What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 15 Apr 2009, 10:00am

NAD C565BEE

Tested at £600
80100
4

The C565BEE appeals for its features, but sonically it’s worried by cheaper alternatives

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For

  • Useful features
  • precise and informative sound
  • simple to use

Against

  • Cheaper C545BEE is almost as good for far less money

NAD has produced some excellent, class-leading products of late. And we'll say straight off that sonically, the C565BEE isn't quite one of them.

It's a very capable performer, but the real news here is a raft of beguiling features that wouldn't normally find their way into a specialist CD player.

The highlight is a USB input, allowing the player to read music files from a memory stick or a USB drive. It supports MP3, WMA and uncompressed WAV files.

Another neat touch is the optical digital in, which, along with the USB port, opens access to the player's high grade Wolfson 24bit/192 kHz DAC.

Sonic flow and finesse
How does the C565BEE sound, as CD player and DAC? Pretty decent we'd say. There's a good amount of insight into complex material such as Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet.

The C565BEE is one of those players that flows with the music. It has finesse, and lots of precision when required, particularly when placing instruments on the sound stage.

However, we'd like more expressive dynamics and better rhythmic drive. We compared it to the cheaper C545BEE, and we preferred the junior model for its greater attack and excitement.

That said, the C565BEE has a cleaner, more precise sound – and digs up a little more detail. But the margin of superiority over its cheaper in-house rival isn't huge, and its price puts it closer to great players from Cyrus and Roksan.

We applaud NAD for trying to make a CD player so relevant to today's market. The extra features are welcome, but the performance stops just short of greatness.