DACs

NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier Launches


Back in the early ’90s, one of my friends owned a NAD 3020 integrated amplifier. Up until this point, the only NAD equipment I saw was in stores, or on the pages of HiFi magazines I read.  It was THE brand that every budding audio enthusiast wanted to get.  Simplistic in its design and operation, NAD always provided performance. NAD is hoping to keep this tradition alive with their new C 399 HybridDigital DAC amplifier. Priced at $1999 USD, and shipping for the Holiday season in 2021, the NAD C 399 is the flagship product in their Classic Series. 

NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier Design

The NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier is built around the ESS Sabre ES9028 high-resolution DAC. Boasting the same HybridDigital nCore amplification offered in their Master Series amplifiers, the NAD  C 399 can deliver 180wpc continuous power into 8/4 ohm and is able to deliver 250wpc instantaneous power on demand.

Also trickled down from NAD’s Master Series is  Modular Design Construction (MDC). With MDC, the NAD C 399 can expand its capabilities with optional add-on modules like BluOS Hi-Res multi-room music steaming, and Dirac Live room correction. So this helps ensure that your NAD C 399 can keep pace as technologies change. 

NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier Modules

The BluOS module can allow users to connect (via wifi or BT) over 20 streaming services and hundreds of internet radio stations through their iOS, Android, macOS, or Windows devices via their BluOS controller app. It allows playback of 24-bit/192kHz, as well as MQA. Alexa or Google voice commands, as well as home control systems from Crestron, Control4, Lutron, and RTI can control playback, allowing you to integrate the NAD C 399 into your smart home. It retails for $549 and will be available at launch. 

NAD C 399 with optional BluOS module

The Dirac Live module allows owners to integrate room correction into their 2 channel setups. Dirac Live allows users to measure acoustics with the included microphone and compensate for any acoustic anomalies within the room. This allows Dirac Live to “dramatically improve bass clarity, imaging, and timbral accuracy.” The Dirac Live module allows users to save up to 5 profiles, allowing users to create specific profiles and correction curves for their space and equipment. Pricing and availability are not yet announced. 

Dirac Live can be added using an optional MDC modual

NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier Connections

The NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier sports 2 optical and 2 coax digital inputs and an eARC capable HDMI port, There are 2 RCA line-level inputs and a MM phono stage on the analogue side. The C 399 has two sets of speaker terminals and dual subwoofer outputs. If the C 399 doesn’t have enough power for you, you can add an external amp via it’s RCA pre-outs. For those looking for wireless connections, the NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier has a two-way aptX HD, 24-bit Bluetooth transmitter. This allows you to stream to or from the NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier. Of course, there is a dedicated headphone output as well. 

The rear of the NAD C 399

Under the Hood 

  • Hybrid Digital nCore Amplifier
  • Continuous Power: 180 Watts per channel into 8/4 ohms
  • Instantaneous Power: 250 Watts per channel
  • Vanishingly low harmonic and intermodulation distortion
  • Dual MDC2 Slots for expanded functionality
  • Optional MDC2 BluOS-D module adds BluOS multi-room streaming and Dirac Live room correction
  • Jitter-free 32-bit/384kHz ESS Sabre DAC
  • Ultra-low-noise MM phono stage with infrasonic filtering circuitry
  • Two optical, two coaxial digital inputs
  • HDMI-eARC input
  • Two pairs of line-level analogue inputs with low-noise buffer amplifiers
  • Speaker A/Speaker B outputs
  • Two-way aptX HD Bluetooth
  • Dual subwoofer outputs
  • Dedicated headphone amplifier
  • IR remote
  • 12V Trigger in/out
  • IR in/out
  • RS-232 Serial port for control integration with home automation systems
  • Seamless integration with Control4, Crestron, RTI, URC, Lutron, iPort, Elan, PUSH and KNX smart home control systems

Our Take 

The NAD C 399 offers a lot to the audio enthusiast. A world-class DAC, solid amplification, numerous inputs, and expandability make the C 399 an attractive option for those looking for a stereo setup. We like how they’ve included the ability to add room correction (though it would have been nice if it had been included). The NAD C 399 is expected to be available for the holidays and is priced at $1999 USD. For more information, visit NADelectronics.com.


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