Nad amps are a bit of a mixed bag. The current lineup does have QC issues from what I can tell. I had a C375BEE that had to be serviced after 30 days of use. I like the C320BEE a lot so I am sure your amp is very good for the money. I currently have an older 312 as a back up amp and it sounds fantastic, great tone.
The NAD C356BEE / DAC, Excellent Integrated Amplifier.
Recently I ordered Parasound Halo Integrated thinking that will be
upgrade. Big mistake. The NAD is more dynamic and three dimensional.
Halo is back. Of course, this is just my opinion.
topten, that's quite interesting! What speakers are you driving with the NAD that outshined the Parasound? I find the 326 to be very dynamic!
Rotarius, l've done a lot of researching reviews and owner complaints of NAD. I really don't see evidence of QC issues with the current line up. Where have you heard this? Early 326BEE's back in 2009, 2010 had higher incidents of running hot, and some would go into safety, but I may have missed other reports.
I have Focal 807W speakers, very easy to drive and I really wanted to like Halo. But, the NAD was more open and dynamic. Of course Halo is the monster packed with the features, but I just didn't need extra power.
Talking about reliability, my NAD is on 5 day's weekly already 2.5 years.
No issues or I should knock on the wood.
I have the c372 integrated and i never had a problem. I just upgraded to Parasound Halo JC1 monos and I'm a little surprised that the difference isn't as pronounced as I thought it would be. I'm sure the amps will break in and really improve over time but I'm thinking I'll definitely keep the NAD for a backup.
That's funny, I've got the Halo A21 with a P7 for pre amp, running Paradigm Sigs, S6. I've been wondering about the C375, how close it is to the Halo stuff. The Sigs drop down to 2.8 ohms at one point, but I don't ever blast it, never above 90 db, mostly under.
It's the C326 that has me wondering, if they can do that good with a small budget, I'm curious as to how they did with the C375.
Talking about Paradigm's. The best sound I ever heard was with the:
Adcom GTP-502 Tuner / Pre Amp.(using Lab out)
Parasound 275 Power Amp.
Paradigm S4 2 1/2 way speakers
Have no idea why I sold it. What a clarity. Beautiful sound with a nice airy highs.
It's all about synergy.
I have the 326BEE and also think it great for the $$$. I use it in a 2nd system. When I tried it in my main system I was impressed with the performance. Tonal character, dynamics, soundstage quite good driving Esoteric MG-10s. Probably a great match with the Focals, I am thinking of buying a used pair of the Focal 706s to try with mine. Currently have B&W 685s.
The dealer from the Stereo Exchange told me once: "If you are not sure
and you don't want to take a chance, go with the NAD". Just one time I was
ready to buy Accuphase (to end the story with the Amplifiers). Then doubt,
Is the Accuphase 1000% better then NAD. It's not.
I've been looking at new speaker cables, as the Audioquest type 4 are laid back somewhat. Nothing wrong with that, but the Paradigm Sigs are also a little laid back. Gee, now that I think of it, the Parasound Halo stuff may be on the warm side to. Anyway, the end result is a too warm sound.
Fast forward to the new Nad, with the Tannoy DC4 the sound is more open and airy. Certain go to auditioning music has the extra highs, etc. I've definitely got to do some experimenting this weekend. I do have some Type 4 I could try with the Nad. I'd also like to put the Nad in the main 2 channel system just to see what it can do. Also, I should try using it as a pre since that's an option with the C326BEE.
So I tried the Nad C326BEE driving the Paradigm sigs S6, just to see what they could do with the big floorstanders. The sound left me the impression that there wasn't enough grunt, although I didn't try to really crank it. The highs seemed a little strained at times as well.
Trying the preamp section to drive the Parasound A21 brought much better results. The soundstage was filled out with good separation and nothing really stood out as deficient.
Putting the P7 back in as preamp revealed the weaknesses of the NAD. More detail and refinement, like things were just in better focus. Of course that's to be expected comparing a $550 component vs a $2300 one! Still, the 326 acquitted itself well considering the big price jump.
Having the Nad drive the little Tannoy Revolutions again brought back the jaw dropping moments for those speakers. The 326 does best with speakers that aren't too much of a load, which is of course to be expected. I'm sure that there are plenty of floorstanders that fit into this category, though I don't have any.
I thought I'd update things a little as I found the limits of the C326. I acquired some Totem Dreamcatchers, they of the 4 ohm variety speaker. I was experimenting with the little bookshelf because they sound so sweet and give a surprising amount of bass for a 4.5" driver.
I ran up the volume to about 11:00(try that on your Nad amp, it's loud!), and it went into protection. It kind of freaked me out! I cycled the power and it started right up again, no issue. I pinged another forum with this and the opinion was suspicion with the Nad's health. I thought maybe it was developing a problem.
So this evening I repeated the volume experiment after changing speaker cables and at 11 it went into protect again. I connected some 8 ohm speakers and tried to get it into protect with them, but even at 12(ear bleeding loud) there were no issues.
I've now had the Dreamcatchers back playing for a 1/2 hour at moderate volumes and no problems. I think I'm in the clear, but has any Nad owner put their amp into protection before?
A couple of years ago when I was getting back into this hobby I tried an NAD 375bee, and I was very impressed. I was experimenting with a lot of different gear, and at the time I thought I wanted an internal DAC. I ended up selling it to move on to other things. However, I still remember how powerful and clear it sounded. You can take it to a much higher level by removing the pre-out/main-in metal connectors and replacing them with a good quality interconnect. The upgrade in sound is startling.
That reminds me, during the above experiment I had a pair of interconnects on the pre out/main in and they weren't shielded. I was getting interference for 1 second upon start up, then quiet. I couldn't figure it out immediately, and it made me nervous!
Finally I swapped out those IC's with some others that were shielded, and no more noise. It made me realize that everything does matter.
I have had a C356BEE for several years now, it gets almost daily use and on weekends easily get 20 hours a weekend.
Only issue was one of the led lights went out...during warranty period so no cost to fix.
I have dabbled into looking at a more "expensive " int amp....so far have not found one that i think bests the sound in the 1500 range. Maybe at 2500 but will the improvement be worth another 1700 over the price of the NAD..?
I believe the 326BEE is best suited for speakers that are 87dB sensitive and nominal 8 ohm, possibly dropping not much below 4 at some point in frequency range (few 8 ohm nominal speakers truly are) . A nominal 4 ohm load at 87dB sensitivity is probably not too difficult a load.
Forgot to add, with 87dB sensitivity, 8 ohm nominal 12 o,clock the amp is maxed out, playing louder than I need. If running like that I would want more power.
I think I concur on the 326BEE and speaker loads because its max power consumption is under 2 amps. It does just fine with the Tannoy or Paradigm bookshelf speakers, but has its limits with the 4 ohm Totems. BTW, I replaced the stock preamp jumpers with the Audioquest ones. I noticed a somewhat brighter, more open sound, making the Nad more neutral as opposed to warm sounding. Definitely a nice addition.
I've been eyeing the C356BEE myself. I don't really need it and would sell the 326 to upgrade, but the extra power and module port plus A/B speaker connections has me wondering. One way to get an upgrade on the 356 would be a refurbished C375BEE at spearitsound.com for around 1100. Not bad for 150 wpc.
Opps, I wrote...probably not too difficult a load. Not! on not.
I am happy with the 326 for a second system. There are so many quality speakers, at the budget I would pair such an amp with, that will not challenge it power wise.
I am currently using a 0.5m audioquest interconnect to replace jumpers.
The c390dd is a super impressive. It is one of the best integrateds I have ever heard.
My C356BEE has powered very nicely, my Epos Epic 2 which are 90dB 4ohm speakers, superb sounding combo!! I now have Rega RX5 speakers and still the NAD does not falter. Nice big sound, clean and with tremendous low end....The C375BEE is interesting only for the 150wpc, the other options are not needed, but for a good price never know.
I also use the Audioquest preamp jumpers, the difference is noticeable for sure.....cheap upgrade.
Define "good" and define "cheap"......I auditioned speakers 2 months ago and heard an Ayre AX-7 60wpc amp, a $2950 int amp, this was powering the speakers I ended up buying. They can keep that Ayre amp, it was muddy with no definition...nothing exciting about that amp. I bought the speakers in spite of this bad audition only cause I knew they would sound good, plus I had 30 days to return them :)
The NAD drives the speakers easily and the sound is well above the Ayre amp....Proof enough for me and my ears.
@catcher10......agree with your take on NAD. Can't comment on the Ayre as I've never heard the AX-7. Truth be known, some of the ones that now talk ill of NAD probably owned one at one time or another. I have owned more costly gear, and believe me, not all of it bettered my older NAD! All about what one can afford and synergy....no matter what the price bracket. I still own a "vintage" NAD 7400 receiver ( made in Japan ) that is like new and sounds very good to this day. Use it in a secondary system for radio mostly as it has a great tuner. Regards.......
I've owned 2, the 372 and 326BEE. The 372 didn't stick around long. The 326BEE was in an "interim" system and really surprised my with it's punchy sound. Speakers were Klipsch or Wharfedale bookshelf types, 2 different animals I know but the NAD shined with both. Never had an issue with it but owned for less than 1 year. The looks leave a lot to be desired IMHO....
First post — I have a c720bee (the amp/preamp section is equivalent to the c320, the predecessor of the 326 I believe) and Totem Rainmakers. Never had a problem of any kind, and the amp has never gone into protection with these 4 ohm speakers. I have had the volume control up past 11 on some quiet recordings. I wonder whether the 326 is less gutsy than the 320 or the Dreamcatchers are a more challenging load than the Rainmakers?
I believe the 320 was predecessor to the 325 which was in turn predecessor to the 326. Possible that they differ in ability to provide power. Also possible that these speakers possess different load characteristics.
What is the sensitivity for the Rainmakers and Dreamcatchers?
Also, though both are rated as nominal 4 ohms they could represent quite different impedance loads across frequency range. And then there is phase angle.
What are thoughts on the use of the soft clipping function?
Here are the Stereophile measurements for the two speakers for anyone who would like to take a look:http://www.stereophile.com/content/totem-dreamcatcher-loudspeaker-measurements#mhWMgPW5ot0w4PPA.97
Thanks ben! I was going to look them up. It seems to me that the amplifier load that these 2 speakers represent are similar with the Rainmaker being slightly more difficult.
I believe the B&W 685s are somewhat easier to drive however not exceptionally so. I have never turned the gain on my 326 past 11 driving them. That is quite loud with my system set up outside on the deck.
Back in 1982 I bought a NAD 3050, the 50wpc version of the infamous 3020. I know 2 people who still have functioning units. 35 years later.
The dealer from whom I purchased the Rainmakers also carried PSB speakers, and I listened to the Imagine B, which was relatively new then. The Rainmaker clearly required more juice from the amp than did the PSB.
It's great to hear about those long-lived NADs.
the Not Always Reliable (or Not Again, Dammit) monikers are apt--i've cycled thru a bunch before giving up. i seem to recall perhaps one NAD component among the ten or so i've owned over the years that didn't malfunction in some way. very frustrating, since when they worked, they sounded good--the 326bee especially so, though i also dug the (80s) 7020, which was the receiver version of the 3020. i also had the c370, which was ridiculously powerful but didn't sound as good as their lower-powered stuff
They have had their issues over the years, but I think the vast majority of owners are happy.
At times I use a 326 bee on some of my horns its does well at that unlike many costly SS amps. While its not the best I have heard it doesn't make me hate it I can tolerate the 326bee and at its price that is high praise.
While my 326 has been flawless, I was advised to get a Caig deoxit product for the volume pot. Apparently it is actually plastic conductive based on this budget model. Anyway, if any of you are comfortable taking the hood off once in a while(after warranty expired) to do preventative maintenance, get a can of Caig Deoxit Faderlube. Spray some short soft bursts into the holes of the pot and turn the volume up and down repeatedly.
If you are not familiar with doing this, look it up on youtube to get an idea. Not for everyone, but it may save yourself some issues.
So last weekend I thought I'd experiment with the C326 and some really nice small Tannoys. I installed Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables, and Morrow MA3 interconnects to a decent older Pioneer spinner. I already had the Audioquest jumpers installed between Pre out and amp in jacks on the back.
I listened to various jazz, and well recorded music, and I can tell you that the C326 really responds well to good cables!. In comparison to the old IC's and lamp cord speaker cable, the imaging became 3D with greater detail. Really enjoyable.
I am also using the AQ type 4 speaker cables with mine. Also AQ 0.5m Diamondback interconnects in place of jumpers. Soundstage and imaging as well as detail is improved.
With regard to the soft clip setting, I’ve now had a C326BEE in system for about a week and I think I prefer the soft clip setting on, even at low volumes. My ears tell me it sounds a bit more three dimensional and tube bloomy. Bass does not suffer but seems to have more of that three dimensionality too. On the scope I saw a demo of what the soft clip setting does at near clip volume settings it seems to broaden the top of the wave form, perhaps accounting for the apparent warmth. In any case I love the tonal flexibility with these amps. My only wish would be for the tone controls be centered at about 60 or 70 Hz and the treble at 12 kHz, in other words, push them below and above the usual 100 Hz and 10 kHz points.
Interesting. After reading this I played with the soft clip setting, but could detect no difference so far. It may also have something to do with speaker load I suppose.
I'll give it another shot today as I'm curious to see if I can get that extra depth of stage that you're talking about.
Okay, the latest changes to my little system is: out go the Tannoy Revolution DC4, in come the Tannoy Saturn DC6 LCRi. It’s a 6" driver instead of the 4" DC4, but in a more budget cabinet. I’m surprised at how much bass I was missing! The DC4 have a -6db point of 67, and the Saturns are at 46db, so I guess it’s no surprise. The mids are just as sweet, though, and I’m not hearing much cabinet with the MDF construction.
The other change was a new IC from cd player to the NAD C326. A company called Stager Sounds, which makes a solid silver conductor based IC. I had a Morrow MA1 in there, though I sub in a MA3 when I want some extra zing. I still have the stock jumpers replaced with the Audioquest, and Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables.
The Stager Silver Solid blows away the MA1, and even the MA3, though it’s closer. The extra detail I’m hearing, without glare or brightness/harshness is making me listen to all my favorite music again. I heard detail I’ve never heard in the Famous Blue Raincoat cd and the Mission Soundtrack, a couple of my faves and torture tracks(on The Misison). 3D imaging, black silence, air, it’s really quite something.
For the money, $100 for a 30" length is half the price of the Morrow MA3 and I’d bet this cable is on par with Morrow’s MA4 or 5. I did try out the Stager in my main system and the upgrade in detail was apparent, though I'll need another Stager to completely replace the old cables in that system.
Recently I upgraded my NAD C326BEE. I'm not sure why I wanted to, perhaps too much reading on sites like this, but I became curious about the C356BEE and found one here with the DAC installed for a pretty good deal.
And of course I had to compare it to the 326 before selling it. Long story short, I can understand those who prefer it over the C356BEE because the C326 really has nice sonics. The soundstage is really well presented with a "live" feel for lack of a better term.
By comparison, the C356 seems more neutral, which seems a little boring until you turn it up. At higher volumes, the C326 seems a little congested when compared with the C356, whose neutrality shines with imaging that seems more accurate at this point. But at lower volumes I can understand the preference some have for the smaller amp.
The other thing that stood out for me was the bass control the C356 has. You don't realize it until comparing with a superior amp, but the C326 bass can be somewhat inaccurate. The C356 has that extra detail and control not present with the smaller amp, and turning it up does not diminish this until you reach the upper limits.
I think the 356 has a better volume pot as well, and that extra set of speaker jacks is handy for A/B'ing sets of speakers. I tried the Pioneer SP-BS22, Ascend Sierra 2 as well as two pairs of Tannoys. The C356 had no trouble with any of it, and in the end I had no regrets with the upgrade.
