Does anyone have any first-hand experience w/ the NAD D-7050? Looks like a great way to add a quality DAC and amplification at a reasonable price, but would like to hear what others think, alternatives, etc.
I have one and like it, but if you surf the web you will find some pretty polarized opinions of this device: No analog inputs; funny case design; NAD made it so it can't be good; etc. If you decide to take the plunge try to get a reasonable amount of time for the amp to break in before returning it if it turns out you don't like it.
I purchased a d7050 in December. It has replaced my amp, DAC, Passive/active preamp, and sub-woofer crossover. I'm not the best at describing the "sound" of amplifiers but I can say the 7050 is: 1) very very quiet 2) neutral 3)has great dynamics 4)imaging is excellent 5)sound stage is wide and natural. The 50 wpc (into 4 ohms) is plenty for my 90db 6 ohm ACI Sapphire II speakers, and with the sub-woofer crossover this only gets better. I have spent some time comparing the quality of the sound with and without the crossover and I can detect no downside to using this feature.
I am feeding this amp from my tweaked squeezebox touch as well as the s/pdif output of my CD player and the s/pdif output of my computer. At long last I am able to switch seamlessly from one to source to another.
I only wish there was a better way to control the features of this amp. I ended up borrowing an ipod to set up the crossover. It took me a couple hours to figure out how to get this app working. The documentation is next to none and it only works (for me) with the amp connected via wifi - not when using a wired connection. This seems odd since the manual recommends wired over wireless networking. Since that time NAD has added an Android app for those of us who don't own an Apple product. I am hoping someone will come up with an aftermarket app. I think there's more to control in this amp than NAD is giving us access to. One word of warning, there's no level control for the subwoofer out, it is assumed you will control that some other way.
After having the amp plugged in and turned on for over a month, it now sounds much much better. I know some folks believe that electronics "break in" and other scoff at this notion. Actually I was in the scoff category. But the amp sounds better after a month and a half and the improvement wasn't gradual - it was almost overnight. (Please don't ask me to explain or defend this observation, it's just my observation). What's different? Two things stand out. First the sound stage has become much wider. Second, the presentation of dynamics is vastly improved. It's as if something finally "clicked" in this amp. I don't get it but I hear it.
Finally, I haven't had a chance to explore the UPNP capabilities of this device, and I understand this feature doesn't stream hi - def. However there's one feature that I didn't expect to ever use but now I love. This is the Bluetooth capability. It's great and here's why. Friends and family come over and everyone has music on their smart phones. With the Bluetooth input I don't have to wire them up; they just play the music they want to play. You should see the looks on their faces. I know it is "inferior audio quality" but actually sounds pretty good and the convenience can't be beat.
So in summary I am enjoying this amp. My only consternation is that this technology will surely improve and I will want to buy something new some day. I am definitely sold on full digital amps.