Don't Call It Shallow, But?
…NAD focuses on beauty as well as brains and brawn with its new Master Series.
By Nancy Klosek
Lenbrook, which markets the NAD and PSB brands, has trademarked "Build-Artistry" as an umbrella phrase for its NAD Master Series. These new products, which make their North American debuts at CEDIA Expo, represent an attempt to formalize the company's oft-stated commitment to no-nonsense, clean-line audio components and truth in power specs.
However, NAD knows that in today's marketplace, how a product looks is increasingly as important as what's inside—so the Master Series takes NAD's salt-of-the-earth heritage and gussies it up for a night on the town.
"Master Series has been a few years in the making," says Robert Brown, president and CEO of Lenbrook America. "[We wanted to] extend the NAD line. We've always been thought of as the frugal, relatively minimalist-look, high-performance line, and without even talking about the changes in the industry—all of the mergers and acquisitions—people have been encouraging us to take a step up-market, and do something in a beautiful industrial design. That's something NAD has never done, because it's always been, for us, 'put the money on the inside.'"
The Master Series debuted early this summer at an international conference in Greece. "It was like there was a celebrity in the room," Brown boasts. "They were elbowing each other out of the way to take pictures."
Prices for the products range from $1,800 to $3,000. The series consists of the M3 dual-mono integrated amplifier, the M55 HDMI-equipped DVD/CD player, the THX Ultra II-certified M15 surround-sound processor with HDMI video switching and the M25 seven-channel power amp.
"It's basically up-market, but not in the high-end arena, if you look at the price points," Brown says. "We're moving into a processor that's going to run around $3,000 retail, where our current high end tops at $1,500. It has a very elegant look. We fought the longest about that, because we wanted it to be different, but not so different. It's a logical extension of NAD design; it's understated, very beautiful, and with a timeless look to it. It's not silver in a way that's gaudy or trendy. It looks like something that could last for 20 or 25 years."