Review: NAD 533 Turntable

Category: Analog

The NAD 533 is an excellent budget turntable.

The 533 is essentially and outsourced Rega Planar 2 with an MDF platter and without the Rega label. It features what appears (and sounds like) an RB250 tonearm. It comes complete with an Goldring Elektra cartridge mounted for real plug-and-play use.

The sound is rather good for a table at this price: very dynamic and has excellent pace. Although the included cartridge sweetens the deal for this turntable, it really comes to life when paired with something better at the contact end. I have it paired with a Blue Point and it provides excellent detail and superb midrange.

Although I primarily listen to rock and jazz, I have recently discovered that the 533 brings classical and chamber music to life as it takes on more realistic sound and provides the music with a sense of cohesion that digital sources just cant provide.

To make this review fair, I must cite some shortcomings: The bass is somewhat uncontrolled and boomy at times while the TT is a bit noisy. The minimalist un-suspended plinth is subject to vibration so it must be placed in a nice vibration-free place for optimal playback. However, at the price, these are minor issues that plague many turntables. Like any TT, performance hinges on proper setup.

What I like about this turntable is the excellent way it presents music. I would love to see heftier construction and lower noise floor but I guess this kind of performance comes at higher price points. Still despite these shortcoming, the NAD 533 still puts my digital rig to shame. Also, unlike other introductory tt options, the 533 offers upgradablitly. I am considering an upgrade, but will reuse the tonearm on a better deck such as a VPI or Basis.

Associated gear
Audio Analogue Puccini

Similar products
Rega P2, P3, Basis 1400