REVIEW: NAD ELECTRONICS T 758 V3 AV RECEIVER
NAD's T 758 AV Receiver was first released in 2011. Now in it's third evolution, read on to see just how good it really is and why it's received StereoNET's Best In Class, AV Receiver - Under $2500 award, for 2017.
Click below to open the StereoNET Digital Magazine review, otherwise read on.
T 758 V3
Home theatre technology has undergone a massive transformation since I got my feet wet, back in 2001. Not only has the technology transformed, but so has the way in which we purchase it.
The internet has created a market that’s more price and feature driven than ever before. Where I would never have dreamed of purchasing speakers or an AV Receiver without auditioning them, many consumers are now quite content to do so.
I’m just as guilty as the next person of wanting to get a great deal, but it does leave you wondering; how much further can we tighten the thumbscrews, before quality takes a back seat to price and features?
I can think of at least one manufacturer of higher-end AVR’s that has already buckled under the weight of our competitive marketplace. While they’re still in business, the AVR’s they now build pale in comparison to what they used to be.
Fortunately, there are still companies out there who put sound quality first. Their names don’t pop up as much they used too, but rest assured, they’re still there, working away quietly.
NAD Electronics is one such company who puts sound quality first. Don’t be fooled into thinking they haven’t embraced the latest technology. On the contrary, their most recent range of AV Receivers offers many of the same features as the competition. It’s just that they’ve taken a slightly different approach to our value-driven marketplace.
A quick google search on the T 758 featured in this review reveals it was first released in 2011. At least three years before 4K and immersive sound were on the scene.
Here we are in 2017 with the T 758 V3 featuring 4K capability and equipped with Dolby Atmos. Rest assured that NAD doesn’t have Nostradamus like abilities, nor have they signed a pack with an infernal entity. Rather, this is NAD’s MDC (Modular Design Construction) at work.
MDC, also in its third generation, allows the T 758’s digital audio and video circuits to be physically replaced when formats become available. The possibilities are both interesting and potentially endless with NAD’s T 758 - more correctly referred to as the T 758 V3 given it’s now in its third generation.
As well as updating its sound codecs and video capabilities, the T 758 V3 has undergone some other changes. Perhaps the most significant of which is the addition of Dirac Live room correction.
The T 758 V3 is a 7.1 channel AVR, each of its seven channels of amplification rated at 60 watts. While this may sound a little on the weak side, rest assured, 60 real watts sounds a whole lot better than 100+ watts when it’s rated with only one or two channels driven and high amounts of distortion.
The T 758 V3 will power two front speakers, one centre speaker, two rear speakers and two rear back speakers. If your home theatre is Dolby Atmos equipped, the T-758 V3 will accommodate a 5.1.2 configuration. Or, add an external power amplifier, and you’re good to go up to 7.1.2 or 5.1.4. If you prefer a 5.1 arrangement, the T 758 V3’s extra two channels can be used to power a second zone of audio.
With the MDC V3 upgrade equipped at the factory, the T 758 V3 will decode Dolby® Atmos, Dolby® True HD, Dolby® Digital Plus, Dolby® Digital EX, Dolby® Pro Logic IIz, Dolby® Virtual, DTS-HD™ Master Audio, DTS-ES™, DTS™ 96/24 decoding and DTS Neo:6.
Keen observers will note the T 758 V3 doesn’t decode DTS:X™. After seeking clarification from NAD’s Australian distributor, Convoy, I’m told that DTS:X ™ will be added in a future update.
The included BluOS upgrade kit adds wireless multi-room streaming to the T 758 V3, compatible with the Bluesound wireless audio platform and the range of products within the range.
All the usual suspects, such as such as Tidal, Spotify, Deezer and Internet Radio are present and accounted for. Hi-Res audio playback is also supported, including 24-bit/192kHz FLAC / WAV.
What’s in the Box?
When it comes to appearance, the T 758 V3 is distinctively NAD. Its appearance reminds me a little of the Anthem MRX-1120 we reviewed in February 2017. The T 758 is however, more minimalistic, with buttons and dials kept to a minimum.
Front and centre is a large LED display, with source selection buttons and the volume control dial to its right. On the left is a circular group of inverted buttons. Apart from the power, menu and listening-mode buttons, that’s it.
Like the controls, front panel inputs include just a single headphone jack. The flap on the bottom right of the T 758 V3 opens to reveal a single analogue, Toslink and mic input.
The MDC unit, located at the back of the T 758 has three 4K Ultra HD HDMI inputs (4K/60p / 4:4:4 / HDCP 2.2) and one 4K Ultra ARC HDMI output. There’s also a USB input for the BluOS kit, two optical, two coaxial and pre-outs for height/rear speakers.
For those who want to connect a Blu-ray or SACD player via an analogue connection, there’s a 7.1 channel input. There’s also a seven-channel pre-out (nine including those found on the MDC module) for connecting an external power amplifier.
Finishing up the T 758 V3’s inputs are four analogue audio inputs, zone 2 inputs, 2 IR outs, 1 IR in, a 12v trigger and RS232 input.
A curious omission is the absence of an ethernet port. Granted the T 758 V3 is a wireless AVR, however many find themselves with less than capable WiFi reception in their homes.
