Enhancing a "Competition Crusher"
Stereophile magazine called NAD's C 375BEE stereo integrated amplifier "a competition crusher," and for good reason. The C 375BEE is far more than a bigger C 356BEE. In fact, it is much closer in spec to the M3 Integrated Amplifier from NAD's high-end Masters Series.
Despite the loud acclaim for the C 356BEE, NAD isn't a company to rest upon its laurels – not even when an award-winning design is involved. Instead, NAD decided to make the C 375BEE platform more versatile and capable than ever before. NAD's new C 375DAC integrated amplifier features the same great overall sound and performance as the C 375BEE, but with NAD's modular MDC DAC factory installed.
The asynchronous USB input boasts 32 kHz to 96 kHz sampling. The C 375DAC also has an optical digital input with 32 kHz to 192 kHz sample rate, giving you even more flexibility.
DAC with Optical and Asynchronous USB Inputs
We love streaming computer music, especially 24/96 studio master tracks. But most computer sound cards are not designed for music production and end up ruining the sound while popular music streaming devices like Apple TV, Squeezebox and Sonos follow a similar poor quality path. Plug any of these devices into the C 375DAC with built-in DAC and you will be blown away by what you hear! Listen to the details and dynamics reproduced from the original recording rather than the noise and distortion of an inadequately designed audio stage.
Thanks to a technique known as 'asynchronous USB', NAD has eliminated poor computer sound and lets your music flow freely. USB is a computer standard for high-speed data transmission (good news for 24/96 quality music) but it has a feature set skewed for PC use, not music. USB sends info in 'data packets' making the system very robust. There is also a traffic manager that can vary the size and sequence of the packets. This is good for PCs, bad for music. These timing variations create a condition called 'jitter' – small variations that create a harsh distortion. However, by using the MDC DAC's high precision clock and built-in NAD customized software to control the PC, this distortion can be eliminated.
Technology from the Masters Series
Attention to the most minute detail is evident everywhere, from the heavy gauge steel chassis to the sophisticated power supplies and copper buss bars channeling almost absurd amounts of current to the custom gold plated speaker binding posts.
The C 375DAC boasts many upgrades and refinements taken directly from the highly acclaimed NAD Masters Series M3 Amplifier. These include application of Bjorn Erik Edvardsen's innovative and patented Distortion Canceling Circuit in the output stage and BEE Clamp in the power supply.
An improved tone control circuit and revised PCB layout has reduced distortion and noise to unprecedented levels. Taken together, these improvements mark a sharp upturn in performance that simply must be heard, to be fully appreciated!
The C 375DAC has seven line inputs (including 2 tape in/outputs with dubbing facility) and the preamplifier section can be separated from the power amplifier for easy upgrades or adding ancillary equipment. It also incorporates an updated version of NAD's "Building Block" concept to make the addition of an optional PP375 phono module and other affordable upgrades possible. Thus the C 375DAC can be expanded to meet future system needs.
Preamp and Subwoofer Outputs
The C 375DAC includes a preamp output. Many systems benefit from the use of multiple power amplifiers for "Bi-Amping" (using separate power amplifiers to drive the bass and treble section of a loudspeaker).
Additionally, there are two mono subwoofer outputs that can be connected to powered subwoofers, which is an increasingly popular option.
Bypassable Tone Controls
It is fashionable to omit tone controls nowadays: However, provided that the tone controls are properly designed, they can be really useful tools in making improvements to the overall sound. The C 375DAC tone controls only work at the frequency extremes leaving the critical mid-band essentially unaltered. The tone control circuits can be completely bypassed by using the Tone Defeat control button.
The C 375DAC also incorporates NAD's acclaimed switchable "Soft Clipping" circuit, which significantly reduces the risk of damage to loudspeakers due to prolonged high power operation.
The C 375DAC also benefits from NAD's proprietary PowerDrive circuit topology, now well established and used throughout the NAD product range. The PowerDrive topology allows the C 375DAC to deliver maximum performance under virtually any circumstance, independent of the loudspeakers it is driving.
