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NAD VISO 1 Wireless Digital Music System Preview

NAD VISO 1 Wireless Digital Music System

NAD VISO 1 Wireless Digital Music System


  • Product Name: VISO 1
  • Manufacturer: NAD
  • Review Date: November 21, 2011 18:55
  • MSRP: $700
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • Made for iPod Music System.
  • NAD Direct Digital DAC/Amplifier - 35 bit/844kHz, 0.005% THD
  • Frequency Response - 33Hz – 28kHz (-6dB) Anechoic, 50Hz to 20K
  • Bluetooth aptX wireless high fidelity receiver works with any Bluetooth device.
  • Optical digital input accepts up to 24/96k music from external devices like TV, Disc Player or Media Streamer.
  • NAD Direct Digital amplifier eliminates all analogue circuitry and offers very high efficiency and low power consumption.
  • Bi-amplified system with digital crossover and bi-amplification for lowest distortion and widest frequency response.
  • Music from iPod in digital domain bypassing all analogue circuitry.
  • Component Video Output sends iPod Videos to your HD TV while playing the sound track.
  • Docking Cradle can rotate 90 degrees, allowing for 'portrait' or 'landscape' orientation of your iPhone or iTouch.
  • 30 pin iPod connector charges your iPod while transferring audio and video signals to the VISO 1.
  • USB port for software upgrades.
  • IR remote control.

Desktop, portable, and iDevice dock and systems are more popular than ever. Gone are the days of boomboxes on the shoulders of kids on buses, and in come the days of high end audio in a compact form. It used to be that desktop systems were to left to the large consumer electronics companies and no name fly-by-night brands housed on the shelves of big box stores in arm's reach of washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

No longer.

With the introduction of high-end desktop systems from the likes of Meridian, B&W, and more, the floodgates have been opened. You love your high end home theater or two channel gear? Now you can invest in one of their desktop systems for that room that needs sound but is too inconvenient to install a dedicated Zone 2 or 3. Plus, sometimes you just want portable, right?

NAD Electronics, known more for amps, processors, and other electronics, have thrown their hat into the ring with their new VISO 1, a wireless digital music system that is the first in the new VISO sub-brand. "But," you ask, "what does NAD know about speakers?" Well, not a lot, but they do have a sister company that does - PSB. Combining the two, you have both the electronic and sonic know how to bring, what NAD promises to be, a "game-changing wireless digital music system" to the market. With the cosmetics provided by "noted designer David Farrage" (we're not sure who he is but he is, apparently, noted), NAD is looking to capture the attention of not only your ears, but your eyes. (We looked him up, he's worked with everyone from Toshiba to Altec Lansing to Movado to Samsonite. We think we own one of his dish scrubber brushes.)

The NAD VISO 1 has a number of interesting features. As you might expect, it is Made for iPod/Works with iPhone certified. Which is nice if you have an iDevice, but not so good if you have something else. Fortunately, the VISO 1 has an integrated aptX Bluetooth receiver. This provides a stereo signal from Bluetooth connected devices. While you'll lose the charging functionality inherent in the dock, at least you have wireless access to your music.

On top of that, NAD's VISO 1 incorporates NAD's highest-end Direct Digital DAC/amplifier technology - the same one seen in the company’s $6000 Masters Series M2 DAC/Amplifier. The VISO 1 completely bypasses the DACs in your iDevice. This keeps all your music in the digital domain until it is decoded by NAD's superior DACs and reproduced by PSB's award-winning speakers.


Glancing at the back of the VISO 1, we find not only a USB input (for upgrades) and optical input (for adding a second device), but also a component video output. Depending on your model of iPod, you can send either a component or composite signal through this output - a nice feature. In the picture at the top of the article, you can see the left side of the VISO 1 where a port is clearly visible. In the picture above, that dimple on the side is the power button. The front has the dock, a volume/source select, and a power indicator light. Not pictured is an included remote.

NAD hasn't given us much to go on with the sonics of the VISO 1. While we can see the port, they don't list the driver types, numbers, or configuration. They do specify that the frequency response is 33Hz – 28kHz (-6dB) anechoic, 50Hz to 20kHz (presumably, in room). While not earth shattering, if true, it is a fairly respectable response. We wish the VISO 1 had more inputs or perhaps Apple AirPlay included. It would also be nice, for the $700 price tag, to have some sort of wireless connectivity to the Internet for streaming content from connected computers or online services.

But then we got a look at some of the pictures of the NAD VISO 1 in action and our jaws dropped. We went from "cautiously unimpressed" to "OMG!!!111" in 3.5 seconds. Check these out:


Okay, we're not sure exactly what is going on here, but clearly, no greater time can be had with your daughter than in the presence of the NAD VISO 1. Look at them. Even through the blur you can tell that this little girl is having the time of her life. She's saying, "I'm flying daddy! Well, really you seem to be kicking me up in the air a bit, but it is just like flying!"

VISO1_glamour3     VISO1_glamour4

Having problems in the kitchen? The NAD VISO 1 can help! Even though it takes up an inordinate amount of counter space for something that doesn't mix, blend, or chop, look at their faces! This meal is going to be filled with the sort of awesome only high quality NAD Direct Digital 35 bit/844kHz DAC/Amplifier can provide. And again, the NAD VISO 1 makes even the mundane task of walking down stairs a joy. Because, you know, at the bottom you'll find sonic bliss (not pictured: crying and gnashing of teeth as the couple trudge up the stairs each night leaving the center of their universe on the counter; unheard, unloved, until the next day - their bed was never so cold before the arrival of the VISO 1).

VISO1_glamour1     VISO1_glamour2

An iPad. Everyone wants one. But every time you walk into the Apple store, the Geeks turn you away. "Sorry sir," they say, shaking their heads sadly, "you are just not cool enough to own the greatest tablet of all time." But now, the NAD VISO 1 tucked triumphantly under your arm, you stride in, proud, head high, knowing that you not only are cool enough for an iPad, you're so cool they'll probably give you one (note - that won't happen). And when you get home, and the sun is in your eyes and distracting you from the the pure sonic nirvana streaming from your iPod to your VISO 1 via a direct digital connection (because lossy MP3s sound better that way), you can just do the rain dance included in the manual (note - no it isn't) and the clouds will cover the offending glare (note - no they won't) so you can, once again, sink into your ultra-modern furniture in the sort of sonic rapture that only the VISO 1 or a contact high at a Dead show can provide..


The NAD VISO 1 has a lot of technology that lovers of NAD will absolutely care about. The high end DACs and proprietary amplifiers are sure to impress even neophytes. But where the VISO 1 falls flat is in overall connectivity and functionality. Sure, top-of-line Bluetooth and a direct digital connection to your iDevice is impressive, as is a component video output, but, with only a single additional connection, we're left wanting. Especially when you consider they have a USB port for upgrades, why not use it for, at the very least, charging additional devices or maybe even streaming from a USB source? For NAD supporters and those that only own iDevices, the VISO 1 is an attractive option; the rest will have to wait until the rest of the VISO line is released to see if there is something with a bit more functionality.

For more information, please visit www.nadelectronics.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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