The NAD C399 is a high-performance hybrid amplifier and DAC. It uses an amplifier stage based on the nCore module, so far only available for Masters series amplifiers. Its digital section is equipped with an ESS Saber ES9028 digital-to-analog converter, supporting audio streams up to 32-bit 384 kHz PCM. The C399 is also the first amplifier to utilize the latest generation of NAD MDC (Modular Design Construction) technology: MDC2. This allows you to add optional modules (not included) that offer features such as multi-room audio streaming with BluOS, Dirac Live acoustic correction and more.
Like all NAD amplifiers, the C399 adheres to the brand’s core principles: precise volume control with perfect channel balance, low-noise circuitry and input and output impedance suitable for HiFi use. Thus, thanks to the HybridDigital nCore stage and the ESS Saber high-resolution DAC, the C399 provides exquisite audio reproduction.
Part of NAD’s Masters Series, the HybridDigital nCore amplifier model C399 is particularly efficient. It is capable of delivering 180 watts of continuous power per channel and 250 watts of instantaneous power per channel, allowing the C399 to effortlessly reproduce musical transients. HybridDigital technology is known for its wide bandwidth, high current capacity and stability even when driving demanding speaker systems. Noise and distortion are extremely low under all operating conditions. Minimum levels of harmonic distortion, dominated by the second and third harmonics. These enhancements enable the C399 to produce neutral, distortion-free sound even at high listening levels, with superior dynamics, richness and excellent sound imaging.
As for the DAC, the ES9028 was chosen for its wide dynamic range, ultra-low noise and distortion, and near-zero jitter. This high-end DAC allows the C399 to reproduce all digital sources with amazing musicality, a punchy soundstage and superb clarity.
MDC Technology and Add-on Modules
In 2006, NAD introduced Modular Design Concept (MDC), an innovative architecture that allows new features to be added to existing products. The C399 is the first product to implement NAD’s new MDC2 architecture. By providing bidirectional communication between the module and the main component, MDC2 allows you to add interesting features.
The C399 has two optical and two coaxial digital inputs, plus HDMI-eARC for receiving audio from your TV or computer and controlling the amplifier output using your TV remote control. Analog connectivity is also present, with two stereo RCA line inputs, as well as an MM phono input with ultra-precise RIAA equalization and very low noise. The phono preamp also features innovative circuitry that suppresses subsonic noise present in pickups without compromising bass reproduction. Line inputs are equipped with low-noise buffer amplifiers to avoid sound degradation.
In addition to two speaker outputs, the C399 has a pre-out and two subwoofer outputs. There is also a headphone output with low output impedance and high output voltage, allowing the C399 to be used with demanding headphones.
The C399 also has bi-directional Bluetooth connectivity. This way, you can stream music from your smartphone and then transfer it to your Bluetooth headset. Finally, we note the presence of IR inputs and outputs, as well as a 12-volt trigger in 3.5 mm jack format.