Jump to content

David Walker

Introducing an old NAD owner

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Hello. I'm a newcomer who has had basically the same system for 32 years. Yes, I am starting to think about upgrading more of it. I'd really welcome suggestions. But it's also possible I won't take them, because ... well, it's complicated.  

 

Back in 1988 I bought a NAD 7020e and a pair of 8020e speakers. I considered it a starter rig that I would replace a few years down the track. The 8020es are front-ported 2-way bookshelves actually made by KEF. The 7020e is a sleeper, a 3020e with a no-drift tuner added; the late Martin Borish, long-time NAD MD, is said to have regarded it as the best thing the brand ever made. Count me as a believer: I replaced the NAD 7020e with a Cambridge Audio Azur 540R in my main listening room for a year, then listened carefully to the two of them side-by-side, and went back to the NAD.

 

I now feed the 7020e from a silent PC running MusicBee, and a Synology NAS full of FLACs and MP3s, via an Audioquest Dragonfly Black. I recently added a REL T2 subwoofer to the mix, connected via the Neutrik Speakon cable to the NAD's speaker terminals. It has made a real difference, dialled down low enough to almost disappear - until you turn it off. I also had the terrific Chromecast Audio plugged in for a while. It's impressive what you can feed an older amp.

 

My next obvious change is probably to move the speakers to the family room. I auditioned some replacements about 15 years ago, and didn't like any of them quite as much as the NADs I already owned. But now there are affordable KEFs (Q150s? 350s?) and secondhand Dynaudios (Emits? Excites?).

 

I should probably also find the 7020e's natural successor, maybe a secondhand Cambridge Audio CXA60 or a Marantz. But while the NAD may not have the world's best audio, it has proved remarkably adaptable and durable. I had the internals cleaned up last year by a specialist. And I'm so used to its sweet, warm sound that I suspect it's possible I won't like anything else.

Edited by David Walker
Minor tweaks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome and great to see you’ve had a system you have loved for so long.

 

if thinking of upgrading my recommendation would be to try and get more of what you love. The safest way to do that would be to stick with the brands you live but just up the performance of each.

 

So maybe an upgrade of amp to a newer more powerful Nad and match it with some Newer Kef speakers.

 

A hifi DAC or an amp with an internal DAC should be an upgrade to the Dragonfly too.


But  expect the sound to be different whichever way you go, and different isn’t bad, it can sometimes be better once you’ve spent time with new components. I can vouch for this first hand, a lot of the time different gets you to where you were aiming for in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:welcome: to the forum.

 

I'll raise you with the 7240PE which I still have, unused but reluctant to get rid of for sentimental reasons!

 

Dean is too polite to suggest this

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

welcome David, i bought my first quality amp in 1983, english made 50wpc mosfet output , i only replaced it in 2005 when it died otherwise i would still have it today, thats when the problem started, chasing "that" sound, could not get an amp to suit older speakers, so, new speakers, more amp changing, got close with second amp but totally unreliable, on to amp no.7, this is it, an Elekit TU-8200 8wpc valve amp, definitly the one, good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Great that you like the NAD, no real need to rush and find a replacement, however NADs of that vintage had a number of issues, mostly poor capacitor selection, price over performance, the unit probably needs a recap. Many of the early NADs didn't have any speaker protection circuitry, while they did use FETs in the preamp for power ON muting they didn't monitor Vdc on the spkr line in case of transistor failure, normally results in blown spkrs. Their clipping switch at rear is also problematic, many don't use it due to possible damage to spkrs if this circuit/diode(?) fails. Then there is the PE concept, faulty PE amps are common, some disable the PE and the amp continues to give many years service. Suggest make an assessment if the amp needs a recap, consider fitting the spkr protection kit, maybe $20- in parts. I wouldn't rush to buy something new, I can't afford to so I stick to vintage, plenty of good old gear out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kept my original NAD 3240PE in one rig or another for years until it went with everything else in the fires.

 

Had it as a preamp to NAD bridged power amps at one point.

 

Very versatile.  I did need to get it fixed a few times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, mbz said:

Great that you like the NAD, no real need to rush and find a replacement, however NADs of that vintage had a number of issues, mostly poor capacitor selection, price over performance, the unit probably needs a recap. Many of the early NADs didn't have any speaker protection circuitry, while they did use FETs in the preamp for power ON muting they didn't monitor Vdc on the spkr line in case of transistor failure, normally results in blown spkrs. Their clipping switch at rear is also problematic, many don't use it due to possible damage to spkrs if this circuit/diode(?) fails. Then there is the PE concept, faulty PE amps are common, some disable the PE and the amp continues to give many years service. Suggest make an assessment if the amp needs a recap, consider fitting the spkr protection kit, maybe $20- in parts. I wouldn't rush to buy something new, I can't afford to so I stick to vintage, plenty of good old gear out there.

I'm coming around to the "no need to rush and find a replacement" view, not for the first time in the past three decades.

 

Contrary to my expectations, the bloke who cleaned it out for me last year - Dick at Fairfield's Open Ear Audio -  recommended against me paying him to recap it. His report ended: "Reassemble, clean exterior and run tests. All channels perfect." He was running a 7225PE in his office for day-to-day listening, while surrounded by one or two hundred thousand dollars worth of other people's gear, and he seemed to know what he was talking about.

Edited by David Walker
Added Open Ear Audio details

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dad still has a NAD 2 channel amp and turner in the mid ‘80s and still work well as they did when new think models were 3020 and using infinity floor speakers can’t remember which model of those 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


If it's smooth and working, play on! I used to have a NAD C720Bee, which was great for a decade until it lost a channel. I think it might have been the successor to your 7020e? Really liked the sound of the C720Bee and now enjoy the sound and features of a NAD M12/22 combo. Great that you've got the hi-res going so you probably get the best of the old and new! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had a nad C320 for about 2O years driving various difficult speakers - quad Esl 57 and 63, then Martin Logan aerius. After a year or so the ML’s , or some other house moving coincidence blew it, now I just use the preamp, which has 5 inputs and balance and tone defeat. An outstanding amp, was about $800 new apparently and now $100-200 second hand ( I could name drop which Sunnyboy has one ) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Classifieds Statistics


    Currently Active Ads

    Total Sales (Since 2018)

    Total Sales Value (Last 14 Days)

    Total Ads Value (Since March 2020)
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...