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NAD 3020

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There seems to be a large number of members of venerable expertise and long memories that can perhaps shed some light on the various NAD 3020s that were released.

I have a number of them in my collection and not being blessed with golden ears find little between them ( a few issues arising with them now too). I have the 3020b which I have found some forums extolling as the better of the bunch. Also the 3020i which have appeared a lot on ebay of late, and again, as the last of the series are touted as the best. Also the 3120 which is touted as the 'audiophile' version, which from my observation has simply done away with the tone controls of the original series 20.

Surprisingly, for such an iconic amplifier, there is little in the way of a comprehensive history of the variants that I can find.

NB Anyone have a large 3020 press button that is unwanted? (worth a shot!)

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Hi Danter,

One of these things formed the basis of my first system. It was teamed up with a pair of original Wharfedale Diamonds and a Systemdek IIX turntable. Later, a Technics CD player joined in.

I still miss that system to this day. It was simple and fun. Played Brothers in Arms almost non-stop on it.

Mine was the 3120. I'd gone to a now-defunct store in Camberwell to buy a 3020, but they were out of stock so I got the 3120 instead. Paid 300-something dollars for it.

It had no tone controls, and didn't need them. It also didn't have the 5 red LED power output meter of the 3020, that I recall. Same clunky push buttons though. Though my memory is hazy, I seem to recall a 4/8 ohm speaker selection switch on the back panel and (possibly) a MC/MM switch as well.

It never ran out of steam driving those Wharfedales.

Memories...

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Me too :unsure: Mine was a 3020i, paired with Mission 760i speakers and a Marantz CD52. Total system cost including stands was less than $1000.

The sound was pretty rough and ready and went loud enough for my neighbours to complain. But I spent many happy hours listening to music or having it play softly in the background while I studied for exams.

My first NAD 3020i went up in a puff of smoke, which was apparently very common for these things. NAD took it back under warranty and repaired it, but I got rid of it before it happened again. As far as I am aware, it is still doing faithful service in my friend's dad's house (Snaggs are you there?). Since then and until recently I have been using another classic of the era, a Pioneer A400.

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There seems to be a large number of members of venerable expertise and long memories that can perhaps shed some light on the various NAD 3020s that were released.

I have a number of them in my collection and not being blessed with golden ears find little between them ( a few issues arising with them now too). I have the 3020b which I have found some forums extolling as the better of the bunch. Also the 3020i which have appeared a lot on ebay of late, and again, as the last of the series are touted as the best. Also the 3120 which is touted as the 'audiophile' version, which from my observation has simply done away with the tone controls of the original series 20.

Surprisingly, for such an iconic amplifier, there is little in the way of a comprehensive history of the variants that I can find.

NB Anyone have a large 3020 press button that is unwanted? (worth a shot!)[/b]

I know of at least 7 variants in chronological order:

NAD 3020 (Released 1978)

NAD 7020 (Receiver version of 3020)

NAD 3020A

NAD 3020B

NAD 3120 (a 3020B without tone controls)

NAD 3020e

NAD 3020i

The 3020 models were replaced by the NAD 302

There were minor changes throughout the model history (mainly circuitry, power supplies, headdphone inputs, etc), not always considered as improvements soundwise. As an example compare the circuitry of a 3020 and a 3020A:

NAD_compare.jpg

And in 2002, NAD released the C320BEE (now an enormous 50 watts RMS !)to celebrate the designer of the initial 3020 - Bjorn Erik Edvardsen..

The NAD 3020 was not the last word in accuracy, but it was a great amplifier which had a warm, velvety smooth (dare I say - valve like...) portayal of music. And music was what the 3020 was all about. Whether connected to Rega Planar 2 (remember CD had not yet been invented..)and some inexpensive Mordant Short MS10s or Tannoy Mercurys or a Linn LP12 with Tannoy Westminsters, the NAS 3020 made you just enjoy the music. I knew the Garrott brothers back when the NAD 3020 had been released, and they were using a modified (bigger power supply, disconnected headphone circuitry)NAD 3020 with an LP12 to test their Micro Scanner styluses - it was that good. The NAD was also one of the very few amps I know that was good for low level listening. I am sure that more than one young lady was seduced to the subtle tune of a 3020...how could she possibly resist?

Deservedly, this little 20 watt per channel (thems real watts ) amp is listed in the list of most important hi-fi of all time. All the 3020 models were excellent. Which model is best? I don't know and short of a side by side comparison, I probably never will...

cheers

3020sheds

P.S. All donations of working 3020 amps, gratefully accepted by the author.... :biggrin:

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My amp until the recent upgrade was a NAD 3140. Where does that fit in?

Jeff

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I have a 3020 that recently went up in a puff of smoke.

I still like the sound of them a lot (when they work)

Don't know if it is going to get fixed yet or not but if it isn't it can be a good source of spare buttons. they are all intact with only one that occassionally flies off.

Danter, if it doesn't get ressurected I'll let you know for buttons sake. Maybe we can work out a deal on that Sansui of yours. :wink:

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My amp until the recent upgrade was a NAD 3140. Where does that fit in?

