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Future-Fi Now! NAD’s C700 is a slimmed down M10

  • A more wallet-conscious take on the M10 — that’s how we might see NAD’s latest entry into the Future-Fi canon and the latest in a range of streaming amplifiers to which we “just add loudspeakers”. The C700 puts an 80wpc amplifier next to a DAC and BluOS streaming module inside a half-width aluminium chassis fronted by a 5″ colour display. Price? US$1499, £1299 or €1499. That’s almost half of the original M10’s asking.

    Unlike the M10, the C700 doesn’t offer Dirac Live and whilst its display shows cover art and track info, it’s not a touchscreen. Does it need one when a volume wheel and a pair of click-switches take care of menu navigation outside when we’re not using smartphone apps like BluOS, Tidal, Spotify and Roon? And for those who prefer to keep it old school with infra-red wands, the C700 offers IR remote learning functionality.

    But here’s a question to ponder: why would we get out of our seat to use a touchscreen on a streaming amplifier sitting on a sideboard (or in a hifi rack) when we already have a touchscreen in our pocket?

    Inside the C700, the DAC circuit has is built around an ESS ES9010 DAC chip and the amplifier is based on the same UcD module found in the Canadian company’s C268 and C368 amplifiers. For those keeping score: the M10 features the more costly ESS ES9028 DAC circuit and Hypex nCore amplifiers.

    From the press release: “The highly efficient UcD amplifier design is renowned for ultra-low noise and distortion through the entire frequency range, regardless of the loudspeaker load. Employing NAD’s proven HybridDigital UcD amplifier technology, the C 700 can deliver 2×80 watts of continuous power and 2×120 watts of instantaneous power, for effortless music reproduction.”

    On hard wired inputs, the C700 offers. 2 x RCA analogue plus coaxial, TOSLINK and HDMI eARC. However, the presence of BluOS also means we get two-way aptX HD Bluetooth and low-pass/high-pass filter management for anyone hooking up a subwoofer to the unit’s sub-out connector in addition to their loudspeakers.

    Make no mistake: along with streaming loudspeakers, streaming amplifiers like the C700 are the future of hi-fi for anyone not yet body-snatched by separates idealism. It’s what we at Darko.Audio call Future-Fi.

    Further information: NAD Electronics

    Written by John Darko

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

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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