NAD C390DD review

NAD’s novel thinking delivers a decent alternative to the established favourites Tested at £2250

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Our Verdict

NAD’s novel thinking delivers a decent alternative to the established favourites

For

  • Powerful and ultra-refined sound
  • convincing scale

Against

  • Build lacks a luxury feel
  • not the last word in dynamic expression

NAD’s come a long way from the must-buy amplifier of the late 70s and early 80s, the 3020. That amp was about simplicity and had a 20W-per-channel output; the NAD C 390DD is a fine example of doing things the hard way, and delivers 150W a side.

The NAD is a hybrid unit: a digital-to-analogue converter and digital stereo amp. It has no analogue stages in the signal path, so keeps the music in the digital domain right up to the speaker outputs. That helps it, NAD says, avoid the phase shifts and distortion inherent in analogue designs.

It can play content from standard digital sources, from USB devices and computers, at up to 24bit/192kHz. An optional DD AP-1 analogue-to-digital stage can be fitted, complete with phono equalisation, while the DD-HDMI-1 module adds three HDMI inputs and an output.

NAD C 390DD

NAD C 390DD

NAD C390DD: Sound quality

But how does it sound? Well, for a smidge over £2000, pretty good. It’s precise and detailed, offering good scale and plenty of sonic authority. By the highest standards, though, it’s not as expressive or rhythmically adept as the best at this price.

Also the build quality isn’t entirely convincing – we’d expect more solidity and a nicer finish for the money.

But it can go loud, and just keeps going as you wind up the level. Plus, due to that digital amplification, the NAD remains physically cool, too. If you’re in the market for an amp at this kind of level, it’s well worth a listen.

NAD C 390DD

NAD C 390DD

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Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nadelectronics.com
Brand NameNAD
Product TypeAmplifier
ManufacturerNew Acoustic Dimension Electronics
Manufacturer Part NumberC390DD
Product NameNAD C390DD
Product ModelC 390DD

Interfaces-Ports

Number of Digital Optical Outputs1
HDMIYes
Number of HDMI Inputs3
Number of Digital Coaxial Inputs2
Number of Digital Optical Inputs2
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Number of Digital Coaxial Outputs1
USBYes

Technical Information

Minimum Frequency Response20 Hz
Impedance8 Ohm
Maximum Frequency Response20 kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion THD0%

Audio

RMS Output Power300 W
Audio Channels2

Miscellaneous

Country of OriginChina
Environmentally FriendlyYes
Environmental CertificationRoHS, WEEE, T�V

Physical Characteristics

Width435 mm
Depth388 mm
Weight Approximate7.70 kg
Height132 mm
Dimensions132 mm (H): 435 mm (W): 388 mm (D)

Power Description

Operating Power Consumption1 kW