home | user reviews | User Review: C 390DD Direct Digital Powered DAC Amplifier - Performs well; claimed support of FAT32 USB hard drives questionable

User Review: C 390DD Direct Digital Powered DAC Amplifier - Performs well; claimed support of FAT32 USB hard drives questionable

March 12, 2013

Products: C 390DD Direct Digital Powered DAC Amplifier

This product performs its basic function very well. I have been using it in a system with a NAD C546BEE CD player and Definitive Technology Mythos STS speakers. I couldn't be happier with the sound quality, and in seven months I have noted no problems with build quality. I think it represents excellent performance for the money. My one disappointment thus far has been the apparent incompatibility of the C 390DD with my FAT32 USB hard drive. According to product literature, the C 390DD is supposed to be able to play back digital audio files of certain formats on certain types of storage media connected through the appropriate USB port. I purchased a FAT32 USB hard drive which met all of NAD's published requirements for compatibility (format, capacity, number of files, depth of directories, etc.) but the amplifier would not recognize or play the stored .FLAC audio. The same unit will play my files from a lower-capacity USB memory stick, so there's clearly no problem decoding the FLAC or with basic file interface. I contacted NAD's technical support, and we verified compliance with the published requirements, after which the ticket died and there was no solution offered. I asked the technical support representative for a list of known-compatible USB hard drives with which the C 390DD had been tested, to which I never received a response. So my suspicion is that this feature has been tested with small-capacity USB memory sticks but may not be fleshed out for larger hard drives, even though compatibility with hard drives was claimed in the product literature. Anyway, I still think it's a great amplifier, but my objective of storing my entire audio collection in lossless format on a hard drive and then playing back directly through the C 390DD was not realized. Also, NAD's technical support eventually gave up on me without offering any solution, and didn't even provide me with a suggestion for alternate storage hardware with which to use their claimed playback feature when I asked. However, I wouldn't plan on using that USB playback feature with anything other than a USB memory stick until NAD publishes a list of compatible hard drives.

Andrew S. Huntington - Beaverton, OR

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C 390DD Direct Digital Powered DAC Amplifier

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