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NAD D3045 Review (Integrated Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 11 4.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 55 21.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 159 61.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 32 12.5%

  • Total voters
    257

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the NAD D 3045 integrated amplifier with DAC and HDMI ARC. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $799.
NAD D3045 Review Phono Integrated Amplifier USB DAC Stereo.jpg

As you see, the design follows the rest of the "D" series. As with them, the power button is an almost hidden touch area on top which I dislike. It is not very sensitive and requires messing to get it to activate. But then when you put your hand on top of it, it happily shuts of the unit. :( The volume control is rather stiff and slow to act. Same with the input selector.

What the D3045 loses on the interface, it gains back with rich set of interfaces for today's music listener (sans streaming):
NAD D3045 Review HDMI ARC Back Panel Phono Integrated Amplifier USB DAC Stereo.jpg


Inclusion of HDMI ARC to receive digital audio from smart TV is rare and appreciated.

I was shocked to see such detailed specifications on the product page:
NAD D3045 Specs.png

We have four separate subsystems so let's go through each one of the separately.

NAD D3045 DAC Measurements
Inclusion of a DAC in modern integrated amplifier tends to be more of a checklist item than a performant subsystem. Is it the case here? Let's look at our dashboard:

NAD D3045 Measurements DAC Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Wow, I was not expecting to see SINAD above 100! This nicely puts the D3045 DAC in competent category of all DACs tested:

Best integrated amplifier dac review 2022.png


What is more, there is plenty of headroom available on the pre-out unlike competing units which clip well below 2 volts:
NAD D3045 Measurements DAC THD vs Level Amplifier USB Stereo.png


I have a theory that if DAC SINAD is taken care of, the rest of the unit is likely well designed. Let's test that theory by continuing the rest of our measurements:

NAD D3045 Measurements DAC Dynamic Range Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Not state of the art to be sure but again, competent in easily clearing the dynamic range of 16 bit content. Linearity is just as good:
NAD D3045 Measurements DAC Linearity Amplifier USB Stereo.png


IMD test shows a penalty for noise but distortion is on the money:
NAD D3045 Measurements DAC IMD Distortion Amplifier USB Stereo.png


There are some jitter spikes over USB interface but nothing to worry about audibly:
NAD D3045 Measurements DAC Jitter  Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Our DAC filter test however shows a poor choice for reconstruction filter:

NAD D3045 Measurements DAC Filter Amplifier USB Stereo.png


This almost looks like a custom filter of sorts. Shame as it has a slow roll off causing severe issue in high frequency signal creating ultrasonic noise:

NAD D3045 Measurements DAC THD vs Frequency Amplifier USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Amplifier Measurements
For amps with both digital and analog inputs I test both to see if there is a difference/conversion to digital. Let's start with analog input:
NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Amplifier USB Stereo.png

Performance is slightly above average for all amplifiers tested:
Best integrated amplifier review 2022.png


Given the much higher performance of the DAC, switching to USB input improves things a bit (gain structures are different however):

NAD D3045 Measurements Digital In Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Noise performance is not great at 5 watts but naturally improves at full power:

NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In SNR Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Frequency response is nice and flat in audio band and is not dependent on the load:
NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Frequency Response Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Multitone shows good performance:

NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Multitone Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Crosstalk is about average:
NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Crosstalk Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Power output matches specs:
NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Power 4 ohm Amplifier USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Max and Peak  Power 4 ohm Amplifier USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Power 8 ohm Amplifier USB Stereo.png


Finally, we see nice independence from input frequency (more or less):
NAD D3045 Measurements Analog In Power vs Frequency Amplifier USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Phono Pre-amp Measurements
Let's start with our dashboard:

NAD D3045 Measurements Phono USB Stereo.png


About average:
Best phono stage review 2022.png


There is good amount of headroom for the class:
NAD D3045 Measurements Phono THD+N vs Level USB Stereo.png


Most importantly, RIAA equalization is implemented well:

