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NAD Brings Wireless Multizone Audio To Components

PICKERING, ONTARIO – Audio-component supplier NAD is incorporating the wireless multiroom audio technology of sister brand Bluesound into its component- audio lineup.

Both companies and PSB are marketed in the U.S. by Lenbrook America.

With the launch, NAD is offering a more full-featured and high-resolution wireless multiroom solution compared to its previous wireless AirPlay and DLNA offerings, said Greg Stidsen, Lenbrook’s director of technology and product planning.

“AirPlay and DLNA are limited multiroom,” he said. “To get synchronization and gapless playback features you have to add custom software.” NAD’s adoption of Bluesound’s BluOS “addresses all those issues as a fat client with everything streaming asynchronously for best sound quality. We can have eight wireless rooms, or 36 wired rooms, all play in sync.”

Bluesound targets music enthusiasts who haven’t grown up with audio components. It shipped its first high-performance audio products in 2013, and none took on the shape of a traditional hi-fi component. The products include the $699 Pulse active biamplified tabletop speaker/streamer, $699 Power Node streamer/ amplifier, $449 Node streamer without amp, and the $999 Vault streamer/ripper, which includes hard-drive music storage but lacks an amplifier.

High-resolution files can be sent to streamers from the Vault or from networked PCs and NAS drives. The system is controlled from Bluesound’s mobile-device apps.

NAD will incorporate Bluesound’s BluOS into a $449 Modular Design Construction (MDC) module that can be dealer- or user-installed into the back of select NAD components to turn them into wireless Bluesound-system streamers.

The DD BluOS module plugs into the currently available $2,599 C 390DD integrated stereo amp in the Classic Series and into the new Master Series M12 two-channel digital preamp/DAC, which will be available Sept.1 at $3,499 without module, said Greg Stidsen, Lenbrook’s director of technology and product planning. Additional stereo components will be developed to accept the module.

NAD is also developing a separate Bluesound MDC module for A/V receivers and A/V preamp processors. That module, possibly shipping in September or October, will be compatible with all MDC-capable AVRs and A/V preamp/processors offered since 2006 and with a planned $5,499 M17 A/V preamp processor shipping in August.

The MDC modules will enable the NAD components to stream music wirelessly via Wi-Fi from a PC, NAS drive or Bluesound Vault, which stores high-resolution audio files.

Eventually, NAD will enable third-party home-control systems to control the Bluesound capabilities of its components, Stidsen noted.

The module, which comes with included Wi-Fi adapter, also incorporates Bluetooth with AptX, enabling a Bluetooth stream to be redirected home-wide to other Bluesound streamers. Music stored on hard drives and USB sticks plugged into the NAD components can also be redirected to Bluesound streamers.

The module also incorporates cloud-based music services available in the U.S., including Slacker, TuneIn, Rdio, Qobuz, Deezer, Juke, and High-Res Audio. France’s Qobuz will launch later this year in the U.S.

Via the Bluesound app, consumers can download high-resolution files direct from Qobuz and High-Res Audio to a Bluesound Vault or to an existing NAD Masters 3TB M52 Vault Raid 5 Array, which must be plugged into an NAD component incorporating the Bluesound module. Downloads from HD Tracks are planned for this summer.

The new M12 digital preamp/DAC that will accept the first Bluesound module is one of four new Master Series components launched by NAD to update the series. All are available Sept. 1 including the BluOS Module. The other three other masters components are the $2,999 M22 stereo amp, $5,499 M17 7.1-channel preamp/processor, and the $3,999 M27 seven-channel amp.

The M12 will incorporate multiple innovations, including a touchscreen interface to eliminate mechanical front-panel buttons and operate future MDC modules incorporating new technologies for which NAD can create the needed
touchscreen buttons, Stidsen said.

The M12 will accept six MDC modules and will ship with three included modules. Of the three included modules, one offers balanced and single-ended analog inputs and an MM/MC phono input. A second offers 192/24 USB input, and the third offers optical, coaxial and AES/EBU inputs.

The Bluesound module and an HDMI module will be available as options for the M12.

The new seven-channel amp will feature new amplifier technology said to be the best the company has ever offered. It delivers high power with high efficiency, Stidsen said.