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The Tori Amos cut "I can’t see New York" from her Scarlet’s Walk record demonstrated how closely the NAD sticks to conventional class AB sound. The Bösendorfer concert grand unfurled its sonic majesty far from the gear, the vocals of the Pop elf with her fragile timbre floated above it, both arose against a deep blackground without any artifice. I seem to recall that NAD’s Classic kit tended to get slight warmth around the midband. That trait the newbie clearly avoids by seeming more committed to straight-line neutrality whilst successfully avoiding feeling too cool or uninvolved.



Which would also counter its fetching musicality and coherence whereby it ticked off the test run stations. It was exciting and convincing how it projected "Mad/The Great Escape" of Marillion’s fabulous live DVD Snow de Cologne which according to various music magazines is a "star-studded hour of progressive rock". I participated in a show of it during a November 2008 do in Cologne’s E-Werk.

The D 7050 captured the nearly hypnotic power whereby two cuts seamlessly connect with all their peaks and valleys, dynamic shifts and time changes. It also honed in on isolated action like guitarist Steve Rothery struggling for a few minutes with a fussy effects box. Yet the presentation remained of a piece and very present. Scale relations of the virtual stage were somewhat more compact. The Yamaha cast the more generous breadth and depth for a larger airier concert atmosphere closer to the real thing. But plasticity and image focus of the D 7050 suffered nothing by comparison.

A cross examination of microdynamic talents and treble resolution does well with Nils Lofgren’s 1997 Live Acoustic album and the brilliantly mastered "Keith don’t go" for which it’s popular at hifi shows. Justly so I think. The room sound and extremely embodied close-captured acoustic guitar make for an aural feast many review loaners aren’t equal to. Either they miss out on nuances of Lofgren’s exquisite finger picking or they swallow up parts of the broadly fanned-out scintillating harmonic spectrum. The shimmering strings dominate much fascination with this recording and must remain intelligible in all of their details. The NAD fought bravely and did well recreating the intimately sweaty atmosphere of the moment whilst also betraying limitations. Way on high it played it slightly coy to miss the final brilliance of the upper treble and the most lucid extraction of transients which would have been the dot on the ‘i’.


But that was grieving over very little! For this kind of money I know nothing better. Only my Magnat RV3—aided and abetted by a brilliant valve stage—begins to open up more about the tiniest of mosaic pieces which turn this musical extravaganza into an experience. And as I mentioned before, this muscle amp wants as much as about 3½ x what the D 7050 gets. Not to mention that this sympathetic and far from radically rolled-off treble benefits a number of recordings. Merely think streaming services which nearly exclusively broadcast lossy which can lead to artifacts and a peculiar artificial gleam. [With Qobuz and WiMP Europeans already have two exceptions which stream at CD quality – Ed.]

Your chosen hookup—wireless or cabled—does make a difference. When I used wireless AirPlay, the John Butler Trio’s "Blame it on me" from their Flesh & Blood album exhibited the familiar cracking groove with its clearly attack-heavy mix of percussion and low-tuned e-bass particularly at the beginning. Turning to USB showed that AirPlay lacked some venue depth and a certain ease which gives this cut its typical swing. The spaces on the virtual stage felt narrower, the presentation projected more into the foreground. Relative to musical flow it engaged the handbrake at least a bit. Even on bass precision where the e-bass is supposed to growl with edge, the ‘Apple Stream’ left a bit to be desired. Since my iMac doesn’t support the apt-x codec (no Apple product does), I spared myself any A/B via Bluetooth. From experience I know that Bluetooth without apt-x performs well below AirPlay whilst with it both formats are quite equal. If you’ve got the choice, I’d run the D 7050 via its async USB or Toslink which achieves maximally 192kHz.