ANALOG SOUND, DIGITAL CONTROL
The M3 is NAD's concept of the ideal musical companion, capable of transporting the
listener to that place where the music simply exists in its own perfect space. For this
task we have pushed classical analog circuit design to unprecedented levels of
performance. The total lack of audible noise and distortion is the result of some very
sophisticated analog engineering, and rather surprisingly, the use of digital control.
Freed of the constraints of traditional analog switches, NAD's Director of Advanced
Development, Bjorn Erik Edvardsen devised an architecture using precision 1%
resistors controlled by digital switches for all the level adjustments required for volume
control, balance control and tone control. (Yes we still believe in tone controls - more
on that later.) Input selection is via precision sealed reed relays. A major advantage of
this architecture, in addition to its extremely precise performance, is the ability to place
controls in the most advantageous physical position within the circuit. The signal never
has to travel to the front panel for switching, as with traditional amplifier designs.
Getting to the infinitesimal levels of noise and distortion of the M3 requires very
careful circuit layout, as only tiny changes in the signal path can have large effects on
performance. Keeping signal paths as short as possible is also greatly aided by the use
of SMD (miniature surface mount) components and multi-layer PCBs (circuit boards).
LUXURIOUS STYLING AND INTELLIGENT CONTROL
The design brief reads: "The industrial design must create a physical presence that is
powerful, dynamic, and solid, yet refined and elegant". We wanted a design that will
still look fresh and new a decade from now, a design with classic proportions and
understated details. We also wanted an amplifier that was not only easy to operate,
but also very flexible and complete in its control options.
Unlike many high performance amplifiers, the M3 includes a full suite of convenience
features. Speaker switching for two pairs of speakers and very flexible tone controls
are provided, as is a Zone 2 output with its own independent set of commands and
dedicated ZR3 remote control. Front panel controls use a multi-function knob and
buttons to quickly navigate all amplifier functions. All operating conditions are clearly
displayed on a 2 line dot matrix VFD display.
Direct access is available to many
functions via the M3 remote handset. The M3 handset also features basic controls for
the matching NAD DVD/SACD player.
Performance features include a multi-stage precision volume attenuator with 0.5dB
steps and a range of 87.5dB, a remote balance control with 0.5dB steps, and a Mode
control that allows stereo, left only, right only, and mono settings. Tone controls offer
bass and treble adjustment, as well as a 'spectral tilt' option that is highly effective at
correcting the tonal balance of many recordings by simultaneously increasing the bass
and decreasing the treble (and vice versa) to create a warmer (or cooler) balance. We
have also included a second set of preamp outputs and a switchable high pass filter
for the internal amplifier, to allow easy implementation of an active subwoofer or
The rugged chassis is built using thick 2mm mild steel plates with a front panel
employing extruded aluminium and die-cast zinc in its construction. Special attention
was paid to the control of mechanical resonance, as this can affect sonic performance.
Special isolation feet use aluminium and silicon rubber in a vibration damping
All signal connectors are heavy duty gold plated types specifically
engineered for the NAD Masters Series components. Finished inside and out, the M3
utilizes powder coating and advanced automotive paint finishes, creating an enduring
and elegant mechanical package.
The preamp uses all discrete low noise high impedance J-FET buffer amps and very
high quality reed relay switches at the preamp input. Special high current low output
impedance Class A gain modules provide tremendous dynamic headroom and high
output current, combined with a exceptional S/N ratio in excess of -100dB (IHF).
About the M3 Dual Mono Integrated Amplifier: