[EDIT Jan 2014: the NAD D 3020 has been reviewed here.]
“Thirty twenty”. A most common utterance when NAD comes up in hifi conversation; it was the integrated that brought audiophillia to thousands upon thousands of households. The NAD 3020 was – and is – a quintessential piece of everyman hi-fi. I own one. It’s a tidy benchmark from which to judge other amplifiers that pass through these doors. Heck, its paper-light power rating gives lie to its ability to drive more challenging loads. The NAD 3020 sounds GREAT with Magnepan’s MMG and would definitely be my integrated pick for anyone doing planar-magnetics on a tight budget.
There’s no doubting the 3020’s standing as NAD’s most successful product of all time and every now and then I think about how NAD would make a motza if they were to bring it back; it would certainly ease the frustration of chasing second hand units on eBay.
Under the Lenbrook group umbrella – which also covers the equally superb PSB loudspeakers – NAD’s 40th anniversary product announcements are well underway. After some CES soft-launch teasing, three new digital audio products were formally (but quietly) unveiled at a media event in New York last month: the D 7050 Digital Network Receiver (US$899), the D 1050 USB DAC (US$399) and – get this – the D 3020 Digital Hybrid Amplifier (US$499).
Yes, a “Thirty Twenty” for the digital audio generation. The D 3020’s pricing is extremely keen given the features on offer: asynchronous USB (24/96), optical and coaxial inputs (24/96), analogue input (to keep turntable lovers on the hook) and a front-panelled headphone output. The D 3020 also supports aptX Bluetooth audio streaming (so no need for that iPhone dock). A remote control is also included.
The D 3020’s Class D output stage was co-developed by Hypex – the guys currently at the forefront of next generation switching amplifier modules – and it’s a little spicier on paper than my age-ing Class A/B model. This new iteration runs 30wpc into 8 ohms, double that into 4 ohms. NAD are claiming its ability to play nicely with (guess what!) Magnepan MMGs.
I see a shootout coming down the line when this product hits the streets in a month or two.