The circuitry automatically senses the impedance characteristics of the loudspeaker and will then adjust its power supply settings to best cope with that specific load.
PowerDrive topology is a practical approach to enable an amplifier to easily deal with musical dynamics and difficult speaker loads. Thus it combines the highly desirable characteristics of high dynamic power and low impedance drive capability in one affordable package.
Getting high dynamic power from the power supply to your loudspeaker requires a fast wideband amplifier stage rugged enough to pass and control high peak currents without premature protection intervening. The safe operating limit for the C 375DAC has four times the capacity of the typical amplifier in this price range by using four pairs of 220W output transistors per channel.
Low Distortion and Noise
The C 375DAC has the lowest levels of distortion and noise available in its price class and is easily capable of embarrassing far more expensive products. To prove it, NAD uses Full Disclosure Power (FDP) - the most demanding criteria for performance measurement.
FDP specifies distortion under the most extreme conditions of low impedance loads and frequency extremes rather than the simple and easy 1 kHz at 8 Ohms test quoted by many of NAD's competitors. NAD uses this stricter performance criterion, because it more closely matches the demands of real music and real loudspeakers.
Maintaining specified distortion at 4 Ohms and at 20 Hz and 20 kHz is several orders of magnitude more difficult to achieve than the simple 8 Ohms and 1kHz test.
Less Distortion = More Music
Noise and distortion mask the fine details of a musical recording robbing musical texture and dimension and replacing them with non-musical artifacts.
NAD has spent the last 35 years perfecting its designs to have the lowest distortion and highest power in its price class. NAD's noise spec is often 10 dB (100 times!) less than that of competing amplifiers. This is far from a trivial difference as fine detail and nuance (micro dynamics) are often obscured by noise in lesser amplifiers, robbing a performance of that illusive sense of 'realism'.
For remote on/off switching of ancillary components in a system, such as power amplifiers or active speakers, the C 375DAC is equipped with a 12-trigger system. When switching the amplifier on, the 12- trigger output is also activated, which in turn can activate a 12-trigger input switching on the remote devices. Besides the 12-trigger, the C 375DAC also has rear panel IR input and output.
The C 375DAC is fully remote controlled and comes supplied with the NAD SR 8 system remote control. The remote control features an ergonomic form, with large buttons that are differentiated by shape and position, to make operation intuitive and enjoyable.
The SR 8 will also operate many other NAD products, such as CD players, tuners, etc. Flexibility is another NAD strong point.
The 'Greening' of NAD Electronics
NAD takes its responsibilities to the planet very seriously by pursuing forward-thinking, environmentally aware manufacturing. The company imposes strict measures in all its product designs to eliminate environmentally hazardous materials and minimize power consumption. It uses lead free solder throughout manufacturing, and has re-designed its circuit board production to eliminate environmentally dangerous chemical compounds.
Many of NAD’s newer designs use less than 1 watt of power in standby mode, and NAD's unique PowerDrive™ technology improves amplifier efficiency during playback.
Preamplifier Section: Line Level In, Pre Out
Praise for the C 375BEE*
"NAD's latest amplifier successfully bridges the gap between budget and high-end hi-fi."
"Bold and dynamic with plenty of grunt, in a compact, attractive easy to handle package. Offers remarkable control for its price with little strain at high volumes."
"We are delighted to recommend it unconditionally."
"Conclusion: A good, solid, amplifier that is fundamentally musical, and gives a great bang for your buck. It offers a control at high volumes not usually found with NAD amps, and offers neutrality in the midrange with excellent detail resolution. "
- Hi-Fi Choice magazine, November 2009
"The C 375 BEE's build quality is excellent."
"From the get-go, I could hear this NAD is a very special amplifier -- up there in sound quality with the best solid-state. "
"I thought the sound of Chung's violin was exquisite -- sweet, extended, romantic, with no trace of digital or solid-state harshness. "
"The C 375BEE… is a competition crusher. "
- Sam Tellig, Stereophile magazine, October 2009
Note: The C 375DAC is identical to the C 375BEE, but adds a modular DAC