All-Digital Preamp from NAD
AD calls the sleek new C510 ($1299) a "Direct Digital Preamp/DAC" because it handles system volume control and input switching. But it does this only for digital components -- the C510 has no analog inputs and performs all functions in the digital domain, "using sophisticated software to control all aspects of performance," according to NAD.
The C510 uses the same digital processing as NADs M2 and Masters M51, but its analog outputs -- both balanced and single ended -- allow for connection to a conventional analog power amplifier, its analog stage being fully balanced and driven by a class-A op-amp. The C510 accepts incoming PCM data rates up to 24 bits/192kHz, and has a wide array of digital inputs, including the more common AES/EBU and S/PDIF, as well as USB and HDMI. The control interface is said to be "simple and intuitive," and it includes on/off switching, input selection and control of volume on both the front panel and remote control.
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