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NAD C390DD - What HiFi Review???

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SteveR750

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Andrew Everard said:
lordgrace said:
Any sign of the review sample? Anyone using this amp - how you getting on?
Have had a sample for a Gramophone review for a while – it's in the October issue, on sale September 3.

It's now been passed on to WHFSV review team, but I'm not sure whether it's been scheduled yet.
I can't find a copy anywhere of Gramophone. Do they not sell it in Wales?!!

Is it possible to download the review (even if you have to pay) without subscribing to the mag??
 

Andrew Everard

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SteveR750 said:
I can't find a copy anywhere of Gramophone. Do they not sell it in Wales?!!

Is it possible to download the review (even if you have to pay) without subscribing to the mag??
The problem may have been that the October issue was just going off sale, as the Awards issue went on sale yesterday.

Even if you subscribed, you wouldn't be in time for that issue, though we're about to launch a Gramophone online subscription giving subscribers access to the complete archive of the magazine, going back getting on for 90 years.

Anyway, you have mail...
 

SteveR750

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Andrew Everard said:
SteveR750 said:
I can't find a copy anywhere of Gramophone. Do they not sell it in Wales?!!

Is it possible to download the review (even if you have to pay) without subscribing to the mag??
The problem may have been that the October issue was just going off sale, as the Awards issue went on sale yesterday.

Even if you subscribed, you wouldn't be in time for that issue, though we're about to launch a Gramophone online subscription giving subscribers access to the complete archive of the magazine, going back getting on for 90 years.

Anyway, you have mail...
Thanks Andrew, greatly appreciated. Your review echoes just about every other that I have read, both professional and forum based experience (for some reason the Australians have been going bonkers over it). Christmas day may well have been moved to next Wednesday...
 

jaxwired

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Feb 7, 2009
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From AE's gramophone review: "The NAD C 390DD has grabbed itself a place on my (extremely short) list of the very best amplifiers you can buy today. If you're in the market at this level, you simply must have a listen to what is as impressive a technical achievement as it is a sonic one."

For once I agree completely with AE!
 

DocG

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I'm in the market for a new hifi set-up, so (obviously) interested in this amp (or "powered DAC amplifier") ! :bounce: I have 2 questions on the optional MDC-slots (for HDMI and analogue sources):

1. Can they be added in a later stage, and if so, at what price?

2. For connecting a TV, sat or BD: couldn't you use an SPDIF in for the sound, and send the picture over HDMI? What's the added value of the HDMI-slot? Better synchronisation?
 

jerry klinger

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Just one snag for a lot of us - no analogue inputs! Some of us may want all the digital paraphanalia - not to mention the sound - but may also need to feed in an FM tuner, tape deck, higher quality phono stage than the NAD one, etc.....
 

DocG

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jerry klinger said:
Just one snag for a lot of us - no analogue inputs! Some of us may want all the digital paraphanalia - not to mention the sound - but may also need to feed in an FM tuner, tape deck, higher quality phono stage than the NAD one, etc.....
hi Jerry,

There ís an analogue module available (with 192/24 AD conversion; adds 250 € to the pricetag); so FM, tape, phono amp, ... is definitely still possible.
 

SteveR750

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DocG said:
I'm in the market for a new hifi set-up, so (obviously) interested in this amp (or "powered DAC amplifier") ! :bounce: I have 2 questions on the optional MDC-slots (for HDMI and analogue sources):

1. Can they be added in a later stage, and if so, at what price?

2. For connecting a TV, sat or BD: couldn't you use an SPDIF in for the sound, and send the picture over HDMI? What's the added value of the HDMI-slot? Better synchronisation?
The HDMI slots are an optional extra, around £120 each (the other is a phono stage and RCA inputs).

So for an extra £250 you have 14 inputs in total, so i don't think it's short of connectivity options.

I'm not into HT but in my experience, connecting a BD player via optical, and feeding the image via HDMI to the TV works fine.
 

jerry klinger

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Thanks for that, though I got the impression the module was just for a phono section. I could (of course) be wrong.

It will really have to be one of the best amplifiers available to justify this hassle. However, it looks an intriguing proposition.
 

SteveR750

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Agreed, but remember it's a preamp, power amp, and DAC when doing a price / value comparison. You could assess it as a complete DAC amp with all the inputs and then some you'd ever need for £2500. Then there is the value of it being entirely digital, but that's only relevant if it brings about sonic benefits (which Andrew's review suggests the amplifier section does indeed do)

It will have to go some to better the Caspian, which over time has bloomed with the D18s (not literally) into a stunningly dynamic combination. Listeing to the 16/44 Fear of Blank Planet last night was spellbinding at times. I'm expecting a signifciant improvement just from the DAC section alone, so it's not a particulary scientific comparison.
 

jaxwired

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jerry klinger said:
It will really have to be one of the best amplifiers available to justify this hassle. However, it looks an intriguing proposition.
Well, really the product is targeting people that use a digital stream for music. It's the opposite of hassle for these people. For me (M2 in my case), it replaced a 2 box preamp, amp, and DAC, plus 2 sets of interconnects. Since my only source is a digital stream, it has greatly simplified my system, not complicated it. The number of people that want an analogue input continues to shrink. The optional phono card addresses the people that want to use a turn table. Other than that, there's not much market need for analogue inputs. Tuners and tape decks are buggy whips at this point. If you want radio, stream it via optical digital.
 

jerry klinger

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jax, I take your points about the increasing no of 'digital people'. There must still, however, be many folks of the 70s/80s hifi generation who would appreciate the sound of this amp (assuming it's as good as AE seems to imply) and the digital inputs etc, without forfeiting the use of decades of analogue. so NAD may have missed a trick by ignoring them - to the extent of perhaps only having 1 input instead of, say, 4.

