The NAD C368 packs a lot more power and performance than what you might expect from its modest specifications. But that's the NAD tradition. Now the brand has an enviable reputation for creating some of the best performing budget - and non-budget - amplifiers of all time. The lineage is impressive, all the way from the 3020 of 1978 to the current C368 that concentrates on delivering the right balance of performance with a host of 21st century features.
The NAD C368 hybrid digital integrated stereo amplifier packs a lot more punch than you might expect from its so-called 80-Watt-per-channel power rating. That's because the power rating is both conservative and based on a continuous basis, not a short FTC rating as used by mass market brands. It's advanced technology also contributes to a dynamic and lively performance. NAD has moved away from the old-fashioned and power-hungry linear power supplies and Class AB output stages that actually waste nearly half of the energy consumed producing heat rather than sound. Instead, they have developed even better performing circuits based on switch mode power supplies and Class D output stages. Once thought to be inferior to traditional topologies, NAD’s advanced work over the last decade and as featured in their Master Series has created some of the best performing amplifiers regardless of basic design principle. These new designs are very linear over a wide bandwidth and provide consistent performance into all speaker loads and are now trickling down to the classic series so definitely a step forward for NAD. A good comparison is the advances in traditional fossil fuels compared with renewable energy which have made amazing advances in recent times.
The power supply is capable of 200 Watts continuously and over 600 Watts instantaneously to allow for short-term musical transients. This highly efficient supply also provides near perfect regulation of voltage across a wide range of conditions and provides a solid noise-free foundation for the amplifying stages. The C368 uses a customised version of the proven Hypex UcD output stage. This allows for massive power with nearly unmeasurable distortion and noise in the audible range. Every detail of this amplifier has been carefully designed and perfectly executed to wring out every last drop of performance.
Connected & Smart: The NAD C368 integrated amplifier lets you connect both digital and analogue music sources. You can also stream music from any Bluetooth-enabled device, and even stream audio from connected sources to a pair of Bluetooth headphones. NAD's remote app gives you convenient control over your system from your compatible phone or tablet.
The C338 offers three line-level inputs but with all the digital connectivity this will be adequate for most consumers. These offer ideal input impedance characteristics with linear ultra-low-noise buffer amplifiers to prevent any sonic degradation caused by inappropriate loading of the source device. Surprisingly the C338 has a dedicated phono stage - of which NAD are famous - which allows you to enjoy vinyl to any level you wish. Also included is a separate headphone amplifier with low output impedance and very high output voltage capability – enough to drive even high impedance studio monitor headphones. Low impedance line outputs that can connect to subwoofers extend the versatility of this well thought out amplifier. These are not just "fluff" to make the amp look good on paper but are all details you can hear with your ears.
Future-Proof Modular Design: The big difference and of course exciting news is the addition of two MDC slots which allow you to add a variety of very smart technologies if required. The NAD C368 has an exclusive feature that allows you to customise your NAD amplifier with additional capabilities and features, now or in the future which really extends the life and usefulness of the product. The two available MDC slots can accommodate a variety of upgrade modules including 4K video capable HDMI switching, additional Digital Inputs, additional Analogue and Phono Inputs, and one of the most advanced Hi-Res Audio multi-room wireless systems available, the BluOS™ music management system developed by Bluesound. BluOS connects to your network and is controlled via smartphone, tablet or desktop to manage your music collection and connect to a growing list of high-quality streaming music services. So really you can choose what suits your needs best rather than paying for technology that you may never use. Available upgrade modules include:
DD BluOS: Adding the optional BluOS Module provides access to your local area network via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet connection and adds Hi-Res Audio streaming. The BluOS Module also makes the C 368 a single-zone streamer in a complete multi-room wireless music system that is fully compatible with BluOS-enabled music systems and wireless speakers. These are available in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit every room and extend the performance of your primary music system to create a warm ambience of sound throughout your home.
DD HDM-1: This module adds three HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. It supports video resolution up to 1080p and two-channel PCM audio with 24-bit/192 kHz resolution.
DD AP-1: This module adds a balanced and single-ended line input and a MC/MM phono input, with high-quality 24-bit/192 kHz DAC audio.
