NAD D3045 vs NAD C268 for KEF LS50 - which amp for greatest synergy with KEF LS50?


The D3045 is $699.99 and the C268 could be gotten for about $630.

C3045 has HDMI port and built-in DAC.  C268 has balanced XLR input but needs external DAC.

I do have an external Xiang Sheng DAC-05A (dual burr brown chips, balanced XLR).

D3045 is more compact, and likely lighter.  I believe it also has a remote.

Damping factor for both appear to be > 300.

I'm trying to determine which would have better synergy with KEF LS50 speakers and can bring the best out of them.

Thanks in advance!
5bf6407a 7353 43f1 96d6 5950644a1f86ethanhallbeyer
Be careful pairing LS50 with Class D. Things can get very lean, bright, and analytical quickly.
I dunno, maybe. 

With my LS50's I progressed though an NAD D3020 to a Bluesound Powernode 2, to now an NAD Masters M10. The D3020 could be described as lean. Nothing lean about the M10. Some might say bright, I say it's simply giving smooth extended highs. Analytical, that's detailed to me because I'd be the analytical one rather than the amp.

The benefit is in running it just like the Powernode 2 in having complete control of all my music library, all my streaming (Tidal and now trying Qobuz), my TT, and all with my phone, tablet, or desktop PC app. Having the beautiful little box with it's cool front screen that can be set to show digital music's associated artwork, combinations of artwork and dB scale, or VU meters is cool. While I have only one sub it's got twin outputs and can set the crossover from 40 to 200hz. Much more control too.

As Dirac Live is implemented within the next week, I can fine-tune the response to be exactly what my ears want in my room. It's all the good I loved about the Powernode 2, with everything it was missing and much more detail.
The LS50 perform better with a little more power than the NAD3045 supplies in my experience. I tried them with the 7050D and they were lean and bright.  Additional watts helped them greatly though it was also from a different manufacturer in my system. 
If you're thinking NAD the now discontinued C326bee will drive a pair of LS50'S to good effect.  It would appear on paper that the amp is too lean on power but it drives them nicely.  It's also said to have some extra oomph on the bottom end which helps with the LS50'S.

IMHO you need a really beefy amp to get the most of of that speaker but there are some lower power integrated amps that have some decent grunt to push them a bit.
Thanks for your replies.  Seems I should probably stay away from the D3045 then, but what about the C268 NAD amp?  Anyone have any input on that one?  It's 80wpc and appears to be a hybrid amp.

If the C326bee would pair well with it, then would it stand to reason that the C268 would as well, at least just as well?
The C326BEE is a Class A-B integrated amp, while the C268 is a Class D power amp. Two very different animals. The D3045 is also a Class D, but integrated and has a DAC that the C326BEE doesn't have.

You might look for a C356BEE, which is a little more powerful and has the "MDC" modules available should you want a built-in phono amp or DAC. The new PP375 phono amp is quite good, and selectable MM or MC settings. If any are still available (my dealer had one last time I was there), they are barely more than the C326BEE and half the cost of the 150w/ch C375BEE. My cousin got a demo model C56BEE from that same dealer for $700, with the DAC module installed.


I have the NAD 356BEE in a second system. Previous to that I also owned the 326BEE. I made the swop for the extra power. Just enough to make it easier driving some speakers. The LS50s would probably be better served with the extra 35 NAD watts. 
I'm running my LS 50's with a recapped Threshold 400A. They sound effortless. Find a good class A amp with plenty of power.
I also use the new NAD M10 With KEF LS50s in my home office.  Very nice integrated amp/streamer/DAC and perfect for my small room.