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NAD C521BEE & C320BEE vs NAD C542 & C352CT

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by RichT, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. RichT

    RichT
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    Hi,

    I'm putting together a completely new audio system and need a little advice. I'm basically tempted to pay £230 extra and get the NAD C542 & C352CT over the C521BEE & C320BEE combination.

    I listen to a very wide range of music from rock to jazz to classical etc, so I need an all round good performer. As far as speakers, I plan to use B&W 602 S3's and, for cables / interconnects: QED silver anniversiry editions.

    My listening room is not massive, and I wont be listening to anything at great volumes.

    Is it worth paying the £230 extra for the NAD C542 & C352CT ?

    I think both will make great systems, but I haven't been able to demo them to compare. I also haven't been able to find any comparisons on the web, so I would really appreciate any opinions!
     
  2. Roam

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    I have the BEE's and must say I am well pleased with my purchase :thumbsup: . I like it primarily because of it's performance with vocals and acoustic stuff and it sounds so clean and clear. Cracking system for the money.

    As for your dilemma I can't help further as I've not heard the higher priced gear from NAD but you can solve this yourself by popping down to Richers and asking them to let you take both setups home to demo. If you have the funds available they may even let you take them both home at once. This I feel would be best as you can compare them side by side and also mix the sources round to see if it's better for your pocket to get say the C320BEE and pair it with the C542. I'm sure the more expensive setup will be better, especially the player from what I've read, but whether it's worth the extra I can't say. Richers also do a 'price beat' which may save you some money.

    Good luck!
     
  3. RichT

    RichT
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    Thanks for the info Grinder! As I said, I'm pretty sure either would make a good purchase anyway. I almost clicked the buy button on the BEE's earlier today, but then I stopped myself, thinking I could be missing out. :) Then I nearly got the more expensive NAD gear, but again stopped myself thinking maybe it wouldn't sound so great with the B&W 602 speakers (Where as, I know the NAD BEE's work well with those B&W speakers).

    I probably will demo them, but I'm still interested in other people's opinions.

    So, has anyone had any experience with the more expensive setup? Or, even better, both? :)
     
  4. Markie Boy

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    I have a bit of both what you mention (I have the 320BEE and C542 CD). I originally started with the C521BEE CD, but gave the C542 a listen at home for a few days and wouldnt go back to the C521. I have contemplated moving up in the amplifier too, but to be honest, while the C352CT is better, I would be going more sideways than forwards (I would be better jumping up to the C372). However if I was buying now from scratch I would go with the better Amp and CD player. My 2 cents. If you can afford it - go for it!
     
  5. RichT

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    Funny you should post that, I have pretty much decided to go with a combination of the C320BEE and the C542 :) From the reviews I've read, the C542 does seem to be a reasonable step up from the C521BEE.

    I can't really say the same for the amp. The C320BEE consistently gets great reviews, where as the C352 sometimes seems to disappoint. So, as I don't need the extra power, the C320BEE does seem to be the safer option. Then perhaps upgrade to the C372 later if I feel the need.

    Has anyone heard the C320BEE next to the C352 that could comment ?
     
  6. Markie Boy

    Markie Boy
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    I have heard them next to each other, and while there is a difference, its a subtle one at best. I recently had a chance to upgrade to the C352 from a C320BEE, but declined, as I mentioned earlier it would be going somewhat sideways rather than forward. Keep in mind that What HiFi voted the C352 their Amplifier of the Year, so it has a pretty good rep.
     
  7. RichT

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    OK. After much research I've decided to go with the NAD C352 and NAD 542 cd player.

    Now, to the speakers. I originally thought I'd be getting the B&W 602 S3's. I'm now considering Quad 12L's. The build quality looks SO much better. I really don't like the veneer used on the 602's and the quads are a bit smaller too, which in a relatively small room, is probably a good thing.

    I'm just a bit worried that they will be a little bit too "cold" sounding and clean compared to the B&W 602 S3s with this setup.

    I can't find anywhere close to where I live to audition them, so would be interested to know if anyone has any opinions or has heard them with the NAD setup ?
     
  8. Markie Boy

    Markie Boy
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    I havent heard them with the NAD gear, but I must admit if I was going back to bookshelf speakers, the Quads would be top of my list. As for me, my choice was the Acoustic Energy Evo 3 Floor Speakers which work a treat with my setup.
     

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