NAD C-326BEE $550 (50×2)
You’ve got a modest budget for your system. There’s no room for fluff. What kind of integrated amp should you get to derive the best performance from your affordable speakers? Look no further than the classic NAD C-326BEE!
I would characterize the 326 as a middle-weight that delivers a punch significantly stronger than its weight class would imply. The bass is robust while the top end stays warm. To achieve this for
anywhere near $500… nothing else is close!
C-326BEE is dubbed “BEE” because Bjorn Erik Edvardsen of NAD has a special place in his heart for these products of distinction. Let’s take a good look at what the 326 offers.
It starts life with a 50×2 power amp section. What’s so special about that, you ask? Quite a bit. NAD’s 50×2 isn’t like anyone else’s 50×2- short of the big boys like Hegel and Bryston.
Holmgren Toroidal Transformer
No Packer fans, not Mike! The Holmgren Toroidal Transformer is a huge cut above what you’ll find from the other guys at five bills- where you get a flimsy Ecore transformer.
NAD’s PowerDrive circuitry is proprietary. PowerDrive delivers extraordinarily high current while handling virtually any impedance thrown its way. Music remains detailed yet relaxed at anything less than abusive volume. This is done through NAD’s proprietary impedance sensing circuit and will work with whatever your speakers throw its way.
Peak power exceeds 100×2 into 8 ohms, 150×2 into 4 ohms, and 200×2 into two ohms- while every other $500 amp out there has melted down!
Distortion Canceling Circuit in Output Stage
NAD’s DCC design aims to eliminate output stage distortion with the use of a comparative circuit.
The result is clarity quite uncommon for the price. NAD uses DCC in all its big dogs too.
Yet another trick up Edvardsen’s sleeve, NAD’s bass control and impact are legendary for the money.
Linear Useful Tone Controls
A lot of us audiophiles are downright snooty against using tone controls. Who can blame us, given all the distortion we’ve heard them invoke?
But what if a tone control worked in a very subtle fashion where gross amounts of distortion were
not introduced? Perhaps we would actually LIKE them with speakers that are not going to be real expensive. That’s NAD’s goal here. The tone controls just operate at very high and very low frequencies. They don’t create gross color changes. We’ll let you be the judge when you visit to hear the 326. Of course it also has a tone defeat option.
Did you know that NAD claims its THD spec of .009% at full power, 20-20k?
Did you know THE OTHER GUYS typically claim their THD spec (.03 typical) at 80% power?!
Pre-Out / Main-In Loop
What if you get a little UPGRADE-ITIS? You can run the 326 as a preamp alone. Or, you can employ its power amp section alone. To get this level of flexibility for about $500- remarkable.
Sub Out Mono Jack
Yup, you get a sub out mono jack! Pay attention you small bookshelf speaker and Maggie owners. If you want a little more octane in the bass, you can add a sub at line level and you’re in business!
Other Features Of Importance!
All discrete circuitry
Bipolar Output Transistors
Class A/B Topology
Gold plated sockets
Headphone jack, 1/4”
Analog 1/8” MP3 input jack
7 Line inputs including one tape loop
No Phono: NAD doesn’t know if you’re into vinyl. Even if you are, do you have a modest table/cart or something pretty high end? How far should they go with a phono section? Exactly. That’s why they ask you to do it a la carte.
No DAC: NAD thinks the DAC is a moving target. Whatever you have today may be passe tomorrow.
They don’t want to waste money with an on board DAC you won’t use. They’ve put that money into important choices like a Holmgren Toroidal Transformer and PowerDrive.