The NAD C 725BEE stereo receiver is the type of product that I am naturally drawn to by a company that figures strongly in my history. Most of my college years were spent with a NAD receiver providing the soundtrack. This new unit is a no-nonsense two-channel receiver, which strives for sound quality over DSP trickery and functions that the average consumer will not use. This is classic NAD. The $799 NAD C 725BEE is the top offering in the NAD hi-fi receiver line and is targeted at those consumers who may be considering separate two-channel components, but prefer the convenience of a single unit.
It's obvious that designer Bjorn Erik Edvardsen, whose initials are prominently displayed in the model number, chose to focus his efforts in all the right places, namely the hardware. Peering down through the top of the unit, the first item I noticed was a massive toroidal transformer, flanked by an equally impressive array of capacitors that reminded me more of my old Proceed HPA 3 amplifier than any receiver I've ever seen. The rest of the circuitry also bristles with high-end features, such thick copper buss bars, high-quality discrete components and lots of beefy transistors. NAD rates the C 725BEE at 50 watts of continuous power into eight-ohm loads and is stable down to one-ohm loads, with peak power output of well over 200 watts. This receiver was designed for anything you want to throw at it and to never break a sweat while doing whatever is asked of it.
The tree-hugger in all of us will be pleased to learn that NAD has embraced the green movement wholeheartedly with this receiver. In standby mode, it consumes less than one watt of electricity and is manufactured without the use of any heavy metals, adopting RoHS standards well before it becomes law. The audio purist will notice the defeatable tone controls and soft-clipping circuit, as well as pre-amp outputs should you decide to add one of NAD's separate amplifiers in the future.
I was disappointed in some of the aesthetics of the C 725BEE. First of all, the display window no longer features rounded ends, which have been a long-standing, instantly recognizable NAD styling signature. The window has been replaced by a far less interesting rectangle display. Secondly, the receiver is only available in graphite. I much prefer the traditional NAD gray, which in my mind defines the brand.
Setting the NAD up in my system was simple. It only took a few minutes to get up and running. While making the necessary connections, I noticed a few unexpected but appreciated surprises. First, there are large speaker binding posts on the back of the unit, which accept spade and banana-style connectors, which was great, since I bi-wire my Aerial 10Ts with both. They were easy to grip and well-spaced, so large cables could be used without fear of shorting. Second, there is a switched AC power receptacle, which can come in handy for controlling external devices in your system.
When connecting the optional IPD 2 iPod docking station, I was especially happy to see that my iPod's text showed up on the front display of the receiver. This made finding the track I wanted easy, even from across the room. All iPod functions are easily controllable from the well-laid-out remote control.
Read about the performance of the NAD C 725BEE on Page 2.