Dave’s Faves – NAD C368

NAD C368 $900, 80×2 Stereo Integrated Amp

 

My new FAVE integrated amp at sub $1k is the NAD C368. While it has many positive attributes, the most beneficial is its warm, detailed sound. For me, a classical fan first and foremost, C368 shows its stuff with voices, strings & piano most noticeably. The image is broad and refined- an unusual combo for $900.

NAD just upgraded its integrated amp line to Hybrid Digital technology. C368 and its brothers achieve vanishingly low levels of distortion- .009%. The other guys are typically .05%. The sound is smooth as silk and never appears stressed. If you compare C368 to the rank and file, you’ll find the other guys to be hard edged while C368 is comfortably mellow.

C368 sets new standards of musicality for an integrated under $1k. Whether driving modest speakers or something more revealing like Brystons, GoldenEars, Quads or Magnepans, C368 never sounds like it’s working hard- because it ISN’T!

While rated at 80×2, C368 can jump to 600w (!!) peaks due to NAD’s PowerDrive circuitry. This leaves the other guys in the weeds! They are lucky to achieve their power ratings, much less jump like Michael Jordan. C368 can drive great speakers to high levels of performance. It can drive A&B speakers where competitors turn to jello and shut off when speakers B are added.

ATTENTION VINYL LOVERS! C368 has a superb MM phono section with precisely accurate RIAA equalization. Phono performance from C368 is conspicuously strong for this strata. NAD pays attention to a vital aspect of playing records. It has a subsonic filter to minimize turntable rumble without stealing bass out of your music. C368 reveals phono with minimal rumble instead of wasting your power amplifying warps. Records are especially more palatable with C368 vs other $1k integrateds.

C368 has a has a top notch 24/192 DAC with two OPT inputs and two Coax inputs. Any modest CD player or streaming device (like Blue Sound or Sonos) will benefit from the improved DAC of C368. If you run a CD player digitally into most integrateds with a DAC, the improvement is subtle. That’s not the case with C368. The on board DAC makes a distinct improvement on CD and a DRAMATIC improvement on Blue Sound or Sonos! C368 has Blue Tooth.

C368 has two additional aux ins. It features preamp outs in case you want to add a subwoofer or larger power amp. C368 doesn’t have a USB input- no loss! The other guys who waste their money on a funky asynch USB input trade off massive performance in power and smoothness. I’m not a huge headphone listener but I can tell C368 is a cut above in this department too.

As speakers move back and forth, they throw signal back down the throat of the amp in the process. The new NAD amps have no trouble withstanding, and actually gripping the “water pressure” to provide better control and less distortion than ever. C368 is a welcome addition and a big surprise!

C368 is a welcome tool in our belt. Remember, you can run a modest CD player (like NAD C516 $300) Coax or OPT to C368 and up its game noticeably!