The 1970s were notorious for many things, but one achievement somewhat forgotten in history was the good-sounding – and great-looking – hi-fi equipment produced during that era.
Audio companies like JBL, Yamaha, and Marantz took a peek at classic ’70s speaker designs and subwoofers to create new versions with the same looks but updated interiors. And now NAD has joined the same retro-themed party with its limited edition C 3050 LE Stereophonic Amplifier.
With a walnut veneer wood case and gold LED-lit VU gauges, one for each of the left and right channels, the C 3050 LE has the warm and welcoming look of the era’s best all-in-one speakers, and would be a perfect match for many The best stereo speakers. The amp was produced to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, launched in 1972, and will be manufactured in a limited edition of 1,972 numbered units.
Whereas compact NAD amplifiers in the 1970s had a power rating of 20 watts per channel (determined across the full frequency range, which was a uniquely consumer-friendly approach at the time) the C 3050 LE was rated at 100 watts per channel using the same approach” Full disclosure” that the company has been using for decades.
Features include Wi-Fi streaming via the app-controlled multi-room BluOS platform, Air Play 2 And support for aptX HD Bluetooth bi-directional, the latter to connect to Best wireless headphonesHDMI eARC input. The vintage and all-new C 3050 LE also features a phono stage for connecting one Best turntables and headphone amplifier to connect best earbuds.
The 3,050 EGP price is, you guessed it, $1,972 / £1,756 / about AU$3,530. The limited edition built-in speaker will go on sale at select NAD retailers starting in mid-November.
Analysis: For hi-fi, old becomes new again
The 50th anniversary provides a great opportunity to look back at your past, and NAD, the innovative brand that consistently produces affordable ingredients backed by the company’s trusted Full Disclosure strength ratings, has plenty to brag about.
Throughout most of its history, NAD’s built-in loudspeakers have had a basic, conservative look—they’ve been there to compose music, not drool and drool at it. The Limited Edition C 3050 LE, on the other hand, hits the high points of ’70s hi-fi design—large knobs and buttons, warm-looking VU gauges, and sleek wood exterior—and is definitely Worth drooling.
This new nostalgic trend in the hi-fi world – along with the aforementioned companies, brands like Mission, Wharfedale, KLH and NAD’s sister brand PSB have all released speakers with a vintage-inspired look – is a very positive development. This is because it allows designers to tap into the elegance of the golden age of the Hi-Fi stage while producing amplifiers and subwoofers that take advantage of the tremendous technical advances that have occurred since the originals were produced and sold.
For anyone missing out on a compact, limited-acting NAD amplifier, the good news is that a standard C 3050 version with similar specifications and many of the same features will also be available, sold through NAD’s entire global retail network. At $1,299/£1,160/about AU$2,075, it’ll be less expensive than the Limited Edition, but you can be sure it won’t have the same great looks.