If you have a system with a CD player or turntable that you love, but want to add music skills to it, your wish is NAD’s command. The Canadian hi-fi brand has launched the CS1, an affordable, high-resolution music streamer designed to bless traditional hi-fi setups with streaming capabilities or combine with powered speakers to form a modern, space-saving system.
While the CS1’s £299/£349 price puts it at the cheaper end of the streamer market, suited to similar budget electronics, NAD promises “audiophile streaming” here thanks to the inclusion of “audiophile components”. One is a digital stage based on Texas Instruments’ PCM5141 DAC, a design that NAD says is “known for its extremely low noise, excellent dynamic performance and immunity to clock jitter”.
NAD has an arsenal of standalone streamers and streaming amplifiers based on sister brand Bluesound’s BluOS multiroom streaming platform, though the CS1 is purely an endpoint and only supports third-party streaming protocols such as Google Cast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect. This increasingly popular route means music can be streamed directly to the CS1 from Apple, Android and Google devices and native music service apps, rather than through a dedicated product app. As is typical for music streamers, the connection to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet is your choice.
DLNA support enables playback of music files over the network – the CS1 supports high-resolution audio up to 24-bit/192kHz and can also play MQA files/streams – while Bluetooth is onboard for quick and easy offline streaming. Roon is also conveniently supported for subscribers to that library management platform.
As for connecting to your system, the CS1 has RCA outputs for stereo amps or powered speakers, as well as optical and coaxial outputs for external DACs or as an alternative means of connection for amps and powered speakers with digital inputs – so it really can just slip into existing systems .
If you want to stream your system easily and affordably and can wait until March (when the NAD CS1 becomes available), this could be a strong option indeed.
See our list of the best music streamers
How to add a music streamer to your hi-fi system
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