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Review NAD C298 Eigentakt power amplifier

Pros

  • Super neutral
  • High power
  • Grows with your system
  • Price!

Cons

  • No idea
  • Price: € 2000

    Build quality
    Usability
    Sound
    Price

    Intro

    Contents

    When we spoke with Peter Lyngdorf about Purifi Audio at the High End Munich 2019, we were immediately very curious. Both the amplifiers and the speaker units sound like a revolution in the audio industry. But unfortunately, not all products that are so forward-thinking see the light of day. That is fortunately different with the Eigentakt (freely translated: ‘own pace’ / ‘self clocking’) amplifiers. And also the speaker units. But we focus today on the NAD implementation of the Eigentakt amplifier. Meet the NAD C298 power amplifier..

    The NAD C298 is not the first amplifier based on Purifi Eigentakt that we have had in our hands. Previously, we also had the NAD M33 in our listening room. And our opinion about it is simple: it is one of the best, if not THE best, amplifier in its class. The NAD M33 is simply absent in terms of sound: it is a pass-through device and leaves the sound to the speaker. And that’s the way it should be.

    NAD C298

    The NAD C298 is a power amplifier that in many cases will be combined with the NAD C658: a streamer, dac and pre-amp in one box. They also fall roughly in the same (price)class: 2000 euros for the NAD C298 and 1700 euros for the C658. You are then all set for 3700 Euro. Well: in terms of volume and source control and amplification. Add a few nice speakers and you are done!

    As mentioned, the C298 is based on the Purifi Eigentakt amplification modules. These are co-developed by Bruno Putzys, known from Hypex UcD and nCore. Eigentakt is again a further development on that. Now Peter Lyngdorf is also part of the Purifi team. And Peter Lyngdorf also has a close relation to Lenbrook. And Lenbrook again owns the NAD brand, among others. Not entirely surprisingly, the M33 and the C298 are one of the first products with Eigentakt on board.

    However, NAD did do a few things differently from the reference designs. The input stage is different in both the M33 and the C298. This is to still have its own signature sound – a NAD signature. It is subtle, but noticeable. We will come to that later on in the review. And we will compare it to the reference design later on when we have build our own Eigentakt amp. The PCB is already in (see the green pcb: that’s an original Eigentakt amplifier).

    Specs

    The NAD C298 delivers a healthy amount of power: 2 x 185 watts into 8 Ohms and almost double that into 4 Ohms: 340 watts. If we bridge – the C298 can also be put into bridge mode to serve as a mono power amplifier – we get a hefty 620 watts in 8 Ohms and 1000/1100 watts of dynamic power (!). These are serious quantities of power. If these powers are not sufficient, then we don’t know what is.

    Nice thing about the C298 is that there are both single ended inputs and balanced inputs. There is also a possibility to switch on the power amplifier via a trigger. And if that is not possible, then there is an autosense option. This is adjustable so that it does not turn on or off too quickly.

    4 Comments

    1. Any comparison or thoughts on the sound of the NAD versus the Benchmark AHB2 power amplifier which is also meant to measure very cleanly and which your site has previously reviewed?

      I am tossing up between these two amps for my system at the moment, thanks!

      1. That is a very difficult question! Both are very clean. Both are very fast and both are very stable. I guess they are comparible. The Benchmark could be a tiny bit warmer in sound, if I remember correctly.

        1. Thanks for the quick reply! I’ve managed to find a local dealer who can let me audition both- it sounds like the NAD would be the better value at just under 3/4 of the price of the Benchmark here! Its an exciting time to be an audiophile with such great performance down to more affordable prices.

          Great review by the way, and the Youtube sound clips are actually very helpful and even with the compression demonstrates a clear difference with the Bryston. Keep up the great work!

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