I marvel at the quality of today’s “just add speakers” streaming integrated amplifiers. The best have beautiful high-resolution screens that wow you with alluring album art and copious metadata displayed in large, crisply rendered fonts. Not only that, they sound better than ever before.
In addition, their app-based control opens the door to just about any song known to man.
That’s why I’m excited to get my hands on NAD’s C700 Integrated Amplifier. It retails for a very reasonable $1599 and has a sleek aluminum chassis, 5″ screen, and access to the BluOS multi-room streaming platform. BluOS provides access to Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, and numerous other streaming services, plus Roon Ready certification brings simple integration for Roon fans.
Plenty of connections also let you build your system as you see fit. For example, RCA connections support a Turntable (with phono preamp), optical and coaxial digital inputs for a CD transport, and HDMI for connection to a TV. You also get a USB (Type-A) connection for plugging in an external drive, which is fantastic.
Additionally, an RCA preamp output will allow the connection of a separate power amp, which adds a nice bit of flexibility. Finally, there’s also a mono RCA output for connecting a powered sub.
What really makes this device truly remarkable is its compactness. To get everything described above, along with an 80W per channel (into 2 or 4 ohms!) amp section into such a small package, is quite a feat!
So far, I’ve found the operation of the C700 to be truly elegant. The setup was relatively painless. The only thing that irritated me in the beginning, was a slight incompatibility between my Android 12 Samsung phone and the BluOS-based platform inside the amp.
Because the Android 12 OS inside my phone doggedly hung on to the 5ghz channel of my dual-band router, and BluOS only uses the 2.4ghz channel, my Samsung phone wouldn’t connect to the NAD amp without me first turning off the 5ghz channel of my router. I had no such issue with my iPhone, which found the C700 immediately. YMMV.
It was not my first time running into this issue with a BluOS device, and I wish they would consider a dual-band setup like some other companies have.
Once this issue was out of the way, I found the C700 a pleasure to use. Whether I used Tidal Connect, Roon Remote, or the BluOS Controller app, the operation was smooth and seamless. It reminded me much of my experience with the C700’s cousin, the Bluesound Powernode, except with the addition of a feature I’ve always kind of missed with the Powernode, which would be a screen with album art. There’s something so satisfying to have a visual cue for the album you’re listening to.
Anyway, I can’t wait to give the C700 more of a listen and provide a full review in the upcoming weeks. So far, I love the spaciousness and scale of its sound, which brings a lot of life to your speakers and the music coming out. Stay tuned for the full review.
Company Website: NAD
Features & Specs (From NAD)
- HybridDigital UcD Amplifier
- Continuous Power: 80 Watts per channel into 8/4 ohms
- Instantaneous Power: 120 Watts per channel
- 5″ high-definition colour information display shows album art, track progress, and system settings
- Solid aluminum body and glass front panel
- Works with intuitive BluOS Controller app for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows
- BluOS multi-room streaming to 63 zones
- High-resolution audio to 24-bit/192kHz
- MQA decoding and rendering
- Integrated support for dozens of streaming and Web radio services
- Lossless and high-resolution streaming from Amazon Music Ultra HD, Deezer, Idagio, Qobuz, and Tidal
- Support for Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect
- Voice control via Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant
- Optical and coaxial digital inputs
- HDMI-eARC input
- USB Type A port for connecting an external drive
- Two pairs of line-level analogue inputs
- Subwoofer output, with filter settings controllable from BluOS app
- Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet
- Two-way aptX HD Bluetooth
- 12V Trigger output
- IR remote sensor input
- Available drivers for Control4, Crestron, Elan, RTI, and other home-automation systems
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I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My hunger for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.