NAD C165BEE review

This NAD preamp is best paired with the C275BEE power amp to create an amplifier that's got sonic muscle and subtlety to boot Tested at £650.00

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Our Verdict

A likeable brute of an amplifier. For those who want plenty of sonic muscle without having to sacrifice subtlety too much

For

  • Sonic muscle, authority and scale
  • feature list
  • well-judged presentation

Against

  • Not the last word in transparency at this price
  • unimpressive feel and finish for the money

If sonic muscularity and outright scale are important to you, buy this NAD pairing, consisting of the C165BEE preamp and C275BEE power amp. We can't think of another amplifier at this price level that delivers so much authority with such ease.

It doesn't matter what kind of torture track you try – we used Like a Dog Chasing Cars from The Dark Knight OST – this pre/power takes it all in its stride.

With such music this NAD combo sounds big and brawny, and plays at high volume levels with little sign of stress. A power rating of 150 Watts per channel is good at this price level, but it sounds like the C275BEE power amplifier is capable of far more.

Pleasing dynamics and bass
You can add strong dynamics and seismic bass to the list of positives, and other qualities such as tonal balance and stereo imaging are good enough to avoid serious criticism.

The very best of the opposition deliver more agility and transparency, but thankfully this combo avoids the heavy-handed, muscle-bound nature of some rivals.

Look past the sound and you'll find the feature list is good. The C165BEE is a fully-specced preamp. It has a reasonably capable moving magnet/moving coil phono stage, a good headphone output and plenty of line level connections.

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Specifications

General Information

Product NameNAD C165BEE