NAD C320BEE Integrated Amplifiers

NAD C320BEE Integrated Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

2 x 50W minimum continuous power into 4/8 ohms, 110W/160W/210W IHF dynamic power into 8/4/2 ohms respectively, headphone socket, high current Holmgren toroidal power transformer, relay input switching, 7 Line inputs including two tape in/outs, all discrete circuitry, short signal path from input to output, all sockets gold plated, Bass and Treble controls with Tone Defeat switch, main amp input and preamp output, NAD Soft Clipping, IR input and output, full system remote control including stand-by/off, 12V trigger output.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 29  
[Nov 28, 2017]
Music4cities
Audio Enthusiast

Pretty great integrated; amazing power amp section; ok preamp. I have used it as an integrated and as just a preamp with asunfjre signature 2x300 Power amp. I have also used it as as a Power amp with a Sunfire Vacuum give contol center preamp. I bought th. AR to replace a Cambridge Audio A3 integrated that had died on me. The NAD sounded less warm and full but more precise prhqps than the Cambridge Audio it replaced.

After the NAD’s pre and Power sections in combinations with components usually considered of at least one tier above (and considerable more expensive) than the NAD, it’s clear that the preamp section is ok. It’s fine for the NAD’s price and target use but I think the weakest part of this amp. It just sounds too dry and thin. The power amp section however is nothing short of phenomenal, especially given the size of the unit and rated wattage. as a Power amp only it held its own with the Sunfire 2x300. at High very high volumnes the limitations appear in the mid bass and lower mid range compared to the Sunfire that is rated at 6 times the NAD’s power. But even at extremes the amp is obviously much more powerful than its rated power. NAD’s headroom is the real deal! At reasonable to loud listening levels it’s downright amazing. Very clean, never harsh but also not overly warm. Treble is clean and timbre is excellently renderd. Very precise with amazing sound staging and imaging. Almost holographic. Individual Instruments can be located in space and heard; very spatial soundscape, wide but not diffused. Again precise. Also very very fast; the excellent damping and headroom at work Bass drums and bass notes for example are precise. Bass is deep but never boomy. All in all I am blown away by the power amp section.

Never had a problem with th amp in over 12 years of use. It’s needs a recap now ( I can see one electrolytic starting to bulge) which is a bit early but not unreasonable and easy to do. The circuit layout is very elegant and well thought through.

I am not a huge fan of the NAD binding posts. They work fine with bare wire
up to 12 AWG and bananas. But they restrict the use of spades to small and thinner spades. On the other hand, once you get a spade that fits into the slot for them, the posts will hold it securely and won’t allow spades to twist in the posts, preventing l accidentally shorts from spades touching each other or anything else they shouldn’t.

Plastic faceplate looks great actually and has held up well. As had the text and markings. Looks new after 12 years of Unpampered use. The case it’s very well ventilated and sturdy and ridgid even with the cover/sides removed. This amp is built to last and easy to service when normal age related service is required or repairs are needed. The power cord is at hardwired in but well made. That’s a non issue for me as I don’t buy into audiophile superstitions about fancy powercords; the NAD’s power cord’s gauge is correct for 15 amps and the Power demands of the component and the cord well constructed; it is extremely unlikely any meaningful difference in performance can be attained by changing the powercord.

extremely impressive all in all. If only the preamp section lived up to the power amp section this would be a giant killer.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 15, 2011]
Derek
Audio Enthusiast

This is the first review I have ever given and I am only here to boost ovarall rating. Not because I am a NAD fan, because it has performed so well over past four years. It looks. sounds and works great. I have had no problems at all and it is used daily, 2-24 hours a day for 4 years. Volume stays between 1/4 -1/2 open and never runs hot. Bass stays at 0 to -3, trebble at +3. I have a pair of KEF's and a Velodyne Sub. Most often used in video but at times with a super old NAD 515 CD. The 515 has been flawless for 21 years, that is another review. The performance it has given me has made me want to defend the couple bad reviews it has recieved here. Not just performance, the overall sound quality. Unbeatable sound and quality for under $400.00.

However, there are 2 issues I have. I dont like having to select a function every time I turn the unit on. If it is in CD mode when I turn it off that is where it should be when I turn it on. I also do not like the function buttons in general. It would be better off with a knob but that would leave empty space. Personally I would like the empty space. These are minute issues and not enough to change how I feel about it.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 01, 2010]
audioinsensitive
Audio Enthusiast

I purchased the NAD C320BEE in March 2003. Within months it was sent in for repair. After years of little use, I tried to sell it, and discovered that once again it was malfunctioning. I wound up stripping it for the few parts of (very little) value I could salvage, and tossed it into a dumpster.

