The rear panel is tidy and has everything logically laid out. It includes everything you would expect: Two analog line level inputs, a pre-out connection, two subwoofer outputs a coaxial digital input, a Toslink optical input, HDMI audio return channel input, a wired Gigabit Ethernet LAN connector and a USB input.
There are also a pair of good quality speaker binding posts with the ability to Bridge one of the channels. The M10 utilises HybridDigital amplification featuring the popular and remarkable Hypex nCore (class D) amplification stages. It has a healthy output of 100W per channel and the ability to drive virtually any loudspeaker.
It can be connected wirelessly via AirPlay 2 as well as the latest and highest resolution two-way Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth. And there is also wireless internet connectivity, but without the usual ugly external antenna.
Internally the M10 is operated by a powerful NXP 1GHz ARM® Cortex A9 Processor, and the digital to analog is handled by a high-end 32-BIT/384kHz ESS Sabre ES9028 DAC. And it includes a rare feature on a product at this price point: Dirac Live, a patented room correction technology that is capable of correcting the frequency response and the impulse response of the loudspeakers. Quite unexpected at this price point and in this small package.
An important aspect where some of its competitors falter: A modern device can only be as good as its operating system allows it to be, so we have to say that the NAD M10 is operated by the BluOS application, one of the most advanced network streaming and multi-room operating systems available. The software is flexible enough to set up wireless multiple zones, link additional units, integrate with a smart-home integration system or even use voice control via Amazon Alexa and Siri.
And the BluOS App is available for iOS, Android, Mac OS, Windows, and for integration with Crestron, Control4, RTI, URC, Elan, Lutron and iPort. When it comes to using the device, it is extremely flexible and supports over 15 streaming services (Amazon, Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn, Deezer and many others), as well as your music library on a connected NAS or a USB drive. It operates flawlessly: Whether via a tablet, PC or smartphone, the connection is instantaneous, responsive and precise. The app is very easy to use as it is intuitive and works exactly as expected.
Of course, you can operate the M10 entirely via a Wi-Fi connected device (ie. without ever actually having to look at it), but it is such a joy to use and look at: The large colour screen is beautiful and its resolution and clarity are outstanding. And it gives you just the right amount of information, without complicated graphics or unnecessary menus: When playing music, the default ‘now playing’ screen has the album cover photo as well as the name of the song, of the album and of the artist. Simple and enjoyable. Perfect!
So the NAD M10 Streaming Amplifier looks beautiful, is very well equipped and easy to use, but how does this small, all-in-one device sound. Well, don’t let its small size fool you: This elegant, understated device produces a surprisingly pleasing sound. We can even say that it sounds better than some far more expensive amps: The bass is fast and extended, with the speed and control of a larger output amplifier. The midrange is smooth and detailed, and the treble is grain free.
The music sounds clean and spacious, and even at low volume, you have the feeling of being surrounded by the music. It performs beautifully with every genre of music we tried it with.
Another important fact: Both NAD and Bluesound are owned by the Lenbrook Group, and both use the BluOS platform, with the same app. This means that the M10 is fully compatible with any existing Bluesound products that you may already own. But although the M10 has a lot in common with Bluesound’s Powernode 2i, it is far more than just a pretty version of the Powernode: The build quality, connectivity, capability and most importantly, the sound quality are far better.
Our conclusion is that the NAD M10 is a game changer: It combines gorgeous looks, a small package, excellent sound and the best software that we have seen in a streaming device. If you are a music lover and live in a condo or have limited space or simply prefer understated, barely visible equipment over the traditional oversized equipment, you will definitely enjoy the NAD M10 as a single, small device that is easy to hide, able to handle the modern ways of listening music and still performs beautifully.