Trying to Decide on my next Purchase


I'm new to digital music and decided on the NAD Master Series M12 and M22 v2 for my music room.  With the M12/M22 setup, I'm using a McIntosh MCD7008 (that I borrowed from my rec room Mac analog system).  My next purchase will be a CD transport to replace the Mac MCD or a digital music streamer.  My budget is ~$3500. 

I'm considering the NAD M50.2, but I'm concerned about usability issues that I read about, in particular, it has no remote and the app must be used to initially play a CD. The blog noted the M12 remote cannot be used to start playing a CD.  Does anyone know if the M12 remote can be used or programmed to control the following 50.2 functions:
  1. Open the tray
  2. Close the tray
  3. Play a CD in the tray
  4. Play any CD stored on the device
The idea of ripping my CD library all over again isn't that appealing, but with the 50.2 I won't need another CD player :-).   
oldschool1948
Oldschool we sell a lot of music streamers, and the NAD is a good capable product but there are way better units out there. 

The NAD is great if you are interested in setting up a NAD Blue Sound streaming setup and also like the idea of having a back up drive.

The Blue Sound Operating system is truly fantastic.

We sell the NAD, we also sell Aurender, Lumin, Baetis, Innuous, Naim. 

Our current favorite for the price is the Innous Zenith which offers some wonderful qualities:

1: True Audiophile build quality with a very sophisticated low noise power supply which generates a very clean digital signal, and yes you can hear the difference.  Low clock noise, ethernet isolation filter, proprietary OS which is designed to eliminate noise, vibration shock mounting. 

2: Easy to setup

3: Roon Core 

All the main servers use an app to run them.  There is just too much to control and access in terms of using and selecting files to make a regular remote effective. 

Personally the ability for a server to play a cd rather than rip is not a major issue the Innuous rips in eight mins, and automatically updates your library. 

I would not consider a server just because it is an NAD product, we sell the Masters products and they do stand on their own merits and you can use whatever server you find acceptable.

Food for thought.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
@audiotroy 

Nice informative post Troy
Dave and Troy,

Thanks for the prompt response and advice.  In your opinion, is the Innous Zenith SQ noticeably better than the 50.2?   Can you answer my NAD questions :-)

Base on your recommendation and reviews on this site, I will definitely give the Innous Zenith serious consideration.  

Roon is not a consideration.  I tried it and it's great software, but LMS fits my needs well enough.  I have over 16K music files on my NAS with 25 custom playlists of my favorite jazz and old school R&B artists.  I have about 1200 vinyl albums, about 1000 CDs, and a couple of cases of 10-inch reels.  I still, occasionally, rip a vinyl album or song to add to my collection; play a single CD or album; or play a reel when I want to back to the glory days!

Thanks again for the advice.

Regards,

Johnnie
The Innuous is way better sounding then the NAD in our tests a $3,500.00 Zenith MK II came quite close to the $15k Baetis Ref, however, their have been a score of improvements in the current Baetis that pushes that unit up even further in the reference class food chain.

The difference in digital severs is quite spooky and quite honestly we don't really understand why there is so much difference between digital sources but there are. 

The Innous is designed to run Roon, got no idea what you mean by LMS fits my needs well enough. Roon is one of the best music management softwares out there and you can do extensive playlist creation.

If its any considertion we have an nice eight bay QNAS with 21TB in a raid 5 configuration, and yes we still play vinyl, very rarely we will actually spin a CD we do have one of the world's best CD/SACD players the T+A PDP 3000.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
The Innous is designed to run Roon, got no idea what you mean by LMS fits my needs well enough. Roon is one of the best music management softwares out there and you can do extensive playlist creation.
I've been using LMS for a very long time.  LMS works for how I want to listen to and manage my music library; it also allows me to manage my whole house music setup with ease. 

I reviewed Roon and realize it has many features that LMS lacks, and that I can manage my music setup with Roon - but I have no desire to change to Roon or any other music management system.
Are you referring to Logitech Media Server or the LMMS software platform?

