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Future-fi for every budget: NAD embrace Roon, Dirac

  • How much would you expect to pay for an integrated amplifier that delivers 80wpc into 8 or 4 Ohms (Hypex UcD), headphone output, MM phono stage, 2 x analogue inputs and “eight channel DAC” (likely an ESS) fed by 2 x coaxial, 2 x TOSLINK or aptX Bluetooth (but no USB)?

    For their identically specified full-width C368, NAD are asking €999.

    Where this integrated amplifier takes a more interesting turn, making the leap to ‘super-integrated’, is with its optional MDC BluOS module (€499) from sister company Bluesound. The BluOS module slots in to one of the C368’s two available sockets to add hi-res multi-room network streaming.

    “With the optional BluOS module, the C368 can connect to your network and be controlled through a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, and connect wirelessly to any other BluOS-enabled device to create a multi-room High Resolution Audio system.”

    Alongside AURALiC’s Lightning DS, BluOS offers one of the better in-house-developed streaming music experiences but it has the functional edge over its Chinese rival with 1) Spotify Connect and 2) control apps available for ALL major operating systems: Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Kindle.

    For many a digital audiophile, Roon remains king of the streaming software hill. Today brings good news: the MDC BluOS module is now officially Roon Ready. Inserted into the C368, we have an 80wpc ‘Direct Digital’ Class D amplifier with headphone output, MM phono stage and Roon Ready streaming, all for €1499.

    And much like offerings from Devialet, AURALiC, microMega, Arcam, Moon by Simaudio (and others) we have yet another example of computer power sitting at the heart of an integrated amplifier. Multi-box functionality from a single piece, only now, thanks to NAD, more affordable. Future-Fi for everyman.

    For the Future-Fi-er with deeper pockets, last week NAD quietly announced a strategic partner with Sweden’s Dirac Research to bring Dirac Live’s room corrective capabilities to “select products in NAD Electronics’ Masters and Custom Install lines.” 

    Masters Series products include (but are not limited to) the M50.2 file server and M12 Digital Pre-amplifier/DAC introduced at Munich HighEnd 2016.

    From the release: “Dirac Live is a patented room correction technology that not only corrects the frequency response, but also the impulse response, of a room’s loudspeakers. As the most advanced room correction technology available on the market, Dirac Live is unique in that it provides true impulse response correction over a large listening area, improving the depth, positioning, and distinction of individual voices and instruments. Using multiple measurement and mixed phase correction, Dirac Live helps audio systems to create a natural, realistic and transparent sound with tighter bass and reduced room modes, in a way previously not possible.”

    Again, amplifiers with computerised hearts.

    The full announcement can be read here.

    Further information: NAD | Dirac Research | Roon Labs

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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