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NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier

Matias

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Streaming integrated amplifier with ESS ES9028Q2M and Hypex nCore NC252MP.


NAD C 399 Front with BluOS display

Flagship Classic Series integrated amplifier featuring Masters Series grade HybridDigital nCore amplification, ESS Sabre DAC and MDC2 Modular Design Construction Architecture​


PICKERING, ONTARIO, CANADA, SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 — NAD Electronics, the highly regarded manufacturer of high-performance audio/video components, takes value and performance to a whole new level. The C 399 Hybrid Digital DAC Amplifier is the clearest expression yet of NAD’s commitment to sonic excellence and lasting value. Employing NAD’s HybridDigital nCore™ amplification, which until now has been available only on Masters Series amplifiers, the C 399 is the new flagship integrated amplifier in NAD’s Classic Series. The C 399’s digital section is built around a 32-bit/384kHz ESS Sabre DAC, the same chip used in NAD’s acclaimed M10 and M33 Masters Series amplifiers. The suggested retail price of the C 399 is US$1999 (£1799 / €1999 / CDN$2599) with retail availability in time for the holiday season.

The C 399 also the first amplifier to incorporate the latest generation of NAD’s Modular Design Construction (MDC) technology: MDC2. MDC2 lets users add optional modules that provide functions such as BluOS Hi-Res multi-room music streaming, Dirac Live room correction and more.

“As with every NAD amplifier, the C 399 gets the basics right: a precise volume control with accurate channel balance, low-noise circuits, and correct input and output impedances. The C 399 with its HybridDigital nCore output stage and high-resolution ESS Sabre DAC can reproduce all your digital and analogue sources to a level of excitement and refinement that is unprecedented in its class”, says Cas Oostvogel, NAD Electronics’ Product Manager. “Ever since the launch of the legendary 3020 integrated amplifier in 1978, the NAD brand has been synonymous with value and performance. The C 399 takes that reputation to a whole new level. Thanks to NAD’s innovative new MDC2 architecture, the C 399 can serve as the hub of a world-class music system today, and for many years to come.”

Pure Power​

Trickled down from NAD’s Masters Series, the C 399’s HybridDigital nCore amplifier is highly efficient and remarkably powerful. It can deliver 180 Watts per channel continuous power, and 250 Watts per channel instantaneous power, allowing the C 399 to produce musical transients effortlessly. The HybridDigital nCore design is renowned for its wide bandwidth, flat frequency response, clean clipping behaviour with instant recovery, high current capability, and stability into demanding low-impedance speaker loads. Noise and distortion are vanishingly low under all operating conditions. The minute levels of harmonic distortion are dominated by sonically benign second and third harmonics. These refinements enable the C 399 to produce neutral, distortion-free sound even at very high listening levels, with thrilling dynamics, exquisite detail, and superb portrayal of space.

Also trickled down from the Masters Series is the ESS Sabre ES9028 high-resolution DAC, a design noted for its wide dynamic range, ultra-low noise and distortion, and near-zero levels of clock jitter. This premium DAC enables the C 399 to reproduce all of one’s digital sources with amazing musicality, a precise soundstage, and stunning clarity.

Future Perfect​

In 2006, NAD introduced Modular Design Construction (MDC), an innovative architecture for adding new functions to existing components. Many NAD products have rear-panel slots for MDC modules that perform UHD (4K) support, HDMI switching, BluOS multi-room music streaming, Dolby Atmos surround processing, and other functions.


NAD C 399 with MDC card and installed antennas


NAD C 399 Rear Panel with Optional MDC2 BluOS-D Module

The C 399 is the first product to feature NAD’s new MDC2 architecture. By enabling two-way communications between the module and host component, MDC2 allows for adding desirable features.

Equipped with Wi-Fi and Ethernet, the optional MDC2 BluOS-D module lets listeners play music from their favorite streaming services through the C 399, using the acclaimed BluOS Controller app for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. Like all BluOS Enabled products, the MDC2 BluOS-D has integrated support for dozens of streaming services; and supports Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect. Two-way communications also enable the MDC2 BluOS-D to stream music from local sources connected to the C 399 to BluOS Enabled components in other rooms.

The Dirac Live function lets users to measure their room’s acoustics using a supplied microphone and intuitive app, and then upload correction curves to the MDC2 BluOS-D. By compensating for acoustic anomalies in listening environments, Dirac Live dramatically improves bass clarity, imaging, and timbral accuracy. Thanks to its two-way architecture, the MDC2 BluOS-D performs Dirac Live room correction for all sources connected to the C399

Well Connected​

The C 399 has two optical and two coaxial digital inputs, plus an HDMI-eARC port for playing audio from a connected TV, while controlling amplifier output with the TV’s remote control. Analogue fans are well served with two pairs of RCA line-level inputs, plus a MM phono stage with ultra-precise RIAA equalization, extremely low noise, and high overload margins. The phono preamp also features an innovative circuit that suppresses the infrasonic noise present on all LPs, without compromising bass response. The line inputs have low-noise buffer amplifiers to prevent sonic degradation.


NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier Rear Panel


NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier Rear Panel

In addition to two sets of speaker outputs, the C 399 has preamp output jacks and dual subwoofer outputs. Two-way aptX HD Bluetooth allows 24-bit streaming from mobile devices, and high-quality output to Bluetooth headphones. Also built-in is a dedicated headphone amplifier with low output impedance and high output voltage capability, enabling the C 399 to drive demanding high-impedance studio monitor headphones.

Key Features of the NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier​

  • 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


ABOUT NAD ELECTRONICS
Founded in 1972 and now sold in over 80 countries, NAD Electronics is renowned for its award-winning line of high-quality components for audio, home theatre and custom installation applications. Since the beginning, NAD’s commitment to four core values – innovation, innovation, simplicity, performance, and value – have earned it a cult-like following that catapulted it to becoming a household name amongst audiophiles and music lovers alike. To this day, the brand continues to design and manufacture some of the most acclaimed and affordable hi-fi components that include modern features and technologies meant to appeal to a new generation of audiophiles.
 
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holbob

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My DDRC-24, hypex amp and pi Streamer cost £650. Wonder if the price will be similar? :p (no)
 

Berwhale

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It looks nice, but it appears you need to add the MDC2 BluOS-D module to get Dirac Live, which would be the major selling point of this device over a DAC + Class D amp. How much is the MDC2 BluOS-D module?
 
OP
Matias

Matias

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How much is the MDC2 BluOS-D module?
550 usd
 
OP
Matias

Matias

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It doesn't look like a nc252mp. In fact the power figures are very strange. So typo(s) or something new from Hypex.
They must have been more conservative in the continuous rating because of heat, but the instantaneous power gives it away.

"It can deliver 180 Watts per channel continuous power, and 250 Watts per channel instantaneous power"
 

JoetheLion

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"The all-new MDC2 architecture allows signals to be passed back and forth between module and host component. This opens a far wider range of upgrade options for the new NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier and future MDC2-enabled components."

What is the advantage of a modular concept when new modules in turn require new components? In other words, all the previous devices that were bought in the belief that they could be updated with modules in the long term cannot be updated with these new modules?
 
OP
Matias

Matias

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"The all-new MDC2 architecture allows signals to be passed back and forth between module and host component. This opens a far wider range of upgrade options for the new NAD C 399 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier and future MDC2-enabled components."

What is the advantage of a modular concept when new modules in turn require new components? In other words, all the previous devices that were bought in the belief that they could be updated with modules in the long term cannot be updated with these new modules?
Yep, I can imagine the pain of having spent 5 grand in a brand new M33 last year only to find out that its MDC1 is now outdated and incompatible with the new MDC2. Ouch.
 

boXem | audio

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They must have been more conservative in the continuous rating because of heat, but the instantaneous power gives it away.

"It can deliver 180 Watts per channel continuous power, and 250 Watts per channel instantaneous power"
Outputting 180 W in 8 Ohm for a nc252mp is not conservative at all ;). I guess there is a typo somewhere.
 

matteroll

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Slap the MDC2 BluOS-D onto the C399 and it will cost $200 cheaper than the M10. Sounds like a better deal than the M10 if you don't care for the screen. If this came out earlier, I would have just bought this as an all in one amp solution instead of using my current setup of AVR as preamp + NAD C298.
 

ENG

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Is there anybody who knows more in details about this (NAD C 399) besides the press release.

Now I found the following on:

LINE INPUT, PRE-OUT (ANALOG BYPASS ON)

THD (20Hz - 20kHz)<0.002% at 2V out
Signal-to-Noise Ratio>106dB (IHF; A-weighted, ref. 500mV out, unity gain)
Channel separation>100dB (1 kHz)
>90 dB (10 kHz)
Input Impedance (R and C)56 kohms + 100 pF
Maximum input signal>4.6Vrms (ref. 0.1% THD)
Output impedanceSource Z + 320 Ohm
Input sensitivity65mV (ref. 500mV out, Volume maximum)
Frequency response±0.3dB (20Hz - 20kHz)
Maximum voltage output -IHF load>5V (ref. 0.1% THD)


PHONO INPUT, PRE-OUT (ANALOG BYPASS ON)

THD (20Hz - 20kHz)<0.01% at 2V out
Signal-to-Noise Ratio>84dB (200 Ohm source; A-weighted, ref. 500mV out)
Input sensitivity1.08mV (ref. 500mV out, Volume maximum)
Frequency response±0.3dB (20Hz - 20kHz)
Maximum input signal at 1kHz>80mVrms (ref. 0.1% THD)

