The C 3050 LE will make its debut this weekend at the Toronto Audio Fest and is slated to ship in mid-November with a suggested retail price that commemorates the brand’s beginnings — $1,972. To further enshrine NAD’s founding year, the company is doing a limited production run of only 1,972 units, each of which will include a certificate of authenticity and carry a unique number between 1 and 1,972.
In mid-November, NAD will also premiere “NAD Electronics: 50 Years of Truth in Power,” a 30-minute documentary featuring archival footage and interviews with key personalities associated with the brand. The Toronto appearance is the first in a series of anniversary events that will run through May 2023 with a showing at High End Munich, where the idea to create New Acoustic Dimensions (NAD) was born half a century ago.
Based on the 1974 industrial design of NAD’s original 3030 stereophonic amplifier, which in its day, delivered 30 watts/channel using class A/B amplification, the C 3050 LE Stereophonic Amplifier celebrates the past with an engaging retro design featuring LED-illuminated VU meters and a wood case finished in walnut veneer. Of course, the amp also embraces the future with the latest version of NAD’s HybridDigital UcD amplifier — rated to deliver 100 watts/channel of “full disclosure” power into 4 or 8 ohms — high-resolution multiroom streaming with MQA decoding, and Dirac room correction.
Despite its vintage appearance, the C 3050 LE is actually built on an upgradeable modular platform and ships with the MDC2 module, which makes possible wireless streaming via the proven app-based BluOS platform developed by NAD parent company Lenbrook more than a decade ago. In addition to a phono stage and dedicated headphone amplifier, the C 3050 LE is equipped with an analog stereo input, optical and coaxial digital inputs plus an eARC-enabled HDMI port and supports streaming via AirPlay 2 and aptX HD Bluetooth. The amp also provides a stereo main in/pre-out and a subwoofer output.
In keeping with the founding principles embraced in the original model 3030 and the late-’70s-era model 3020 integrated amplifier — one of the best-selling budget amplifiers in hi-fi history despite its modest 20 watts/channel rating — NAD provides a detailed accounting of the amplifier’s measured performance under the Specifications tab on the product page. NAD has always championed truth in specifications, even creating its own Full Disclosure Power standard that rates amplifier power based on real-world listening scenarios versus laboratory conditions.
“Rating power at one frequency, one volume level, using a simplified test load is fine for submitting documentation to regulators but in reality, music impacts our emotions by being complex and dynamic,” offers Greg Stidsen, chief technology officer of Lenbrook International. “It’s easy to create an amplifier that performs well in narrow conditions, but we are music lovers designing products for music lovers, so we rate our amplifiers across the whole frequency band and dynamic range to give our consumers a realistic expectation of amplifier performance for all the music they enjoy. That often meant the power rating on paper of NAD’s products were lower than what our competitors would publish, but our ratings better reflect the full and rich sound that great recordings contain.”
NAD’s principled way of designing products reflects the core values of the brand, which were present from the beginning with founder Marty Borish, and legendary amplifier designer, Bjorn Erik Edvardsen (both now deceased).
Continuing the Celebration in 2023
NAD’s 50th anniversary celebration will continue into 2023 with the launch of the NAD C 3050 integrated amplifier, a less expensive version of the LE slated to ship in March with a $1,299 suggested retail price and the option of adding BluOS streaming and Dirac room correction via the plug-in MDC2 module ($549). The C 3050 launch will be supported by a series of global retail events that start in March and run through May at the High End Munich show.
Visit nadelectronics.com for more on the C 3050 LE Stereophonic Amplifier and the history of NAD. You can also register to be notified when the NAD documentary becomes available in mid-November.