Jeff[/b]

Jeff

The NAD 3140 was introduced around 1981 and, surprise, was listed as a 40 watt RMS amplifier. It received very good reviews and was recommended if your speakers needed a little more kick. Independent tests found the 3140 capable of up 80 watts RMS.

The 3140 is NOT a 3020 with more power. It is, however, a great little amp with power to spare and the signature NAD sound of that time.

cheers

2sheds

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another 3020i owner here and recently put back into service after my 3240 fried one of my Aarons.

I plan to add a NAD Power Amp to the system later this year and not sure if I should keep the 3020 and use it as a Pre, to my ears it sounds smoother and more laid back than the 3240.

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Glad to hear that you have a collection of them...makes me feel less of a weirdo for having amps

in just about every room of the house!. As I type, there is a 3020B, matched to a set of Celestion bookshelf

speakers and connected to my sound card..(and an old Sansui tuner).a bit of an insult to a fine piece of audio

equipment, but at least it gets used every day. It is a very musical, warm, amp, which as someone else in the string said,has almost valve like qualities.

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Hello two sheds,

Must say very informative post on the NAD 3020.

Many people in its day replaced the jumper pins that sat between pre out / main inputs with RCA plugs and some decent wire to improve performance.

Shorted RCA plugs on unused inputs as well.

Earlier models had more robust chassis and larger transformers, later models improved sonically with evolution of electrolytics and solid state componentry internally.

Cheers Tony C

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Hi Danter,

One of these things formed the basis of my first system. It was teamed up with a pair of original Wharfedale Diamonds and a Systemdek IIX turntable. Later, a Technics CD player joined in.

I still miss that system to this day. It was simple and fun. Played Brothers in Arms almost non-stop on it.

Mine was the 3120. I'd gone to a now-defunct store in Camberwell to buy a 3020, but they were out of stock so I got the 3120 instead. Paid 300-something dollars for it.

It had no tone controls, and didn't need them. It also didn't have the 5 red LED power output meter of the 3020, that I recall. Same clunky push buttons though. Though my memory is hazy, I seem to recall a 4/8 ohm speaker selection switch on the back panel and (possibly) a MC/MM switch as well.

It never ran out of steam driving those Wharfedales.

Memories...[/b]

Well you should have no fear of Alzheimer's - it does indeed have the 4/8ohm switch and the MM/MC switch. I like the sparse, uncluttered look of it, but those big buttons are ugly though!

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Me too :unsure: Mine was a 3020i, paired with Mission 760i speakers and a Marantz CD52. Total system cost including stands was less than $1000.

The sound was pretty rough and ready and went loud enough for my neighbours to complain. But I spent many happy hours listening to music or having it play softly in the background while I studied for exams.

My first NAD 3020i went up in a puff of smoke, which was apparently very common for these things. NAD took it back under warranty and repaired it, but I got rid of it before it happened again. As far as I am aware, it is still doing faithful service in my friend's dad's house (Snaggs are you there?). Since then and until recently I have been using another classic of the era, a Pioneer A400.[/b]

You had to mention the A400! Another favorite that I keep swapping in and out of my office system. Definitely a keeper!

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Glad to hear that you have a collection of them...makes me feel less of a weirdo for having amps

in just about every room of the house!. As I type, there is a 3020B, matched to a set of Celestion bookshelf

speakers and connected to my sound card..(and an old Sansui tuner).a bit of an insult to a fine piece of audio

equipment, but at least it gets used every day. It is a very musical, warm, amp, which as someone else in the string said,has almost valve like qualities.[/b]

The problem with the vintage bug is that so much is easily affordable - which as we both know leaves your house looking like a hifi shop. The downside of course is that being vintage, they do have a tendency to go wrong. I am actually clearing out a fair few of my units as I am running out of space. At least I have off loaded a few speaker sets which is not the ideal hobby for the inner west of sydney (space wise). Currently have going a Luxman 708 ss amp - a little tacker which weighs a ton and has a beautiful sound through my JR149s. But tragedy struck yesterday - my Marantz CD63 decided it no longer likes to read discs. Had this from new, now around 15 years old or something. To fix or not to fix...

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Glad to hear that you have a collection of them...makes me feel less of a weirdo for having amps

in just about every room of the house!. As I type, there is a 3020B, matched to a set of Celestion bookshelf

speakers and connected to my sound card..(and an old Sansui tuner).a bit of an insult to a fine piece of audio

equipment, but at least it gets used every day. It is a very musical, warm, amp, which as someone else in the string said,has almost valve like qualities.[/b]

By the way, how are the Concertos going? Did you stick with them?

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hullo Danter...

yes I still have them, but hope to start today on fixing together a set of 165 liter boxes for my recently aquired 12" Tannoy golds...(the paper surround version). On tests in a set of scruffy boxes of similar volume,they make they Concertos sound pretty lightweight.

I forsee days of port tuning ahead!

regards

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As you may know i am on the lookout for another amp since my 3020 went bad recently.

I've seen a NAD 302 for sale for $349.

I think that is a very high price for an old amp with no remote, albeit a nice sounding amp.

What do you folk think would be a reasonable price to pay for one of these nowadays?

I paid next to nothing for my 3020 last year but the 302 is at the other end of the evolution of the 3020 variants and may be worth it. opinions please.

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