NAD C390 DD review
Audiovideo2day experienced the introduction of the Class D amp. It all started with Ice Power modules, developed by Bang&Olufsen. That caused a revolution. Not exactly on the consumer market, but rather the internal one. An amplifier, as big as a fat computer chip, that can deliver the power of a rough 500 Watts. Wow! Later on, names such as Tact Audio, NuForce, Lyngdorf Audio and other appeared… In the latter stages of development, the point was more to give the immense, rough amplifying power finesse, emotion and musicality. More and more manufacturers succeeded. This is the way to go, clearly. Compact, a huge amount of power and close to no heat development. Class D amplifiers led the market to proper, digital amps.
Not so long ago, NAD presented such an amplifier in the Master Series: the M2. With a moderate retail price of roughly €6.000, this amplifier produces a lot more music than its price suggests. That is why, when you read our review of the M2, you deal with a Buying Tip. You can surely understand why we were eager when Cas Oostvogel (Managing Director AND Benelux) asked us to be the first to review the newest digital amplifier, a direct successor of the M2. “Bring us that NAD C390 DD” was yelled throughout the office!
Small M2 with options
Compared to the innovating M2, the NAD C390 DD is not in a Master Series housing, but rather in the well-known, decent housing of the performance hifi- and home cinema productline of NAD. The housing of the Master Series offers more firmness and deals with interferences more ferociously (negative influences from outside, such as, e.g. from electromagnetic fields). With a price setting of less than half an M2 (an NAD C390 DD has a suggested retail price of €2.500), the manufacturer can obviously not deliver a direct copy of the M2. For instance, an M2 has 2 poweramps per channel in a BTL (bridge tied load) formaton, to reach the high amount of power. An NAD C390 DD creates music with a single poweramp per channel. That’s why the M2 gives that bit of extra power: 2 x 250 Watt vs. 2 x 150 Watt. Yet the NAD still manages to keep some genetic information in the C390 DD. And then some… In certain areas, the brand new C390 DD is even more revolutionary than the mighty M2. I’ll call it a small M2 with options.
- Available power / power reserve
- Sound quality
- Musical resolution (24 bit/192 kHz via USB)
- Tight design
- Functional display
- Plug and play / ease of use
- Modular design (MDC)