NAD C520 CD Players

C520

Entry level single disc cd player. Coaxial digital output included.

User Reviews (62)

Showing 1-10 of 62  
Brad5410   AudioPhile [Dec 23, 2009]

Here's the thing. The old C520 broke down some years ago and so has been collecting dust in the shed for the last 3 years or so. In between time I used a few DVD players for my HI FI. OK so they are not up there but they are cheap. Fast forward to 2009. Upgraded speakers to some nice PSB Platinum series and then got a NAD 2155 amp to go with my NAD 3155. Bridged to approx 120W per ch. Bought a new NAD C545BEE player. All is good until one day I get the old C520 out and fixed it by blowing out the dust around the laser. Tried the C520 side by side with the highly acclaimed C545BEE. I reckon the C520 sounds better. I guess its all subjective, but hey at the end of the day the old C520 still holds up to the new technology.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mingte   AudioPhile [Aug 09, 2009]

still in working condition. very nice unti. for the price i have nothing against it
anyway. The only thing that bug me.. i hope this unti work with HDCD

LSeries-LS@MSN.com
Leon cheng.
Life without music will be horrible.....

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
energeezer   AudioPhile [Jul 13, 2005]
Strength:

-Bass response -Price/Value

Weakness:

-Upper freq detail

C542 This player is replacing a Panasonic RP 62 DVD player that has been doing double duty. Supporting Equip -Paradigm Studio 100 V3 Loudspeakers -Paradigm Servo 15 Subwoofer -Rotel RMB 1055 Receiver used as a pre-pro -Aragon 8008 ST 2 CH Amplifier (200 into 8 ohms, 400 into 2 ohms) The physical appearance of the player is quite attractive (at least for an NAD). The drawer operates smoothly and with reasonable authority. It has some nice programming features and the remote is decent. My unit has no issues playing CDRs but I have not yet tried any CDRWs. Inside the box is a large Torrodial power supply and a single circuit board which covers the majority of the insides of the unit. Upon initial installation of this player I have to say I was disappointed. It sounded OK but I was expecting a large upgrade over the cheap DVD player. Initially I got the impression that the RP62 actually sounded a little better. (for the record the RP62 uses a 24/192 audio Dac) After further listening and some A/B comparisons I came to the conclusion that the RP62 is in fact more detailed in the high end of the spectrum but also a little muddy and boomy in the bass. The NAD certainly is less fatiguing and OVERALL an improvement IMO. I can listen to my system at much higher volumes with the NAD than I could with the RP62 due to the laid back nature. I would describe the sound of the C542 as laid back in the higher freq and male vocals. This makes for a non-fatiguing sound but also gives the impression of less detail. The detail is there but just pushed back some. I think this can be corrected with some interconnect changes but I have not done so yet. I have tried a couple of HDCD disks and these are a significant improvement but I only have a couple of them so it’s a little hard to reach a solid conclusion with respect to the HDCD performance of the player. Perhaps I’m a little spoiled, as the last stand-alone CDP player to grace my audio rack was an Arcam FMJ CD23. That player outperformed the C542 in every way but then it should considering it is over 3X the price. The NAD was close to the performance of the FMJ in bass response.

Similar Products Used: Arcam FMJ CD23 Cambridge Audio D300 Panasonic RP 62 (DVD player)
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Robert Seletsky   AudioPhile [Sep 09, 2004]
Strength:

Glorious balanced, involving, detailed sound, with depth, great image, warmth, speed. Perfect remote. Great build.

Weakness:

None really. I suppose one could gripe that NAD doesn't believe in a time-remaining-per-track readout, probably because it can't be designed to work above about 30 tracks.