Rather than placing the T 758 V3’s 14 speaker posts next to one another in a side-by-side format, NAD has placed them on top of one another (two rows of seven posts). I’m not a big fan of this type of arrangement as there’s not as much room to connect speaker wires.
The T 758 V3 is housed in a dark gray aluminium chassis with its clean and uncluttered appearance belying it’s $2,399 RRP asking price.
Supplied with the T 758 is the BluOS upgrade kit (MDC), calibration mic, main remote and a separate remote control for Zone 2.
The remote fits comfortably in the hand with its buttons well placed and easy to find. Finished in high gloss black with aluminium highlights, the remote compliments the T 758’s classy looks.
Like its appearance, the T 758 V3’s build quality is superb, being at a point I usually associate with more expensive AVR’s.
I set the review sample up in a 5.2.2 configuration, with the signal from the T 758 V3’s single subwoofer split to my two subs with a Y-adapter. All the inputs on the back of the T 758 are clearly labelled, so connecting speakers and source devices are relatively simple.
There’s nary an automated setup menu to be found on the T 758 V3, so it’s a matter of systematically working through the menus. Fortunately, the setup menus are well laid out and easy enough to work through.
In addition to adding other features, an internet update adds Dirac Live Room correction to the T 758 V3’s abilities. If you’re not familiar with Dirac Live, it’s a premium form of room correction software typically found in AVR’s that cost more than the T 758 V3’s $2,399 asking price.
Rather than conducting the calibration from the AVR’s setup menu, it’s completed via a PC (iOS and Android apps are in the works).
If you have opted to set up the T 758 V3 yourself, I highly recommend you seek out the Dirac Live Best Practices Article and the Dirac Live Instructional Video. It’s also worth noting that the free version of Dirac Live on the T 758 V3 only works between 500Hz- 20kHz.
The paid version of Dirac Live is needed to correct frequencies from 20Hz- 20kHz. I highly recommend the paid version for $99 US.
With our usual go-to, The Wolverine Blu-ray locked and loaded; it was time to see what the NAD T 758 V3 was capable of.
The first thing that struck me was the T 758’s sound. It has a natural and refined sound that reminded me more of the more expensive AV Receivers that have passed through my home theatre room. The T 758 V3 is right up there with the best of them. What’s more, the T 758 V3 has a knack for drawing out fine detail and bringing it to the fore.
Whether it was the sounds of footfalls as mourners entered the temple at Yoshida’s funeral, or the wind coming through the trees, the effects had a sense of realism.
Being a sucker for a good scary movie, I cued Anabelle: Creation. If you haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, it’s a great movie, with some genuine edge of the seat moments. With Anabelle: Creation’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack, the NAD T 758 V3 produced a clean sound that was loaded with detail.
Just like the Anabelle doll itself, the T 758 V3 has a knack of creeping up on you. The clean sound it produced had me nudging the volume a little more than usual - something I also found myself doing with Anthem’s MRX-1120 when it was in for review.
The difference this time is that once the dynamics kick-in, and trust me, they can kick, I found myself jumping out of my chair!
With the credits rolling and heart rates returning to a more regular rhythm, it was time to see how the T 758 V3 fared with some older soundtracks. Since its release in 1987, Predator has been a favourite.
Although Predator’s DTS-HD soundtrack can sound a little thin, it’s a great soundtrack given the film’s 30-year age. Again, the T 758 turned in a very detailed performance with an excellent sense of detail and placement within the sound-field. So natural was the sound, that I often found myself looking over my shoulder.
While the T 758 V3 couldn’t match the sense of immersion of Denon’s AVR-X4300H, it did produce a decent soundstage. Missed was that little extra the height speakers provide with DTS-HD soundtracks, but I didn’t feel there were any gaps in the soundstage.
The T 758 V3’s amplifiers are obviously more than capable of providing a dynamic home theatre experience that punches well above its weight. Whether it was during The Wolverine or when I was splashing some of Adelaide Hill’s finest IPA on the couch during Anabelle Creation, the T 758 V3 had plenty of wallop.
The bass performance may have lacked a touch of finesse; this is nothing that the paid version of Dirac Live wouldn’t improve though.
Let’s not beat around the bush; the T 758 V3 lacks a few of the bells and whistles of its competitors. When it comes to setup, it’s also not as ‘user-friendly’ as some of the competition.
However, this is all going to be quickly forgotten once you fire up the T 758 for the first time. Everything from the build to the sound quality exudes a level of class that defies its asking price.
In theory, sound quality this good should cost a lot more than the $2,399 RRP asking price. Simply put, the T 758 V3 is the best AV Receiver I have heard at the price-point. I’d go as far as to say that it gives some of the more expensive AVRs a good run for their money.
At the end of the day, when you’re sitting down watching a movie, the sound quality is what it’s all about. And that, good people, is why the NAD T 758 wins our StereoNET best in class award.
For more information visit NAD Electronics.
Further reading: AV Receivers & Processors Forum
As the owner of Adelaide based ‘Clarity Audio & Video Calibration’, Tony is a certified ISF Calibrator. Tony is an accomplished Audio-Visual reviewer specialising in theatre and visual products.
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