Stereocheck Reviews:

NAD C 388: Integrated amplifier and wireless multiroom center

NAD’s new line of integrated amplifiers includes three components:  the NAD C 338  and two integrated DAC amplifiers,  the NAD C 368  and NAD C 388. Each amplifier also features a...

NAD C 388
NAD C 388

NAD’s new line of integrated amplifiers includes three components:  the NAD C 338  and two integrated DAC amplifiers,  the NAD C 368  and NAD C 388. Each amplifier also features a separate low-impedance, high-voltage headphone amplifier capable of driving even the most demanding studio headphones.

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The main amplifiers are custom-designed Hypex UcD Class D modules, which guarantee an output power of more than 150 W per channel into an 8 ohm load impedance. They are characterized by low distortion over the entire frequency range and low output impedance, i.e. good acoustic damping.

Engineers from NAD tried to take into account popular features not only in the field of digital audio. Given the growing interest in vinyl, they built the NAD C388 into the amplifier, a low-noise MM phono stage with accurate RIAA response and high overload capability. An improved subsonic filter circuit eliminates infra-low oscillations without affecting the desired signal.

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The second “analog” block in the NAD C388 is a high-quality telephone amplifier that can drive headphones with any impedance. This decision is explained by the fact that the final stages operate in bridge mode, and it is impossible to connect headphones with a standard plug to them. In addition, a separate buffer with a low output impedance is always better – it eliminates the output divider from the path, which worsens damping. The volume control is implemented on an advanced chip with a dynamic range of 120 dB and a step of 0.5 dB. Built-in DAC – eight-channel ESS Saber in double balanced connection.

In the basic version, the amplifier is capable of receiving a signal via Bluetooth aptX, and for wired connections there are a pair of coaxial and a pair of optical inputs. In addition to a turntable, the C388 can connect two line-level sources. The output from the pre-section is useful when expanding the system or adding an active subwoofer to it.

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The amplifier implements the proprietary MDC (Modular Design Construction) concept, which provides for the installation of two additional modules out of three to choose from – with an expanded set of analogue or digital inputs, as well as a board that turns the amplifier into an Ethernet streamer and wireless multiroom center with Hi-Res Audio transmission .

In the latter version, it acquires an Ethernet port, as well as three HDMI inputs and an output with support for 1080p/60 video and two-channel audio in PCM with a resolution of up to 24/192. The shell is the BluOS™ operating system, developed by specialists from the Bluesound subsidiary and implemented in various compact devices of this brand.

NAD C388 Specifications

Continuous Output Power: > 150 W x 2 (Stereo, 8 and 4 Ohms)
Dynamic Output Power 2/4/8 Ohms: 400/350/250 W
THD: <0.02% (20 Hz – 20 kHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio (A-weighted, 1 W @ 8 ohms): >95 dB
Damping Factor: >150 (8 ohms, 20 Hz)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz (+/-0.03 dB)
Separation channels (1/10 kHz): >75/>70 dB
Analog inputs: 2 x RCA line, Phono MM
Digital inputs: 2 x RCA SPDIF, 2 x TosLink
Controls: 12 V trigger, IR input and output (3.5 mm )
Certification: Control4, Crestron, RTI, URC, AMX, Savant, Elan
Dimensions (W x H x D): 435 x 120 x 390 mm
Weight: (net/gross): 11.2/13.6 kg