A while back, we had an extended demo of the Dali Epikore 11. That’s an impressive speaker. We didn’t really talk about the other gear in that article. In the hifi rack there were not only two M23 in bridge mode…. there was also an NAD M66 pre-amp. A brand new beast from NAD!
NAD has had the NAD M12 to drive the NAD M23 for some time. Your author has privately owned a NAD M12. It is a fine pre-amp that can be adjusted to your liking by the MDC system. Very convenient.
Of course, the question immediately arises: why launch an M66 when there is already an M12? This is quite simple: the NAD M66 is really a different kind of beast. It is not a digital pre-amp. It’s actually a kind of hybrid.
So we hear from Dali Benelux that there is both an analog path and a digital path. This means that analog sources are not digitized for subsequent processing; it is possible to run completely analog with the NAD M66. That was not the case with the NAD M12, which digitized all signals.
The advantage of a completely analog path, of course, is that the signal remains untouched. That’s important for people who are using vinyl, for example, or have a very nice streamer or CD player that outputs an analog signal to the preamp.
NAD has had a partnership with Dirac for some time. The NAD M66 also has Dirac built in. The full licenses even. And then also including Dirac Live Bass Control. A special addition for subwoofers.
Speaking of subwoofers, there are FOUR balanced and single ended outputs for subwoofers…. incredible. That should be enough for everyone.
Now if you have any doubts about whether this is a stereo preamplifier (actually pre-amp / receiver): yes… it really is a stereo device.
It’s safe to say that no one really needs immediate expansion with this M66. After all, by default, the M66 does get everything: BluOS streaming, Bluetooth, AES, Optical, Coaxial digital in. Phono MM / MC in, RCA line in, balanced in and HDMI eARC in. Outputs are also single ended and balanced.
There are also the necessary home automation options on it for people who want to integrate this amplifier into their smart home.
The only thing we might miss is multiple HDMI inputs and USB digital in. But that has more to do with how you deploy the device. The bulk of users will not miss this connectivity.
The NAD M66 will cost 5999 euros. We had to gulp, since the M12 costs a lot less. And you can get an M33 for around 5400 Euros. However: this is a device of a completely different class. The M66 is the showpiece and can really do everything. Both digital and analog. And it includes the full version of Dirac and Dirac Bass Control. So it is understandable. Although it remains a lot of money of course.
We have heard the NAD M66 only on the Dali Epikore 11. Together with two NAD M23 power amplifiers. That was without a doubt extremely good. However, before we can draw firm conclusions, we should try this beast at the editorial office. To be continued!