NAD C521BEE CD-player

Many people, including us, are already used to the inconspicuous design of NAD components. Imagine our surprise when we unpacked the device with the front panel, which was coldly but stylishly cast with titanium. In all other respects, NAD stayed the same: a minimal set of controls on the front panel, a small rounded display, and a high-quality element base.

C521BEE uses the modern 20-bit Burr-Brown delta/sigma converter, but which one is not stated. There are other differences: the power of analog and digital stages is carried out according to a separate circuit, which is not typical for equipment of this class. Printed circuit boards are designed to minimize digital interference on analog circuits. Throughout the sound path, only high-quality metal film resistors and polypropylene capacitors are used. The low-noise operational amplifiers NE5532 are located in the output analog stage, and the signal passes only through a single capacitor.

NAD C521BEE will not cause problems for those who are also going to connect the player via digital inputs. It has both optical and coaxial outputs. But as for fans of headphones, we have to disappoint them - the player has no corresponding output.

Listening. Usually, the more expensive a device is, the more intriguing its quality characteristics. But when you have to choose from entry-level models, then everything is exactly the opposite. You just know what to expect from expensive equipment. But what can a player for less than $ 300 show?

None of the players we tested had such a correct and convincing bass! Also, C521BEE has no problems with dynamics - the sound is full of energy and at any level stays clean and very legible.

Let's turn to the shortcomings. We begin with how C521BEE conveys the most important part of the audio range - the midrange. There is no subtle nuance, and therefore the voices sound formally. Copper is also reproduced simplistically - rather brightly than with brilliance and breath. Bow instruments, in the spectrum of which there are many high-frequency components, almost do not lose in expressiveness, but the piano with its complex harmonics greatly "falls in price".

There are minor problems in the sound stage. There is a complete order with depth and scale that is there is a combination of both, but the order itself is somehow not very good: some of the imaginary sound sources have fuzzy localization, some can wander around the scene (however, for a player of this price this is more likely the norm than anomaly).

As soon as the first enthusiasm for how cool NAD C521BEE sounds, you will begin to pay attention to these little things. And what is most annoying, the selection of cables (or other components of the system) can unlikely straighten the scene and compensate for the lack of harmonic resolution. The maximum you can count on is to achieve the illusion of rich sound, which again leads to expenses.

NAD C521BEE CD-player photo