NAD C 389
NAD C 389
NAD C 389

NAD C 389: Powerful audiophile-grade hybrid amplifier

The NAD C 389, part of NAD’s New Classic series, is a robust and high-fidelity stereo amplifier. With its powerful 2 x 130 watt hybrid digital design, it effortlessly drives even the most demanding speakers with superior sound quality at any volume level. Additionally, it offers a comprehensive range of features for both digital and analog music enthusiasts, including 24-bit HD audio support and the ability to upgrade with streaming, multi-room, and digital room correction modules.

Bluesound has established itself as a leading wireless music system for streaming and multi-room applications. Integrating the BluOS built-in module into the C 389 is a simple task that only requires a screwdriver and a few minutes of your time. Once installed, you gain access to a vast library of wireless music from around the world, conveniently accessible through your smartphone. Furthermore, the integration also provides Dirac room correction and the option for voice control, enhancing your overall listening experience. With this powerful combination, you can effortlessly overcome any musical challenge with exceptional results.

Connections

The C 389 offers incredible versatility even in its most basic form, making it a fantastic addition to any stereo system. With an HDMI input featuring eARC, you can easily connect your TV to enjoy optimal digital sound quality through the system. The amplifier conveniently powers on along with the TV, and you can adjust the volume using your TV remote. Once you experience its capabilities, you won’t want to be without it.

Through the innovative two-way Bluetooth feature, you have the flexibility to stream music wirelessly from your phone to the amplifier or from the amplifier to a pair of Bluetooth headphones. This is ideal for enjoying your favorite music without disturbing others in the house. Additionally, there is a traditional headphone output with a high-quality built-in amplifier for added convenience.

The NAD C 389 boasts an extensive array of connectivity options, featuring a total of five digital and three analog inputs. The digital inputs include two optical, two coaxial, and HDMI with eARC for TV audio. On the analog side, there is a dedicated turntable input (MM) for connecting your record player to the amplifier. Additionally, a high-quality built-in headphone amplifier caters to wired headphones.

Moreover, the NAD C 389 is future-proof thanks to NAD’s innovative MDC module concept. Equipped with two slots for plug-in modules on the back, you can easily expand the amplifier with more inputs, streaming capabilities, and new technologies.

Streaming

The latest streaming module for the C 389 amplifier is called NAD MDC2 BluOS D. This module seamlessly integrates Bluesound into the amplifier, allowing you to stream music from various services, local storage, or other sources. Bluesound functions as a multi-room system, enabling you to expand with wireless speakers throughout your home. You can play the same music or different tunes in different rooms, all controlled through a sleek and user-friendly app.

Sound

The exceptional audio performance of the NAD C 389 is achieved through a digital input module paired with an analogue switching amplifier, commonly referred to as Class D. NAD refers to this setup as a “hybrid-digital amplifier”, which aptly captures the essence of its design philosophy. The compact active power supply, devoid of a copper transformer found in traditional models, not only outperforms its counterparts but also operates quietly and remains stable in the face of voltage fluctuations.

Beyond its superior sound quality, the construction boasts remarkable efficiency. A larger portion of the energy utilized is transformed into sound compared to conventional analogue amplifiers, resulting in cost savings on electricity bills. Moreover, the efficiency allows for discreet placement of the amplifier behind a door, provided there is ample ventilation around it.

NAD enthusiasts will undoubtedly appreciate the renowned PowerDrive concept, a feature that has long set NAD amplifiers apart from their competitors in terms of power and dynamics within the same price range. PowerDrive refers to the intelligent optimization of the amplifier’s power resources, ensuring efficient and effective driving of connected speakers.

In music, the majority of energy transfers occur in the bass frequencies, and while these signals may be asymmetrical, they are typically shared between both channels. NAD’s Asymmetrical PowerDrive cleverly utilizes both the positive and negative components of the power supply, ensuring that all power resources from both channels are available when delivering a powerful impulse to the speakers.

The result of Asymmetrical PowerDrive is exceptional dynamics, allowing the music to unfold naturally and without distortion in any room. It’s not just about playing at high volumes; it’s about creating a sense of abundance that can be enjoyed at any volume level. A NAD New Classic amplifier effortlessly delivers superior performance across all volume levels.

Furthermore, the advanced power supply design offers the added advantage of being nearly impervious to changes in speaker impedance. Even if the impedance drops to as low as 2 ohms, a challenging scenario for many competing products, the amplifier remains completely stable and maintains its exceptional musicality. This achievement was previously only associated with expensive high-end amplifiers, but NAD has made it accessible to all.

DAC and volume control

The amplifier’s design includes a digital input module and an analog Class D output stage, requiring its own built-in D/A converter (DAC). NAD has incorporated technology from their prestigious Masters series, utilizing an 8-channel DAC for optimal stereo output. This “Dual Differential” configuration enhances linearity, reduces noise, and delivers exceptional clarity when playing high-resolution 24-bit audio. Every minute detail will be revealed in a backdrop of silence. The volume control features digitally controlled precision resistors, allowing for precise adjustments in 0.5 dB increments. This audiophile-grade, enduringly quiet solution was first introduced in the renowned Masters Series M3 amplifier.

Pros

  • Very good hi-fi sound with lots of power
  • Hybrid digital Hypex amplifier technology
  • Stable at all speaker loads with Asymmetrical PowerDrive
  • HDMI/eARC for optimal digital TV sound including auto on/off and volume control via TV remote control
  • Two slots for MDC2 expansion modules, e.g.¬†Bluesound streaming/multiroom incl. Dirac room correction*
  • Dedicated RIAA/turntable input (MM)
  • Easy-to-read front display
  • Two-way Bluetooth function for wireless headphones (incl. aptX HD)
  • High-quality connection for headphones on the front panel
  • Very low power consumption in relation to output power

Cons

  • Not the Hypex nCore power stage
  • Cannot be bridged to greater effect in mono
  • No integrated Bluesound / Dirac room correction in basic version
  • MC pickups require separate RIAA amplifier
  • No USB-B input for digital audio from a computer
  • No A/B selector for two sets of speakers
  • No album display on the front display
  • App control and voice control require BluOS module (optional)

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