The 1970s were notorious for many things, but one achievement that history has somewhat forgotten is the notoriously good-sounding – and cool-looking – hi-fi equipment that was made during this era.
Audio companies like JBL, Yamaha and Marantz have looked back at their classic speaker and amplifier designs from the 1970s to create new versions with the same looks but updated innards. And now NAD has joined the same retro-themed party with its limited-edition C 3050 LE Stereophonic amp.
With its walnut veneered wooden cabinet and gold LED-illuminated VU meters, one each for the left and right channels, the C 3050 LE offers the warm, inviting looks of the best integrated amplifiers of the era and would be a perfect match for many of the best stereo speakers. The amp was produced to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, having launched in 1972, and will be manufactured in a limited edition of 1,972 numbered units.
While NAD’s integrated amplifiers of the 1970s were typically rated at 20 watts per channel (specified across the entire frequency band, which was a uniquely consumer-friendly approach for the time), the C 3050 LE is rated at 100 watts per channel with the same “Full Disclosure Power” approach that the company has used for decades.
Features include Wi-Fi streaming via the company’s app-controlled BluOS multi-room platform, AirPlay 2 and two-way Bluetooth support for aptX HD, the latter for connecting to the best wireless headphones, and an HDMI eARC input. Retro yet thoroughly modern, the C 3050 LE also features a phono stage for connecting one of the best turntables and a headphone amplifier for connecting the best over-ear headphones.
The C 3050 LE is priced at, you guessed it, $1,972 / £1,756 / around AU$3,530. The limited edition integrated amplifier will go on sale at select NAD retailers beginning mid-November.
Analysis: With HiFi, old is new again
A 50th anniversary presents a fantastic opportunity to look back on your past, and NAD, an innovative brand that has consistently produced affordable components backed by the company’s trusted Full Disclosure Power Ratings, has much to offer.
For most of their history, NAD’s integrated amps have had a simple, conservative look—they were there to make music, not be ogled and drooled over. The Limited Edition C 3050 LE, on the other hand, hits all the high points of ’70s hi-fi design – big knobs and knobs, warm-looking VU meters, sleek wooden body – and it is Absolutely drool worthy.
This new nostalgia trend in the hi-fi world – along with the companies already mentioned, brands like Mission, Wharfedale, KLH and NAD’s sister brand PSB have all released speakers with vintage-inspired looks – is a very positive development. That’s because designers can harness the elegance of the golden age of hi-fi, while still making speakers and amplifiers that benefit from the massive technological advances that have taken place since the originals were produced and sold.
For those missing out on NAD’s limited edition integrated amplifier, the good news is that a standard version of the C 3050 with similar specifications and many of the same features will also be available and sold through NAD’s entire global dealer network. At $1,299 / £1,160 / around AU$2,075, it’ll be less expensive than the limited edition version, but rest assured it won’t have the same great vintage vibe.
https://www.techradar.com/news/nads-limited-edition-amp-is-the-70s-hi-fi-fetish-object-ive-always-wanted NAD’s limited-edition amp is the 70s hi-fi fetish object I’ve always wanted