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But the M2 clearly wasn’t lazy and responded with sonic virtues I personally fancy very much. But first a qualifier. I did all my listening almost exclusively via coaxial S/PDIF since this power DAC favors digital feeds. Running a few sessions over the analog XLR input, the sonic picture lost a bit of transparency and definition. For a good fix on certain M2 virtues, there’s Dino Saluzzi’s 11-minute "Mundus" from his 1992 Mojotoro album. It's a somewhat melancholy mix of folk and Jazz. This number combines intensity, tension and serenity with a very tangible and colorful instrumentation of bandoneon, sax and percussion with exceptionally tacit dimensionality which, over my Thiel CS 3.7 and the right electronics, suspends the instruments with reach-out-and-touch acuity into the room.

While perhaps a tad narrower than usual, the M2 maintained this exceptional plasticity of the stage and I was particularly impressed with the amount of space it generated (or left) around each performer. This supports seemingly realistic scale and prevents clumping together of the stage actors. While on liberated space, these inter-performer distances were also flawlessly empty to invoke the oft-cited blackground against which the musicians gain greater definition while the overall context floats on calmness which I find more believable too.

With my formidable Fonel Emotion for A/B comparisons, my colleague Ralph likewise noted the cleanliness of the sonic picture and the associated greater staging dimensionality as well as a very substantial midrange. For my tastes for example, the voice of Kasabian’s front man Tom Meighans on the commendable "Take Aim" track from the 2009 West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum album (a mixture of Krautrock and Britpop that should appeal to the right listeners) can get easily too nasal and thin. NAD’s M2 avoided this tendency and distilled pleasant sonority and color. To avoid misunderstandings, this substantial and organic midrange doesn’t invoke warmth or opulence. There’s no artificial fattening. The M2 is essentially neutral.

The black background and absence of grey veiling instead create higher contrast ratio and a related heightening of pressurization and fullness. This absence of distortion is surely why the M2 is particularly adept at believably tracking the textural fingerprints of instruments and voices which goes beyond the midband into the treble. Utterly free of sibilance, artificial silver, porosity or compaction, the song "Numbers" of Oz formation The Church—well-recorded very listenable melancholy melodic pop  from the 2002 album After Everything Now This—impressed with how fine, slinky yet embodied the ring-out of cymbals was tracked. My notes also mention how unstressed and very natural the hi-hat seemed on the hefty experimental Jazz of The Grassy Knoll’s Paul Has An Emotional Uncle.

In fact –and certainly not the norm for class D amps –I thought the upper reaches a particular forté over my highly resolved, microdynamically very astute Thiel CS 3.7.

While a matter of taste and a function of ancillaries too, I did think that ultimately the M2 underplayed just a bit in matters of crispness, freshness and wiriness. That take is personal but could be a function of less distortion than we’re used to in fact. The impedance curve of the loudspeaker too will factor. Adjusting the impedance matching knob, I noticed how higher values created some treble shading. For my Thiels, 4 ohms seemed best but this adjustment is certainly subtle.

Regardless, the M2 is assuredly not part of the outright angular ultra-fast breed which delivers spectacles on first listening.  Bass quantity and extension too are flawlessly balanced. Be it the driven runs of The Grassy Knolls disc or more extreme pounding electro beats by Klinik from their 1996 album Awake, the M2 booked no worries over having fun even though it played with a bit less rebound tautness or explosive contours than for example my Fonel Emotion or the quite dry and rhythmic Myryad MXA 2150 power amp.

: The M2 is Mister Clean for sure but despite it, not boringly sterile. Quite the contrary in fact. By avoiding all hazing and grey blurs, the resultant sonic image becomes exceptionally elastic, musical, color rich and very non-technical or non-artificial. This Brit merely avoids the last degree of forward momentum, attack and turn-on factor to grab for attention but clearly is no wall flower.

For auditions, I’d lean towards agile, microdynamically gifted speakers. Even the quality of the digital cable shouldn’t be underestimated even if some won’t believe it. I had good results with the Aqvox COAX-75. Personally—and I don’t often say this at this juncture of my reviews—I was particularly impressed with the M2. The Brit digimeister is undoubtedly one of the most sympathetic performers I’ve had in yet. I most highly recommend a personal audition.

NAD’2 M2 is characterized by:
  • Text-book low distortion with a tendency toward flow and elasticity over rhythmically angular or crackling.
  • Developed tone colors with solid textures.
  • Immaculately sorted, three-dimensionally locked staging against a very black background and properly scaled sizing and scale. Stage width is occasionally a tad narrower than with other amps.
  • Freedom from edges for ideal long-term use yet still highly resolved. Ultimately somewhat soft rather than freshly crisp in the treble.
  • Full-featured, the M2 is optimized for its digital inputs.
  • Flawless bass on extension and weight, neither soft nor poster child for brutality.
  • Impeccable build.

  • Category: Class D integrated
  • Weight: 20.2 kg
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 435 x 148 x 502mm
  • Trim: Silver grey
  • Output power: 2 x 300/250/200 Watt into 2/4/8 Ohm
  • Digital inputs: 1 x AES/EBU, 2 x coaxial, 2 x optical
  • Analog inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA
  • Digital outputs: 1 x RCA, 1 x optical
  • Other: Speaker terminals accept bananas or spades, 7-stage impedance matching, fixed gain feature for use with preamp, selectable sample rates for analog inputs, 24/192 data acceptance for digital inputs
  • Idle power consumption: 80 watts, 1 watt in standby
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Website

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