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NAD C 356DAC

Stereo integrated amplifier with add-on DAC module

24 Reviews | 5 questions - 19 answers

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Item # 745C356DAC

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Overview

Our take on the NAD C 356DAC

Adding a DAC to an acclaimed integrated amp is like taking a slice of warm pie and adding a scoop of vanilla. The point is, it's rare that something couldn't be bettered by adding a complementary item. And NAD has pushed this time-honored philosophy forward into the digital age with the new C 356DAC integrated amplifier.

An integrated amp for your whole music library

Adding a DAC to an acclaimed integrated amp is like taking a slice of warm pie and adding a scoop of vanilla. The point is, it's rare that something couldn't be bettered by adding a complementary item. And NAD has pushed this time-honored philosophy forward into the digital age with the new C 356DAC integrated amplifier.

They've taken one of their popular mainstays, the C 356BEE integrated amp, and added a world-class DAC so that you can treat all your digital sources to the power and control that has made NAD legendary among audio enthusiasts.

The MDC (Modular Design Construction) DAC module

The MDC (Modular Design Construction) DAC module, which comes installed

Digital sources welcome

This amp features NAD's innovative modular design construction,which allows you to customize your input configuration by adding or swapping modules on the back of the unit. The 356DAC's included DAC module features an asynchronous USB connection that controls the data flow of your computer audio files, reclocking the data stream to minimize jitter. Your music will come to life in three dimensions as the soundstage expands and reveals detail. This module also features an optical input, for use with your CD, DVD, or Blu-ray player, and it supports sample rates of up to 192kHz.

Power to spare

NAD's PowerDrive™ technology allows the C 356DAC to sound even more potent than you would expect from its rating of 80 watts x 2 channels. Like a turbo-charger, the PowerDrive circuitry senses the demands placed on the amp and pours on higher current when it's needed to reproduce peaks of musical energy.

The C356DAC with a phono module (not included) swapped in for the DAC module

The C356DAC with a phono module (not included) swapped in for the DAC module

The ins and outs

With enough connections to hook up seven audio components and two pairs of speakers, the C 356DAC can handle your arsenal of audio gear. Should you wish to swap out the DAC module to accommodate a turntable, owners can install an optional NAD PP375 phono input module for listening to vinyl. The included remote gives you easy control of the amplifier and the other NAD audio components in your system.

Separate preamp input/line-level output jacks let you use the C 355DAC as an independent power amplifier (or as a preamp, in the unlikely event that the built-in wattage doesn't produce enough volume for you). If your main stereo speakers don't supply enough bass to disturb the peace, you can easily add a powered subwoofer.

And it's green too

NAD designed the C 356DAC to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing performance. It consumes just 0.5 watts in standby mode and includes a convenient all-off "vacation" switch.

This integrated amp is everything I could ask for. I don't care for the latest bells and whistles, I'm interested in an extremely well built product. The NAD satisfies. Excellent sound and Crutchfield is great. Why else would I make my purchase from Montana!

Anonymous, Bozeman, MT

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What's in the Box:

  • Stereo integrated amplifier w/ DAC
  • 68" AC Power cord
  • Wireless remote control (SR 8)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 2 Pre-out/Main-in jumpers (installed)
  • Owner's Manual
  • Warranty Card
  • MDC DAC instruction sheet

Product Highlights:

  • 80 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.007% THD
  • 80 watts x 2 channels into 4 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.007% THD
  • 4-ohm stable for use with a wide range of speakers
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 101 dB
  • asynchronous DAC module features Burr-Brown TI PCM 1796 technology
  • sample rates: 32kHz-96kHz (USB), 32kHz-192kHz (optical)
  • PowerDrive™ circuit with automatic speaker impedance sensing delivers maximum dynamic power output regardless of speaker load
  • Soft Clipping™ circuit gently limits amplifier power output to reduce risk of speaker damage due to prolonged high volume operation
  • 1 Modular Design Construction (MDC) bay allows you to swap in the PP375 phono stage or other MDC Modules in the Dac module's place
  • toroidal power transformer
  • rotary bass and treble controls with defeat switch for tone control bypass
  • 7 RCA audio inputs including 2 tape in/outs
  • tape monitor loop for adding an equalizer or signal processor
  • front-panel minijack input for connecting a portable music player
  • main-amp input and 2 preamp outputs for connecting a powered subwoofer or separate amplifier for bi-amping
  • full-size headphone jack
  • front-panel switching for 2 pairs of speakers
  • two pairs of speaker binding posts
  • RS-232 port for operation with third-party controllers
  • 12-volt trigger output
  • IR input/output
  • one switched AC convenience outlet
  • detachable AC power cord
  • remote control
  • 17-1/8"W x 5-3/16"H x 13-13/16"D
  • weight: 19.6 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Reviews

