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NAD c326BEE or Cambridge Azur 651A?

Discussion in 'New Gear - Values' started by gentlejax, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. gentlejax

    gentlejax AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    920
    Location:
    shreveport Louisiana
    if price were same which would you buy? I need to have preouts and they both do.
     

     

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  2. Art K.

    Art K. The Voodoo You Do! Subscriber

    Messages:
    24,040
    Location:
    Corvallis, Or
    I prefer the sound of the NAD.
     
  3. gentlejax

    gentlejax AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    920
    Location:
    shreveport Louisiana
    Not important now. Azure got sold while i was trying to find out.
     
  4. TerryB123

    TerryB123 Active Member

    Messages:
    301
    That should tell you something. I love my 651a. Then again, I'm pretty happy with my older NAD receiver. The former has more wattage of that matters.
     
  5. gentlejax

    gentlejax AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    920
    Location:
    shreveport Louisiana
    while researching I also found there were quality issues with some of the Cambridge stuff. info was sketchy
     
  6. TerryB123

    TerryB123 Active Member

    Messages:
    301
    You'll hear that about any brand, squeaky wheel on the internet reviews and all. I've heard as many issues with NAD , and even returned a refurbished C356 I bought before the Cambridge. Realistically, either would be fine.
     

     

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  7. clb3092

    clb3092 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    NAD's bad quality rep mainly stems from a bad period when the company was bought by AudioNord in 1991. Think of it sort of like when CBS bought Fender. At the end of 1999 an employee led buy out took over and quality improved immediately. Since that point the company has been working hard to get "its grove back." In this latest resurrection NAD has been very focused on fixing quality control and bring the supply chain up to speed. Somethings like the quality of the material used were fixed early on. For example, the pcb boards are now respectable quality green epoxy boards. The high end Master's series definitely gets props for being innovative and high quality. Clearly the new NAD does know what quality is and how to do it.

    You have to keep in mind that NAD's primary product focus of good sounding budget components is a very difficult task. That's why "budget audiophile" has often been called an oxymoron. You also have to keep in mind that NAD produces products that very unique as well as innovative. Two examples are NAD pioneered the direct integration of DACs in the amplifier and also has been a leader in bring to market class D amps that sound good. This in a community filled with companies that have been using the same amp topology for decades(I'm not saying that this is a bad thing!). It's simply a fact of life, if you innovate you are also taking bigger risks, that's just the nature of life without a net.

    I have a c356 dac 2 amp paired to B6 speakers and I think it's freaking fantastic. I use an old Mac mini for the server and connect to the amp with fiber optic. I've never had a problem with it and the build quality is definitely respectable.

    However, I will add this one piece of NAD advice. NAD products can be like new car lines from certain auto manufactures. A new car line can have excellent engineering and the manufacture is using quality components as well as a good warranty. However it is still sometimes wise to not by the first model year of a new car line because it is next to impossible to get all the bugs out of the process and design. I love NAD but I would probably wait on buying one of their new hybrid amps. There are many other NAD options that are not so "bleeding edge"("leading edge" new technology that is so new it's buggy). The d3040 d2 etc..

    Any, just my humble opinion for whatever it is worth.
     
  8. lasminit2

    lasminit2 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    566
    I’m an NAD fan, and agree with clb3092’s comments. The 326BEE is a home run for NAD, and has been in production for many years now. If you were looking for used, C352’s and C356’s turn up pretty often, but make sure the remote is included, or that the price is a bit lower, if not. (Their CD9 remote is backwards compatible at least to the C352.) I like their CD players a lot, too, and it is nice having a single remote that handles both amp and CD player. My Sui AU717, Yamaha CA1010, and Marant 2275 are very jealous. I haven’t heard a C326BEE, but generally when TAS goes all syrupy over an inexpensive integrated amplifier, it is very,very good. I was selling 3020’s when they first came out, and the hype was true. Even in their “dark” Nineties period, NAD still had some winners: the 314 sounded very nice, and I’m sure there were others. A lot of companies who sell NAD online, and maybe locally, allow a very generous trial period. I don’t think many C326BEE’s go back, or you’d see ‘em as open box units at Crutchfield, for example.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018

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