My sense is that the bigger decision for you centers around choosing a software platform. Let that drive your component choice.

Innuos does support Squeezebox.
I’m referring to Logitech Media Server.  And you are correct on software being a major factor.

I have Squeezebox Duets and Raspberry PI players all around my house.  I use a Duet with my M12 most of the time.  When listening to Tidal masters, I use the M12’s BluOS module.  

I’m giving the Innuos serious consideration.  With it I could kill two birds with one stone.  Get a CD player for my new gear, which I need, and Squeezebox player, which I don’t really need but would eliminate the need for the Duet.
As an M50.2 owner since January, I cannot recommend this product to any serious music listener. The excellent hardware features are more than negated by truly horrible software support. 

1) since the 2017 fall creator’s update, Windows 10 users have been unable to access the share folders on the M50.2 because the device uses the old Samba 1/CIFS file sharing protocol. This protocol is so insecure that every OS has simply disabled it...there is no patch. Re-enabling smb/CIFS in Windows 10 today doesn’t grant access to the share folders, you now have to enable insecure guest authentication in your registry (which is by default set to off for good reasons). 

Bottom line, this thing is currently useless for windows 10 users as a network sharing device.  Unless you’re ok with opening up security holes on your computer.

2) DSD support, promised since late 2017, was supposed to come by the 2017 holidays, then spring 2018, and we still don’t have it today. I can only assume this is due to a licensing issue with MQA.

3) HDTracks is no longer accessible as a service on the M50.2. It was, but changes on their end created problems with the M50.2 auto-download service.

It would be nice if NAD open sourced the software. If they did, I guarantee to you that these issues would have been resolved by now, but it is what it is. Of course, they’re clearly operating off of a Linux build (maybe even android?) and are probably required to release their source code by the GNU license, but I won’t hold my breath. 
@oldschool1948

Not sure if you have made a purchase or decided on something by now but if you haven’t, I highly recommend the Naim Uniti Nova all-in-one solution. It is a streamer/DAC/integrated amp in a single chassis. You can sell your NAD M12/M22 combo and just get this Naim Uniti Nova. It currently retails for $7500 new. The amplifier runs in class AB. It is a highly musical sounding unit and I’m pretty sure it will sound more musical than your NAD M12/M22 combo plus a streamer.
The sound is very refined smooth very musical punchy and lean slightly toward a warmer side of neutral but nothing like a tube warm. It has excellent musical and rhtymic drive with great and focus imaging.

The Naim Uniti Nova has a pair of XLR & RCA analog audio inputs so you can connect a CD player to it. It also has various digital inputs (USB, ethernet, spdif, optical digital). You can connect a CD transport via one of these digital inputs on the Naim. Naim makes excellent DAC & streamer.
The Nova comes equipped with built-in Tidal & Spotify streaming apps and is Roon ready.

I happen to own the Naim Uniti Nova in my bedroom setup paired with B&W 805 D3 standmount speakers. They make great combo IMO.


caphill, I purchased an Innuos Zenith MK2 and I’m quite happy with it. Having said that, I might have gone the Naim route if I read your email beforehand. A close friend of mine purchased a Naim Unity Star with some Focal speakers and the combo sounds really good.

I also upgraded my turntable to a Technics SL-1200G w/ Ortofon Quintet Black cart. I’m in vinyl heaven.

I still have the NAD gear, and I must say as it's broken-in along with the power cords and interconnects that I purchased, it sounds pretty good.  But, I do plan to replace the NAD gear with something else; I'm not yet sure what that might be.  I'm looking for a better pre-amp/amp or integrated amp match for my Tannoy 8 dcti speakers.  
avlee -  The excellent hardware features are more than negated by truly horrible software support
This is another reason why I'm ditching my NAD gear.  My experience has been that their support is non-existent.  For example, I needed to apply a firmware update to the M12's BluOS module that I purchased and installed.  You can easily download the software from their site, but there are NO instructions on how to install it.  And the install package has two files with no information on which one to use.

