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How to get started building your Stereo or Home Theater system
NAD is one of two of our manufacturers that have virtually completely revamped both their 2-channel and home theater lines this year. With all of these new models, it's not possible for us to talk about all of them in detail, but we'll try to give as many highlights as we can.
In the stereo area, there are two new CD players, the C545BEE and the C565BEE at $499 and $799, respectively. The "BEE" suffix to the model names tells us that these designs are under the purview of NAD's chief designer and that every effort has been made to optimize sound quality within the given budget range. This is especially nice for the C545BEE since the improvements come at no price increase over the older model it replaces. In addition to having even better performance, the C565BEE has one other very nice feature. There is a built-in USB input designed to take an audio feed directly from a computer. Thus, you can play your computer-based audio collection without having to purchase any additional hardware besides, possibly, a high-end USB cable. There are also optical and coaxial digital inputs for those who want to use the C565BEE's D/A converter to improve the sound quality of any other digital source.
There are also two new integrated amplifiers that join the C355BEE released last year, the 50 watt/channel C326BEE at $499 and the 150 watt/channel C375BEE at $1299. Again, the "BEE" part of the model let's us know that no efforts have been spared at maximizing sound quality. The C326BEE is better than its predecessor for only $50 more, and the C375BEE breaks new ground in integrated amplifier quality for NAD.
NAD also has a new stereo preamplifier, the C165BEE at $899 and a new power amplifier, the C275BEE at $1199. These two units can be used as a pair to create a very high performance audio system for just over $2000, or they can be paired with other high quality preamplifiers and power amplifiers to create the sound system you've always wanted. The final new stereo component is the high-performance C725BEE 50 watt/channel, 2-zone receiver for $799. This is not just a small upgrade over last year's version, the C720BEE, but represents a serious update of the design. For those who want great sound on a budget or have space limitations, this receiver is a complete solution, requiring only the addition of a pair of speakers and a source such as a CD or MP3 player.
In the home theater venue, NAD has also brought us a suite of very impressive new offerings. One of the most delightful is the T747 7-channel AV receiver that provides 60 watt/channel into all 7 of its channels, full HDMI 1.3 compatibility, 2-zone capability, and true NAD sound quality at the very affordable price of $1299. This receiver immediately became a best seller at Audio Nexus the minute it was introduced, and we expect that to continue. There simply isn't anything else like it at the price.
When NAD introduced their T765, T775, and T785 AV receivers and their T175 AV processor last year, they were designed with modular, replaceable circuit boards for many important functions such as audio and video processing. The concept was that, as technology rapidly advanced in the home theater arena (as it perpetually does), NAD owners shouldn't be stuck with products they were proud of a few months ago but which had rapidly become obsolete. The modular approach was also designed to allow NAD rapidly to update to new technologies in a much shorter time than would be required for a complete redesign of each receiver. The value of this concept has now been proven by the introduction of the T765 HD receiver at $2499, the T775 HD receiver at $2999, the T785 HD receiver at $3999, and the T175 HD home theater processor at $2999. These receivers and the processor contain up-to-date circuit modules to support all of the latest audio and video features and are obviously compatible with HDMI 1.3 and advanced audio processing such as Dolby True HD. Other features such as multi-zone capability and support for NAD's iPod dock are the same as before. (For a more complete description of the features for all of these models, see our last newsletter.) Furthermore, there are special, ultra-advanced circuit board modules for those who want even higher levels of audio and video performance. These modules can be purchased as options when ordering any of these four models or can be added later. Owners of the previous models can, of course, update their units via the purchase of any of the newest modules. finally, when even newer modules become available in the future, NAD owners won't be stuck with obsolete products. All one need do is get the latest modules, and, presto chango, you are up to date.
Finally, but no less importantly, is the introduction of the first high-end, Blu-ray player from one of our manufacturers. Introducing a Blue-ray player is a major challenge for a high-end company, but NAD has accepted the challenge with the introduction of the Profile 2.0 T587 at $1499. Just as we have been preaching for years, sound quality in CD players and sound and video quality in DVD players does matter a whole heck of a lot, and not all players are created even remotely equal in these areas. So, why should things be different for Blu-ray players? The obvious answer is that they most certainly are not. For some inexplicable reason, many audiophiles and videophiles who wouldn't have been caught dead buying a mass market CD or DVD player, just because it was cheaper, have forgotten this important tenet when buying a Blu-ray player . Perhaps it was because there simply weren't any high-end alternatives before the T587. Well, now there is an alternative. As you would expect, the extra effort NAD has put into all aspects of this player's performance yield a premium in performance that make this unit worthy of incorporation into a high-end AV system. This is, of course, in addition to a plethora of advanced Blu-ray features that are present in the T587. We hope there will be more high-end Blu-ray players in the future, but, right now, this is the one to own.
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