NAD marries VU meters with streaming in retro-modern C 3050 LE stereo amplifier

NAD C 3050 LE
(Image credit: NAD)

NAD is celebrating its 50th anniversary by releasing a vintage-inspired stereo amplifier, of which 1972 units each costing $1972 (AU$3299) will be available in a nod to the company’s founding year.

The NAD C 3050 LE Stereophonic Amplifier, to use its full name, looks quite the component, concealing modern streaming technology in a retro-looking satin walnut veneer wooden chassis complete with LED illuminated left and right VU metres.

It is based on a 1974 industrial design of the original NAD 3030, a 30 watts-per-channel Class A/B integrated that came four years before what would become the world’s best-selling budget amp, the 3020. The new C 3050 LE naturally brings the design into the 21st century, not only with modern engineering but also a suite of network streaming features courtesy of the BluOS platform and support for AirPlay 2, two-way aptX HD Bluetooth and Dirac Room correction. HDMI eARC, line-level and phono inputs and a headphone amplifier are also onboard, all powered by the latest version of NAD’s HybridDigital amplifier, rated at 100 watts per channel.

Going on sale around the world from November, the C 3050 LE will each be uniquely numbered from 1 through 1972 and come with a certificate of authenticity. Visitors to the Toronto Audio Fest this weekend or the Paris Audio-Video Show on 4th-6th November will be among the first to spy NAD’s commemorative creation. 

NAD C 3050 LE

(Image credit: NAD)

A non-anniversary version, simply the C 3050, has also been developed and will go on sale next year for $1299 (AU$2199). It is a slightly different beast in that it forgoes the network streaming as standard, though BluOS and Dirac can be installed via the additional MDC2 module for an extra $549 (AU$700).

Those not in the market for a new amplifier can still get in on NAD’s 50th-anniversary celebrations, though. In mid-November, the company will premiere a documentary titled 'NAD Electronics: 50 Years of Truth in Power', which according to the brand ‘covers the early days of the brand and its evolution to its position today as a hi-fi innovatormixing archival footage and materials with interviews with key personalities associated with the brand’.

“It was the only way we could adequately pay tribute to the foundations laid down by Marty Borish and Bjorn Erik Edvardsen, and their passion project that was NAD, and the impact they had on the hi-fi industry over five decades,” says June Ip, vice president of marketing for the Lenbrook International group, of the forthcoming documentary.

Between March and the Munich High End Show (where the idea to create NAD Electronics first germinated back in 1972) in May 2023, NAD retailers will also be hosting a series of ‘unique listening events’ and exclusive promotional offers to wrap up its celebrations. Those interested can find more details at


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.