NAD C 356DAC Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(24 Reviews)
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Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Performance Specs
Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms) 80
Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms) 80
Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms) 80
Frequency Bandwidth 20-20k
THD 0.007%
Minimum Impedance 4 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 101
Digital Music Features
Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) Yes
High-resolution Audio Playback No
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi No
Connections
Total Analog Inputs 7
Phono Input No
Optical Digital Inputs 1
Coaxial Digital Inputs No
USB Input Type-B
Preamp Outputs Stereo (2)
Headphone Output 1/4"
Dimensions and Warranty
Width (inches) 17-1/8
Height (inches) 5-3/16
Depth (inches) 13-13/16
Weight (pounds) 19.6
Parts Warranty 2 Years
Labor Warranty 2 Years

Product Research

Features
Controls
Connections

Features

NAD PowerDrive Circuit: The C 356DAC use NAD's proprietary PowerDrive amplifier technology that provides high dynamic power and low impedance drive capability. By adding a second high-voltage rail to the amp's well regulated high-current power supply, the amplifier can nearly double its continuous power on a short term dynamic power basis. This uniquely efficient power supply topology provides the real world benefits of high dynamic power that remains uncompromised by low impedance speakers.

FDP Specifications: NAD uses Full Disclosure Power (FDP), the most demanding criterion for performance measurement. FDP specifies distortion under the most extreme conditions of low impedance loads and frequency extremes, rather than the simple and easy 1kHz @ 8 ohms test quoted by many of other manufactures. NAD uses this stricter performance criterion because it more closely matches the demands of real music and real loudspeakers. Maintaining specified distortion at 4 ohms and at 20Hz to 20kHz is a much more difficult achievement. The NAD C 356DAC is rated at 80 watts x 2 channel (@ 20-20kHz, in 4/8-ohm, with 0.007% THD).

Soft Clipping: NAD's Soft Clipping circuit gently limits the output of the C 356DAC to minimize audible distortion when the amplifier is over-driven. While Soft Clipping can be left on at all times to reduce the likelihood of audible distortion from excessive volume settings, you can also turn the circuit off for critical listening if you prefer.

Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC): The C 356DAC stereo integrated amplifier is fitted with NAD's MDC DAC USB Digital-to-Analog Converter which lets you listen to music stored on or streamed to your computer through your hifi-system without noise or distortion. The C 356DAC uses an 'asynchronous USB' technique and a high precision clock, so your 24-bit/96kHz quality computer music flows smoothly without 'jitter' or harsh distortion.

Modular Design Construction (MDC): Modular Design Construction (MDC) makes future upgrades possible with interchangeable, upgradeable modules.

Controls

Remote Control: The included IR remote control handles the key functions of the C 356DAC. The IR remote can also be used to directly command other NAD products that respond to applicable common remote control codes. This includes other NAD Stereo Receiver, Integrated Amplifier, and Preamplifier models. It has additional controls to remotely operate NAD CD Players, AM/FM Tuners, and dedicated AM/FM/DB Tuners. It will operate up to a distance of 23'. The remote requires two "AA" alkaline batteries (included).

Volume: The Volume control adjust the overall loudness of the signals being fed to t he loudspeakers or headphones. The Volume control does not affect recordings made using the Tape output terminals, but will affect the signal going to the Pre-amp output terminals (Pre Out 1 and Pre Out 2).

Balance: The Balance control adjusts the relative levels of the left and right speakers. The Balance control does not affect recordings made using the Tape output terminals, but will affect the signal going to the Pre-amp output terminals (Pre Out 1 and Pre Out 2).

Tone Controls: The C 356DAC stereo integrated amplifier features independent Bass (100Hz) & Treble (10kHz) controls to adjust the tonal balanced of your system. The Tone control does not affect recordings made using the Tape output terminals, but will affect the signal going to the Pre-amp output terminals (Pre Out 1 and Pre Out 2).

Note: The Tone control circuits can be bypassed.

Input Selector Switch: Slide this switch to select the active input on the DAC module; either Optical for S/PDIF or USB for computer audio.

Note: The Phono input cannot be selected as an active input since there is no Phono input and no room for an additional MDC module.

Connections

USB (Type-B) Port: The C 356DAC stereo integrated amplifier features a rear-panel USB (type-B) port to connect to your computer, so you can listen to music stored on or streamed to your computer (Windows or Mac). The USB input supports audio sampling rates of 32kHz to 96kHz.

Note: The rear-panel DAC Module switch must be set to USB.

