NAD C 165BEE
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
NAD has a very good reputation for intelligent design and affordable prices. After checking out the reviews and the specifications of many competitors, I came to the conclusion again that I should look seriously at NAD for stereo components. So when my previous preamp, after long and faithful service, began to misbehave (the power protection circuit would cause odd behavior occasionally), I did another quick review of the available choices, and came to NAD again. The only problem then was, where do you buy one? For some reason, NAD products are not easy to buy. But Crutchfield came up in my search engine. Incredibly fast, 2-day delivery! Honestly. I ordered my preamp online on a Sunday evening. It arrived, right on schedule, on Tuesday, about 1:30 PM. Who could ask for more? Setup is a snap. It sounds excellent. Extended, accurate bass, extended high frequency response, essentially no detectable noise. And I really like the specifications, compared with most competitors. Input impedance for line level inputs is 100 kohms, which makes it compatible with just about any component, and output impedance is 75 ohms, compatible with power amps having the lowest of input impedances. You can buy a stand-alone SPDIF or Toslink to analog stereo converter, and be sure to buy one with Dolby decoding, to use the preamp for ATSC TV sound with a TV set with no analog outputs (as some TVs on the market these days). So even this eventuality is not a problem. And it looks great too!
Pros: Excellent sound, no detectable noise, great specs, smooth operation.
Cons: No digital inputs, but easy problem to remedy.