NAD C 368 Stereo Integrated DAC/Amp with Bluesound Module Hands-On - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 08-07-2017, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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NAD C 368 Stereo Integrated DAC/Amp with Bluesound Module Hands-On

Update: Hands-on now posted, follow this link: NAD C 368 Stereo Hybrid Digital DAC Amplifier Hands-On

NAD's C 368 integrated DAC/amplifier is a compact, affordable, connected, expandable modular audio tool. It's designed to serve as the center of a 2-channel sound system and provide clean, distortion free power to speaker systems.

Right out of the box, the C368 is ready to make music. You can connect sources, wire up a pair of speakers, hit play, and go. But, thanks to the an included BluOS expansion module, this is a connected digital device. So, before I got around to listening, the first thing I did was update the system firmware to the latest version.

I may not have an Audio Precision analyzer to test its power output, but NAD has a reputation of publishing accurate specs. With less than 0.03% THD—even at full RMS power (80 watts/channel) with either a 4 ohm or 8 ohm load—it is effectively transparent for residential audio applications. Furthermore, if you use the C 368 as a DAC/preamp THD is rated at under 0.005% for 2V output, 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz and sports a signal/noise ratio greater than 106dB. Frequency response is nice and tight at +/- 0.3dB from 20Hz to 20kHz.

I've had the C 368 for several month and have tried it out on a variety of speakers. I'm in the process of writing up a formal review, but I figured there's no reason to wait before starting a forum thread. It's the sort of device that patiently waits for folks who need exactly what it does to stop and notice what it offers. That's what this hands-on thread is all about.


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The AVS Forum Hands-On Review Process (master list of hands-on threads)

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post #2 of 25 Old 08-07-2017, 01:14 PM
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I have thoroughly enjoyed mine for the past few months. I think it's a bargain. The noise floor is extremely low and it is very neutral. I would like to try out the M32 eventually but I can't fault this thing for the price.
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post #3 of 25 Old 09-28-2017, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I have thoroughly enjoyed mine for the past few months. I think it's a bargain. The noise floor is extremely low and it is very neutral. I would like to try out the M32 eventually but I can't fault this thing for the price.
My favorite thing about the C 368 is that I don't think about it at all. If it's playing music, I think about the music. And yeah, it's a good pick for high sensitivity speakers in a quiet room. In that sort of use (I'm thinking something like the Klipsch Forte Mark III) the C 368's 80 watts/channel will blow you away, yet no hiss.

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post #4 of 25 Old 09-28-2017, 09:41 AM
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I also immediately thought of the M32. Mark, have you had a chance to listen to that unit?

The only NAD Masters unit I have personal experience with is their 2 channel amp, the M22. After all the great reviews, I actually didn't like it as much as I thought I would.
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post #5 of 25 Old 09-28-2017, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
My favorite thing about the C 368 is that I don't think about it at all. If it's playing music, I think about the music. And yeah, it's a good pick for high sensitivity speakers in a quiet room. In that sort of use (I'm thinking something like the Klipsch Forte Mark III) the C 368's 80 watts/channel will blow you away, yet no hiss.
That's what it's always been about with British audiophiles, does the equipment get out of the way of the music. It sounds like this NAD passes the test, nice review Mark

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post #6 of 25 Old 09-28-2017, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
My favorite thing about the C 368 is that I don't think about it at all. If it's playing music, I think about the music. And yeah, it's a good pick for high sensitivity speakers in a quiet room. In that sort of use (I'm thinking something like the Klipsch Forte Mark III) the C 368's 80 watts/channel will blow you away, yet no hiss.
I ended up switching it out for an ARC DSi200. Similar hybrid design but with linear power supply. The difference is astounding but it better be considering the price. Same extremely low noise floor but so much more realism to the music. However, the C368 is still fantastic for the price.

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post #7 of 25 Old 09-29-2017, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tenthplanet View Post
That's what it's always been about with British audiophiles, does the equipment get out of the way of the music. It sounds like this NAD passes the test, nice review Mark
Canadian now IIRC.

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post #8 of 25 Old 09-29-2017, 12:32 PM
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I received it's big brother (the C388) the other day and if the 368 sounds the same, it's one hell of a machine! On the topic of 2-Channel, I'm currently listening to CD's from my old OPPO BDP-93. Since I'm using the DAC in the 388, would it make a difference to swap out the OPPO with a "better" CD player ?

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Does it have a crossover for the main speakers or do they run full range when using a sub?
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post #10 of 25 Old 09-29-2017, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Does it have a crossover for the main speakers or do they run full range when using a sub?
It has an optional (defeatable) 80 Hz crossover.

