The biggest surprise of all these changes made to the NAD M33 is the sound quality. In our view, it is simply significantly better than the M32. And many integrated amplifiers in this price range. So … that’s said.
Anyway, what’s better? That’s always hard to put into words. But let’s give it a try.
First of all, we hear an incredibly tight and well-timed reproduction. Because of this, bass kicks have a lot of ‘texture’. As if we can touch the bass-drum. The bass-kicks hit almost like a punch in the face: so powerful and so tight. This level we usually experience a class or two above the M33. Very impressive.
But fortunately that’s not the only thing that makes an impression. The NAD M33 puts down a stereo image that’s simply immersive. To be honest, that was the first thing your editor noticed when listening to this NAD all-in-one. Because this is exactly what we missed with the M32 and also the M22: the experience of space. And space in the reproduction makes music ‘real’; touchable.
The M33 makes up for this; vocals are presented in glorious 3D. Right in front of us and the effects are all over the place. Now think of that Opéra track :-). That’s the way it should be! Fortunately, what also goes well is scale. Because a small piece of music is presented ‘small’ and intimate. If it has to be big, it will be big. Adele 21, for example, does not have to be presented very large. That’s a guitar with a voice. But Massive Attack should be big. And so the M33 scales up…
Finally the ease with which the NAD M33 plays. There seems to be almost an infinite amount of power. That gives a lot of calmess in the sound. It is a faint – and clichéd – comparison, but compare it to a big V12-powered car driving 100 km/h on the motorway. That will be done with ease. Nice and calm, no noise…. total control. And if it has to go faster: no problem either…
So this excess of control and power creates an authority in the sound. There is no sharpness, no restlessness, no instability in the imaging or ‘looseness’ in the lower bass-regions. It just plays… The artist is given the space and is not ‘subservient’ to the equipment that has to work to reproduce the piece of music. That’s a high-end force. And in this price range simply rare.
Matching the NAD M33 to speakers is not difficult. You just need to find a speaker you like. The NAD M33 doesn’t add anything. You hear your speaker…. (And the room, of course). That sounds logical, but it’s not. We have tried three speakers and we hear the three sounds flawlessly. And in fact they all match, depending on what you’re looking for in a speaker of course.
There are not many amplifiers that can do that. Although we do notice that control is not really a problem with modern amplifiers. However, control is often at the expense of fluidity and musicality (partly due to the feedback). And that is not the case with the NAD M33. The Purify modules keep the speaker tight and can still keep the flow and essence in the music. A combination that makes this amplifier special.