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Review: NAD Amp1

All you need

The NAD Amp1 is small in size, but makes up for it with good, rich sound.

Karakter
NAD Amp1
forfatter
Published 2022-06-24 - 8:05 am
Our opinion
Pleasant warm sound with a fine sound bottom. Streaming with Chromecast is super easy. Extra plus for turntable input!
Could have had a tighter grip on the speakers, especially when turning up the volume.
Specifications
  • Output power: 2 x 40 W into 4-8 ohms
  • Damping factor: (not specified)
  • Inputs: RCA Line, RCA Phono, 2 x Optical
  • Outputs: RCA Pre Out
  • Network: Wi-Fi
  • Streaming: Chromecast, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions and weight: 6.3 x 22 x 25.2 cm / 3.27 kg
  • Colour: Black
  • Web: nadelectronics.com

The smallest amp in the test is from NAD and is called Amp1. That doesn’t mean it is less capable. With Chromecast streaming over Wi-Fi, it supports the vast majority of music services, and they’re controlled in the usual way from their native apps.

Connecting the amp to the network is super easy: just open the Google Home app (iPhone or Android) and the amp pops up there. Follow the instructions and you’re in business. Just know that the amp doesn’t have an Ethernet connector, so it needs to be somewhere with good Wi-Fi coverage.

In addition to two optical digital inputs, where you can easily connect the TV and perhaps a CD player or games console, there’s also turntable input for MM pickups plus an analogue line input. And a preamp output for connecting a separate power amplifier or subwoofer.

NAD Amp1 rear
Two optical inputs plus turntable input. (Photo: NAD)

The sound of the NAD Amp1

I like the warm, rich sound of the Amp1. There’s a good midrange focus on Madrugada’s ballad “Ecstasy,” with Sivert Høyem’s voice sounding big and beautiful.

The bass notes from the piano on Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” pick up well, and while the NAD amp isn’t among the most powerful, it has nice energy in the drum rhythms on more festive music.

Still, there’s only so much the Amp1 can handle when you crank up the volume, and it doesn’t have to be pushed very hard before it loosens its grip and things start to slip a bit. Still, power-wise it’s on a par with the Sonos Amp, and that’s got to be a good thing at this price. Besides, I think the NAD sounds better.

NAD Amp1 remote
A small remote control is included for the NAD Amp1. (Photo: Geir Gråbein Nordby)

Conclusion

The small Chromecast amplifier NAD Amp1 is easy to use and has an inviting sound with good focus in the bass area. It may not shine quite so much upwards in the harmonics, but the overall impression is very good.

The Amp1 isn’t among the most powerful amps, and that can be heard when you turn it up, but for general music listening and with a pair of lightly driven speakers with a sensitivity not far below 90 dB, it’s a pleasure to listen to.

Plus for turntable input and preamp output!

Also in this test

Marantz NR1200

A host of features

None in its class has the same connectivity options as the Marantz NR1200. It also sounds really good.

Lots of air and detail. Plenty of connections, including five HDMI inputs. Great streaming solution with HEOS.
We're missing a bit of punch.

Bluesound Powernode (N330)

Improved giant slayer

The tiny Powernode streaming amp from Bluesound has got even better and is definitely the strongest in its class.

More powerful than the others in the class, can play loud and powerful with excellent sound quality. Streams in HD quality, supports high-resolution MQA files.
However, it does not have inexhaustible powers either.

Cabasse Stream Amp

Steady Frenchman

Cabasse Stream Amp is not a new product, but it performs well in the modern streaming world.

Airy and detailed sound, big and detailed deep bass. Wide sound image.
Lacks some dynamics and can sound too polished.

Sonos Amp

Has become too expensive

The Sonos Amp is powerful enough to drive decent speakers. But the price has gone up too much lately.

Very user friendly. HDMI input. Powerful enough to drive serious speakers.
Lacks a little dynamism and raw power. Room correction does not work with third party speakers. Has increased too much in price.

Harman Kardon Citation Amp

Big amp in small package

The Citation Amp can stream just about anything, and it does so with better and bigger sound than most in its class. Watch out, Sonos!

Powerful and immersive sound. Easy to use. Supports most of what you need.
A USB DAC input would have made it the perfect desktop amp.

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