NAD Electronics is turning 50 this year and in celebration of that impressive milestone, the Canadian manufacturer has announced a series of virtual and in-person events, as well as the launch of a vintage-inspired limited edition integrated amplifier, starting in October 2022 and rounding off around the Munich Hi-Fi Show in May 2023.
Many of us started our audio journey with NAD; I spent my youth at Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto experiencing high-end audio for the first time through NAD systems and Celestion loudspeakers.
NAD electronics has been part of my journey for almost 40 years and I listen to the NAD C 316BEE V2 Integrated Amplifier on a daily basis.
Over the past 50 years, NAD Electronics has been celebrated for its commitment to producing award-winning and future-oriented and high-performance electronic components that include amplifiers, source products such as turntables, CD and cassette players and more recently, streamers and A/V receivers – all while bringing music lovers and hi-fi enthusiasts enormous value and truth in their specifications.
The brand became a household name in hi-fi with the success of the NAD 3020 Integrated Amplifier, which over time became the highest-selling budget amplifier in history, achieving the feat by astounding hi-fi enthusiasts with its dynamic power despite its modest 20 watts per channel rating, and exciting music lovers with its detail and clarity at an affordable price point.
In so doing, NAD ushered in a completely new generation of hi-fi customers and drove the creation of a strong foundation for the continued growth of the industry.
In the decades since, the brand has pioneered many amplification technologies, including its ground-breaking work to perfect class A/B and class G amplification, class D digital and hybrid digital amplification, and the introduction of early protocols for network streaming for audio.
Throughout, NAD Electronics has championed truth in specifications, creating its own Full Disclosure Power standard that rates amplifier power based on real-world listening scenarios versus laboratory conditions, which sometimes put it at a “disadvantage” on the retail floor versus competitors who did not share that same commitment to transparency in measurements.
“Rating power at one frequency, one volume level, using a simplified test load is fine for submitting documentation to regulators but in reality, music impacts our emotions by being complex and dynamic,” says Greg Stidsen, Chief Technology Officer of Lenbrook International, the parent company of NAD Electronics. “It’s easy to create an amplifier that performs well in narrow conditions, but we are music lovers designing products for music lovers, so we rate our amplifiers across the whole frequency band and dynamic range to give our consumers a realistic expectation of amplifier performance for all the music they enjoy. That often meant the power rating on paper of NAD’s products were lower than what our competitors would publish, but our ratings better reflect the full and rich sound that great recordings contain.”
This principled way of designing products comes from deep within the core values of the brand, which include value for money, performance, simplicity, and innovation, and were present from the very beginning with Founder, Marty Borish, and legendary amplifier genius, Bjorn Erik Edvardsen.
Both have since passed away – Borish in 2017 and Edvardsen in 2018 – but not before they mentored a global team who now carry on Borish’s market development work and Edvardsen’s innovative approach to technology development. Today, the brand remains one of the most respected and award-winning brands in the hi-fi industry.
The brand kicks off the North American portion of its anniversary activities at Toronto Audio Fest the weekend of October 21-23, 2022, and the European portion at the Paris Audio-Video Show the weekend of November 4-6, 2022.
At these shows, NAD will debut a limited-edition anniversary product, the C 3050 LE Stereophonic Amplifier. With only 1972 being manufactured, the retro-look integrated amplifier harkens back to the heyday of hi-fi and incorporates LED illuminated left and right VU metres, as well as a satin walnut veneer wooden case that conceals fully modern features like hi-res multi-room streaming, ability to decode MQA studio master recordings, and Dirac Room Correction via the included BluOS-D MDC2 module, as well as AirPlay 2, two-way aptX HD Bluetooth, and HDMI eARC.
Other inputs and outputs include a phono stage and dedicated headphone amplifier. It is powered by the latest version of NAD’s HybridDigital amplifier rated at 100 watts per channel of Full Disclosure Power and features a high-resolution audiophile-grade DAC.
The NAD C 3050 LE will have a suggested retail price of USD $1972, and each unit is uniquely numbered from 1 through 1972 and will come with a certificate of authenticity. These very special and very limited amplifiers will be available at select NAD Electronics retailers around the world starting mid-November, 2022.
“The C 3050 LE is based on a 1974 industrial design of the original 3030 stereophonic amplifier, which in its day, produced 30 watts per channel using a class A/B design and offered audiophiles and music lovers an affordable performance-oriented amplifier option versus its contemporaries,” says Cas Oostvogel, Product Manager for NAD Electronics.
“The original 3030 had a matching companion tuner but the C 3050 LE modernizes it as a ‘just add speakers’ product that comes equipped with BluOS, a hi-res multi-room streaming platform, giving music lovers access to thousands of internet radio stations, as well as over 20 music streaming services.”
Also in mid-November, the company will premiere a documentary titled NAD Electronics: 50 Years of Truth in Power, which covers the early days of the brand and its evolution to its position today as a hi-fi innovator.
Mixing archival footage and materials with interviews with key personalities associated with the brand, the film takes viewers from its founding through to the launch of the legendary 3020 and the subsequent growing pains brought on by its outstanding growth and success. Its story arc concludes with the brand’s journey as a principled defender of truth in specifications with its Full Disclosure Power standards and staunch belief in ultimate value-for-money for consumers with its Modular Design Construction concept.
Produced by 1Project, a Toronto-based media production company, the film runs around 30 minutes and features expert pacing and beautiful cinematography.
“Anything less than a documentary feature film would have short-sold the brand of its influential history, and its fans of key pieces of the story,” says June Ip, Vice President of Marketing for Lenbrook International. “More importantly, it was the only way we could adequately pay tribute to the foundations laid down by Marty Borish and Bjorn Erik Edvardsen, and their passion project that was NAD, and the impact they had on the hi-fi industry over five decades.”
Stretching into 2023, the brand will continue its celebrations in March with the launch of the NAD C 3050 integrated amplifier, the more widely available version of its “LE” sibling.
Offered at a lower suggested price point than the limited-edition version, the C 3050 will retail for USD $1299, allowing consumers the choice to upgrade the unit to include BluOS and Dirac via its MDC2 feature for an additional USD $549. The C 3050 LE will be available at all NAD Electronics retailers worldwide.
Rated at 100 watts per channel, the C 3050 includes line inputs, HDMI eARC, two-way aptX HD Bluetooth, phono stage, and a dedicated headphone amplifier.
The arrival of the C 3050 will be accompanied by a series of global retail events jointly sponsored by NAD Electronics and its dedicated network of distributors and retailers, kicking off the weekend of March 3-5, 2023, and concluding the weekend of May 18-21, 2023, at the Munich High End Show, where the idea to create NAD Electronics first germinated back in 1972.
During this period, NAD retailers around the world will throw open their doors and welcome consumers for unique listening events, as well as exclusive promotional offers, all in celebration of the brand’s 50th anniversary.
“NAD’s success is a result of the dedication to the values the brand was founded on, that Marty & Erik led and mentored us with, and that we have maintained throughout our 50-year history,” says Gordon Simmonds, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lenbrook International.
“The mutually profound relationships amongst our present-day team and our global industry partners, together accounts for many hundreds of years of NAD experience, and that means that the multiple generations of hi-fi enthusiasts that form NAD’s fan base continue to benefit from excellent value for performance, without sacrificing the modern conveniences of music enjoyment. This is something few remaining brands canclaim and something we are very proud to be able to claim.”
As the various activities for the anniversary are launched, fans of the brand can keep up to date with the details by visiting NADelectronics.com/50years.