NAD Electronics has announced the C 389 HybridDigital DAC amplifier, the ‘perfect cornerstone’ for an audiophile-grade stereo system combining sound quality with the flexibility and the value offered by NAD’s latest Modular Design Construction platform, MDC2. Available for retail sale in early Summer 2022, the C 389 will carry a suggested retail price of $1,499 US / £1,299 GBP / €1,499 EUR.
Featuring NAD’s proven HybridDigital UcD amplifier design and the same ESS Sabre DAC used in the brand’s up-market Masters Series amplifiers, the C 389 has been engineered to deliver thrilling dynamics and transparent, detailed sound. The digital section is built around a 32-bit/384kHz ESS Technology Sabre DAC chip renowned for its near-zero levels of clock jitter, exceptionally wide dynamic range, and ultra-low noise and distortion, delivering astonishing clarity and holographic imaging on all sources.
For the output stage, the C 389 uses a customised version of NAD’s HybridDigital UcD design, with multiple UcD amplifier modules in balanced bridged configuration and an innovative switch-mode power supply that can provide ample reserves of current on demand. Delivering 130 Watts per channel of continuous power, the C 389 can produce real-life listening levels with any loudspeaker load, with virtually unmeasurable distortion and noise through the audioband, and effortless reproduction of musical transients.
With a full suite of digital and analogue inputs, including an ultra-low-noise phono stage and HDMI eARC interface, the C 389 can accommodate all your source components. In addition to two sets of speaker outputs, the C 389 has two subwoofer outputs, preamp outputs, and a dedicated headphone amp.
The C 389 incorporates the latest iteration of NAD’s Modular Design Construction technology, MDC 2, and with its two MDC2 expansion slots, the C 389 can adapt to technical advances and evolving user needs. Introduced in 2006, NAD’s Modular Design Construction future-proofing technology lets owners of MDC-capable components add new capabilities by inserting an expansion module into an MDC slot on the rear panel. Introduced in 2021, MDC2 is an all-new design that allows two-way communications between the expansion module and host component. NAD’s first MDC2 module is the MDC2 BluOS-D, which features BluOS high-res multi-room streaming and Dirac Live room correction.
The MDC2 BluOS-D connects to your home network via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet. With the MDC2 BluOS-D installed, the C 389 can be part of a whole-home music system with as many as 64 zones. Controlled via the BluOS Controller app, available for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, listeners can play music from over 20 streaming services including Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music HD, or Spotify, or from their personal music libraries. Like all BluOS-enabled components, the MDC2 BluOS-D will bring MQA decoding and rendering capability to the C 389, as well Apple AirPlay 2 and control by popular voice assistants. Connect the supplied microphone to the MDC BluOS-D’s USB port, and then run the free Dirac Live app on a smart device or personal computer. Dirac Live room correction compensates for acoustic problems like standing waves and room reflections. The results are transformative and offers deeper, more textured bass; more precise imaging; and improved timbral accuracy.