This is for the latest version, the C521BEE. After extensive negative experiences with several Cambridge Audio Azurs, I got rid of them and bought an NAD C521BEE even though I wasn't impressed by the earlier NAD C521i. The BEE NAD revision, after play-in (it takes a while to reveal itself fully), extracts the genuine passion and drive of performances from CDs, creating really gripping musical experiences for the listener, not unlike good live music. It has depth, clarity, sweetness, detail, amazing speed of response, accuracy of vocal and instrumental color and placement: in all, that rare, indefinable "musicality." Unlike the competitors in this price range--the harsh, uneven, badly designed Cambridge Audio Azurs, the NAD C521BEE is a breath of fresh air. Moreover, it is built like a tank and the remote is fast, ergonomic, and instinctive. The NAD C521BEE just sounds and behaves *right.* After so many revisions of this design, it seems that NAD has found a sweet spot. One hopes they will now leave it alone. It's even hard to imagine that the more expensive NAD C542i is a lot better.

Similar Products Used: Cambridge Audio 540C--avoid Cambridge Audio 640C--ditto Cambridge Audio 300SE--absurdly artificial Harman Kardon HD-710--lovely Harman Hardon HD-720--a disaster NAD 521i--solid but unimpressive Teac CDP-1250--garbage Toshiba SD-1800--surprisingly good
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
DiZZ   Casual Listener [Feb 10, 2004]
Strength:

+ Clean sound + Spacious soundstage + Instant scanning of music + Uncluttered design + Titanium finish (NA in NA)

Weakness:

- No digital optical output - Slow to skip songs - Programming can only be done from the remote

This review is for a NAD C521BEE. Now in its 4th revision, the entry level player has seen some improvements to its transport and DAC to bring you an even better sounding unit. To be fair, this is not the be-all-end-all in High Fidelity music. However, it is one of the most competent players in its price range. It may not sound this way when you listen to it out of the box, but once it is given a chance to break in (like all proper Hi-Fi equipment), its sonic ability really excells. Expect to wait about 2 weeks before the player will perform to its best. The player produces a well detailed sound, with an open sound stage. It does its best to give every instrament a place of its own. Like all NAD's products, it tries not to colour music. A word about the bass, NAD have chosen detail over depth. While it goes low enough for most situations, it is NOT boom box material. Because of this, bass heavy songs may lack some of the impact they have on other players. Something that is worthy of a mention is the way the scanning on this player works. It instantly fast forwards or rewinds the moment you tell it to. In terms of features, NAD have included all that is needed. Theres only line level and coax digital outputs (optical would have been nice). A remote is included, with the ability to program the play order. The transport supports CD-R and CD-RW discs. I havent had any skipping problems that some people had with their C521i's Downsides? In all, a good CD player for a budget system.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
jillsing   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 05, 2004]
Strength:

Excellent, uncluttered design. No cheese. Clear, detailed sound.

Weakness:

Small LED. No headphone jack.

This is the NAD 521i. It's a NAD. It looks like a NAD and sounds like one. If you like NAD, you'll love it. I've used many NAD products over the years and I've always been very happy with the sound. This is crisp, clean and does the job for me along with my NAD 314 amp. For the money, I don't think you can do better.

Similar Products Used: NAD Monitor Series Older NAD CDs. Onkyo
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
LSeries-LS   AudioPhile [May 04, 2003]
Strength:

Build quality, Sound,

Weakness:

No CD text No HDCD No Opt digital out

By the way, this is the review for NAD C521i Main Speakers - Pioneer Elite TZ-F700 Center Speaker - Pioneer Elite TZ-C700 Surround speakers - Pioneer Elite TZ-S700 Subwoofer - JBL PB10 Receiver - Pioneer Elite VSX-35TX 90Wx5 (20Hz - 20 kHz 0.09%, 8O all channels driven) Speaker setting - Front - Large Center - Small Surround - Large (Bass via JBL PB10 speak level in) Subwoofer - yes Actually, I can't say anything against this product. It gives very clear sound and wild sound stage. I brought this CD player to replace my Technics SLMC7 CD changers. My SLMC7 did serve me well for a while. Now it is used for MD recording only. I compared the sound of NAD C521i(Coaxial digital out) with my Toshiba SD5700(Coaxial digital out, PCM) and Panasonic DVD-A7 (Coaxial digital out) with all my receiver's stereo (24bit/96kHz up-sampling), Direct model(DAC up-sampling bypass), and 7 stereo surround sound. Although NAD 521i doesn't have the warmth of Toshiba SD5700, it gives more detail and clear sound then Toshiba. As my personal preference, I like NAD 521i better (NAD521i>Toshiba SD5700>Panasonic DVD-A7>Technics SLM7). During the test, NAD521i is the only one can pass test CD (A Taiwanese recording) while other 3 fail to reach the ok performance at the peak. I used to consider that is the problem of my receiver. Well, my receiver does involve with this problem; however, I do believe that is the problem from my CD transports. I can't say NAD 521i does the prefect job here; however, it does a very good job at this point. Although NAD521i doesn't have the warmth of Toshiba SD5700, it still sounds very good, The whole sound was clear and smooth, treble was sweet and bass was solid. The sound stage was live and joyful. I didn't compare the sound via analog out put- well, I was just to lazy to find the analog input on my receiver, you all know it was a horrible job to pull the receiver out off a cabinet and reconnect all the cables. So I simple connect those via digital cable, which I can reach without pull out my receiver) However, NAD521i doesn't support CD-Text and HDCD, which is nothing biggi. Also, NAD 521i doesn't have optical digital, which maybe a problem if your receiver runs out off coaxial digital input.

Similar Products Used: Toshiba SD5700, Panasonic DAD-A7 (I know, both of them are DVD-Audio player; however, they did serve as my CD transport for a long time.)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Maciek   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 29, 2003]
Strength:

Excellent, exciting musical presentation.

Weakness:

Very difficult to find any at all.

I was initially very impressed with the NAD 521i player, when I heard it in London, whilst looking for a replacement of my excellent Technics CD player, which had served me very well for 11 years. I listened to other machines e.g. Marantz 6000 OSE and Arcam CD 62. I also compared the NAD 521i with the 541i. I could not really hear much of a difference between the two NAD machines & I preferred the more rugged and involving sound of the NAD 521i to the Marantz and the over- smooth Arcam. When I wired the new NAD 521i into my domestic system, it skipped a handful of times and then settled down and began to reproduce the music on my system in a wonderful fashion. No further skipping occurred. The rest of the system consists of Tannoy Mercury M2.5 speakers (they cost me £129) and a Pioneer A300R Precision amplifier (£250). Subsequently I went to hear a demonstration £4500 Musical Fidelity system coupled to PMC TB1 speakers. My own budget set up was barely distinguishable from this considerably more expensive set up: this really does illustrate the 'law' of diminishing returns, which applies so aptly to hifi costs. I shall stick with my basic, but outstandingly good equipment, and buy a few more CD's instead. My interests are mainly in classical music.

Similar Products Used: Marantz 6000 ose, Arcam 62 T, Musical Fidelity
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tom Taylor   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 23, 2003]
Strength:

Exciting to listent to, lots of resolution, not tiring, very musical.

Weakness:

None found so far. Maybe lack of headphone output.

This replaces a 10 year old Yamaha unit. I would never expect a real dramatic difference between CD players, but this does improve the sound significantly. The music is a little more exciting - a sense of being in the same room as the group and not listening from the doorway as before. Significantly more detail or resolution on voices than I am used to. Using an old NAD 3020 as the preamp, an Adcom 3500 power amp, and Krix Equinox speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
NAD-Owner   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 15, 2003]

Hi from Berlin, Germany. No review, just a hint: The C521i inverts the phase, at least mine does. For full listening enjoyment you should change ur speaker cable's plus and minus (at the box _or_ the amplifier, and, of course, both cables). Just try it. :-)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 62  

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