NAD C 700 Review: This Streaming Amplifier Is Brilliant!

NAD C 700 Review

NAD C 700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier

$1,599.00
NAD C 700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier
9.3

Build

9.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Sound

9.0/10

What We Dig

  • Great Build Quality
  • Open, Natural Sound And Remarkable Power
  • Ease Of Use

What To Think About

  • No Phono Input
  • No Remote Control

TL;DR

NAD C 700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier Review: The C 700 may be the best value amp between $1000 and $2000. The tuning is just about perfect, and it plays with remarkable scale and finesse. In addition, the simplicity and elegance of its design are hard to beat. Its 5″ screen is beautiful, and it’s amazingly easy to use. While some amps may have more resolution, the C 700’s organic musicality is unmatched at its price.

NAD C 700 Review: Intro

Way before the “just-add-speakers” streaming amplifier craze, NAD (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) made its name building affordable integrateds with plenty of power on tap and a neutral sound signature that played nice with a wide variety of speakers. In the beginning, many of their popular amps didn’t even have digital sections, but over the years, they’ve done a good job of mixing in new technology without getting away from what made them great.

Today we have the $1599 NAD C 700 BluOS Streaming Amp in for review, and it’s a modern compact streaming amplifier that offers a lot of power for its price and size. It’s built somewhat in the image of their popular NAD Masters Series M10 amp ($2999) with a sleek aluminum design that makes it easy to place on any shelf or desk.


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While the M10 has a large touchscreen and 100 watts per channel, the C700 has a smaller 5″ color LCD display with a knob and buttons that work well for control. The LCD screen on the C700 is sharp with good resolution. Album art is beautiful to look at, and fonts are easy to read, which makes this amp a joy to use.

Build/Features

The C 700 also features NAD’s powerful HybridDigital Class D amplifier circuitry, delivering up to 80 watts per channel into 8 or 4 ohms. This allows it to power hard-to-drive speakers without distortion. NAD also says the C700 is capable of 2×120 watts of instantaneous power for demanding passages, which fits into their ethos of providing generous headroom for strong dynamics.

NAD C 700 Review

As you would expect from a network streaming amp, the C700 has a lot of wireless capabilities on offer, including Apple AirPlay 2 for use with Apple devices, along with support for Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect, so you can stream directly from their native streaming apps.

The C700 also offers two-way Bluetooth streaming with the aptX HD codec, which allows users to connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth speaker or headphone in addition to playing music from a smartphone or tablet.

Being a BluOS-enabled component, the C 700 also supports streaming of high-resolution audio to 24-bit/192kHz via that platform, and you also get full MQA decoding and rendering. This opens up lossless and high-resolution audio from services such as Amazon Music Ultra HD, Deezer, and Qobuz, in addition to Tidal Masters. You must download the free BluOS controller from Google Play, Apple App Store, or the BluOS website for the Windows and iOS X apps.

Furthermore, this component is Roon Ready, which makes it even more flexible. If you’re invested in the Roon ecosystem, you can control the C 700 using the Roon Remote app, and take advantage of its library and music suggestion features.

BTW, the C 700 doesn’t come with a physical remote control, remote control duties are generally handled via apps installed on your phone or tablet. NAD says the C 700 can learn commands from aftermarket IR remotes.

Wired Connections

Additionally, it has two sets of analog stereo RCA jacks, plus three digital inputs, including coaxial, optical, and HDMI-ARC, for connection to TVs, CD Players, etc.

Along with that, you get a sub output with adjustable crossover settings, a USB input for connecting an external hard drive, and a pre-out for connecting an upgraded power amp. There’s also a single set of speaker connections with five-way binding posts.

NAD C 700 Review

There’s no phono connection, so you’ll need an external Phono pre-amp if you want to use a turntable. Additionally, there are no balanced connections, so you’ll have to look at something like the Cambridge Audio EVO 150 if that’s a must-have.

Setup

As detailed in my First Impressions Review, the C 700’s setup was pretty simple, as it found my network quickly. It completed its initial update and was ready for connection to the BluOS app in minutes. As I said in my previous post, I did have a small issue connecting to my Samsung phone due to its preference for the 5Ghz channel on my router, which the C 700 doesn’t use. I had no problems connecting to my iPhone.

No matter which streaming option I chose, I could pull up music quickly and easily, as the C 700 briskly received transmissions from my iPhone. I loved how smoothly this amp transitioned between songs and sources, it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen in that regard.

Listening to the NAD C 700 Streaming Amplifier

Listening to the NAD C 700 was a real eye-opener. It played much bigger than I anticipated for such a compact unit, and its musicality was a revelation. Most of my listening time was spent with a pair of Wharfedale EVO 4.2 ($1199) large-scale bookshelf speakers-a solid test for most amps, and this integrated absolutely made them come alive.

The first thing I noticed was how much control this amplifier had over these speakers, especially the woofers. The bass dynamics were superb, driving the rhythm of fast songs precisely. I loved the depth and slam. These speakers require a good amount of high-current power to drive properly, so I knew I was dealing with a solid amp section here.

As I’ve already said, the C 700 played with great scale, and even though the perspective was somewhat forward, the presentation was even-handed and not too “in your face”. This amp has a spacious and nuanced sound that puts you right there in the audience.

Not only that, the Bass, Midrange, and Treble were perfectly balanced, making every genre sound excellent. There’s no artificial window dressing or pretense, just a natural approach that sounded really good. A horn sounds like a horn, and a drum sounds like a drum.

While I think other all-in-one amps (like the Cambridge EVO, for example) have better resolution, it’s hard to beat the C 700’s organic layering and texture.

Listening to “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” from the new album “Here It Is: A Tribute To Leonard Cohen, ” I was taken aback by Luciana Souza’s vocal emotion. Her performance sounded so lifelike that I was in disbelief regarding the price of the setup. This amp is the real deal.

NAD C 700 Review: The Wrap Up

The musicality brought forth by the NAD C 700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier has to be heard to be believed. This amp has just about perfect tonal balance and scale, making it a magic box that handles any music you throw at it with remarkable finesse.

In addition, the simplicity and elegance of its design are hard to beat for the price. This little powerhouse is remarkably flexible from a streaming standpoint, so you can just hook up your favorite speakers and go. The only thing it’s really missing is a Phono input, but Phono pre-amps aren’t that hard to come by. This is my new favorite amp under 2k!

If you’re looking for an amp to be the centerpiece of a modern yet capable hi-fi system, you should check this one out! Highly Recommended!


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