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post #11 of 25 Old 09-29-2017, 01:52 PM
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It would be interesting if someone could compare the new NAD C368 to the existing / older C326 as well as the Cambridge CXA60. The C326 and CXA60 both provide open, foot tappin' sound. Although I'm a longtime NAD lover, I'd pick the CXA60 as the slightly more detailed, more accurate of the two - not necessarily more enjoyable, mind you - but a little more neutral. So, I wonder if the new model from NAD is an actual upgrade? Can anyone comment on this?
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post #12 of 25 Old 09-29-2017, 06:37 PM
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Canadian now IIRC.
It's the philosophy of the British audiophile and it goes way back. The equipment company doesn't need to be British.

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It's the philosophy of the British audiophile and it goes way back. The equipment company doesn't need to be British.
As a British Citizen I'm not sure that's a particularly British thing but rather an audio enthusiast thing.

But yes, I've owned NAD equipment for 35 years or so.

The AVR from 15 years ago was a piece of junk but the receiver and amp from the mid 90s is still in use daily today.

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post #14 of 25 Old 09-30-2017, 08:22 AM
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It's the philosophy of the British audiophile and it goes way back. The equipment company doesn't need to be British.
I'm not sure that is true, especially when you consider speaker design (which we aren't in this case). Canada is famous for its research at the NRC, which Dr. Toole, among others has referenced in his work. British speakers are not exactly known for being neutral (e.g. the sound signature of B&W, or the well known LS35A).

Further, as the above poster noted, audio enthusiasts have pursued neutrality for decades, but I would suggest an audio enthusiast should not be confused with an audiophile (especially if the latter refuses to accept any form of scientifically valid exploration of audio).

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It's the philosophy of the British audiophile and it goes way back. The equipment company doesn't need to be British.
NAD originally was called New Acoustic Dimension. It was founded by a group of people from several countries. In the UK, there was an importer/distributor of Marantz audio gear. They built up the brand's presence to a position of preeminence in the '70s, based largely on the excellent range of stereo (and, later, Quadrophonic) receivers. Models like the Marantz 2238 and 2270 reigned supreme for both sound quality and features, challenged only by Harman-Kardon. Anyway, after raising Marantz to prominence, the British distributor lost the rights to distribute Marantz. Partly as a result of that, a couple of the guys at that distributor became involved with developing New Acoustic Dimension. The idea was simple: British audio design, Japanese manufacturing, and American financing. They started with two receivers, a 35-watt and a 70-watt model, both intended as alternatives to the Marantz 2238 and 2270 receivers. The handled it well, asking for and listening to feedback (no pun intended) from audio retailers regarding all aspects of the design. These early models looked OK and sounded very good. The brand gained a foothold in the UK and other countries. A few years later came the NAD 3020 amplifier which effectively made NAD a household name in Hi-fi audio. You know the rest ....

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NAD originally was called New Acoustic Dimension. It was founded by a group of people from several countries. In the UK, there was an importer/distributor of Marantz audio gear. They built up the brand's presence to a position of preeminence in the '70s, based largely on the excellent range of stereo (and, later, Quadrophonic) receivers. Models like the Marantz 2238 and 2270 reigned supreme for both sound quality and features, challenged only by Harman-Kardon. Anyway, after raising Marantz to prominence, the British distributor lost the rights to distribute Marantz. Partly as a result of that, a couple of the guys at that distributor became involved with developing New Acoustic Dimension. The idea was simple: British audio design, Japanese manufacturing, and American financing. They started with two receivers, a 35-watt and a 70-watt model, both intended as alternatives to the Marantz 2238 and 2270 receivers. The handled it well, asking for and listening to feedback (no pun intended) from audio retailers regarding all aspects of the design. These early models looked OK and sounded very good. The brand gained a foothold in the UK and other countries. A few years later came the NAD 3020 amplifier which effectively made NAD a household name in Hi-fi audio. You know the rest ....

https://www.google.com/search?q=new+...QeRsLwVolHT8M:
Sure do, I used to own a 3020.

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I'm not sure that is true, especially when you consider speaker design (which we aren't in this case). Canada is famous for its research at the NRC, which Dr. Toole, among others has referenced in his work. British speakers are not exactly known for being neutral (e.g. the sound signature of B&W, or the well known LS35A).

Further, as the above poster noted, audio enthusiasts have pursued neutrality for decades, but I would suggest an audio enthusiast should not be confused with an audiophile (especially if the latter refuses to accept any form of scientifically valid exploration of audio).