Now I'm getting curious about the new class D integrated amps from NAD, like the C368. I better stop reading up on it, my audio budget is getting tapped out!
The pot on my 352 began to act up and sound like tell tail dust was getting in it causing static upon adjusting. Great amp though, sound wise. Its dynamics made it even more fun to listen to. I think the 352 is one of the more standout models. Not that many of the others dont deserve credit, only less. That seemed evident while owning it, there seemed to be no shortage of praise to back my impressions. Same goes for the 326BEE. Its another stand out NAD I plan on keeping this time. Sometimes I wish I had the 352 come to think of it.
From what I've read, for more recent Nad integrated amps that develop issues, that's one of the main ones. I'm not sure what percentage of these amps develop problems, but of the 5 recent Nad products I've owned, the remote died on a C372, and that's it.
I recently bought a used Wyred4Sound DAC2. It allows selection of output gain with fixed output. I reduced the output such that I could remove a greater portion of the attenuation on my 326BEE such that I now can turn volume to 3 o'clock to get desired loudness. Amp sounds less congested, more refined. It also seems to me that the degree of attenuation/volume sweep distance is less between 12 and 3 o'clock than between 9 and 12 o'clock. I intend to continue exploring this.
Interesting. So I'm getting a C375BEE now( I just had to collect the whole set!) and it's got 2 pairs of outputs, one with a gain knob. I know it's not quite the same thing as what you've done, Mesch, but using those gained outputs would give much the same effect. I'll have to experiment for sure.
I am thinking of going up the NAD line, though I will likely look for a used unit. I tried the soft clipping function on the 326 however think it reduces dynamics. How much better does the 356 drive speakers over the 326? I am thinking I could use a little more juice.
The first thing that struck me about the 356 was the superior bass control. At higher volumes the sound remains clear when the 326 starts to get congested. I haven't had the 326 for about 2 months now so I can't add too much to what I said, but the bass accuracy was better.
That said, 50 watts to 80 watts isn't a huge amount of change. There are integrated amps by Arcam, Nait or Rega where a 70 or 80 watt amp may have more control at higher volumes. My Parasound A21 P7 combo is clearly superior to the Nad 356, so I guess I'm saying, don't expect jaw dropping improvements. If you can get the 356 at less than retail, or used, it would be a better option.
Thanks for the reply. Yes I understand the power issue. In my primary system I use a BEL 1001 MK5 which is also rated at 50wpc however pushes 200wpc into a 2 ohm load. It offers far more control over any speaker than the 326. Regarding the two NADs I am thinking the 356 would better drive a 6-8 ohm speaker of medium sensitivity knowing most of them drop to 4 ohms somewhere below 2K Hz. As do the current speakers I am using (B&W 685s). Thinking more toward control, the 326 provides the desired loudness however the 356 would offer greater control at higher volume, as your statements indicate. As I like to play around with different speakers, the extra control will open up more possibilities.
There is a NAD356 and a Arcam A19 up for sale on AG now... I will keep everyone posted.
I recently took ownership of a C375BEE to feed this weird Nad addiction I’ve developed. I can’t compare it to the 326, but in comparison to the 356 there is more refinement, air and another improvement in bass. It’s effortless. I don’t have any speakers with a tougher load, so I’m not pushing the amp by any means.
That said, it sounds nicer than I expected, with more air while not getting harsh or strained. A quibble would be remote volume control. All of these Nad integrated amps have motorized volume pots that increase a fair amount each time you press the volume button on the remote. A finer adjustment ability would be better, but budget decisions had to be made to bring each model to market at the price point. I’d say Nad has put the most money into sound quality and that’s the right decision for me anyway.
I'm currently waiting on a power cord for the amp, a PS Audio AC5. I've started upgrading the pre-amp jumpers on these Nad amps along with having better quality interconnects, and I've found that they do respond to better cables. I'm curious as to what improvements I might get with the C375BEE.