Optical Digital Input: The stereo integrated amplifier also features a rear-panel optical (toslink) digital input for connecting of your CD, SACD, DVD, or Blu-ray player. The optical digital input supports audio sampling rates of 32kHz to 192kHz.

Note: The rear-panel DAC Module switch must be set to Optical.

Front-Panel Stereo Minijack: The NAD C 356DAC is equipped with a front-panel stereo minijack (3.5mm) to temporarily connect your portable digital audio player.

Analog Inputs: The NAD C 356DAC stereo integrated amplifier is fitted with 5 rear-panel analog stereo audio inputs (RCA). These inputs are labeled 'MP', 'CD', 'Tuner', 'Disc', and 'AUX'.

Tape Monitor Inputs/Outputs:  The NAD C 356DAC is equipped with two stereo Tape Monitor outputs (labeled 'Tape Monitor' and 'Tape 2') for recording purposes.

A-B Speaker Terminals: The NAD C 356DAC is fitted with A & B speaker outputs. You can choose to play back only the A speakers, only the B speakers, or both A-B speakers. The speaker terminals are binding-posts and will accept single banana plugs, pin connectors, or bare wire (16-12 AWG).

Note: The stereo integrated amp will support one pair of 4 to 8-ohm speakers or two pair of 8-ohm speakers.

Preamp Outputs: The C 356DAC features dual stereo pre-amp outputs (labeled 'Pre Out1' and 'Pre-Out 2') to connect the unit to an external power amplifier or power subwoofer.

Main Input: This is a stereo RCA connection which allows the connection of an external preamplifier or processor.

Headphone Output: The C 356DAC is fitted with a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack for connecting a set of headphones (sold separately). The headphone jack will work in parallel with the selected speakers (A and/or B). To listen to only your headphones, de-select Speakers A-B. The volume, tone, and balance controls are operative for headphone listening.

IR Input/Output: There is an IR input (3.5mm), used to control this unit using an optional infrared repeater or the IR output of another component. There is also an IR output (3.5mm) used to control another compatible component.

+12V Trigger Output: The +12V trigger output (3.5mm) lets you turn on/off another device along with the C 356DAC.

RS-232 Port: The rear-panel RS-232 port allows connection to a compatible PC or external whole-house control system from companies such as AMX or Crestron. NAD is a certified partner of AMX and Crestron and fully supports these external devices.

Switched AC Outlet: This convenient outlet can supply switched AC power to another component or accessory. The total draw off all devices connected to this outlet must not exceed 120 watts.

AC Power Cord: The C 356DAC comes supplied with a detachable 68" AC power cord.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Accessories
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

In the end I chose the NAD over the new Cambridge Audio integrated amps based on excellent past experience with the NAD 'sound' and reliability. [ Joe  Mar 18, 2016 ]
upgrade old a/v receiver [ james  Mar 17, 2016 ]
Excellent sound quality and low noise (THD). Excellent pre-amp stage with a lot of power for 80W per ch. Thanks Crutchfeld!!! [ Marcus  Feb 26, 2016 ]
I wanted an amplifier to listen primarily to music and one that would accommodate input from a computer. The amplifier has met my expectations so far. [ Benedict Amaebi  Feb 09, 2016 ]
The reviews of the sound quality and that they threw in the nice DAC. High end disks are great but streaming Tidal through a USB connection is a huge improvement over other(pandora,spotify) streaming and analog connections. [ John  Feb 05, 2016 ]
It is just amazing! if you want to get solid, warm sound and stable performance, you are getting right thing! it is good purchasing, if you are trying to balance the budget and performance. The highlight is AB Class pre-amp, I really like it! One more thing is the super distortion removal technology(? I guess), it is dead silent unit, COOL! [ Baofeng  Jan 08, 2016 ]

