|Continuous output power into 8 ohms
||>80 W (20 Hz – 20 kHz at rated THD+N, both channels driven)
|Continuous output power into 4 ohms
||>84 dB (A-weighted, 500 mV input, ref. 1 W out in 8 ohms
||±0.18 dB (20 Hz – 20 kHz)
|Input sensitivity (for 80 W in 8 ohms)
||Line In: 550 mV / Digital In: -12 %FS
||218 x 96 x 266 mm
PRICE R34 990.00
SUPPLIED BY Cinema Imports (Pty) Ltd t/a AV Imports 082 571-6568
The Short Of It…
Honestly difficult to summarise so much talent in such a short space. Impeccable build quality, huge versatility via wired and wireless options. BluOS the cherry on top to make it so appealing that once you’ve experienced it, it’s going to be difficult not to buy it. Typical NAD quality.
The Long Of It…
The advent of streaming services completely changed the way I listen to and enjoy my music. Gone are the days of having to sift through my CD racks looking for a particular artist or album to listen to. I think that for most of us in these chaotic days, dedicated times for listening sessions are far and few between, so it’s great that when the opportunity presents itself, in mere moments you can find and play pretty much anything via your chosen music App.
Of course the real benefits of all these streaming services would be lost if there were no decent ancillaries to play the music on. For many months my listening sessions were done at night after our daughter had gone to sleep, using a variety of portable MQA-capable DACs and my Sennheiser headphones. It was great to listen to the music, but it’s an altogether different matter when you can feel the music in such a rich and expansive way, which is what the NAD C 700 and PSB T20 Alpha Series loudspeakers did.
The PSBs will be looked at more comprehensively in a separate review, though.
NAD has always had a reputation not only for creating impeccable HiFi gear, but also for being honest about the output power of its myriad amplifiers. Personally, I always found that NAD equipment somehow had a sound texture to it that was never fatiguing, no matter how long you listened. Other brands could at times smack you with a ‘Wow!’ impression, but after two or three tracks you were turning down the volume.
NAD’s C 700 is a BluOS Streaming Amplifier beast hiding in a small box that exudes a sense of high quality construction. With HybridDigital Class D amplifier circuitry, it easily pushes out 80 watts into 8 ohm, and more than 100 watts into 4 ohm. The PSB T20s are rated at 15 to 120 watts, and even when pushing the NAD C 700 hard, there was never any sense whatsoever that it was feeling strained – control was impeccable.
The C 700 offers a plethora of wireless capabilities that include Spotify and TIDAL Connect, and for those of you who insist on staying on the Dark Side, there’s AirPlay 2 for use with Apple devices. There’s also Bluetooth streaming (aptX HD codec) that allows wireless connection to compatible speakers, headphones, smartphones or tablets.
On its own, the NAD is a highly versatile component, offering so much on so many levels, but when you add the BluOS App to the equation, then things really take off. BluOS is a free App that allows for the streaming of lossless, hi-res audio up to 24-bit/192 kHz as well as access to most likely thousands of international radio stations, playlists by genre, podcasts and so much more. It’s honestly the friendliest App I’ve yet used, and since the C 700 doesn’t come with a remote control, this App is all you’ll need, except when configuring the streamer itself, which is done via the front panel Volume/Menu knob and < > buttons.
The set up options are crystal clear on the front, full colour 5-inch screen, which in operation displays shows which radio station you’re listening to, or album/artist/track information when streaming. It will also display the MQA logo when such a file is being played. However, the digital VU meters are petty mesmerizing in action!
Simple mind, simple pleasures, as they say.
So just as a streamer, the C 700 is jam-packed with features, but when you add the wired connections to the equation, its versatility becomes even greater: two sets of analogue stereo RCA jacks, plus three digital inputs, including coaxial, optical, a sub output with adjustable crossover settings, a USB input for external hard drives, and an HDMI-eARC port for connection to an HDTV with HDMI-ARC support. Then a solid set of speaker binding posts.
Getting the C 700 up and running is hugely easy, and can be done either wirelessly or wired direct via an Ethernet cable to your router. On initial power up it connects to the Internet and downloads any and all required updates. When this happens the NAD logo on top of the unit flashes red, and when it shows a steady white, it’s ready to go.
After that, it’s a case of opening up the BluOS App, letting it ‘see’ the C 700, and almost instantly a literal world of music opens up for you to access and enjoy. We streamed a local radio station that we often struggle to get on normal radios, personal FLAC/WAV music from our personal collections via Bluetooth, as well as Spotify and TIDAL, and everything went without the slightest hint of a glitch.
When dealing with MQA files (saved thank goodness by Lenbrook’s acquiring of the format’s technology and assets), you have two options. You can hook an MQA-capable DAC via optical or coaxial connections, or by using BluOS.
The latter is of course the easiest, since the C 700 has full MQA decoding and rendering capability via a DAC that comes from the same family of converters used in NAD’s Masters Series M33 and M10 units. Open TIDAL (Amazon Music Ultra HD, Deezer or Qobuz) in BluOS’ ‘Music Services’ tab, and there you go. For a full list of supported file formats through BluOS, see here: https://support.bluos.net/hc/en-us/articles/360000191327-What-Formats-are-Supported-by-BluOs
The C 700 is also Roon-ready, like almost all BluOS-enabled products, and also supports Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant voice control.
To sum things up, the NAD C 700 could pretty much be the centerpiece of a stunning HiFi setup for its looks alone. Add to this its extensive versatility – with and without BluOS – and more than adequate output power, and you have something that’s a winner on all fronts.