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User Review: C 165BEE Stereo Preamplifier - Excellent!

August 8, 2011

Products: C 165BEE Stereo Preamplifier

I purchased the NAD C 165BEE preamp to replace a 12 year old Carver CT-24 that failed. I picked the C 165BEE partly because of the excellent performance I've enjoyed from my NAD 515 CD player/changer. I added the C 165BEE to the CD player previously mentioned, along with a Sunfire stereo amplifier, a Sunfire Mark II powered subwoofer, and a pair of Kilpsch KLF-20s. The result was astounding! Wow, I suppose a lot can change technologically in 12 years! The best way to describe the resultant sonic experience would be tight and well controlled sound. It can be difficult to describe music, especially since it's subjective and people have different tastes. But I can assure you won't regret the purchase of this preamp. Even with the volume up very high with no input source (CD player on, but not playing) my system is silent. No ground loop hum, no hiss, no DC leakage, nothing but silence. I can operate my system at high levels of volume (my preferred way of listening to music) with no run-away bass or distortion issues. Surprisingly, my system also now sounds alive even at low to moderate volumes. Previously I would have had to turn the volume up to about 40% before I felt the music opened up and I could hear everything clearly. Now, I have the option of listening at a lower volume level without feeling Im missing anything. One interesting thing I think worth noting is the sound of drums. I now hear more of a drum beats tonal quality than before. As in multiple, different tom-tom beats. I can hear more music in drums and less of just a bass beat nice. The remotely controlled volume knob moves slowly enough to make very fine adjustments, and does so with no servo noise. One thing I wish the unit did have was an illuminated LED on the volume knob so I could see its relative setting, but that was resolved by adding a small piece of yellow electric tape to the edge of the knob. I find the unit to be sturdy, well built, and even attractive in NAD's no nonsense way. I highly recommend this preamp, especially at its price point. Clearly, NAD puts high quality in their circuit design and internal components without wasting money on flashy displays, or silly animated level meters. Great preamp. You should buy one.

Vince - Pleasantville, MD

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