NAD C160 Preamplifiers

NAD C160 Preamplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

preamp with phono

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 13  
[Mar 11, 2020]
8eighties8


Strength:

Quality components inside. Quality PCB. Variable resistors work fine despite the years. MC/MM phono inputs. Remote control.

Weakness:

I didn´t fine anything.

Purchased:
Used  
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Jul 22, 2014]
skiskort
Audio Enthusiast

Excellent pre regardless of price ($150.), inputs galore, 2 phono with mc and mm, remote controllable, 2 pre outs for you bi-ampers and sonically very clean and quiet, if you have a descent amp you will have a great time sonically! Some nice components inside too! Simply put just a great piece.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 03, 2009]
Chris
AudioPhile

I had a bad experience with reliability on the first one of these, but the second has been reliable. I have not been all that impressed with the sound quality. It seems fake , unnatural, or plastic to me. I compared it directly to the pre amp within a Sansui 9090 by using it with the built in power amp of the 9090. The 9090 preamp sounds natural and musical. It sounds live, and real. The nad sounds ok, but pretty cheap fake and unnatural as I said before. To me this screams poor design when one considers the "improvement" in technology since 1975. At $500.00 the Nad c 160 pre amp was the worst investment I have ever made. I have heard many pre amps and receivers, as well as integrateds that I liked a lot more.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Feb 26, 2004]
GORDTEX
AudioPhile

Strength:

clean sound,extended soundstage,controled bass and more.....

Weakness:

are you crazy =þ

this preamp is awesome..just buy it =)

Similar Products Used:

NAD C270 NAD C160 Paradigm Monitor 11v.2 Sony CDP-CE415 MIT Avt3 (bi wire) Monster cable interconnect

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 28, 2003]
Rich
AudioPhile

Strength:

Seems reliable so far, selectable MM/MC input, dual outputs nice for subwoofer, lots of inputs, and the remote control is great.

Weakness:

Not quite a straight wire with attenuation. Power cord not removable and of ordinary quality.

I upgraded to the C-160 from my homemade passive preamp (basically a Radio Shack pot). The NAD, while very very quiet and reasonably transparent, is nonetheless easily audible in the signal path. I also compared it to my 1982 Hafler DH-110 with the Musical Concepts mod, and I have to say I can't hear very much of a difference between their high level inputs (CD), although the NAD's phono section is clearly superior. But my passive pre trumped both these preamps by delivering a more musical sound that emerged from a much blacker background with a heightened sense of aliveness. Associate equipment is a generic Japanese CD player with digital coax out, an MSB Link DAC III with 96KHz upsampling and upgraded op-amps, a significantly modified Dynaco ST-70 power amp, and average quality Audioquest interconnects. This is a fine, fine preamp for the money, but I think I now understand why many top-rated preamps cost over $2000.

Similar Products Used:

Hafler DH-110, homemade passive pre

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jan 07, 2003]
miller
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

The C160 sounds really nice. It doesn't add to or take away from the source material at all. In point of fact, when played thru my 1989 Klipsch Quartet speakers you'll hear it exactly for what it is. Whether it be good or bad. Some people find that tiring after listening for a long time, but I don't mind. The overall construction of the unit is good although it's not as beefy looking as what audiophiles would want to pay for. If you want stainless steel w/rivets and bolts all all over then this unit is not for you.

Weakness:

The phono output is QUIET. Going from vinyl to a CD requires a 1/4 turn adustment just to get the volume back to where you had it before. There's also no Digital IN/OUT and no AUX OUT.

This is the first pre-amp I've owned and so far I'm very happy w/it. I got it along w/the 270 amp. It was insanely loud at first, but there's an adjustment knob on the back of the 270 that will turn down it's output level so you can turn up the output level on the c160 pre-amp so that the loudness threshhold is around the 4 or 5-o-clock position on the dial instead of noon or 1. This allows for a much more accurate adjustment of the volume. The unit is very straight forward in it's connections and operation. Overall it's a very practical item in it's appearance and function.

Similar Products Used:

None besides DJ equipment and the stuff you see at Best Buy.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Mar 11, 2002]
Chris G
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Exceptional value. Precise, clarity, defining bass, Awesome soundstage! Doesn’t miss a note or effect!

Weakness:

The phono input in the Rotel is a lot stronger than the NAD . However, I could hear an AM broadcast coming through the speakers with the Rotel whereas with the NAD, there was no interference whatsoever. Yet, the NAD phono input could be stronger. I found I had to crank the volume about twice as high on the NAD than when listening with the Rotel. I even changed my magnetic cartridge to be sure the record player was okay. The Rotel looks professional. The packaging is first rate. However, it appears more was spent on the packaging than the insides. Whereas the NAD is extraordinarily plain looking and almost Kinda cheap in appearance. The knobs though sturdy, look cheap! It’s obvious NAD spent more on the guts.

