The way people listen to music has changed drastically over the last 10 years, but home audio components have been surprisingly slow to keep up, refusing to slim down and offer basic wireless connectivity that's standard on other devices.
That's the thought NAD had in mind when designing its latest slate of digital-audio components. The company has announced three new models, the D 1050 USB DAC ($500), D 3020 integrated amplifier ($500), and D 7050 network receiver ($1,000), each sporting a sleek, compact look that's in sharp contrast to the bulky boxes home audio components usually come in. All three models feature built-in Bluetooth (with support for the better-sounding apt-X codec), with the D 7050 also adding Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Internet radio support.
Each of the components are designed to be used in either the vertical or horizontal orientation, and the OLED screen on the D 7050 actually changes its orientation depending on how it's aligned. The front panels are noticeably free of the button clutter that plagues most mainstream AV receivers, with just a knob for volume and a few status lights, plus an additional knob for input selection on the D 7050. The boxes themselves are lighter than they look, which isn't too surprising considering they all use digital amplifiers.
All of the models are relatively similar, with the features breaking down as follows:
The D 3020 (named after the classic 3020) sticks out as the sweet-spot model of the line, as a basic small amplifier for a stereo or 2.1-channel setup that still delivers the convenience of wireless audio streaming via Bluetooth. It's especially attractive if you use your TV as a switcher, making it a suitable replacement for a full-size AV receiver in a much more attractive package.
All three components are currently available for preorder and will start shipping in July.