5 questions already asked

It's fine. For sure separately . Would have to review my physics to see if you can run them at the same time . [ William G.  Mar 21, 2016 ]
Joe, I don't think that would be a problem as long as you don't use A and B at the same time. I have done this and it was no problem. However using A + B can damage the amp. Ask me how I know :) [ Darrell  Mar 21, 2016 ]
You should have no problems. If you use only one pair at a time the greatest load would be the 4 ohm pair which the amp will handle comfortably. Even if you do accidentally connect both pair at the same time it should cause no problems at moderate power (volume) levels. If things are really cranking then the soft-clipping circuitry will be there to prevent any damage and will let you know (red LED on front panel) to take corrective action. [ Edward  Mar 21, 2016 ]
I have only a single pair of speakers, however, it is my understanding the amplifier senses the impedance and makes the necessary adjustments automatically. There is no switch on back to make the adjustment manually, so I see no problem with what you are asking, though you might want to contact NAD and ask exactly how the amp would handle both a and b speakers simultaneously if it is averaging it may damage your speakers or result in an improper impedance for both sets. You kind of have me wondering, though I think if it where going to be a problem they would simply have the switch set up for either or, rather than allowing both to operate together. In all my time spent reading the manual and operating guide, I cannot recall anything being said about it or warning against it. As long as this model has been out it would be safe I think to assume we would have read something about it where it an issue. [ John  Mar 21, 2016 ]
Shouldn't be a problem if your TV has the proper outputs. We do it and use the auxiliary input on the integrated amp. [ Darrell  Feb 03, 2016 ]
I'm running an Apple TV (last generation with optical audio input) to the built in DAC module. This allows me to stream any Apple TV sound and any other audio signal including Mac OS or IOS generated info. Works well and sounds quite good. [ JOSH  Feb 02, 2016 ]
If your TV has optical out, yes it would be great, if your TV has RCA audio out, it will be fine as well. [ Baofeng  Feb 01, 2016 ]
Yes. You can use the fiber in or one set of the RCA jacks. In my case, I have audio out of my TV so I run the audio to the TV via HDMI and then use the audio out from the TV to route it back to the amplifier. I use the optical in for audio playback. [ Charles  Feb 01, 2016 ]
Yes no problem. You have Rca inputs for that as well as an optical input to choose from. I just put tv audio in auxiliary input and dedicate optical for steaming music. [ MATTHEW  Feb 01, 2016 ]
If your TV has an optical audio output, left and right channel RCA audio output, or a 3.5mm audio output, you can run your TV with this amp. There are also converters for different configurations. [ Bob  Feb 01, 2016 ]
Yes 1- RCA ( right and left ) plug in aux or other 2 - Optical in from tv / source to dac [ William G.  Feb 01, 2016 ]
Yes, it does not autosense and the remote that is supplied is unable to make this switch between USB & Optical. The little switch at the back is the only way. This is perhaps the worst part of this integrated amp/dac [ Srivenkata  Jan 01, 2016 ]
I beleive you do have to manually switch the modes, I haven't used that feature yet. I suppose that means the amplifier must be positioned for easy access to the backside (mine isn't which might play into me not using it). [ Allan  Dec 31, 2015 ]
It's a manual switch, not automatic. Bit of a pain, but 356DAC puts out a great sound. [ Derek  Dec 29, 2015 ]
I would suggest a vintage tuner. They only have RCA connections. I have a Pioneer TX950 that I have had since the 80's. It works great. They are inexpensive on e-bay or any vintage dealers. There is a great selection of all brands. The reason I bought the NAD C 356DAC was my old amp (Pioneer SA 1050) was not compatible with todays digital equipment. With this amp, I can run my digital TV through it, I have an EQ (more old school) patched into it which also switches on and off with the amp , and it is remote controlled. Any more questions, just ask. FYI, I love the amp. [ Bob  Jul 31, 2015 ]
Pro-ject- "Tuner Box S" (FM only) Amazing little FM only tuner for a man on a budget- Yamaha "T-S500" (AM & FM) Nice little tuner, no frills, clean. - I am sure you are aware that NAD makes a tuner that is a beautiful match...............NAD C 427 Features: RDS PS (Station name) and RT (Radio text) 40 Station random presets (AM or FM) VFL graphic display MOS-FET RF Front End RS-232 Interface IR Input NAD Full Function Remote Control <0.5W Standby power consumption A bit of a premium for the price but considering the state of AM/FM radio today, we are fortunate we can still purchase a tuner............If however, for whatever reason you require FM (or God forbid AM), It is far better to keep your tuner separated from your other electronics. It will perform better, as will your stereo.(The two have always clashed when brought together in the same chassis, the "receiver" was never a good idea.....) If someday in the future you wish to bring HI-RES audio into your broadcast arena, there are some interesting emerging technologies on the "streaming" stage that are crying for attention. Although it remains to be seen who will take the lead (and hold it) in this interesting area, and so both some risk, and some cash are currently required to explore these new area's, long overdue to enter into the mainstream. [ John  Jul 29, 2015 ]
I am using an NAD tuner I have had for many years. I think an easier approach is find the tuner you want and if it doesn't have the RCA output, buy a converter. [ Cynthia  Jul 29, 2015 ]
I cannot answer that. I have mine hooked up to a Smart TV and two computers. [ JEERAN  Jul 29, 2015 ]
You can find out more about International orders here: http://www.crutchfield.com/international/ It is not designed for 220v use. [ Jeff  Mar 26, 2015 ]  Staff
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