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NAD amps and DACs.


Active Member
May 27, 2021
Hello i was choosing new speakers and i went for Elac DBR62, reviews here helped a lot...

Source of my audio is a desktop computer DAC is Realtek ALC1220, while manufacturer AsRock sells it as Purity Sound 4, some of similar solutions have also Creative Logo on it. In general, the circuitry isn't that bad (Nichicon audio capacitors instead of general ones, clean power source, gold plating on jacks and some shielding). In the end 120db SNR of the DAC went down to 90 and THD isn't bad as well, but nothing fancy.

The next step was amplifier and I knew I want something small and energy efficient and after few days I settled for NAD d3020 v2. DAC inside the amplifier is Cirrus Logic CS42528

Its a decent chip with up to 192KHz 24bit (8 channels used just for stereo in this particular amplifier), however its made since 2001. In general both computer DAC and AMP DAC have flat sound, with quite low distortion and speakers seem to fit the combination.

But.. the AUX input seems to sound better, which is hard to believe since I compare onboard soundcard with an integrated amplifier. Then I found here review of NAD d7050, where amplifier DAC seems to have some serious trouble:

I asked at NAD support whether the AUX/Phono input on d3020v2 is digitized before its amplification, and they claimed that those sources are kept analog.

So i am wondering whether i have'nt encountered similar problem on NAD d3020v2 which measured on NAD 7050, while it seems the amplifiers are very different when it comes to internals...

I will probably continue to use SPDIF input (it offloads some work from CPU), but for critical listening i might use AUX instead, also i will look forward for review of d3020 v2.
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