Much as I love high-end one-box stereo systems, I still regard traditional setups, with two proper speakers, as the hifi gold standard. The problem is that it’s preferable to mix and match brands to create a good separates hifi, which inevitably looks a bit dog’s dinner-ish.
This sublime unit from Canada is the most desirable compromise I’ve come across. The NAD M10 BluOS needs a pair of basic, passive speakers, for which I’d choose those by ATC of Stroud, which I reviewed years ago. But so long as you don’t use a CD player or deck any more, this one elegant and compact box is all you need for really serious hifi. NAD, which has a high-end pedigree going back to 1972, calls its new baby a streaming amplifier, and that’s exactly what it is. It will stream from any of the existing services, but is best adapted to Tidal, which, for its “Masters” level, has adopted the British MQA protocol – the finest in town, for my money.
The M1 produces two 100-watt channels, shows the album artwork big and beautiful – and you can even have old-school VU sound-level meters appear on the display if you choose. It also comes with an easy adjustment system that tunes the sound rather miraculously to match your room.