I have owned A LOT of audio equipment over the years, and the C320BEE is one of the biggest pieces of junk ever to grace my shelves. Sticking a "BEE" suffix on a cheaply built component doesn't make it any better. It's marketing.

When products like the C320BEE garner some favorable reviews in the audio press, budgeteers think they're getting high-end sound on the cheap. The reviews are rarely written by people who've lived with the product for an extended period, and those trying to sell one probably won't mention how many times it's been in for service. If you're going to buy a used integrated amplifier, look at something else.

NAD's "BEE" versions of its older amplifiers aren't necessarily an improvement. Be certain you're really getting something better before you pay a premiium for a designer label.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Sep 28, 2009]
ren9328
AudioPhile

I purchased the NAD c320Bee used on Audiogon for a friend. While it was in my possesion I was able to compare it to both the Krell KAV 300iL and the YBA YA 201 integrated amps. The speakers used were Dynaudio Contour 1.3 SEs. I realize that thse components are in a far different price levlel than the NAD but the point for me was to see how it would perform when mated with associated equipment that would not be the limiting factor for its performance.

The c320BEE acquitted itself finely. I would rated its resolution as fair it is definitely on the slightly warm side with a pumped up bass/midbass. This slight plumpness of the bass makes it sound more powerful than its 50 wpc rating would suggest but it runs out of steam when the volume gets loud. Soundstge width and depth are quite good its treble detail is not the last word in air and detail but it is non-fatuiging to listen to which will make it a good match for the speakers it will generally be mated with.

If you are looking for one of these (or the c325BEE) and think that you are buying Krell type performance on the cheap, you're not. Top flight gear with top flight performance comes at a price. On the other hand if you want an inexpensive integrated amplifier that can grow with you system through a few upgrades than look no further. It does enough right to give you a taste of upper end sound reproduction and for its price on the used market it is an absolute steal.

Buy the NAD c320BEE, a good CD player and a pair of used Dynaudio Audience 52s and you will likely have a stereo system that is the envy of you friends and it will not have caused you to take out a second motgage on you home.

This is a fine integrated amp that is only found to be lacking when doing side by side comparisons with more expensive equipment. Highly recommended!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 29, 2007]
wkas
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Attractive.
Well built.
Good remote.
Neutral.

Weakness:

Too laid back and clinical-sounding.
Insufficient sonic "presence"..
Lack of clarity and detail.
Flat soundstage.
Poor low volume performance.
Poor design re headphone jack.

I'm reviewing this after using it for several years, and replacing it with new electronics (read below). I was using it to power a pair of Paradigm Reference Studio 20's. Music was largely classical and jazz.

At the time I purchased, it seemed like the best choice, but now I wonder. Compared to what I'm currently using (an Outlaw RR2150 receiver), the NAD's sound is too laid back, too sterile and uninvolving. On the positive side, it's fairly neutral, and does well with voices (which is probably why I bought it back then). But it really lacks presence and provides insufficient detail. Soundstaging is inferior to the Outlaw, too. These flaws are magnified at low volumes.

And the NAD has a design flaw, one that I found the hard way. When you plug in a headdphone, it automatically shuts off the speakers. One day, I wanted to listen via headphones, and when I removed the plug, the tip stayed in the jack, which rendered the amplifer useless. I couldn't anyone to fix this trivial problem for less than $200, so I tried to fix it myself. Bad idea.

So while this isn't a terrible product, I think that there are probably better options at or near the price point, at least if you like the same sort of sound that I do.

Similar Products Used:

Outlaw RR2150

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
[Sep 02, 2007]
JF Desrosiers
AudioPhile

Strength:

Cheap
Powerful
Good sound

Weakness:

Volume control knob does a skkrrrrrr sound sometimes when listening to music. You have to turn the amp off and rotate the knob to min/max volume several times, and the problem is gone for a while.

Slightly off center with headphones. You have to adjust slightly.

Thats it.

To make it short, it's a very good amp in it's price range. I listened to several amps around this price, and even the 600$ rotel amp sounded bad to me (just my opinion, but it sounded wayyyy too metallic).

The NAD sounds natural, and the sound is exceptional, if you ask me. I have 2 bookshelf speakers and my amp could blow them away before distortion occurs.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 18, 2007]
Ed Hagen
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

None that jump out at me. This is a cheap looking midfi amp, but priced accordingly.

Weakness:

Kind of cheap looking, even in this price range. Even the remote is dowdy looking.

