NAD 320BEE or Cambridge Audio 640A - can't decide ??

 

New member
Username: Joy_in_hifi

Post Number: 4
Registered: Nov-04
All,

I know this kind of question has been asked numerous times in all the forums but here I go again....

Music preference:
I listen to Billy Joel, Elton John, Bee Gees, Abba, Queen, The Who, Pink Floyd, Josh Groban, Yanni, Jean Michelle Jarre, etc. So I am gypsy as far as my music tastes are concerned and I listen to what I want on that day..

Possible speakers:
AE Aegis Evo 3 or Wharfedale 8.3/9.4 - these are speakers that I like and would like to buy.

Possible Amps:
NAD 320BEE or Cambridge Audio 640A? I am looking for a quality product which will last me for at least 5 years and will sound good with whatever I listen to.

I am planning to add a matching cdp once I get the amp. Interconnect will be QED Qunex 1 and speaker cables - QED Silver Anniversary (Bi-wire).

Please respond with your experience / advice and my apologies to those who feel this cliched.

Thanks
Roy
 

New member
Username: Joy_in_hifi

Post Number: 5
Registered: Nov-04
Hi everyone,

Have you had a chance to review the 320BEE and 640A side by side? Please share your views on the characteristics of the 2 systems.

Thanks
 

Silver Member
Username: Sun_king

Leeds, West Yorkshire UK

Post Number: 178
Registered: Mar-04
320BEE - a bit thin sounding but great for a budget amp
640A - fine midrange but missing the highs and lows
My advice would be to save a bit more for a higher range Nad if you like the slightly warmer sound, the C352 for instance.
 

ca_convert
Unregistered guest
In my experience:

640a is fast dynamic but a bit light
320BEE is warmer but more thump
NAD C352 is less warm then 320BEE, but clearer midrange and huge slam

All are great, its really down to what you prefer. Go listen!
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 141
Registered: Sep-04
Hello, CA_

Seems you know the NADs pretty well. Can I ask you then - since the 320BEE is not a bad price at Richer's at the moment -

Just how much different would the 320BEE sound next to my old 3225PE? It's an improvement of sorts on my even older 3020i.

Many thanks in advance,

V

 

Franco
Unregistered guest
I own the NAD c320bee, it's a quality sound.. a lot of detail for a 200 quid amp but it lacks gusto. I would not hesitate in saying.. save a little more for the c352.. i wish i had!
 

New member
Username: Ca_convert

CardiffUK

Post Number: 9
Registered: Jan-05
varney,

I see that Richer sounds has the C352 at £299 which is a steal.

I never listened to the 3225PE, but I can compare my old 3130 to the 3020. The 3130 was the 2nd up in the range in its day over the 3020, so I guess its the C352 to the 320BEE.

There was a noticeable improvement in what I can only describe as control, which manifested itself in better dynamics as well as much more forceful bottom end. I believe the that the PE amps were built after the 3130 and IIRC they were a step upwards in terms of sonic ability. So, in a roundabout way I wouldnt expect there to be a huge difference, since its analogous to comparing this years Ford Fiesta against last years Ford Focus..

I agree with franco though, the extra 100 quid or so for the C352 is money well spent.

Sorry to be so obtuse, I think perhaps you over estimate my knowledge of NAD. You might check out Jan 2005 edition of Hi-Fi+ (I think), I didn't buy it but i noticed a letter from a reader who made some comments about NAD tweaks, and mentioned he wwould be happy to contact peopel directly with his teaking suggestions on various NAD models. Ive only made the replace the jumper from pre-out to main-in, since Ive no desire to take the cover off the thing....
 

Unregistered guest
Is 295 euro for an occasion NAD AV 716 RECEIVER too much? I just bought a second -hand NAD 502CD-player. AS i opened it there was a rubber mat attached under the top. Is that original?
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 190
Registered: Sep-04
Thanks CA_,

An interesting idea.... I wonder what they do to them? I'll try and find a copy of the mag.

V
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 191
Registered: Sep-04
And did changing the jumpers make a lot of difference? What did you replace them with? Interconnects, I presume?

V
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ca_convert

CardiffUK

Post Number: 26
Registered: Jan-05
Varney,

I have thus far only changed the jumpers for the freebie interconnects that came with the C542. There was a noticeable improvement in bottom end control, and their seems to be a little more detail and timing. I need to get round to buying some decent quality gold plated interconnects, which should improve things further. If you get the magazine, would you mind letting me have the contact details from the author of the letter since once the warranty of the 352 runs out the lid is coming off.....
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 194
Registered: Sep-04
So.... when you talk about 'bottom end control', do you mean to say there is more detail in the lower-end frequencies? I've seen it said here by someone else who tried it that it made "little to no difference". For those who care, it is that "little difference" which might be important and which to me, makes it worth a try.

If I manage to get hold of the mag, I'll share the details with you, of course.

I wouldn't hesitate to lift the lid, personally, if I could find out some more on this.

Will keep ya posted.

V
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ca_convert

CardiffUK

Post Number: 32
Registered: Jan-05
By bottom end control, yes fundamentally it is more detailed, but to be more specific, I am hearing this:

1. bass guitar notes are more easily to follow, I can more easily pick them up and play them myself since I can hear where its going.

2. The notes stop and start with less overhang, or more clarity whichever way you look at it. This has the effect of revealing better the rhythmic tempo of the music.

