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NAD C368

Discussion in 'New Gear - Values' started by newworld, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. newworld

    newworld Active Member

    Messages:
    327
    The NAD C368 Integrated has been playing in place of my new amplifier since last night. Fitted with BluOS, internal DAC, and 80 watts of Hypex power, it is a truly contemporary, one box solution for every possibility. It has everything that I would want; a great streaming system, two sets of speaker posts, and many inputs. One thing it doesn't have is great sound.

    I'm really disappointed. Unless you have bright speakers with high sensitivity, I don't see how one can live with such mellow, muffled sound struggling to reach listenable volume. It just won't play loud. It plays pop music inoffensively at about 75% of its output. However, it literally shrinks into a dark corner of unintelligibility with classical music. It's as if one took some black ink smudged tentatively all over. The last NAD amplifier I had heard was the C356BEE driving the Harbeth 7es3's with warmth and power. The C368 falls way short. Its seemingly stunning value is attractive, but it will severely limit your choice of speakers. Also, the BluOS module operates slower than using a separate Node 2 on its own.

    My better half usually handles any monstrosity I bring into the living room with a sense of amusement. This time there was outspoken disdain. The sight of a remote that resembles the ones from Comcast didn't help either. I can't wait to return it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018

     

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  2. Art K.

    Art K. The Voodoo You Do! Subscriber

    Messages:
    24,040
    Location:
    Corvallis, Or
    Yeah, these new NAD amps may be their kiss of death. Bad, very bad.
     
  3. newworld

    newworld Active Member

    Messages:
    327
    How did it get such good reviews? Almost every single one of them spins its deficiencies as positives. I had high hopes as when I was involved in a recording, the engineers brought with them a set of B&W's and a NAD M Series power amp. I think the C368 is supposed to benefit from trickle-down Hypex technology. It's not a fair comparison, but 80 watts should still be plenty for any speakers.
     
  4. newworld

    newworld Active Member

    Messages:
    327
    My amplifier is back in the chain, and I'm enjoying music again. I begin to wonder if the shortest-path theory doesn't really hold up when it comes to digital music. Perhaps NAD focused too much on making it sound smooth for digital playback.
     
  5. Art K.

    Art K. The Voodoo You Do! Subscriber

    Messages:
    24,040
    Location:
    Corvallis, Or
  6. newworld

    newworld Active Member

    Messages:
    327
    The review pretty much mirrors my findings, but he seems to enjoy the listenability and warmth. I just didn't appreciate it as much. Now I'm paranoid and scrutinizing the "warmth" that my Bluesound might be adding to the system.
     

     

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  7. newworld

    newworld Active Member

    Messages:
    327
    The NAD C368 is back at the dealer. I wonder if its characteristic had anything to do with MQA. In fact, whenever I streamed MQA files from Tidal, it sounded even darker, rounding off in the low bass but kind of expanding in the midrange. Its sound was consistent with all the MQA files. Every recording sounded the same as if it's been equalized. I thought I could hear it again in my Bluesound Node 2 through its analogue ouput, this almost blandness. I quickly changed the output to toslink to utilize the DAC in my own amplifier and so much music came rushing at me. I haven't paid much attention to MQA, and it was never a purchasing factor. Now I wonder what all the fuss is about.
     
  8. Yemm66

    Yemm66 Member

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Virden, Il
    I was looking at this amp pretty heavily until I read this. I have Klipsch KG-4 speakers and they are a little on the brighter side with the horns. I am currently returning a Marantz PM8005 that sounded awful with the Klipsch. Very hissy and the bass control did close to nothing, which others have reported. Very sad that it didn't work. Now I'm gonna have to go to plan C. Any thoughts? Thanks, J.
     
  9. newworld

    newworld Active Member

    Messages:
    327
    I have no experience with Klipsch at all, but looking at the specs, I would think that you need little power with very low noise floor. The NAD was very quiet and mellow, indeed. You might as well give it a try and see how they fare together. Just to throw it out there, if you are looking at other amps in the price range, Rogue Sphinx is definitely NOT the one you need. It had higher noise floor than anything I've heard at the price and your speakers will screech before they play a single note.
     
  10. Yemm66

    Yemm66 Member

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Virden, Il
    I ended up buying a Yamaha A-S1000 amplifier and it sounds much, much better with the Klipsch than the Marantz did. The phono stage is top notch. Really thought I needed a midrange control, thus the Marantz. I was used to having one with my vintage Marantz. Turns out I don't miss it at all.
     
  11. Tbomb25

    Tbomb25 Active Member

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    The Nads are no longer British amps, they are Canadian which isn't bad at all, but they don't sound like British gear anymore, for me it's a no go, they used to major on Simplicity and short signal paths now it's a AV receiver with 2 channels, and i definitely would prefer class a/b over class d hypex amps at this price point....
     

     

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  12. runnin'

    runnin' Super Member

    Messages:
    1,196
    In recent history, I've owned two C326BEE's, a C356BEE and two C375BEE's. They all had good and bad points but could deliver good sound with well matched speakers. My last experiment was Totem Rainmakers on the 375 and it sounded quite off. Nothing I did changed this until I changed out the amp. So I expect that the newer Nad integrated's probably have a similar approach. Listen at a dealer with the speakers you'll be pairing with it. Or do what I did, buying used so I could get my money out of the speakers or amp that didn't work out.
     
  13. reggaenaut

    reggaenaut Addicted Member

    Messages:
    8,110
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    Thanks for the info on the Rogue Sphinx. Elevated noise floor drives me nuts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  14. Soundphile

    Soundphile Active Member

    Messages:
    211
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Late last year, after reading all the glowing reviews on the new NAD C3-- series, I went to the local dealer with high expectations and ... Was thoroughly disappointed. No new NADs for the time being.
     
  15. 2ndGenSansui

    2ndGenSansui AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Really surprised to see all of this negative feedback given NAD's reputation. I know that some people have been upset that they're moving towards Class D designs, but I would never expect NAD to produce an amplifier that sounds outright bad.

    For the record, I have not heard anything from the C3** series, but I do have a D3020, which is also Class D Hypex. To my ears, it sounds fabulous especially considering it's small form factor.
     

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