Sorry, but "audiophile" is the word for audio enthusiast. If you care about audio and, more specifically, quality of reproduction, you are an audiophile. That people have heaped silly pejorative nonsense onto the word doesn't mean it isn't the right word to use. Whether you try to be a pure objectivist or believe that magic rocks sitting on top of your amp improve the inner delicacy of an obscure piece of chamber music, you are an audiophile.
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Sorry, but "audiophile" is the word for audio enthusiast. If you care about audio and, more specifically, quality of reproduction, you are an audiophile. That people have heaped silly pejorative nonsense onto the word doesn't mean it isn't the right word to use. Whether you try to be a pure objectivist or believe that magic rocks sitting on top of your amp improve the inner delicacy of an obscure piece of chamber music, you are an audiophile.
Actually, the rocks work best on pan-pipe music. Definitely makes it "breathier", dont'cha know.
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post #19 of 25 Old 09-30-2017, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, but "audiophile" is the word for audio enthusiast. If you care about audio and, more specifically, quality of reproduction, you are an audiophile. That people have heaped silly pejorative nonsense onto the word doesn't mean it isn't the right word to use. Whether you try to be a pure objectivist or believe that magic rocks sitting on top of your amp improve the inner delicacy of an obscure piece of chamber music, you are an audiophile.

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Sorry, but "audiophile" is the word for audio enthusiast. If you care about audio and, more specifically, quality of reproduction, you are an audiophile. That people have heaped silly pejorative nonsense onto the word doesn't mean it isn't the right word to use. Whether you try to be a pure objectivist or believe that magic rocks sitting on top of your amp improve the inner delicacy of an obscure piece of chamber music, you are an audiophile.
Not even obscure pieces of chamber music. I've found most magic rock people listen exclusively to overly mic'ed heavily processed and equalized pop music (not that there's anything wrong with that if it's what they like to listen to) that have no objective "live sound" with which to compare. What then is the Absolute Sound they are striving for?

Many of my classical music loving friends are physicists, giving my status as audiophile a lot to answer for.
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post #21 of 25 Old 10-02-2017, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Not even obscure pieces of chamber music. I've found most magic rock people listen exclusively to overly mic'ed heavily processed and equalized pop music (not that there's anything wrong with that if it's what they like to listen to) that have no objective "live sound" with which to compare. What then is the Absolute Sound they are striving for?

Many of my classical music loving friends are physicists, giving my status as audiophile a lot to answer for.
For real??? Lol.

I wish people would not criticize other people's taste in music and genre preferences. There's enough else to worry about in the world than what music brings pleasure to any individual.

As for this "absolute sound" you could argue that an absolute reference of a studio concoction is the sound heard at the mixing console. And you can come a lot closer to replicating that at home than any live concert ever. Indeed, you could go all the way and build out a complete replica of the rooms where various albums were mastered, and put the exact gear in those rooms, lol. Cheaper than building your own Carnegie Hall in your backyard.

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I would not expect less from the home of stereo..Nad pioneered audio and continue to do so.
Retro rules!
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For real??? Lol.

I wish people would not criticize other people's taste in music and genre preferences. There's enough else to worry about in the world than what music brings pleasure to any individual.

As for this "absolute sound" you could argue that an absolute reference of a studio concoction is the sound heard at the mixing console. And you can come a lot closer to replicating that at home than any live concert ever. Indeed, you could go all the way and build out a complete replica of the rooms where various albums were mastered, and put the exact gear in those rooms, lol. Cheaper than building your own Carnegie Hall in your backyard.
Not criticizing anybody's taste in music. As I said, whatever you like listening to is fine. What I'm questioning is what buying expensive magic rocks or bricks and $30,000 speaker cables brings you closer to in that case.

Some of the current equipment prices are right up there with building your own Carnegie Hall (and hiring union musicians).
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I am lucky as i run a retro repair center in cape town....i work on the most amazing systems like rotel, quad, arcam/cambridge, harman and have the opportunity to listen to every one for hours on end...I LOVE IT!
From the entry level units to such items as the rotel RDP 980's and such..total works of art when it comes to sound engineering and technology which surpasses the latest digital systems on the market today.
Kind Regards from a sunny SA, Cape Town.
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post #25 of 25 Old 10-02-2017, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Not criticizing anybody's taste in music. As I said, whatever you like listening to is fine. What I'm questioning is what buying expensive magic rocks or bricks and $30,000 speaker cables brings you closer to in that case.

Some of the current equipment prices are right up there with building your own Carnegie Hall (and hiring union musicians).
That stuff does not do anything. It's a sign of insanity, spending that kind of money on those kinds of tweaks.

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