NAD Electronics has revealed its new flagship integrated amplifier in the Classic Series, the C 399 Hybrid Digital DAC Amplifier. It employs NAD’s HybridDigitalÔ nCore amplification, which, until now, has been available only on Masters Series amplifiers.
The C 399’s digital section is built around a 32-bit/384kHz ESS Sabre DAC, the same chip used in NAD’s acclaimed M10 and M33 Masters Series amplifiers.
The C 399 also the first amplifier to incorporate the latest generation of NAD’s Modular Design Construction (MDC) technology: MDC2. MDC2 lets users add optional modules that provide functions such as BluOS Hi-Res multi-room music streaming, Dirac Live room correction and more. The new architecture allows signals to be passed back and forth between moduke and host component. The MDC2 BluOS-D module includes the latest Wi-Fi and Ethernet protocols and supports Apple AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect. It also incorporates two-way Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth. There’s also a USB port for playing music from a connected USB drive. With an MDC2 BluOS-D module installed, MDC2-capable components can play music from a range of local, networked, and cloud-based sources. Thanks to its bidirectional communications architecture, MDC2 can be easily upgraded when new technologies are made available. The MDC2 BluOS-D module will be available in time for the holiday season selling for $799 in Canada.
The C 399’s HybridDigital nCore amplifier is can deliver 180 Watts per channel continuous power, and 250 Watts per channel instantaneous power. The HybridDigital nCore design is renowned for its wide bandwidth, flat frequency response, clean clipping behaviour with instant recovery, high current capability, and stability into demanding low-impedance speaker loads, says NAD. Noise and distortion are low under all operating conditions while “minute levels of harmonic distortion are dominated by sonically benign second and third harmonics,” the company adds. These refinements enable the C 399 to produce neutral, distortion-free sound even at very high listening levels, with thrilling dynamics, exquisite detail, and superb portrayal of space.”
Also trickled down from the Masters Series is the ESS Sabre ES9028 high-resolution DAC, a design noted for its wide dynamic range, ultra-low noise and distortion, and near-zero levels of clock jitter.
The C 399 has two optical and two coaxial digital inputs, plus an HDMI-eARC port for playing audio from a connected TV, while controlling amplifier output with the TV’s remote control. There are also two pairs of RCA line-level inputs, plus a MM phono stage with precise RIAA equalization, low noise, and high overload margins. The phono preamp also features an innovative circuit that suppresses the infrasonic noise present on all LPs, without compromising bass response. The line inputs have low-noise buffer amplifiers to prevent sonic degradation.
In addition to two sets of speaker outputs, the C 399 has preamp output jacks and dual subwoofer outputs. Two-way aptX HD Bluetooth allows 24-bit streaming from mobile devices, and high-quality output to Bluetooth headphones. Also built-in is a dedicated headphone amplifier with low output impedance and high output voltage capability, enabling the C 399 to drive demanding high-impedance studio monitor headphones.
The NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier will also be available in time for the holiday season, selling for in Canada for $2,599.