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Amplifier NAD 1000S and NAD 208 review

NAD’s THX-approved ?800 208 power amp is a beast. Extremely flexible it offers both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (phono) inputs together with Soft Clipping, impedance selection and bridging options.

Inside, four pairs of quasi-complementary MOSFET power transistors comprise the main power amp, leaving an extra three pairs (per channel) for any monumental musical peaks. This energy-efficient technique is dubbed Extended Dynamic Power (EDP).

The matching NAD 1000S preamp caters for MM/MC phono, tuner, video, CD and two tape sources, relying on the old 1000 Series as the bedrock of its design. In this instance a heavily modified phono stage and bigger power supply is intended to boost its performance.

Sound quality

In spite of NAD’s endeavours the 208 sounds surprisingly compressed and lazy in its handling of stereo depth, and dynamics. The string tone of our Mahler selection was lush rather than biting. Formerly vibrant and resonant bass notes would thud formlessly from the speakers. It can handle simple, boppy tunes but was taxed by Lyle Lovett’s Cryin Shame.

However, our panel liked the atmosphere the 1000S/208 sustained through mid and treble. Here its solid positioning and ambient soundstaging contrasts markedly with its wishy-washy bass, though .the MM phono input only serves to emphasise this disparity.

Conclusion

Both theNAD 1000S and 208 are solid examples of value-for-money engineering, products brimming with honest intent if not superlative sound quality. Unfortunately the 208 fails to reflect the substantial power delivered on paper. After all you’d expect a 300W amplifier to rock and roll, not wear lead boots.

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