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User Review: C 446 Digital Media Tuner - Constructive criticism

July 19, 2011

Products: C 446 Digital Media Tuner

Please note, this comes from a place of constructive criticism. I love NAD and it's products and have owned many over the years. Honestly, with the competition out there now and with music streaming becoming more mainstream by the day, you would think it should be pretty easy for a company, especially a company like NAD with a reputation for solid products, to get it right. Reading the data sheet, for an $800 streaming device, you miss the mark on several fronts: Media Formats: No ALAC. Looks like they are avoiding Apple interactivity, which while one might want to avoid Apple licensing fees, iTunes is so ingrained that you would expect them to embrace it. I know Twonky can do it for you, but it is $30 incremental, and for newbs, might be a little too complicated. FLAC and WAV: 1.5mb/s max. Not sure what this means for streaming formats, but since WAV and FLAC are rated the same, it look like max resolution is 16/44.1. Minimum I would expect at this price point would be 24/96, but at $800, 24/192 isn't out of the question. Certainly 16/44.1 does NOT qualify as HD audio, at least in my book. Lossless, yes. HD, no. Ethernet: 10/100 only? Really? in this day and age? Use gigabit and put in a buffer to eliminate dropouts. Wireless: b/g only? Likewise, give it N and a buffer No mention of internal DAC's used or anything. Toslink out only. Sorry, but needs an RCA digital out as well. Better bandwidth for high resolution files. But, since it is uncertain as to whether it can actually play hi-rez FLAC files, it may not be an issue. I have been an NAD fan since the 80's. But for $800 I would expect a lot more from them, especially since the Squeezebox Touch can do basically everything this thing can do, at almost half the price, with careful shopping. If it even came close, I'd have bought one and moved my Touch tot he cabin. If I may suggest a little homework for NAD when they bring out version 2: Look at the Touch, Squeezecenter Software and iPeng for iPad/Ipod Touch. Wrap that into an $800 product, with hi-rez file capability, iTunes interoperability, and a few other little innovations, and I will be all over this thing. But as it sits, with what I am reading, it is a great big "meh".


NAD Comment

Dear Dan,

We appreciate your comments as it is great to see our customers challenging us to deliver products that they want to see or hear.

We will be releasing several ‘computer audio’ products in the coming months. Several of these products will address your concerns with full support for HD audio at 24/192, but they may not have all the convenient features and flexibility of the C 446. If radio isn’t one of your primary needs, you should wait for one of these other products that are more HD audio focused. About your network concerns, super high speed networks are not required for streaming music. The C 446 also supports sampling rates up to 48k and up to 24 bits, and covers all the popular compression codecs, which represents 99% of the digital music that is out there. It is fully DLNA and UpNP compliant and works well with Twonky and other DLNA servers (these are now standard in the latest computer operating systems). Inevitably there will be some formats that will not work with every device. In this case, the lack of support for ALAC is Apple’s decision and not due to cost, but fortunately, ALAC files can easily be converted to something that doesn’t require a license key to operate.

We encourage you to keep checking our website or social media pages for the new products that will satisfy your audio needs! Thanks again for your comments.

Thank you, NAD Electronics

Dan - Alberta

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