There was no way to get help from NAD.  After 4 or 5 emails with BluOS support I gave up because they were no help either.  I asked very specific questions and got vague answers, or references to the NAD site - which I already tried to use. 

I've been a computer geek since 1968, so I finally figured it out for myself. BluOS support said they'd update the documentation to provide step-by-step instruction about 6 months ago but have not, but did release another firmware update - with the same NO instructions.

@oldschool1948 

The Naim Uniti Star is a step down from the Uniti Nova. The Nova is by far better than the Star. The Nova is the top of line within the Uniti series. The Uniti series is Naim's entry level series. But the Star is very good for its price point. While the Nova isn't exactly cheap at $7500 but if you must go Naim analog integrated amp + Naim digital front end components you will end up spending a lot more than the Uniti Nova. The Naim separates (digital front end + analog linestage preamp + power amp) will cost you even way more but they are awesome. Naim makes very musical sounding gears but can be pricey. Depending on your budget later down the road or when it's time for you to upgrade, I highly recommend Naim separates. They might pair quite well with your Tannoy. 

caphill - thanks for the information.  I haven't set a budget.  This is my retirement system, so I'm going to get what I want - but at the same time, spend as little as possible. 

I've considered an integrated tube amp, but then I'd need a good DAC and phone preamp.  I've considered a McIntosh integrated amp that comes with everything, but I've always like separate components.  

I've considered keeping the M12 and buying a better DAC, phone preamp, and either SS or tube power amp.  I'm doing research, talking to folks with more knowledge and better gear that I have, and auditioning dealer gear.  I hope to have everything I need before Christmas :-).
That's sloppy support from NAD, downloaded updates  should always contain a text file with instructions. Shouldn't have to run around looking for it. 
@oldschool1948 

So this isn't your main primary system then? McIntosh makes pretty good amplifiers and are generally more affordable than Naim products with the exception of the Naim Uniti series. 
Naim separates will run you up to $90k to $100k which excludes the Naim Statement gears.

The Naim Statement gears, which consist of a Naim NAC S1 linestage analog preamp ($90k) and a pair of Naim NAP S1 monoblock amps ($180k), will cost you $270k total, and this does not include digital front end source components and analog front end gears. $270k is just for an analog linestage preamp (no phonostage) and a pair of monoblock amps. The Naim Statement is Naim's flagship series and these are cost-no-object design gears. They are phenomenal probably one of the best sounding gears I've ever heard.

I happen to own these Naim Statement gears in my main reference two-channel setup but I'm not using Naim digital front end source components. For digital front end components I'm using the DCS Vivaldi full four stacks which consist of a Vivaldi master clock, Vivaldi upsampler, Vivaldi DAC, Vivaldi CD/SACD transport. 
I also have a Kronos Pro turntable with an Audio Research Reference 10 phonostage preamp, 12' Black Beauty tonearm, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme mc cartridge & a discrete class A linear power supply unit for the Kronos Pro turntable. For speakers I have the Magico M6 big floorstanders. The Naim Statement gears pair really well with the Magico M6. They sound spectacular together. 

However, the step down from the Statement series is the 500 series separates and the series consists of the 500 series stereo power amp with a separate PSU (power supply unit), the analog linestage preamp with a separate PSU, and the digital streamer/DAC with a separate PSU. One thing about Naim separates, you can add and upgrade  Naim separate PSU for each Naim component whether it's a CD player, digital streamer/DAC, analog linestage preamp, power amp or phonostage preamp. This also applies to other series except the Uniti series. Cause the Naim Uniti series is an all-in-one box solution that has digital streamer/DAC & integrated amp all in a single chassis.
The Naim Statement is Naim's flagship series and these are cost-no-object design gears. They are phenomenal probably one of the best sounding gears I've ever heard.

+1 @caphill