. I ended up preferring the Musical Fidelity A5 by a very slim margin - seemed slightly more neutral and more dynamic than the NAD. Perhaps the extra watts in the MF played their part. But I remained very impressed with the NAD.
I was looking at the same thing. Overall, the feeling I found was mostly positive overall for the M# and whole Master series. As always, extremely negative or "blew it away" kind of comments are generally disregarded by me as BS or anti brand name prejudice. For those of us that have hardly any availabliity to listen to products, researching on line is pretty important. It is still interesting to find an audio product that is highly rated by many, and it is the "worst thing they ever heard" from others. Different maybe , but worst ever ? Somebody has an issue in those cases, and I tend to believe it is the "worst ever guys" !
I have not heard the M3 but was tempted to start a dialog about certain items getting great reviews and soon after that those same items become very plentiful on AG. The M3 is one of those. Seems like if they were that great buyers would keep them for awhile. A few other examples are Acoustic Zen Adagios, Parasound JC-1's. These and the M3 all got rave reviews and are almost always avail on AG. You can definitely get a good deal on the M3 and try for yourself.
Your right with that thought. I think in the case of the M3, with all the rave reviews, and the fact that NAD is a relatively high volume marketer, that you would find a bunch of these on here. It looks like many now are retailers selling them on AGON. On the other hand people on here change amps like underwear, maybe more. Look at lines like McIntosh, there is always tons of stuff for sale, much of it current.
Assuming that, because a certain item is plentiful in the used classifieds, it must not be as good as the press it got, says it is, is flawed logic. As far as the components mentioned by Bizango their positive press helped create a large volume of sales. Whenever a certain product sells much better than another similar item you will find more of them for sale used. Look at all of the used Shunyata power cords for sale here and on other used sites. Does that mean that the Shunyata product is not as good as claimed? Absolutely not, Shunyata sells so many of them that there is more available used. Now, understand I'm not saying that the NAD M3 isn't overrated, I'm just saying that you can't come to that conclusion accurately simply by the fact that there are a lot of them for sale used.
Rcrerar, part of my observation is how quickly some items show up in large quantities on AG after their release. In the case of JC-1's they have been around for many years. Adagios and M3's began showing up pretty soon after the rave reviews. I haven't drawn any conclusion about the sound or ratings of the M3-I've never heard one!
I listened to the M3 along with some other int. in that price range and it was tempted to buy one however in the end I spent a little more and got a McCormack amp and pre. If I bought ann int. amp it probably would have been the M3. One of the reasons I passed is that it's made in China. Before you all jump all over me for saying that please know that it doesn't FEEL or sound cheap, I just felt that if I'm going to spend 3 or 4 k it was going to be made in the USA. Regardless of where it's made it's a very nice amp.
In my system (Gallo Ref 3 speakers and a VSE level 4 Sony DVP-9000ES), I've had a PS Audio GCC-250, a Sim Audio I3, an Underwood Hifi-modded Musical Fidelity A5, and the NAD M3. Of all of them, the NAD M3 was my favorite in most respects, except that I found a certain "closed-in" quality on the top-end and occasional rhythmic sluggishness that I just couldn't get over. I tried swapping in better jumpers, using power conditioning (an Audience AR1p), but I just couldn't get those qualities to go away, particularly the closed-in top end (an issue which I believe a few forum members have also commented on).

I ended up going with the MF A5, which has a more extended top end and better channel separation, but does not have the same palpable immediacy that the M3 had, nor its seemingly endless bass reserves. Despite the posted power ratings, the M3 struck me as being a much more powerful amplifier than the A5, and if it hadn't been for those deal-breaking quirks (which may well have been entirely unique to my system), I would have kept the M3. Either way, I definitely preferred both the M3 and the A5 to the PS Audio unit or the Sim I3.
Great amp for the money. Use it to drive some passive ATC speakers in a pro studio environment. Really wonderful soundstage, low noise, neutral mids, and solid bass.
I have been sooo tempted to try one of these, pricing is very compelling for a well cared for unit. I've never really heard anything terribly negative about the M3.
I had the M3 and it like all others performs better when it synergizes with your other gear. It was as stated reticent in the treble, a bit closed in and a bit slow in my setup. This took away from the excitement of the music it produced. I have to assume it would perform better in other setups. I sold mine. Even the bass in my setup was not what I feel it should have been. The less than sparkling highs seem to be a common thread with this piece. Beautiful integrated however.
My personal experience with NAD is, stay away from products made in China, unless you want to visit your dealer often
Vinylmeister, I assume you had troubles with a piece ? My take, and I think it is somewhat factual is that there is nothing wrong with China built, it just depends on who is building. I have a Mac amp and pre, made obviously in the US, yet the 201 CD/SACD player they have is / was a wonderful sounding unit but prone to failure for some. Some of the highest rated audio equipment out right now is made in China. Now I personally do not like the China built products that are also designed in China, just a personal thought no real experience. But NAD and I'm assuming many other well known North American and European brands have factories they own or manage in China building their products, which I assume means better QC. I talked with and read quite a bit about my M5 CD/SACD player before I bought it, and while there were a few early troublesome units, overall most work just fine. My M5 is just working fine, it is to bad you had a bad experience with your M55. I chose the M5 for the CD/SACD/HDCD capabilities, but thought the DVD side of things are better in a separate box. So I also bought the NAD T515 for the few videos I watch, but also for the 2 channel DVD-A capability. I only have about 10 DVD-A, and this T515 does a nice job with DVD-A.
I also chose the mf a5 over the m3. It just sounded more relaxed. Also the top end was more extended. I thought the nad was better than most I tested in this price range but was easily edged out by the a5. I think maybe the nad suffered in sound quality because of all the unnecicary gadgetry. Id look at the a5 If were you.
I had an M3 for a year. The best way I can describe it is this: It sounds very good, will play very loudly without strain, and has many setup options(input level matching, sub out jacks, etc.).

But... It just lags a split second behind in its timing. Things that were exciting with other equipment lost something. I did not experience the lack of top-end sparkle that others bring up, but a dullness in pace unrelated to frequency extremes.
I actually felt the frequency balance was excellent, but kept wanting to lean in and speed things up just a hair.