NAD's New Digital Trio

The Lenbrook Group (NAD & PSB Speakers) hosted a Press Launch yesterday at the exceedingly comfortable and roomy Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC for "NAD's Groundbreaking D Series". I first reported on NAD's new small factor lineup at CES 2013. The NAD D 7050 Direct Digital Network Receiver ($999), D 3020 Digital DAC/Amplifier ($499) and D 1050 USB 24/192 DAC ($499) were created in part to help celebrate NAD's 40th anniversary in addition to combining form and function designed to attract more than audiophiles to the notion of good sound. We mainly listened to the 7050 Direct Digital Network Receiver driving a pair of the diminutive in size but not in voice PSB Imagine mini speakers ($759.99 Pair) and this simple setup sounded surprisingly rich and full figured.

The 7050 Direct Digital Network Receiver offers a number of connection points including what strikes me as the best practical means of alluring new listeners—AirPlay and aptX Bluetooth connectivity. After we'd listened to some tunes from the laptop of Greg Stidsen, Director of Technology and Product Planning at The Lenbrook Group, via Airplay (there was a wireless router providing the Wi-Fi) and USB, I whipped out my iPhone and was streaming my music to the 7050 in no time flat ("Rolling Sea" from Vetiver's Tight Knit LP). I tried both Bluetooth and AirPlay and AirpPlay's uncompressed streaming bested Bluetooth but I can still see people enjoying the Bluetooth option regardless. Having the ability to connect to a hi-fi and your own music in one fell swoop is to my mind the magical mix that will get more people listening and enjoying by letting them simply listen and enjoy.

NAD D 7050 (sideways - and the display auto-adapts!) photo credit: The Lenbrook Group

The 7050 features NAD's Direct Digital technology that was first developed for their Masters Series M2 amplifier ($6,000) and puts out 50W per channel. Total harmonic distortion is rated at 0.00% (you have to add another digit to see a value other than 0 = 0.004%). There's the aforementioned aptX Bluetooth and AirPlay input options as well as Ethernet (the 7050 is UPnP/DLNA certified), a 24/192-capable USB DAC input, two Toslink, and two Coax S/PDIF inputs, a subwoofer output, as well as a pair of binding posts for your speakers. There's also a 3.5mm minijack up front to power your headphones.

the original NAD 3020

The new D 3020 Digital DAC/Amplifier is named after NAD's famous and best-selling 3020 integrated amplifier that was first introduced way back in 1978 (I owned one). The new D 3020 offers 30W per channel output with similar THD specs (0.009%), aptx Bluetooth capability, a 24/96-capable USB DAC, two Toslink, one Coax, an analog input, and a subwoofer output. You'll also find a 3.5mm headphone jack up front.

the new NAD D 3020 photo credit: The Lenbrook Group

Last but not least is the D 1050 USB 24/192 DAC that also offers aptX Bluetooth input, two Toslink, two Coax S/PDIF inputs, balanced and single-ended outputs, as well as a 3.5mm headphone output. THD specs drop down to a whopping 0.001%.

The smart looks of these products were provided by award wining industrial designer David Farrage and their simple, sleek, and compact chassis can sit horizontally or vertically making them comfortable living somewhere other than an equipment rack. You know, a lifestyle-type approach that can breath outside the rarefied air of audiophiledom.

The D-Series will begin shipping in July 2013 and I look forward to taking them for a spin.

caseya21's picture

I am a fan of NAD and want to downgrade to a nice one box solution, headphone amp, usb dac and able to power my desktop speakers. This looks really nice. The only thing I can see that bums me out slightly is they chose to use an 1/8th inch headphone jack. Kinda weak IMO.

I wonder how it will compare the w4s mini, centrance px and others. Will have to wait and see !

timorous's picture

The first thing that struck me, in the top photo their vertical orientation, they look like some old slide or movie projectors. Curious...

NAD has always represented no-nonsense, solid performance. This series appears to be no exception. These products seem to be aimed at 'near-audiophiles', or those who want a simple, small system for streaming music from a variety of sources.

Thus, the headphone jack is a 1/8" instead of 1/4". Most headphones, even higher-end models come with adapters for either jack size. Not a deal-breaker these days.