The power amplifier NAD M22 is the natural partner of the preamplifier M12. It has just arrived in a new and updated V2 edition, which was launched at the CES show in Las Vegas in January. And our test copy is one of the first to come to Scandinavia.
M22 V2 is a class D amplifier, built over Ncore modules from Hypex. Compared to the first edition, the power has been increased by 20 percent, and the power supply has been improved to provide higher dynamic power.
On the outside, the M22 V2 looks like its predecessor in a dot: a low and wide unit in a polished chassis of milled aluminum. The front is covered by a large field just like on the other members of the Masters series, but there are no controls or indicators. Not even a power button as the amplifier turns on and off automatically.
On the back you will find a single set of speaker terminals for banana plugs and stripped cable ends. There is input for balanced and normal unbalanced line signals. You can select the input sensitivity in three steps, and last but not least, there is a switch for bridge switching, which transforms the already powerful 300 watt stereo amplifier into a mono power sample of 900 watts in 8 ohms.
Setup is simple: One set of input cables and one set of speakers out. As the amplifier switches on and off automatically, it is one of the components that are inserted into the stereo rack, after which it conducts its business in complete discertion. That is, if you have the heart to hide away such a huge investment.
The sound of NAD M22 V2
NAD M22 V2 is at its heart a class D amplifier, something that we have learned to connect with a neutral, but also sometimes a little cool reproduction.
The M22 V2 is definitely not cold. There is all the warmth and closeness that one can expect from a high-end product with a price in the luxury cruise class. Hitherto hidden details in known recordings come to light, and you find yourself listening through an open window into the recording room, where there used to be a solid wall.
300 watts sounds like an awesome amount of power, and it means one can avoid thinking of trivial details like sensitivity in the choice of speakers. Most interesting, however, is the calm and carefreeness that is reproduced. Great rock brags are reproduced with the same surplus as solo singing. Just louder, of course. At the same time, the extremely quiet construction means that it is not necessary to play loud to make the music breathe.
A little more elbow room
It is obvious to compare NAD M22.2 with little brother NAD M32. And just like on the M32, it’s a very clean window that opens onto the acoustic stage of the recording. There is ambience and space between the instruments and far to the walls. The difference between the two is that the side and back walls seem to have moved a little further outwards and backwards.
The details of the sound are also turned up a notch, and you start to notice what is happening between the musicians. A detail on the high hat or a resin sound from the double bass. If there is any, that is. While good equipment is an advantage for all music, it is far from all albums where there are hidden delights that are waiting to be dug up.
At the same time, there is even more power at the bottom. The M32 is by no means flimsy or weak, but the extra doubling of the power output means it can drive pretty much anything. Even small speakers will be able to play bass.
With such a solid price, it is reasonable to ask if you get enough value for money. NAD M22 V2 is not the only large predatory fish in the lake, but in its class it is among the cheapest. To this, however, a corresponding amount must be added for a preamplifier. Together with the NAD M12, the price will be higher than the even more powerful and more basic Gato Audio DIA-400S. Another competitor is the Marantz PM-10, which is only almost as open, but so much the more musical. If you do not need the extra power, the “small” NAD M32 is also an interesting alternative.
As a pure power amplifier at both the power and price heavy end, the NAD M22 V2 is one of the most undisguised high-end products from NAD. Its sober style of play and discreet appearance will appeal to some and push others away. If you are looking for an amplifier to impress the racket visually and acoustically, it is not the solution. If you “just” want the music reproduced unadorned at all sound levels and in all speakers, it is actually a good and almost cheap purchase.