Upgrading the 326BEE

It will soon be time to take the next upgrade step in the living room music system. Currently, a laptop running J River 17 feeds an HRT+ streamer, into the Nad and into Klipsch forte's which are being recapped and tweaked. My preferred CD's are lossless and the rest are 320 MP3.

As for the 326BEE, I want to upgrade the preamp or power amp with a last generation Nad (C162 or c272). My question is which would give me a larger increase in sound quality? The BEE has plenty of power, this is a matter of improving refinement, detail and pace.
I have the 320BEE and 325BEE. They are wonderful amps and 326 is the best one yet. For me the C162 would be the way to go. The pre section is the weak link in the 320, 325 & 326.

I had a tube pre with my 320 and it was a nice upgrade. I'm at the point were I'm considering an amp upgrade myself but I just might get the NAD C165 to hook up to my 325.

I believe you will be pleasantly surprised how much the C162 will improve your sound. BTW, you have outstanding speakers too. I still have my forte's that I bought in the late 80's.


Scott, thank you for your observations. I looked at all three of the models you mentioned and when a 326 came up on CL I jumped on it.

It does not surprise me that the preamp can make a major difference with this amp. While I am really pleased with what the 326BEE can do, there is some lack of inner detail and transparency that the c272 would likely not be able to add.

Once the forte's are all up to snuff I look forward to making the change you recommend. You are right about the forte's. Even with tired old caps they are impressive.

Don't know which you should replace first, but the c272 is way better in every way than the amp in the 326, as well as the c162 being a huge improvement. They are both sometimes available at quite low prices.
I can only add my experience. I have the same speakers as the OP. I borrowed a C272 from my dealer. I used my C3320BEE as the pre. I figured it would be a "slam dunk" improvement.

It turned out to be a big disappointment and a valuable lesson. Synergy must be at work with the NAD integrateds. The 320 was smoother and fuller. Listening to it you would have thought the 320 was more powerful than the 272.

I've used a tube pre on my 320 and that was a substantial improvement. Everything from soundstage to tone to detail and resolution improved. That led me to the conclusion that the pre section of the 320 series of integrateds was the area to gain from an upgrade the most. I hope this helps.