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NAD C 368: This integrated amplifier can be paired with virtually any acoustic system

NAD C 368
NAD C 368

The NAD C 368 is an integrated stereo amplifier that is based on NAD digital circuitry, which means it operates in Class D. Before audio purists who are convinced that Class D amplifiers cannot sound good close this page, here are a few features of this particular model. . NAD was one of the first to use pulse technology in its amplifiers, improving it over the decades. The C368 is built around custom Hypex modules and, on paper at least, has superior performance. The device develops an output power of 80 W, but at its peak provides up to 120 W, which allows you to obtain a wide dynamic range of sound. In practice, this means the C 368 can work confidently with almost any acoustic system.

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The benefits of the amplifier don’t end there. The NAD C 368 is smaller than most competing models of the same power, which use a classic Class A/B circuit. In addition, pulse power makes it compatible with power grids in different countries. While Class D amplification itself might not surprise anyone these days, it’s just the start of the C 368’s features.

The rear panel of the amplifier has an input for connecting a turntable pickup—NAD has a lot of experience with this type of circuitry. The NAD C 368 also provides a pair of linear analog inputs, and in addition there are two coaxial and optical inputs and a built-in Bluetooth receiver with support for the aptX codec. The type of DAC is not specified in the specifications for this model, but based on indirect evidence we can assume that this is an ESS Saber. All of the above also suggests that the C 368 is well equipped, but the list of its capabilities is actually even wider.

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Several years ago, NAD began promoting the idea of ​​modular design in its equipment. It usually doesn’t prove to be very popular—customers aren’t very interested in returning to the store to upgrade their purchased equipment—but in the case of NAD, it was successful. The NAD C 368 amplifier uses a modular design and is equipped with two removable panels in place of which optional modules can be installed. One of them is called DD HDMI 1. It has three HDMI inputs and one output, and allows the C 368 to switch video signals. Unfortunately, it is only possible to work with video with a resolution no higher than 1080p, and only stereo sound is supported.

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The second module, which our test sample was equipped with, expands the capabilities of the amplifier in another area. MDC Blu OS 2, released by Lembrook, which owns NAD, turns the C 368 amplifier into a network device with the ability to receive Internet radio and access streaming services.

Powered by BluOS operating system from NAD’s sister brand Bluesound, BluOS 2i delivers a complete digital music solution with music management functionality at a surprisingly affordable price. Thanks to advanced innovations in modular design, NAD amplifiers can now be connected to music streaming services via the BluOS network and the Internet with advanced music control.

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The BluOS 2i module features a new, more powerful ARM processor for faster and more responsive user experience. The internal module does not require external wiring or power supplies, and integration with firmware is performed manually. Both Ethernet and Wi-Fi operate asynchronously for minimal jitter and allow you to connect to music stored anywhere on your local network or streamed directly from the Internet via popular music services such as Spotify Connect, Tidal and TuneIn. You can also play music from a USB flash drive or hard drive via USB A. Bluetooth® with aptX is also built-in, so you can connect to any smartphone, tablet or Bluetooth-enabled device within range and stream your favorite music applications or libraries with high precision.

BluOS is accessible via local area network and free mobile and desktop apps for music control and management BluOS also integrates with many third-party home automation systems.

If the C 368 amplifier looks a little futuristic by the standards of this company, then there is a completely logical explanation for this. Over the past few years I have seen a gradual exit from the physical media hi-fi market, and one of the proofs of this fact is in front of you. In its basic configuration, the NAD C 368 is designed to work with conventional signal sources, but with the Bluesound module installed, it will not need them at all, and thus will become a true Hi-Fi system of the 2017 model.

The really good news is that the NAD C 368 itself is one of the best amplifiers I’ve tested in a long time. This is a smartly designed modern amplifier that is certainly worthy of our recommendation.

Characteristics of NAD C368

Power: 2x 80 W (nominal), 2x 160 W (peak) at 4 ohms
Frequency range: 20-20000 Hz
Distortion: less than 0.03%
Signal-to-noise ratio: 98 dB
DAC: 24-bit / 192 kHz
Dumping factor: more than 300
Inputs: 2x coaxial, 2x optical, 2x analog stereo, phono stage, Wi-Fi (Chromecast), Bluetooth, Phono
Outputs: preamp/subwoofer output, headphone amplifier, MDC slots for upgrade, 12V trigger input/ output, RS-232, Control4, Crestron, RTI, URC, AMX, Savant, Elan.
Dimensions: 435 x 100 x 390 mm
Weight: 8.5 kg

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