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C 390DD and C 446 Star in Absolute Sound Guide

July 13, 2012

The editors of The Absolute Sound recently collaborated to decide what are truly the best digital components for today's digital audio enthusiast to create their annual Buyer's Guide to Digital Source Components, which includes two reviews of NAD's award-winning digital products, the NAD C 446 Digital Media Tuner and C 390DD Direct Digital Powered DAC Amplifier.

C 390DD Direct Digital Powered DAC Amplifier

C390DD DAC Amplifier digital

"The C 390DD's greatest strength was undoubtedly its authoritative bass and startling bottom-end dynamics. This amplifier sounded like a powerhouse, with rock-solid solidity to bass guitar and tremendous impact to kick drum."

"The C 390DD conveyed this aspect of the music so well largely because the amplifier was so dynamically agile and precise sounding, revealing both Brown's perfect timing and the full measure of attack of each note."

"The NAD C 390DD is an extremely sophisticated, forward-looking product whose feature set perfectly matches the needs of today's music listener."

See the full review of the C 390DD Direct Digital Powered DAC Amplifier here

C 446 Digital Media Tuner

"The C 446 Digital Media Tuner is a rewarding component that fills a critical gap seen in many audio systems today. Straddling two worlds, it's something old and something new from a company that seems to intuit a market's sweet spot. The NAD is a welcome addition in a rapidly changing audio landscape."

"I was more than impressed with the immediacy and smooth, almost buttery musicality of the C 446...it threw a wide and vivid soundstage, with solid dimensionality, nicely resolved images, accurate timbre, and a spirited sense of air and hall ambience."

"But of all the tools in the C 446's digital arsenal, wireless is the star. It's performance was nothing short of startling over my home network. Startling in this context is that wireless has come to mean more than merely unwired convenience. It's become a performer."

 

For Absolute Sound's full Buyer's Guide to Digital Source Components, featuring NAD's C 446 and C 390DD, click here.

Comments (1)

2012-08-03 11:51
Tom - Alexandria, VA

Hi. As I continue to experiment/upgrade my 2-ch stereo systems (yes, plural - I dance around the line between audiophile and audioholic), I am currently saving up for the C390DD. It's the only way to go, as far as I am concerned. I love designs that start out with at least a few fundamentals in their favor (in this case, a miraculously short signal path from source to speakers).

I have read the manual online a few times, and I can't wait to buy one to replace my DAC/passive volume control/active XO/power amp combination, as good as that combination sounds. If I wanted to (but probably won't - can't bear to part with good audio equipment), I could sell all of is used for the same price as the C390DD is new.

I have a question: what is the crossover slope in the C390DD? I assume it is executed in the digital domain, so phase and such would be unaffected. I'm just curious as to what the slope is. I do not see an option to select the slope.

I'm not complaining - having the XO feature is great, and puts it above the M2 in usefulness/versatility. The XO frequency selection is great, every 10 Hz from 40 to 200. Very versatile.

The other great thing is the upgradability - when they provide support for 192kHz sampling rates through the USB computer input, it looks like it'll just require a swap of the current USB input MDC. Brilliant!

Maybe a future version could have an automatic setup with a microphone, either with full-range DSP, or at least automating the current DSP settings of 40Hz, 60Hz...240Hz.

Keep up the good work! I am salivating to see how NAD implements this in a surround-sound receiver!!

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