NAD C338 $650
50×2 Stereo Integrated Amp
NAD just upgraded its integrated amp line to Hybrid Digital technology. C338 and its brothers achieve astonishingly low levels of distortion- .009%. The other guys are typically .05%. The sound is smooth as silk and never appears stressed. If you compare C338 to the rank and file, you’ll find the other guys to be hard edged while C338 is comfortably warm. C338 is the least expensive of NAD’s
new line of integrateds and has a host of features that make it a particularly sage choice.
Anytime we talk about NAD integrateds we have to brag up the POWER first. C338 is no exception. While rated at 50×2 you can expect roughly double that in RMS- and peaks well beyond. In fact, British HiFi News tested C338 and found 91w (8 ohms), 185w (4 ohms), 236w (2 ohms). What this means is, C338 will do a good job with any speaker you choose, regardless of impedance. It also means C338 is a stronger puncher than its competitors rated at 80×2 for over a grand!
C338 has Phono MM and two other analog inputs. It also has two coax and two OPT digital inputs. It has a single subwoofer RCA out. C338 has a cutting edge feature, Google Chromecast,
which allows you to use IT with your phone and streaming. It supports Bluetooth.
Since many of you will use C338 with small shelf speakers I want to brag up its BASS EQ circuit.
When engaged, BASS EQ adds what is often just the right bump to a less than full range speaker, whether tower or shelf model. It is especially useful for us late night listeners where the volume has to be … on the light side.
While C338 is most likely to be used with shelf speakers, I challenged it with Magnepans. Given NAD’s reputation for big horse power, I expected no problems- and got none. In fact, C338 drives the Maggies’ 4 ohm load with ease. Never does it waver from smooth and musical. This plays well not only with Maggies, but any speakers with an open, airy high end. Think Ribbon Tweeters!
In short, if you want resolving speakers and are pushing your budget to attain them, consider C338 as a high quality, affordable front end solution. C338 just might allow you to push your speaker choice a notch higher.