LINE INPUT, HEADPHONE OUT (ANALOG BYPASS ON)

THD (20Hz - 20kHz)<0.005% at 1V out
Signal-to-Noise Ratio>107dB (32 Ohms loads; A-WTD, ref. 2V out, unity gain)
Frequency response±0.3dB (20Hz - 20kHz)
Channel separation>62dB at 1kHz
Output impedance2.2 Ohms

LINE IN, SPEAKER OUT (ANALOG BYPASS ON)

Continuous output power into 8 ohms and 4 ohms180W (ref. 20 Hz-20 kHz at rated THD, both channels driven)
THD (20 Hz – 20 kHz)<0.02% (250 mW to 180 W, 8 ohms and 4 ohms)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio>95 dB (A-weighted, 500 mV input, ref. 1 W out in 8 ohms)
Clipping power>210W (at 1 kHz 0.1 % THD)
IHF dynamic power8 ohms: 217 W
4 ohms: 400 W
2 ohms: 506.4 W
Peak output current>26 A (in 1 ohm, 1 ms)
Damping factor>150 (ref. 8 ohms, 20Hz to 6.5kHz)
Frequency response±0.3 dB (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
Channel separation>90dB (1 kHz)
>75dB (10 kHz)
Input sensitivity (for 180 W in 8 ohms)Line In: 201 mV
Digital In: 10.25% FS

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

Supports bit rate/sample rateup to 24 bit/192 kHz
Frequency band 2.402G- 2.480G
Maximum transmit power (dBm)7 dBm ± 2 dBm

DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT

Gross dimensions (W x H x D) 435 x 120 x 390mm (17 1/8 x 4 3/4 x 15 3/8)”
Net Weight11.2kg (24.7lb)
Shipping weight13.6kg (30lb)
 
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Bogda

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I like that they added hdmi input but no usb input for dac is major problem for me since it is my main input for streaming music.
I am also little disappointed with use of Hypex moduls. I was hoping for Purifi moduls but that was maybe too much to ask for.

BTW, can user select speaker A, B or A+B from menu or remote in NAD integrated amps?
 

Vini darko

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I like that they rated it down to 2 ohm even going as far as 1 ohm for 1ms. Overall the specsheet is a respectable read.
Yeah the modules thing is a gotcha.
 

Bogda

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It seems to me that main difference between old C388 and new C399 is new DAC chip (hardly useful with no USB input), HDMI-Arc and compatibility with proprietary MDC2 modules. Not much for almost 500e difference.
 
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NewShoes

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It seems to me that main difference between old C388 and new C399 is new DAC chip (hardly useful with no USB input), HDMI-Arc and compatibility with proprietary MDC2 modules. Not much for almost 500e difference.
I don’t think the c388 was compatible with Dirac either (or at least nad doesn’t list it as one of the Dirac enabled products on their website), and also it looks like the c399 uses a more advanced hypex module, although it’s hard to find details on that at the moment.

For me, no Dirac was a deal breaker on the c388, so the c399 is pretty interesting.
 

JRS

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Hmmm, interesting. Along similar lines, I read on another thread a reference to a Purifi amp that had onboard DSP (no brand given) like the Crowns or Behringers, but sounded more flexible as in convolution with the transfer function of your choice. Now for me that would be perfect as in every amp addition would automatically provide for the increased channels of DSP needed. Anyone know who makes such, if such actually exists.
 

Bogda

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I don’t think the c388 was compatible with Dirac either (or at least nad doesn’t list it as one of the Dirac enabled products on their website), and also it looks like the c399 uses a more advanced hypex module, although it’s hard to find details on that at the moment.

For me, no Dirac was a deal breaker on the c388, so the c399 is pretty interesting.
No c388 was not compatible with Dirac but for Dirac one has to pay additional 500e/$ for MDC2 modul so difference in price grows to 1000e/$. Too much if buyer does not want BlueOS.
 

Puddingbuks

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Nice unit, but pricing (2549 euro with dirac/bluos) is more like masters series unfortunately.
 

ENG

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No c388 was not compatible with Dirac but for Dirac one has to pay additional 500e/$ for MDC2 modul so difference in price grows to 1000e/$. Too much if buyer does not want BlueOS.
Only if you want the full version of Dirac. What you get is the version that is in M10 and M33.
 

NewShoes

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Nice unit, but pricing (2549 euro with dirac/bluos) is more like masters series unfortunately.
Agree it's not cheap.

On the other hand, if you want an integrated DAC/amp with Dirac/Bass management, dual subwoofer, HDMI, phono, and wireless streaming, (and I think a lot of people DO want all those things) then I think it's still the cheapest option on the market?

Although that's more of a criticism of the market than anything else. It's such a good feature set it's wild that someone like Rotel isn't offering a comparable product to offer more competition. Nad are basically competing with themselves.
 
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