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$~350 amp showdown: NAD C320BEE vs. Cambridge 540A vs. Rotel RA-02

 

Bronze Member
Username: Destro713

Chicago, IL U.S.A.

Post Number: 12
Registered: Jul-04
What are the pros and cons of these three amps? Tonal differences? Power reserve issues? Reliability?
 

DJ1's
Unregistered guest
bump...

I am looking at the same amps.

somebody help a brother out.
 

nout
Unregistered guest
A bit lazy guys? :-)
You'll find a lot of opinions on other threads concerning these amps.

I never heard the Cambridge, but if I had to choose between the NAD and Rotel I'd go for the NAD: more balanced, sweet and refined.
The Rotel sounds cleaner but brighter...still a great amp.
(If you don't care about a remote control, try the Rotel RA-01 which is identical to the RA-02...but cheaper!)

Listen to them, you may not agree with me.
On the other hand, just buying one of these amps blind without hearing them wouldn't be that stupid: I don't think any of these will dissapoint you.

The differences in power and control (between NAD and Rotel) aren't that big. It really isn't an issue. Having said that: The NAD has the better control over speakers (I read it somewhere in technical vocabulary - I couldn't hear it though).


 

Anonymous
 
the difference aren't big?? I heard that that are many between nad and rotel
 

Anonymous
 
the difference aren't big?? I heard that that are many between nad and rotel
 

nout
Unregistered guest
In sound the difference is obvious, (Rotel can sound rough and too upfront at times, NAD is sweeter) altough not really big, but in control and power, how the amp handles the speakers, they both are pretty good.

Thinking of buying one of these?
 

Anonymous
 
probably c320bee litely better amp for money(also look better on inside than rotel). Aldow ra-01 is still good. Some poeple say that NAD might be lazy or thin sometimes but I dissagre with them. It's fair amp for money and it easily
beats other amps like sony, kenwwod, HK, pioneer,
...
 

Silver Member
Username: Sun_king

Leeds, West Yorkshire UK

Post Number: 203
Registered: Mar-04
The C320BEE can't be beaten new for the money, that's for sure. It does sound a little thin compared to more expensive amps but at the price point it's designed for you can't have any grumbles with what you get - far from it. The baby Nad has a wonderful sound, just don't expect the deepest or fullest bass in the world. Nad can't provide everything for so little money.
 

Silver Member
Username: Virus5877

West Lafayette, Indiana USA

Post Number: 140
Registered: Apr-05
NAD has a softer sound, and you'll probably need some big speakers to get any decent bass out of it.

Rotel, my personal favorite, is definitly an in-your-face amp. It brings music, and lots of it! It has much better bass response, and personally, in a blind test, I thought the Rotel had better imaging and stage presence with my B&W speakers than the Baby NAD.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 88
Registered: May-05
The right speakers can definately make up for the "thin" sound or lack of bass. Listen to it with some PSB towers. I've always believed that the speakers were the most important component.
 

Silver Member
Username: Sun_king

Leeds, West Yorkshire UK

Post Number: 252
Registered: Mar-04
I don't agree Stu. Yes decent speakers will sound better than poor ones but they won't get bass out of an amp if it just isn't producing it. I've listened to the C320BEE with some great speakers and it still sounded thin in comparison to a better amp. It's bound to. The BEE does everything great except bass - if the whole picture was 100% then the amp would cost thousands.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Stu_pitt

NYC, NY Pakistan

Post Number: 94
Registered: May-05
Sun King - In comparison to a C372 or C162/C272 combo, then yes it does sound thin. In a large room at a high SPL the 320BEE will lack bass. From my experience, in my slightly smaller than normal room with PSB Image t55's, the 320BEE doesn't lack bass or seem thin. I don't listen to anything with sub-terranean bass like a pipe organ, but I do listen to bass heavy music - Korn, System of a Down, Sublime, Beastie Boys; just to name a few. I haven't had a single issue with a lack of bass.

You are right about a good speaker won't produce something that the amp cannot.

I should rephrase my statement to - the most important component in the system is the listening room and recording quality.
 

Silver Member
Username: Sun_king

Leeds, West Yorkshire UK

Post Number: 253
Registered: Mar-04
Hi Stu, you're right in stating that good speakers are extremely important to the overall sound. Whoever considers that their system is lacking a decent pair should try and change that at the earliest convenience. I'm glad you like the BEE, it's a great amp. I was just stating that compared to its bigger brothers it is a bit thin sounding but then most Nad amps don't do seismic bass. Their forte is a fast, tight and tuneful bass.
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