NAD's latest CD player, the new C515BEE (£165), is a welcome reminder that good hi-fi needn't cost the earth. With sources as affordable as this, it's easy to build a starter hi-fi system for under £500.
Yet, despite the pin-money price point, the new player is well featured and retains a strong degree of proprietary technology.
Bang for your bucks
Your £165 gets you a good-quality 24 bit/192kHz DAC, multiple regulated low-noise power supplies, plus individual circuit boards to distance the signal from motor and display electronics. The player is bang up-to-date with the latest computer-based audio formats too and will happily spin MP3 and WMA-encoded discs recorded on to CD-R.
In fact, NAD goes as far as stating that its D/A conversion and analogue amplification stages "assure the maximum possible sound quality for compressed music files".
There's even a sprinkling of audiophile functionality: the player's display can be dimmed and around the back, there are coaxial and optical digital audio outputs for connection to DACs, digital preamps and digital recording devices.
A full-function remote control seals the deal with the C515BEE available in NAD's familiar grey livery, or the more contemporary titanium finish.