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  1. #1
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    NAD 521BEE vs. C542 Opinions

    Well after deciding that I really do need a new CD player, I've narrowed down my choices to one of these 2 NAD players. I borrowed a C542 and could hear things on my stereo that I've never heard before. What are your thoughts? Is the 542 worth an extra $200 and what useful features do you get for it? My desire is to sit in the Lazy Boy at the end of a work day, pop in a couple of CD's and hear some decent music. I'm using an NAD C 162 preamp, ASL Wave AV 20 block amps and Axiom M22Ti speakers. (This is a noticable improvement over my old CD play and Denon AV unit). Thanks

  2. #2
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstcobra
    Well after deciding that I really do need a new CD player, I've narrowed down my choices to one of these 2 NAD players. I borrowed a C542 and could hear things on my stereo that I've never heard before. What are your thoughts? Is the 542 worth an extra $200 and what useful features do you get for it? My desire is to sit in the Lazy Boy at the end of a work day, pop in a couple of CD's and hear some decent music. I'm using an NAD C 162 preamp, ASL Wave AV 20 block amps and Axiom M22Ti speakers. (This is a noticable improvement over my old CD play and Denon AV unit). Thanks
    The C542 has a better DAC (24bit vs. 20bit) and it has HDCD. I listened to a C542 in a shop last Friday. I was impressed with what I heard, but I didn't have a chance to compare it to the 521BEE. I also listened to a NAD dvd player, a Rega Planet 2000, something from Yamaha and an Audio Research cdp that day. Although each player was in a different system, the 542 was my favorite because it lacked the digital glare noticeable with the Yamaha and the Rega (to a lesser extent, but it was still there which surprised me) and I couldn't detect any faults with the 542 as compared to the AR. My main goal is to find a cdp that comes a little closer to the sound I get with my turntable. With each player, I listenend to an album that I have on both cd and vinyl and the 542 came closest to my goal on that day.

    BTW, what do you think of the match between your solid state preamp and tube amps? Do you get the benefits of tubes, i.e., lush midrange, etc., with that configuration? I was going to go with a tube preamp and solid state amp, but based on my needs (a preamp with phono section) and budget it looks like it would be more economical to go with a solid state pre and tube amp. This approach seems to go against conventional wisdom, but I'm beginning to believe that conventional wisdom is not always applicable in this hobby.

  3. #3
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    I decided I must have a remote control and I really like the Wave 20's for what I paid. This setup, to me has a wonderful midrange. I considered a number on tube integrated amps - even used, but for the less than $875 that I have invested in the preamp and amp, I am pleased with the sound quality - and it has a remote! This is my first venture into tube amps, since I was a teenager( curently 3 kids in college!), so I am relearning lots of old stuff.

    For the low range, I have played with a powered sub, but I don't see an improvement, that I really need. Yes, the sub provides some "thump" to the room, but I enjoy listening just as much without it.

  4. #4
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstcobra
    I decided I must have a remote control and I really like the Wave 20's for what I paid. This setup, to me has a wonderful midrange. I considered a number on tube integrated amps - even used, but for the less than $875 that I have invested in the preamp and amp, I am pleased with the sound quality - and it has a remote! This is my first venture into tube amps, since I was a teenager( curently 3 kids in college!), so I am relearning lots of old stuff.

    For the low range, I have played with a powered sub, but I don't see an improvement, that I really need. Yes, the sub provides some "thump" to the room, but I enjoy listening just as much without it.
    Thanks for the insight, cobra man. I have 2 kids almost ready for college (junior and senior in high school). I'm looking at the Quick Silver mini-mono tube blocks. I've been stumped on the preamp because I need a phono section and I was thinking that I would have to have a tube preamp to get that tube sound. My choices would be limited and expensive. Now I'm beginning to think I can do just as well with a solid state preamp like your NAD or the used Bryston 0.5B (w/phono) I found last week.

    I was impressed with the NAD C542. If I can get a deal on it with manuf. warranty, I'll round out my new system with it.

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