To: Roger Kanno,
I read your review of the Anthem STR integrated amplifier-DAC and I’m wondering if the NAD M33 is just as good, or if there are other options in the below-$10k price category.
In addition to the Anthem STR ($4499, all prices in USD) and NAD Masters M33 ($4999), which I reviewed in September 2020, I have also reviewed the Lyngdorf Audio TDAI-3400 (base price $6499). All are excellent integrated amplifier-DACs with room correction, but the NAD M33 is my favorite. The NAD M33 has an incredibly neutral sound, which I attribute to a large degree to its Purifi Eigentakt amplifier modules. The Anthem and Lyngdorf also sound great, and all three integrateds have enough power to drive most speakers to very high levels. They all provide excellent value in this price range.
And while they all have room correction, I really like how easy it is to use Anthem’s ARC and how well it performs. Both Lyngdorf’s RoomPerfect and NAD’s implementation of Dirac Live provide more flexibility in terms of customizing the target curves, if that is important to you. Also, the Anthem has an excellent and very flexible moving-magnet (MM)/moving-coil (MC) phono stage built in, while the NAD only supports MM out of the box and the Lyngdorf only offers MM on their recently upgraded optional analog input board. The NAD and Lyngdorf both provide streaming options, which the Anthem does not—and in the case of the NAD, it’s the excellent BluOS system.
So yes, the NAD is as good as the Anthem and is actually my favorite integrated amplifier-DAC, but I can see how someone might choose any one of the three I have mentioned, for different reasons. Also, you asked about other options in the sub-$10k price category and it just so happens I am currently reviewing the Arcam SA30 class-G integrated amplifier-DAC. It costs just $3000 and you’ll have to wait to read my review for more specific details, but it is another excellent streaming integrated amplifier-DAC with Dirac Live room correction at an affordable price.