Amplifier NAD C316BEE

The audiophiles know her well. The brand NAD (New Acoustic Dimension) is originally English and was created in 1972 in London. Its first model, the built-in stereo amplifier 3020, marked its era and was the best-selling product in the history of Hi-Fi with nearly a million copies sold.

The C316BEE, which we test here is the direct descendant of this little prodigy. It is not new (it was launched several years ago), but it remains one of the most attractive entry-level audiophiles on the market. NAD is certainly now Canadian, following the takeover by the Lenbrook group. But it has retained the same philosophy. Moreover, the three letters "BEE" at the end of the C316 reference are the initials of Bjorn Erik Edvardsen, the creator of the 3020.

Like its ancestor, the NAD C316BEE is a minimalist approach and goes to the heart. Featuring a very compact chassis, with a simple plastic front and a sheet metal hood, it avoids any unnecessary frills. The functions of the apparatus are also relatively basic. The small remote control goes to the point. Nevertheless, the front panel offers some interesting functions. In addition to the source selection buttons, there are bass and treble settings (can be disabled via the "Tone Defeat" button) and a mini-jack input for a player or smartphone.

It is also noted that the main switch is placed at the rear. This encourages the C316BEE to be permanently on standby, to prevent the warm-up time from ignition, and to get the best musical performance right away.

NAD's built-in amps are known for their high reliability and the internal circuits of the C316BBE are particularly clean. It is obvious that the efforts of the brand have focused on the quality of the components and not on the cladding. The device has a beautiful toroidal transformer (9.5 cm diameter for 5.5 cm high) coupled to two capacitors of 10000 μF under 63 V and two halogen lamps. The latter's role is to increase the instantaneous current capacity of the power supply, applying the exclusive PowerDrive-S technology to NAD.

The power transistors operate in a simple push-pull configuration. These are Toshiba models with very high current capacity (2SA1943 and 2SC5200, maximum capacity: 150 watts, 15 amps). The NAD C316BEE announces a power of 2 x 40 watts in continuous mode, but would be able to provide 2 x 100 watts in dynamic mode under 8 ohms and almost 2 x 200 watts under 2 ohms!

On the field the NAD C316BEE is not of colossal power, but is identified immediately by its very energetic, dynamic and nervous restitution. It has no equal to awaken enclosures of libraries or small columns a little too wise. The stereophonic image is not the most precise, it favors the magnitude rather than the conciseness. Nevertheless, the definition is very correct, stamps have grain, material and the NAD C316BEE has a sense of swing unmatched in its class. Rock fans should love it, but it does not detract from Classical, Jazz or Electro music.

The NAD C316BEE is therefore faithful to the reputation of the brand. He knows how to make music with a communicative enthusiasm, an invigorating spontaneity and a sense of rhythm that never fails.

NAD C316BEE Amplifier photo