• Despite its obvious Chinese origins, the NA-208C
is a well-built CD player with boutique style looks that are decidedly
upscale, though it doesn't carry an upscale price tag. Seriously, the
front panel controls remind me of what you'll find on Krell's costlier
• The NA-208C is easy to set up and even easier to use, and in a
desktop-like environment, the remote adds to the player's day to day
• The NA-208C's sound is one of smoothness instead of
ruthless retrieval, which should bode well for those with vast musical
tastes. I threw everything at it from female vocals to classic rock and
came away from every session impressed and musically satisfied.
While not the last word in any sonic category, the NA-208C is aimed more
at the music enthusiast than the dedicated audiophile. That being said,
I enjoyed listening to and interacting with the NA-208C more than I
have many so-called audiophile players in the past, because the
NA-208C's performance is all about the music, rather than showing you or
your system the error of your ways.
• The NA-208C can be connected
directly to an amplifier, thanks to its digital volume control, which
for desktop listeners is a huge plus.
• The NA-208C's headphone
output also makes the player an ideal choice for bedside late-night
listening. Its small footprint should allow it to fit on even the
smallest of nightstands. Low Points
• The NA-208C's remote is
cheap and frankly doesn't function all that well when asked to transmit
commands from anything further away than a few feet.
• Because the
NA-208C's digital volume control is only accessible via remote, its lack
of range makes it non-ideal for traditional system setups.
turned off, the NA-208C's internal volume defaults to 20, with full
volume coming at 40. For some amps and even preamps, this may be too
low. You can always pump up the volume, so long as you remember that
after every power-down, you have to readjust the volume accordingly. Competition and Comparison
are a few CD players at or near the NA-208C's price point that are
worth mentioning, beginning with Emotiva's ERC-2 Differential Reference
CD Player/Digital Transport at $449 direct. The ERC-2 offers up more
connection options, as well as a more robust player overall, both inside
and out, though it lacks a digital volume control and headphone output.
The ERC-2 is also a full-sized component better suited for traditional
Another CD player worth mentioning is
NAD's C 515BEE CD player
which at $299.99 is cheaper than the NA-208C, though, like the Emotiva,
it is larger and aimed more at the traditional user. Also, like the
Emotiva, the NAD lacks the NA-208C's volume control and headphone jack.
more on CD players please visit Home Theater Review's Audiophile Source
At the end of the day, the NA-208C compact CD
player, from newcomer Napa Acoustic, is what I like to think of as the
anti-audiophile disc spinner, as it conjures up audiophile-like levels
of performance, but doesn't seem to do so by taking itself too
seriously. It's a great little player, one that is ideally suited for
desktop and/or small room use, and is nothing short of a delight to
listen to and enjoy. Its build quality is excellent and its form factor
makes it a no-brainer in the WAF category. If it wasn't let down by its
shoddy remote and perhaps offered up a bit more dynamics and resolution,
it would no doubt score slightly higher marks. Still, for what it is,
the NA-208C is a fun, easy to use and inexpensive player that gets a
solid recommendation from this reviewer.Additional Resources
• Read more source component reviews
• Explore AV Receivers
and AV Preamps
to pair with the NA-208C CD player.
• Learn more about Napa Acoustic's NA-208A amplifier