NAD C165BEE/C275BEE review

NAD's budget combi looks very promising, but while looks can be deceiving the listening test reveals all

This pairing offers a great dynamic flow although detail can be a little muddled

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Once again, comments from our listeners (who of course didn't know which amps they were commenting on) seemed to reinforce past impressions of the brand, in particular comments about the energetic though not always perfectly controlled sound.

Clearly there's some room for taste here, but the consensus was that the energy was very much welcome and the control not so terribly missed, with the result that much more was said in favour of these amps than against them. And indeed it does seem that detail is not bad at all, if sometimes just a little untidily presented – but it's still there.

This might not be the amplification package you'd want, if you need to know exactly how far behind the speakers every member of a band is standing, but you will still be able to hear plenty about what (and how) they are playing on their instruments.

The sound nicely balances the attack and 'bite' of each note with its sustain and decay and there's no sense of panic as more instruments join in and chords get thicker.

There's also a great dynamic flow to the sound, something of a hi-fi intangible but something two listeners commented on explicitly. This all ties in with the general feeling of energy and drive and does make for quite exhilarating listening, especially at high volumes (obviously a temptation with all that power on tap).

Out at the frequency extremes there is good extension: bass could possibly use a little more tunefulness and the treble isn't always quite the sweetest around, but they are both more than creditable.

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