Manage, Play, and Rip Digital Music from Network or Local Music Sources
Unless you were lucky enough to visit a recording studio, you could never hear the most accurate form of a musical recording: the studio master. This is now changing with the increasing popularity of studio master-quality HD downloads. That's great news for anyone who loves music. But the problem is that the system required a computer, which wasn't built for audio performance.
With NAD's Masters Digital Music Suite, you can download, listen, stream, and store precious HD recordings without a computer, completely shaking up the way you enjoy HD music. The M50 Digital Music Player is where most of the processing and control functions are located, and it acts as the brain of the revolutionary Masters Digital Music Suite.
"Comparable with High End Analog"
"Finally music streaming over Ethernet is comparable with high end analogue equipment, but a lot easier to handle, without noise and without damage over time," reports René van Es in his February 21, 2013 review for The-Ear.net. "No matter how you offer your music, USB or on Ethernet, what goes in comes out unaltered. No upsampling, no downsampling."
Much of the M50's system is defined by software, not hardware. This means that new cloud services or audio codecs can be integrated by simply changing the software stack of the M50. This software upgrade potential allows the M50 to live on and maintain its cutting edge functionality. While the focus is clearly on 24-bit, 96 kHz studio master downloads and listening, NAD's software roadmap includes the addition of Internet radio and premium cloud services in the future. The M50's massive processing power will support years and years of software upgrades.
NAD has included the latest generation low power, super high performance ARM processor in the M50. These have more computing power than a PC from just a few years ago, yet run cool and do not require noisy fans. Digital connectivity includes SPDIF, USB, and – unusually for a stereo audio component – HDMI. NAD included HDMI because it is a secure encrypted format that supports 24-bit, 192 kHz HD Audio in PCM's native I2S format, but it is not a video output.
The M50's CD transport can playback from or rip to the M52 Digital Music Vault using FLAC lossless encoding. Ripping is completely automatic, while NAD's music management software for your tablet or smartphone can fetch metadata and cover art from the Internet, when connected. All without a computer! Everything is organized and instantly available for playback. You can browse your music collection and easily create playlists by album or category listing on the fly.
Wired and Wireless Connectivity
The M50 gives you a choice of a wired or wireless network connection, using standard Wi-Fi protocol IEEE 802.11 b/g/n. While you can stream 24-bit, 96 kHz music wirelessly, a wired connection or local storage for HD music is preferable in order to avoid unwanted dropouts. Wi-Fi capability also offers the convenience of controlling your music collection from a smartphone or tablet. When combined with NAD's M52 Digital Music Vault, the M50 is ideal for enjoying your HD music as well as CDs, MP3, FLAC, or AAC compressed music.
Smartphone or Wireless Remote Control
While a smartphone or tablet is the best way to operate the M50, NAD also included an IR remote and four-line graphic VFD display to play CDs like a conventional hi-fi component. NAD also included an RS-232 and IR input to allow for easy integration with home automation systems.
NAD has always emphasized better sound, so after ripping a CD, playback is different and much improved in the M50 over existing CD players. Instead of streaming directly from the disc to the output, the M50 momentarily stores the data in a memory buffer where it is re-clocked to the M50’s high precision master clock for the lowest levels of jitter. Enjoy fully asynchronous audio playback from all your media sources.
Prodigious Processing Power
The M50 boasts processing power to support years of future software upgrades. It features an ARM Cortex A8 Core, 1600 MIPS with ARM Neon DSP Media co-processor and vector floating point unit for intensive audio processing. It has 256MB RAM and 4GB flash memory that's field-upgradable.
It uses open-platform Linux software, featuring bit-perfect streaming software developed by leading Linux audio experts, custom-developed Linux device drivers, and fully vertical platform software development supported and controlled entirely by NAD.
Eight-Layer PCB Layout
The M50 uses eight-layer PCB layout optimized for the lowest jitter. Its jitter specs are competitive with NAD's best CD players. Output jitter is dramatically lower than many popular streaming products. High-frequency switch-mode power supplies provide extremely low noise. Industry-leading low power consumption is comparable with the latest mobile devices.
"Finally music streaming over Ethernet is comparable with high end analogue equipment, but a lot easier to handle, without noise and without damage over time."
"No matter how you offer your music, USB or on Ethernet, what goes in comes out unaltered. No upsampling, no downsampling."
- René van Es, The-Ear.net, February 21, 2013