It was a huge year at CEDIA 2016 for NAD, the Canadian manufacturer of high performance AV electronics. Among the products introduced at the show were three new NAD Classic Series DAC amplifiers, which borrow technology from the Masters Series of AV components. The C 338 ($650), C368 ($900), and C 388 ($1600) all utilized NAD's hybrid-digital amplifier technology, but vary in terms of capability.
Greg Stidsen shows the new Classic Series DAC Amps at CEDIA 2016. Photo by Mark Henninger
The C 388 and C368 launched during CEDIA and are shipping now. These two models utilize an upgradable, modular design. Both possess MM Phono and line-in analog, optical-digital, and coaxial-digital inputs. While the C 388 delivers 150 watts per channel (stereo) into 8 ohms, the C 368 offers 2 x 80 W/ch output.
Thanks to their modular design construction (MDC), both units can be customized and upgraded, at present and in the future. Upgrade options include 4K HDMI switching, adding more digital inputs, and adding a BluOS module (with Wi-Fi and Ethernet) for networked-audio, multi-room audio capability.
The C 338 was previewed at CEDIA and will ship later this fall. This 50 W/ch (into 8 ohms) stereo DAC amp. NAD touts that it is capable of flawless operation when fed AC with any voltage from 110 to 240, thanks to "near perfect" voltage regulation.
The preamp section of the C 338 contains a solid-state volume control, which offers 0.5dB steps and 120 dB of range. The DAC is a dual-differential array where eight DAC channels are used to generate stereo sound with 120 dB of dynamic range (to match the volume control).
Even with the C 338, you get an NAD MM Phono stage that includes a capacitor-free infrasonic filter and hyper-accurate RIAA EQ. Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity add network streaming to the list of capabilities.
All three models feature Bluetooth with the aptX codec, and full app-based control from smart phones and tablets.
Regarding the new products, Greg Stidsen, director of technology and product planning for NAD Electronics, said that "NAD has continued to push the boundaries of digital amplification with our Hybrid Digital architecture and Asymmetrical PowerDrive. We have eliminated obsolescence with Modular Design Construction while expanding the frontiers of connectivity with Wi-Fi streaming and BluOS wireless multiroom."