Anybody else get a NAD M66 yet?

I took delivery of a new NAD M66 preamp last week.  I’m curious if anyone else has one yet?  One reason I was interested in it was the all-analogue pathway having a resister ladder relay volume control.  The early videos posted by NAD demonstrated the volume control clicking (as resistor ladders will do…).  Mine does not, even when in analogue bypass mode using an external source.  I’m wondering if they changed the design or if mine is not working properly.  

Initial impressions are mixed, but it’s too early to make determinations.  The other reason I wanted to try it out is for the DIRAC live and bass control capability.  After playing around with the DIRAC, I can say it definitely makes a big difference in my asymmetrical room.  I finally get non-boomy bass and hear all the low notes consistently.  It does seem to take a bit out of the transparency of the overall sound, but again, too early to make final judgments.

Overall, it works well and sounds pretty good, but they still have some bugs to work out, which were expected I think, given the delayed release. For example, if you are using a source with the all digital processing (like the internal DAC), and have subwoofers connected as I do, then switch to an external source with analogue bypass, the subwoofers still seem to be stuck in digital processIng and lag behind the main speakers.  Also, playing around with the various settings in analogue bypass and in the digital domain have left me with an error message, and the unit reboots itself.

Used as a simple analogue preamp, it sounds pretty good but not up to the standard of a stand alone $5k preamp.  One might expect that, given all of its features for the price, and again, it is early.  It is very smooth though and nothing sounds unpleasant through it.  It definitely shows promise, we’ll see how further use goes…


Regarding the mic not working, it's complicated. I had to download the software from the DIRAC site and plug the mic into my laptop, not the M66. You have to download DIRAC live processor. There are simple instructions on the DIRAC website.

Yes, I also had to plug the mic into my laptop, the M66 wouldn’t recognize it.  Brian, wrt the DIRAC curves, did you notice the USB flash drive in the accessory box?  It has a NAD recommended curve on it.  In the DIRAC menu there’s an option to load a curve.  I did that and it sounds pretty good. I assume whatever curve you did use, you loaded it to your M66?  You have to do that step also with the NAD curve.  Also, you may already be aware of this, but if your system already has some room gain in the lower octaves, perhaps even a room gain that is more substantial than ‘neutral’ or flat, DIRAC will flatten that out and result in a perceivable flatter, less bass heavy sound.  Of course you can increase the bass frequencies on that part of the curve, which is one thing the NAD curves do.  They’re boosted slightly in the bass frequencies and gradually decrease as it goes up to 20 kHz.  To tweak the curves you can grab part of it on your screen with the mouse and move it up and down.  
    I also provided my dealer with a whole bunch of input that they said they would pass on to NAD.  If indeed this is a stripped down version, I hope the updates go a long way, because at least as an analogue preamp I’m not super impressed at this point.  My main concern is I am not sure this thing isn’t doing some kind of digital processing no matter what the settings are.  It would be nice to have a switch that just completely defeats the digital side.  I’m not sure that’s possible though based on they way it is designed.

Jimmy, thanks that's great information regarding the NAD curves. I'm going to have to check that out. Like you I'm not impressed by the preamplifier itself. It's just "ok". It does everything ok but isn't that musical. I feel it lacks air and dimension. I love having a one box solution but not sure I'll keep it if it's at the expense of a really good sounding preamplifier.

I agree.  I’m still holding out on it in case I’m missing something or it’s still early.  I also want to make some more comparisons with another preamp.  But otherwise, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this ends up not being a great sounding analogue preamp, that they did not go out of their way to make it so, then one should just buy an M33.  Other than the 4 balanced subwoofer outputs, I’m not seeing what the big difference would be then between the two products.  (Assuming one is using the M23 amp, which I am.  That’s one reason I went out for the M66, I was so impressed with the M23).  

I'm trying to download the curve from the USB but must be missing a step. I see where I can load it into the microphone. But I cannot just load from the hash marks in the top left corner. So does this mean I have to load into the mic and re-test the room? How do I get the NAD curves to integrate with my listening?