And though a digital (internet at least) radio at its best sounds pretty good, it never quite captures the magic of a good FM broadcast - as has been said countless times. Maybe the 390 will change this.
 

jaxwired

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jerry klinger said:
jax, I take your points about the increasing no of 'digital people'. There must still, however, be many folks of the 70s/80s hifi generation who would appreciate the sound of this amp (assuming it's as good as AE seems to imply) and the digital inputs etc, without forfeiting the use of decades of analogue. so NAD may have missed a trick by ignoring them - to the extent of perhaps only having 1 input instead of, say, 4.

And though a digital (internet at least) radio at its best sounds pretty good, it never quite captures the magic of a good FM broadcast - as has been said countless times. Maybe the 390 will change this.
Jerry, it looks like the card would allow 3 analogue source at once as long as you were able to use the XLR and RCA inputs. However, I really think that for people that haven't moved to digital sources this amp is not the best choice. This amp uses a design that simplifies the signal path and reduces distortion by keeping everything digital until the final output stage. Analogue sources don't benefit as much from this simplfied approach because they have to be A/D converted by the amp. In other words, your analogue sources become digitized whether you like it or not. The analogue card just converts your analogue sources to digital so that the amp sees them as just another digital stream. Probably still sounds great, but I'd be surprised if it sounded as good as a direct digital stream.
 

gregvet

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jaxwired said:
The analogue card just converts your analogue sources to digital so that the amp sees them as just another digital stream. Probably still sounds great, but I'd be surprised if it sounded as good as a direct digital stream.
inded all the reviews I have read seem to indicate something is post when using analogue inputs.

For digital sources looks really interesting tho IMO.
 

jerry klinger

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jaxwired said:
.... I really think that for people that haven't moved to digital sources this amp is not the best choice. ....... Analogue sources don't benefit as much from this simplfied approach because they have to be A/D converted by the amp. ....Probably still sounds great, but I'd be surprised if it sounded as good as a direct digital stream.
Thanks jax and Andrew for the clarification (I really must get hold of that Gramophone review!)

Re Jax's points above, almost all the turntable/FM users I know have been also using CD for 20-30 years, so have been digital users for a long time, and many of course have added streamers, laptops etc and use internet radio. I think the point for them will be, aside from the stated benefits of the digital chain here, whether the analogue side would be acceptable as well, in comparison to a lifetime of all-analogue amplification. That remains to be heard, but will be useful to know.

I suppose one could run two (analogue & digital) amps in parallel (with two sets of speaker cable! groan).

My only personal experience of a 'digital' amp was the Primare I32 - and I agreed with the WHF review. The difference here of course is that it's digital all the way to the end.
 

Overdose

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'Scuse my cynicism, but what does this amp do (apart from keeping the signal digital for as long as poss), that a similarly priced HT amp does not?

A Yamaha RXA3010, for example? Conversely, there are plenty of things that the NAD could not do that the Yamaha could.
 

ISAC69

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The problem with NAD products that's in theory they should sound great but once you demo them the results aren't so good .

Hope that C390DD will change this tradition .
 

SteveR750

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ISAC69 said:
The problem with NAD products that's in theory they should sound great but once you demo them the results aren't so good .

Hope that C390DD will change this tradition .
My experience was the very opposite, and judging by the "gear which you regret selling" thread I'm not alone.

It's as ever always subjective! If you don't like the NAD gear, then there is little reason why you might like this (given the potential influence on perception that preconception has)
 

SteveR750

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Overdose said:
'Scuse my cynicism, but what does this amp do (apart from keeping the signal digital for as long as poss), that a similarly priced HT amp does not?

A Yamaha RXA3010, for example? Conversely, there are plenty of things that the NAD could not do that the Yamaha could.
Erm.

It's unique in utilising a feedback loop - pretty(?) unique for a Class D amp.
 

jaxwired

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Overdose said:
'Scuse my cynicism, but what does this amp do (apart from keeping the signal digital for as long as poss), that a similarly priced HT amp does not?

A Yamaha RXA3010, for example? Conversely, there are plenty of things that the NAD could not do that the Yamaha could.
What you are really asking is, do all amplifiers and DACs sound the same and therefore only features really matter. My answer is no, they don't. For those that believe that hifi amps do sound different, then it's just a question of which ones sound better and how much better do they sound. I have not heard that Yamaha AVR, but I have heard lots of good quality 2 channel amps and these new NAD amps rank among the best I've heard. Much of the cost of a home theater amp like that Yamaha is due to the sophisticated home theater features and the multiple channel support. A 2 channel hifi amp has much more money sunk into quality parts for just those 2 channel.

For some people, a high quality 2 channel hifi can create incredible beauty and take the listener on a moving and emotional ride. This experience is dulled substantially by even small reductions in sound quality. For these people, the NAD can provide this level of involvement and a lesser amp usually cannot.
 

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