DD USB-2: This module adds additional asynchronous USB and SPDIF coaxial and optical digital inputs.
DD HDM-2: This module adds three HDMI inputs and one output with support for 4K video resolution and two-channel audio with 24-bit/192 kHz resolution.
In The News
One can't help but wonder how many reviews have been done on NAD products since they burst onto the market back in 1975. And the C368 is no exception. Here sre some comments from The Absolute Sound in the USA: "I quickly realized rather than building another “me-too” integrated amp NAD had deliberately focused on other areas of performance—useful areas that most integrated amplifiers ignore. That’s smart. DAC technology is advancing rapidly, so buying an external DAC avoids locking you in at a particular level that will probably be outdated this time next year...The C 368, with its MDC BluOS expansion card, already does that.
All those features would be moot if the C 368 sounded lousy, but it sounds delightful—lots of power, deep, punchy bass, smooth midrange and highs. It showed none of the solid-state anomalies that have historically made transistors in general and Class D in particular sound unpleasant. Easy to set up, easy to use, extremely flexible when used with Bluesound gear, this could be the last hi-fi purchase you’ll need to make. I was impressed, which seldom happens. Strongly recommended." Read Full Review
The NAD C368 offers superior performance with all the latest 21st century features and when considering what it can do, comes in a very reasonably priced package and for many there will never be a need for another amplifier. It is surprising how many seemingly advanced products in the market today often miss many of the most basic requirements for satisfying performance. Low noise circuits, precise volume control action, accurate channel balance, proper input and output impedance characteristics, high overload margins and stability with difficult speaker loads. NAD starts by getting these things precisely right and advances from there.
The 'C368 certainly ties together all the critical elements of a top performing music system; music sources past and present, while providing a deep reservoir of power that allows your speakers to reveal every nuance of musical detail. In fact the 80 Watt series of amps from NAD have over the last 30 years been the best sellers and we see this continuing with the NAD C368. This advanced amplifier includes many cutting-edge technological breakthroughs developed by NAD over decades of creating affordable ultra-high performance audio components. Yes, you can add a NAD CD player or Turntable and some good interconnecting cables, the right speakers and you're in business to sit back and enjoy the pleasures of great music. But, with Bluesound now coming on-board (no pun intended) and surround sound losing some of its prominence, the C368 will provide a number of meaningful options via the MDC system.
Main Features & Specifications
- Design: Stereo Amplifier with built-in DAC
- Power Output: 80 x 2 Watts Continuous Power into 4 Ohms and 8 Ohms (at rated 0.009% THD, 20-20kHz, both channels driven)
- Signal-To-Noise Ratio: 92dB
- Frequency Response: 10Hz - 65kHz
- Wi-Fi: No
- Bluetooth: Equipped with Bluetooth ADP4 with aptX supported
- DAC: 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analogue converter for high-performance playback of digitally connected sources such as a CD player
- MDC: 2 x MDC (Modular Design Construction) slots for adding additional capabilities and features
- Speaker Terminals: Heavy Duty Speaker Wire Binding Posts - Accepts 'banana' plugs.
- Two Pair Of Speakers: Connect both A & B speakers or bi-amp.
- Tone Controls: Via app control
- Optical Digital Inputs: 2
- Coaxial Digital Inputs: 2
- Line-Level Inputs: 2
- Dedicated Phono Input: Suits MM (Moving Magnet) type cartridges
- Pre-Amp Outputs: Add a power amplifier or dual subwoofers which can make up a great 2.1 or even 2.2 system
- Headphone Amp: Independent built-in high-output headphone amplifier
- Headphone Socket: Yes
- Subwoofer Output: Yes
- Remote Control: System remote control.
- Free App: NAD control app for iOS and Android lets you use your compatible mobile device as a remote control
- Power Cord: Detachable IEC power cord which can be easily upgraded
- RS-232C Port: For use with external controllers
- IR In/Out And 12-Volt Triggers: Yes
- Stand-By Consumption: 0.5 Watt.
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 435 x 95 x 390mm - plus allow 100mm for cables
- Nett Weight: 7.8kg
- Warranty: 2-Years.
Note: Features & Specifications Subject To Change Without Notice. E&OE
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