I purchased the amplifier for the following application: I have a modest home theater with a 30" Toshiba CRT, a pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers (pretty efficient), and a DVD and laser disk player. I wanted to use the amplifier for audio switching and volume. I wanted to replace a 1990s Yamaha AV receiver that was too big and had a lot of features I was not using. The setup is shared by a decidedly non-enthusiast wife, so the setup has to be very turnkey. So basically I was looking for a low cost integrated two channel amplifier with remote and switched AC.

That pretty much narrowed the field to the pioneer elite (too tarty looking, and I am a bit offput by their putting the elite badge on midfi gear), and this unit. I got a decent price on a used NAD, so I picked it up.

Right out of the box, I noticed a major bummer. The AC plug in the back was unswitched. This is contrary to what NAD advertises on their Web site ("the C320BEE also has an AC switched outlet ... so you can easily switch your entire system on or off with the remote control or from the front panel"), and pretty useless (note to NAD; I have an unswitched AC already; it is called a "wall socket"). So this means I can't use the amplifier to power on the TV.

There is a fair workaround. The unit will react to three different power signals, power on, power off, and power toggle (the third one is undocumented and not on the supplied remote, but it's what goes to the power button on a universal remote, and handy to have). So I dedicated function keys to each source on my universal remote (a oneforall 9910), and programmed macros that, in addition to selecting the video and audio source, sends a power on signal to the amp. Then I programmed the sleep button to turn off the TV and power off the amp. Switched AC would be better; just assign power toggle to the power button, but I *think* my wife will be OK with the extra key strokes.

Probably no big deal to most folks, but since the company falsely advertises a feature, I thought it would be worth noting here.

Similar Products Used:

I own an NAD monitor series receiver and Yamaha AV receiver, both around 15 years old. Much better units (but they cost more dough). Would have loved to have used the NAD receiver for this application, but it has a really stupid defect on it; you have to press two buttons to fully power it on. I think NAD considered this a feature, not a bug, at the time, but I think they have stopped implementing it.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
[Dec 03, 2006]
Andrew Scott
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

- Good power amp section (see below regarding pre-amp).
- Pleasant sound, I would call it accurate and lively.
- Great value. In my opinion the sound quality far exceeds other mass market brands in the same price range.
- Pre-out / main-in jacks allow upgrades. Upgrading the pre-amp to a better quality unit allows the power amp to perform to it's potential.

Weakness:

- Preamp section is not that great. I believe the potentiometer is not good quality. The left / right levels do not match (slightly off center image). Scratching sound from right channel when moving volume up / down, probably due to contaminent in pot. This is only noticable with high efficiency speakers, and has been resolved by working the volume control through the minimum / maximum range several times.

I would like to share my observations having used this product daily for the past 1.5 years.

Although it's good value for money and I would not replace it with any other product in this price range, it has a few shortcomings.

I'm very happy with the sound. I use it for music CDs, DVDs, and TV. I have used several different speakers including Wharfedale, Energy, and Fostex. My current Fostex speakers allow the NAD to perform to it's potential.

I use it with a NAD C521bee CD player, which is a good match in terms of price and performance.

Customer Service

- Good dealer service. They have offered to investigate the potentiometer problem, I have not followed this up yet.

Similar Products Used:

Many other mass market products, some other hi-fi brands.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Oct 26, 2006]
carlos moreira
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Smooth, natural,musical and pleasant sound.
Good timing.
strong dynamics.
That amplifier plays very well piano.
It give you music music with hapiness

Weakness:

None

This is a wonderful amplifier which does almost everything well and is very cheap.
It produce a smooth, natural,musical and enjoyable sound but for that you must place very well this amplifier on a rigid and right surface otherwise you will have a harsh and strange sound. I also advice you don`t put that device on cd players or under, just place it very well and alone.
When i bought that amplifier before i tried the Cambridge audio azur 540a but the nad c320bee was really better.
I use it with a Nad c521bee, sony stsdb900 , Monitor Audio B2, cyrus biwire speaker cable, Van Den Hull The name and qunex 1 as interconnects.

Similar Products Used:

Cambridge audio azur 540a.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 13, 2006]
bill ainge
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

liquid highs, laid back midrange, and a fat low end, it's also lightnin' fast...oh yeah it cost FOUR HUNDRED BUCKS

Weakness:

IIt doesn't tuck me in at night.

What a deal! This amp sounds wonderful. I don't know who gives this amp any fewer than five stars...THE THING RETAILS FOR FOUR-HUNDERED BUCKS. I mean Jesus it's not Krell. Unless you have extremely picky source material or just need 300 watts on tap this is a great bargainl. I highly recommend.

Similar Products Used:

denon, harmon kardon

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 29  

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