Both of these observations would fall under the heading improved detail also
 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 197
Registered: Sep-04
Bingo!

That is the very thing I have been looking to extract more of.

I'm off to find that spare set of AR interconnects I have lying about somewhere....

Cheers,

V

 

Silver Member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 198
Registered: Sep-04
Yes....

This is working with the old 'Power Envelope' model. I'm using Acoustic Research balanced line cable with gold plated connectors.

There is some extra detail washing up ashore from the mid-low range. Definitely.

Now to get the mag and.... where's my screwdriver....!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Amir

Post Number: 37
Registered: Jul-04
There is anyone who have already heard this combination?:
Nad c352 with cambridge audio 640C,
compared with,
cambridge audio 640A with 640C.
What is the diffrences between the 2 combination(i am meaning to the differences in the medium vocal and the details of the sound and the low bass )
 

Bronze Member
Username: Amir

Post Number: 38
Registered: Jul-04
There is anyone who have already heard this combination?:
Nad c352 with cambridge audio 640C,
compared with,
cambridge audio 640A with 640C.
What is the diffrences between the 2 combination(i am meaning to the differences in the medium vocal and the details of the sound and the low bass )
 

alistair
Unregistered guest
im just reading this post and im modding an old 3020 series 20, I noticed that hifi+ was suggested as a resource for mods. did any one get the guys contact details id love to talk to him pls contact me at
alistair007@excite.com
 

natraj-india
Unregistered guest
i have heard 320bee with mission 73i.its a quality sound at the price.
 

Melchior
Unregistered guest
In reply to amir_kkk,

I currently have the NAD C352 and Cambridge Audio 640C combination in conjunctin with EPOS M5 speakers.

Initially I purchased the 640A and 640C but after 1 Month had to change the amp as it didn't suit my ear. I found the cambridge audio combo to brash for my tastes to the extent that I was constantly turning the amp down.

I traded the 640A in for the C352 and am much happier with the sound. The harshness has gone the detail remains and there is now a greater amount of bass. The sound generally sounds more well balanced and warmer wheras prior to the amp change the bass was lacking and I found the sound generally too clinical. All in the humble opinion of myself and my ear. ;)
 

Camb
Unregistered guest
amir_kkk

I owned NAD C352 first and didn't like it, now I own Cambridge 640 a and looove it!
 

Anonymous
 
QQdddsa
 

New member
Username: Ellison

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-05
My System is Nad320BEE Nad521CDp and MS914 Floorstanding. Sounds great.
 

New member
Username: Thebeholder

Post Number: 3
Registered: Feb-05
If choosing between Cambridge Audio 640a and NAD 320BEE, the former is a better amp, but it is also more expensive. I think, it is fair to compare 640a to NAD c352, and the choice here is a matter of preferences (and may depend also on the speakers). I've listened to the both of them and in the end got NAD c372. I liked the sound of Cambridge Audio, but it was lacking power a bit (for my speakers) and sometimes choking on more difficult passages. c352 was OK, c372 was even better, but again, it's more expensive.
 

New member
Username: Begal

Post Number: 5
Registered: Feb-05
Glad to hear you've found the sound you like. I've followed a similar path to you and ca_convert.
I bought the 640A and 640C back in Sept. Loved the detail and thought the lack of lower end was due to speakers only (B&W DM601 - It couldn't be the CA equipment as it had all those great reviews.... could it?) So I kept the equipment, bought some new speakers and that didn't help. Took the speakers back and bought (to audition) Nad C320BEE Amp, and the Nad C521BEE and Nad C542 cd players. I would have bought the C352CT amp as well but they didn't have them in stock. Tried every combination, spending a bit of time listening to each. Without a doubt, with all three cd players the Nad amp sounded better to me.. Just suits my taste I guess. I was very tempted to audition the Nad C352CT amp after this but I've already got to sell the 640A at a loss and the extra cost of the CT352CT together with this would have been a bit much. Besides, I was happy with the 320BEE.
So then it was just a case of choosing the cd player. Very little in it I felt, although I probably should have spent a bit longer listening to each, but I was getting fed up by now and over examining. Even trying HDCDs on the C542 didn't sound very different to me. (I have played a SACD through a SACD player connected through this amp and that does sound better than the equivalent CD).
The CA player does suffer from a a slight hum and some noise from the drive, but I do think it picks up a little more detail than the NADs, but like I say, very little in it (to my ears).
I'm going to stick with the 640C as that means I don't have to sell it! I'll put some felt pads on the feet to reduce the hum, and after the warranty expires I'm going to open her up and put a brush or seal around the cd transport slot as this 1.5 mm gap is where most of the noise comes from.
The Nad C320BEE and the CA 640C is a pleasure to listen too. I'm just waiting for my Monitor Audio Bronze B2 speakers to arrive.
Just a little more info on the 640A for those who like to play. The lower end can be improved dramatically by adding or replacing the capacitors. I had this confirmed by others. Here's the info I got, but I haven't tried it.
"For azur 640A I have not changed, but installed two new capacitors 10.000 mkFx50V in power supply. With original 4x2200mkF it will be 18.800mkF total on one bridge side.
If you change two caps on Power amp input (1mkFx50V, near each canal input wire) with better polypropilene film (Audyn Cap or Mundorf), increase of quality should be much greater."

Apparently these caps are about £20 each.

Thanks to all who contribute and comment. It's good to hear of similar experiences.
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