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Amplifier NAD 3020 measurements from Stereo Review: 1979

DanielT

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Due to the discussion about NAD 3020 in this thread:

.., I thought it would fit with a separate thread. If you had a NAD 3020 then what did you think of that amplifier?

The NAD 3020 is a stereo integrated amplifier by NAD Electronics, considered to be one of the most important components in the history of high fidelity audio.[1] Launched in 1978, this highly affordable product delivered a good quality sound, which acquired a reputation as an audiophile amplifier of exceptional value. By 1998, the NAD 3020 had become the most well known and best-selling audio amplifier in history.[2]

shot_2022-01-20_14-51-13.png

I can't post the link to the measurement / test but maybe someone else can?

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solderdude

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There was nothing wrong with the sound. Back in my repairman days these came in more often than other models.
So no doubt it was sold a lot and got positive reviews.
Blown up power stages (due to the absence of emitter resistors) after a party or when someone really wanted to test the amp or connected speakers with a too low impedance. The 'automatic fuse' in the output stage obviously couldn't protect the OP stage from blowing up.
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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There was nothing wrong with the sound. Back in my repairman days these came in more often than other models.
So no doubt it was sold a lot and got positive reviews.
Blown up power stages (due to the absence of emitter resistors) after a party or when someone really wanted to test the amp or connected speakers with a too low impedance. The 'automatic fuse' in the output stage obviously couldn't protect the OP stage from blowing up.
I tested one last year. Unfortunately, for my taste, the one I bought had too much humming mechanical sound from the transformer. I tried to put extra screws between transformer and chassis, rubber plate between chassis and transformer. Nop, it did not get much better. I sold it. The buyer was aware of the humming sound and did not care. It is of course a matter of taste how annoyed you get at such a hum. I had also thought of having it in the bedroom (on a table near the bed and then the amplifier came physically quite close to my ears and I had heard the hum even more).Beyond that, it was quite ok.As an extra, bedroom amp it would have worked well. :)

NAD 3020 have pre out, if someone per se would be in need of a pre amp for example.:)

However, the build quality, you are the professional so I hope everyone reads what you write if now someone would like to test a NAD 3020.

Incidentally, old amplifiers, it probably makes sense, in general, if you can fix them yourself. Handing in to a professional repairman who works and charges per hour can be expensive, really expensive,and it is really a question of whether it is worth spending any major money on a NAD 3020.

In any case, the NAD 3020 is there in the history of amplifier and very many have had one.:)

NAD-3020-32424-2_24258 (2).jpeg
 
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charleski

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kevinh

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Had one long ago ran well for ~15 years. IIRC it wasn't slew rate limited like many other amps.
 

Mart68

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these sold for £90 back in the late 1980s, so about £250 in today's money, call it $300 USD

Build quality has to be assessed accordingly.

They were able to cope with reasonably tough loads unlike the UK and Japanese competition in the same price bracket. Low power was an issue which is probably why a lot came in for repair. That and the sheer number that were sold.

I know of at least a couple of them that are still running fine after more than 30 years.

Still a good option second hand IMO - if you can get by with just 20 watts.
 

Mulder

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I still have a 3020, but it's stored in a closet. I will never get rid of it for sentimental reasons. I wonder if it still works. Maybe I should pick it up again :)
 

DSJR

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Thirty years Mart? Add at least ten to that! My turntable set-up bench in 1982 or thereabouts had a 3020A and Boston A40's, these mounted on angle brackets - sounded great for the task at hand and that poor little amp was used and abused until at least 1998 when I left there. Only thing that failed on this one was the heavily abused RCA sockets needing re-soldering every few years.

There was a site now long gone that measured the Wattage needed for typical listening to a lower priced audio system and I'm sure I remember the results being around 5W or less, much less generally. Our 3020's had a row of power lights over the volume control, No idea at all how accurate or not they were, but only the first two or maybe three ever usually came on for general listening.