I listened to the Rotel RA-1070 and the NAD C160 pre-amplifiers at home. San Francisco sound was kind enough to allow me to demo the Rotel. I’m a music junky but not an audiophile. I can appreciate the differences in equipment, but in the end, it’s what sound is most appealing. I found the NAD to be precise and exceptionally detailed. Vocals are articulate and crystal clear. The sound stage is so expansive, it''''s as though you’re listening through headsets, you hear every detail. Did I hear that from behind? Also, when the volume is cranked, there is no booming bass impeding the midrange or high end. In other words, you can crank it without losing detail. I jammed my new favorite song, “SLOW COUNTRY” by The Gorillaz, and Damon’s vocals were so there!!! It was brilliant! So were all the effects, sounds and the bass was just amazing, no warbles here! At low listening levels though, the bass is not as full as the Rotel. More on that aspect later. However, slightly increasing the bass tone compensates for that (I can sense the audiophiles squeaming...) While with the NAD, you got every sound concurrently, lows, mids and highs. Is Neil Finn actually in the living room? Overall, if you prefer bass and warmth with your music, you should really try out the Rotel. But if you want exceptional clarity and detail with your music, listen to the NAD C-160. I choose the NAD. I hope I made the right choice mate! My equipment: Acurus A150 amp NHT 2.51 speakers Onkyo CD player

Similar Products Used:

Rotel, Yamaha, Sony

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 19, 2001]
Ron
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Simple, functional, value

Weakness:

No Balanced Outputs. Unit doesnt always respond to remote.

I purchased the C160 on "NAD faith" to complement my NAD S200 without so much as a listen before buying. I returned the first C160 (bad out of the box) due to a defect that allowed the CD input to be mixed with ALL other inputs. In other words, while playing a CD using the CD inputs, I could switch the C160 to another input and still hear the CD crystal-clear. Im using my second unit now and have had no problems. I can only report the aforementioned 2 minor complaints (no balanced outputs and finicky remote that needs to be pointed directly at the unit and not off-angle). I dont mean to sound like Im dumping on the C160- Im not. Im satisfied with it but I'd like to audition some others to enhance my appreciation for its sound.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Apr 07, 2001]
Mike
Audio Enthusiast

Weakness:

Will it ever come back from repair?

Unfortunately, it is a bit hard to say how I feel about this preamp--I have not had it for four weeks now!

As I recall, it was a nice unit, with a very clean design and very neutral sound. The only minor complaint was the sense I had that the total voltage gain was a bit on the light side.

Unfortunately, my C160 developed a version of the problem Ron's (previous review) did. Only in this case, the video imput was the king of all inputs. Listening to Fugazi, Dylan, or Coltrane on CD just isn't the same with Cartoon Network playing at equal volume.

So, four weeks ago, I took the amp back to Stereoland. I got a call from the nice service manager after three weeks. He said they had to get the service manual (took two weeks, gee, I would think maybe NAD would send one to its servicing dealers), and now were waiting on a part--another two weeks.

I am a bit of a NAD loyalist. I have a C540 CD player, a 2200 amp, and my old 7150. I love the consistency and cleanliness of NAD's design philosophy. I think NAD provides exceptional value in higher-end components.

That is why I still give this three stars in spite of the frustration. I hope to come back in a few months with a much more favorable review.

Similar Products Used:

Old PAS, homebrew tube pre-amp, NAD 7150 preamp section

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Apr 27, 2001]
Ole Bo Andreasen
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Neutrality, warmth, dynamics

Weakness:

Annoying remote, compared to Bang&Olufsen's products fatiguing to use

I have just bought this unit a few days ago, but this time I spent a lot of time trying to find the right pre-amp.

During my listening sessions I ended up borrowing Densen Beat 200, Rotel 1070, and NAD S100 pre-amps, listening to them all carefully before deciding on the C160.

The best of this group was the Densen Beat 200 with dynamics and transparency simply unparalled. I have never heard anything like this before. But unfortunately, it is extremely expensive: 1800 us dollars including remote.

The NAD C160 is, however, a real winner - in many ways even better than the S100 (NAD probably needs to come up with a new and improved version of the S100). At the price, there is nothing like the C160. It is able to combine transparency, neutrality and warmth. Bass is tight, midrange delicate, and treble clean, crisp and detailed without being fatiguing.

If you want audiophile sound for an extremely low amount of money, check the C160 out. You won't be disappointed. It is better than the Rotel, which is more expensive, and much, much better than the Arcam 9 pre-amp.

A very warm recommendation.

Ole Bo Andreasen

Similar Products Used:

Densen Beat 200, Rotel 1070, NAD s100

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 13  

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