NAD Electronics Announces The C 389 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier

NAD Electronics Announces The C 389 HybridDigital DAC Amplifier

Classic audio brand NAD Electronics is still creating the kind of showstopping hi-fi that the company has been making since the 1970s. Today NAD is using the High End Show in Munich to announce its new C 389 HybridDigital DAC amplifier, the ideal heart for an audiophile stereo system bringing great sound quality with NAD’s Modular Design Construction platform, MDC2.

Incorporating NAD’s superb HybridDigital UcD amplifier design, the C 389 has a digital section built around a 32-bit/384kHz ESS Technology Sabre DAC chip renowned for its near-zero levels of clock jitter, exceptionally wide dynamic range, plus ultra-low noise and distortion.

For the output stage, the C 389 has a customized version of NAD’s HybridDigital UcD design, using multiple UcD amplifier modules in a balanced bridged configuration with an innovative switch-mode power supply that can deliver extra current as needed.

With up to 130W per channel of continuous power, NAD claims the C 389 can produce real-life listening levels with any loudspeaker load, with virtually unmeasurable distortion and noise through the audioband, plus effortless reproduction of musical transients.

With a full suite of digital and analogue inputs, including an ultra-low-noise phono stage and HDMI eARC interface, the C 389 can accept output from almost any audio component. In addition to two sets of speaker outputs, the C 389 has two subwoofer outputs, preamp outputs, plus a dedicated headphone amp.

The C 389 included the very latest iteration of NAD’s Modular Design Construction technology, MDC 2. There are two MDC2 expansion slots which can be populated in the future as audio technology advances and evolves. First introduced in 2006, NAD’s Modular Design Construction is a way of future-proofing a device enabling owners of MDC-capable components to add new capabilities by inserting expansion modules into the MDC slots.

Introduced in 2021, MDC2 is a brand-new design of the modular principle that enables two-way communications between the expansion module and the host component. NAD’s first MDC2 module will be the MDC2 BluOS-D, which features BluOS high-res multi-room streaming and Dirac Live room correction.


The MDC2 BluOS-D module can connect to any home network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet. With the module installed, the C 389 can become part of a whole-home music system with as many as 64 zones. Controlled via the BluOS Controller app, which is available for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, listeners can play music from over 20 streaming services including Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music HD, or Spotify. Alternatively, they can play music from personal music libraries.

Like all BluOS-enabled components, the MDC2 BluOS-D can decode MQA audio files on the C 389, plus there’s Apple AirPlay 2 and control for popular voice assistants. By connecting the supplied microphone to the MDC BluOS-D’s USB port, the user can run the free Dirac Live app on a smart device or computer.

Dirac Live room correction compensates for acoustic problems in any room, such as standing waves and room reflections. I’ve tried Dirac in some of NAD’s high-end Master Series and the results are impressive, producing a more controlled and deeper bass, with a more textured bass and precise imaging.

Pricing & Availability: The new NAD C 389 will go on sale in the early Summer of 2022 for a suggested retail price of $1,499 / £1,299 / €1,499.

More info:

Key Features

  • Customized HybridDigital UcD amplifier in fully balanced bridged configuration.
  • Continuous power: 2 x 130 Watts per channel into 8/4Ω (preliminary).
  • Instantaneous power: 210W into 8Ω, 300W into 4Ω, 350W into 2Ω (preliminary).
  • Very low harmonic and intermodulation distortion.
  • Dual MDC2 ports for expansion possibilities.
  • Optional MDC2 BluOS-D module adds BluOS Hi-Res multi-room music streaming and Dirac Live room correction.
  • Jitter-free 32-bit/384kHz ESS Sabre DAC.
  • Ultra-low-noise MM phono stage with infrasonic filtering circuitry.
  • Two optical and two coaxial digital inputs.
  • HDMI-eARC input.
  • Two pairs of line-level analogue inputs with ultra-low-noise buffer amplifiers.
  • Speaker A/Speaker B outputs.
  • Two-way Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth.
  • Dual subwoofer outputs.
  • Dedicated headphone amplifier.
  • CI-Friendly – IR remote, 12V Trigger in/out, IR in/out, RS-232 Serial port.
  • Seamless integrations with smarthome control systems such as Control4, Crestron, RTI, URC, Lutron, and Elan.

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