Sonic character was more in the RIAA stage accuracy, as there was a small low bass hump I remember (got the 'Choice tests but not to hand).
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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Low power was an issue which is probably why a lot came in for repair. That and the sheer number that were sold.
You may be right. Many were obviously sold.:)

A quick look at Hifishark: For Sale (58), Sold/Expired (3710)
 

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Mart68

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Thirty years Mart? Add at least ten to that! My turntable set-up bench in 1982 or thereabouts had a 3020A and Boston A40's, these mounted on angle brackets - sounded great for the task at hand and that poor little amp was used and abused until at least 1998 when I left there.
I know they came out earlier but I recall the price in late 1980s because I wanted one at the time but I couldn't afford it :)
 

Jackpine

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When I was in tech school around 1982 we had several of these for troubleshooting. The teachers would put blown transistors or other bad parts in them see if students could repair them. The reason they bought the NADs was because they were cheap and had better circuit boards in them. The cheap Japanese brands circuit boards wouldn't hold up to students repeatedly desoldering and soldering on them.
 

PatentLawyer

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I have a NAD 7120, the receiver version. Has a great tuner! Still works fine. I paid $50 for it when I was 16 or so. I got my money's worth.
 

Chr1

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My first amp circa 1982 along with Mission 700s and a Dual 505...
Survived many a party and general foolish youthful exuberance as well as many a house move. Long gone now but fond memories for sure.
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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There are probably many who have had one. Lots of memories. Why not get one again? Take it out every now and then and "fine-run" with it.:p Cheaper than having a vintage car anyway and driving that car sometimes.Or have a NAD 3020 as an extra or secondary amplifier in the garage, basement, or anywhere.

Speaking if the power of NAD 3020 is enough. Add a extra dB if music with a lot of dynamics to be played. If only compressed music ( sound sausages) are played, then not so sensitive speakers are needed::)

 
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Joe Smith

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I have the 1020 preamp, still sounds pretty decent but ideally would have a rework/recap. It actually works pretty well as a headphone amp.

The weird flat jack panel looks cool but is kind of a PITA in actual use.
 

DSJR

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I know they came out earlier but I recall the price in late 1980s because I wanted one at the time but I couldn't afford it :)
There was a 3020E model by then. No idea how similar the circuit was, but the slimmer case hid a smaller power supply I believe and they sounded rather 'weak' as I recall. Wasn't long after that, the C320 (ancestor to the one Amir reviewed) came along and this plus the larger models and CD players, returned then as serious lower cost competitors I remember - Hell it was a long time and 'several' lifetimes ago for me now - just saw that my 80's-90's manager, then boss and now long retired was on one of the 'Booster jab' hoarding posters around the UK - funny how the world turns init?
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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But why aren't more people using older gadgets as pre amp and or headphone amplifiers? In addition, the pre amp section in amplifiers is in class A, or? .. so it should (even with older Hifi) be low distortion. Recycling also, good for the environment.:D
Maybe it's the lack of remote control that matters? But beyond that.

Does not have to be just NAD 3020, can be any, for example:
 

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DSJR

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I believe most integrated amps and receivers just put a resistor in series with the speaker outputs to attenuate the level which offers the headphones a potentially too high an output impedance. i think they got or get away with it to a degree because headphones generally (as tested here) seem to have a pretty flat impedance over the frequency range, so less chance of the headphones being equalised by the amp 'tracking' the load. Vintage gear in general is large-format and as it seems that many listen while at their workstation, a small pile of high performing dinky boxes takes up less space.
 
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DanielT

DanielT

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Vintage gear in general is large-format and as it seems that many listen while at their workstation, a small pile of high performing dinky boxes takes up less space.
Sure size but you do not see a slight difference here:
harmankardon-330b (1).jpg



Compared to, took one at random:

SMSL SH-8S review headphone amplifier balanced.jpg



.....The modern one is butt ugly! Yes I know the taste, the aesthetic, what you appreciate is different. Okay, yes, that HK 330B is, by comparison, quite large.:)

Edit:
I can imagine having a nice vintage standing, but then at least I want to hide Hifi as much as possible. Ugly subwoffer amp into cabinets, under the sofa subwoofer, wall-mounted speakers with some neat fabric over (which does not affect the sound), cable trunking and so on.

Right now I have Hifi stuff here and there, but it's ideal.:D

 
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DSJR

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Yeah, one is huge and festooned with knobs and the other dinky-small and neat... Many workstation people would prefer a huge display or two to a 430mm or so receiver or amp..
 
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