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NAD vs Cambridge Audio – Detailed Comparison

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NAD and Cambridge are two renowned and well-respected brands in the audio industry and produce high-quality speakers, soundbars, headphones, and subwoofers.
In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at the sound quality, durability, price, and so on.
Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points. However, we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

NAD Quick History

New Acoustic Dimension (NAD) is an electronics firm founded by Dr. Martin L. Borish in London, England, in 1972. Dr. Borish was an electrical engineer with a Ph.D. in physics. NAD 3020 is the most famous product manufactured by the brand in the 1970s. The company was acquired in 1991 by AudioNord, a Danish firm, and later sold to the Lenbrook Group of Pickering, Ontario, Canada, in 1999. Today, NAD produces affordable AV receivers, amplifiers, and speakers.

Cambridge Quick History

Cambridge Audio is a British company that manufactures high-end audio equipment. It was formed in the early ’60s by a group of young technology graduates in Cambridge, England and started out as a division of Cambridge Consultants.

Their line of devices includes earphones, amplifiers, CD players, speakers, and many others.

Sound Quality

NAD Sound Quality

Over the years, NAD has gained a strong name as a high-fidelity audio brand by producing breakthrough amplifier designs that are yet reasonably priced.

Indeed, NAD is a high-fidelity audio brand committed to simplicity, innovation, value, and performance. Some people argue that their devices are ‘neutral’ sounding.

As an example, the DirectDigital technology reduces domain conversions in the signal path and contributes to a pure and vivid sound. HybridDigital technology, on the other hand, blends analog and digital sources to create a platform for smooth, harmonious delivery of quality sound.

Cambridge Sound Quality

As expected of a high-end brand, the sound quality is very excellent. The expert layering and detail of the sound ensure that all tonal ranges can play simultaneously without being muddled.

The deep bass stays in the background without overpowering the clear midtones and sparkling treble. All these are masterfully compounded to deliver sound with exceptional accuracy and vivid musicality, no matter what you’re listening to.

Features

NAD Features

The key features of NAD products include:

  • Low harmonic and intermodulation distortion
  • Modular Design Construction (MDC) that helps prevent untimely obsolescence
  • “Simple is better” design philosophy
  • NAD PowerDrive technology

Cambridge Features

Cambridge Audio devices have several features incorporated for maximum enjoyment. Some of the features are shown below:

  • Personalized EQ settings – set up with the Melomania App
  • Unique High-Performance Audio Mode – for hi-fi quality sound
  • Up to 350W per channel in the amplifiers
  • Passive noise cancellation with Transparency mode – to interact with your environment.
  • Qualcomm cVc™ (clear voice capture)
  • Voice control feature for Siri (iOS) and Google Assistant (Android)
  • aptX™, AAC, SBC Bluetooth codecs support

Build Quality

NAD Build Quality

NAD receivers are built with elegant all-alloy casework. The internal construction is intricate with rigid panels and magnetic iso-point feet offering rock-circuit for the multi-layer circuit boards. In addition, the Modular Design Construction chassis is “future proof” and allows for easy and affordable upgrades.

NAD speakers are built to last with, while the amps tend to have poor build quality and tend to have common faults.

Cambridge Build Quality

Cambridge Audio devices are fabricated from the best materials for maximum comfort and exceptional durability. Some of the materials used include comfortable silicone earbud tips, all enclosed in a solid steel, aluminum, or plastic chassis.

Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch

In addition to the sturdy structure, some devices are water resistant, like the Melomania Touch wireless earphones which have an IPX4 rating.

Ease Of Use

NAD Ease Of Use

NAD products are built with simplicity in mind, making them very easy to set up and operate. They easily connect to Wi-Fi from the Google Home app, and they come with headphone jacks and USB ports for easy connection to external devices. They also connect to BluOS.

Cambridge Ease Of Use

Wireless remote and app control are some of the features that make Cambridge Audio devices user-friendly. Clearly labeled controls and an integrated voice assistant also allow for effortless use.

Cost

NAD Cost

Receivers: $20 – $5000

Amplifiers: $50 – $3000

Speakers: $100 – $1500

Cambridge Cost

The quality of Cambridge Audio devices lives up to its high-end name, but so does the price. They are quite expensive, though some of their devices can be very cheap. The price ranges for some device categories are given below:

Speakers: $100 – $1000

Amplifiers: $300 – $6500

Earphones: from $80

Players (CD/network): $400 – $5500

Subwoofers: from $300

Space Requirements

NAD Space Requirements

Speakers, amps, and receivers are built with a compact design. They require very little space for pavement and will not crowd your living room or basement.

Cambridge Space Requirements

Cambridge Audio devices vary in size from tiny earphones to large amplifiers. The CXA81 Stereo Amplifier measures 148 x 430 x 365mm (HWD) and weighs 19.1kg, while the smaller ES30 outdoor speaker measures 330 x 202 x 198mm (HWD) and weighs in at 3.4kg.

This means that you will probably find a good device that fits your space requirements.

Remote Controls

NAD Remote Controls

Although NAD now makes some receivers with touch screen displays to make them easier to control, they still make remote controls to make this reality more practical. The remote controls come with receivers, amps, and subwoofers but can still be purchased separately if you lose your factory remote or when it is ruined. Remotes cost between 20 dollars and 50 dollars.

Cambridge Remote Controls

Cambridge Audio devices can be remotely controlled via the mobile app, wireless remote, and voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant. These options can be used for basic and advanced functions such as audio tuning or pause/play.

Connectivity Options

NAD Connectivity Options

Speakers

  • Single-ended RCA
  • 12 V trigger input
  • USB
  • RCA
  • Bluetooth

Receivers

  • Bluetooth
  • RCA
  • USB
  • Wi-Fi
  • Balanced XLR auto-sensing inputs

Amps

  • Speaker level inputs
  • RCA

Cambridge Connectivity Options

The wide range of connectivity options found in Cambridge Audio devices allows connection to other speakers and various other devices.

These options include digital optical, coaxial and USB Audio, hi-res Bluetooth, XLR sockets, stereo RCA inputs and several other options.

Power Range

NAD Power Range

Receivers: up to 1000 watt peak

Speakers: up to 250 watts RMS

Amps: up to 1000 watts continuous mono

Cambridge Power Range

Powerful delivery is one of the easily noticeable features of Cambridge Audio devices. The Azur 851W Power Amplifier delivers a massive 800W at up to 350W per channel. The power range of Cambridge Audio devices ranges from 300W to 1200W.

Frequency Response

NAD Frequency Response

Speakers: 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz

Receivers: 20 Hz to 20kHz

Amps: 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Cambridge Frequency Response

Cambridge Audio devices have excellent frequency response ranges, which range from as low as 5Hz all the way up to 80KHz.

The Melomania Touch has a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz. The ES30 outdoor speaker frequency response ranges from 55Hz – 20kHz.

Conclusion

NAD is committed to simplicity, innovation, performance, and value. With highly-flexible outputs, NAD offers a balanced connection to powered speakers and amplifiers. Besides, it produces high-fidelity audio at very affordable prices. On the other hand, Cambridge Audio is a brand for serious audiophiles, delivering excellent value and performance. The brand gives great value for money.

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