NAD D3045 Measurements Phono Frequency Response USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Headphone Amplifier Measurements
Company makes lofty claims of its headphone amp being as good as stand-alone amps. Again, such outputs are typically poor performing, checklist items. Not here:
NAD D3045 Measurements Dashboard Headphone USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Measurements Headphone USB Stereo.png


Yes, noise performance is not competitive with desktop amps so don't plug in efficient IEMs into it:

NAD D3045 Measurements Headphone SNR USB Stereo.png


best headphone amplifire review 2022.png


Where NAD delivers is in available power which is one of the most important things in headphone amplifiers:

NAD D3045 Measurements Headphone Power into 300 ohm USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Measurements Headphone Power into 32 ohm USB Stereo.png


NAD D3045 Measurements Power vs Load Headphone USB Stereo.png


Conclusions
With just a minor miss of picking slow "audiophile" filters for the DAC, NAD delivers on every front for an integrated amplifier in this price range. While competing products give you the amp, usually the rest is an afterthought. Not so with D3045. It is competent in every category. It is not state of the art and can't be with this much functionality and price point. It puts a smile on my face knowing that every circuit was well engineered and closed loop tested with measurement.

I am happy to recommend the NAD D3045. Well done job NAD!

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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_theLaughingman

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I'll be honest, I wanted better performance for the price. For almost a kilobuck amp this thing doesn't have all the bells and whistles but decent performance. I voted "fine".
 

Walter

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Very nice all-in-one product. Easily beaten in most respects by separates for less money, but not if HDMI ARC is important to you. Would be considerably more impressed if it was $600 or less.

Edit: forgot about the phono preamp since I have no use for one. It seems like an unnecessary addition, but if you really need both phono and HDMI plus a DAC, headphone Amp, and speaker amp, I'm not so sure you can top this even with separates for the same price.
 
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TimW

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Performance and features are great except for one glaring omission IMHO, DSP.

Any speaker system and most headphones need equalization for a flat response.

Otherwise I don't think the price is that out of line for all of the features. You want a good preamp, power amp, DAC, phono stage, and headphone amp with as many digital inputs as this has? Sure you could get better performance with separates but I doubt you would get all the features.
 

Keened

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I found mine for closer to $550, although it was refurbished originally. Then it developed issues and was replaced for free with a new one so barring those issues re-occurring I think ~$600 is a fair price.

A lot of good but not a shred of great. Also a lot of money. I can put something together with separates that, for the same or not much more money, can do all of that great.
Prior to the Flex there weren't too many options with (adjustable) built into high-pass crossovers, ARC, and high quality BT with a small foot print (as in small enough to just leave on your desk).
 

Jos

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I had one and it became very hot after a while. Also the display died and it became impossible to know what input was selected. It didn‘t convince me.
 

pablolie

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I did prefer the more forward looking and narrower use case of the D7050 (for me). I don't need phono or analog inputs, and I thought the ability to set any sub xover frequency from 40 to 200Hz a very neat feature (I am not sure if you can do that with this one) [1]. This one is pretty good, but not great - then again "great" is what they sell the M series for... :)

[1] I just checked and the D3045 can be configured for high-pass at 120Hz, 80Hz or 40Hz.

PS: The channel difference of the amp section is a bit worrisome, no?
 
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uwotm8

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Actually this is a real all-in-one solution for a desktop use, NAD delivers again. Also there's almost no frequency-distortion dependence, very untypical for non-state-of-art D-class. Overall I don't think it can be beaten in every sound aspect by two smsltopping boxes with real economy ($500 or less for both).
 

brandonhall

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Great unit. Glad to see it measures well. I tried to acquire one last year and the seller sent me a 7050 instead. Amazingly, I was able to return it to him and get my money back. The 7050 was a hot mess when Amir measured it.
 

pablolie

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Great unit. Glad to see it measures well. I tried to acquire one last year and the seller sent me a 7050 instead. Amazingly, I was able to return it to him and get my money back. The 7050 was a hot mess when Amir measured it.
Actually right here you can see the D7050 ranks above the D3045 if you use it properly (89 vs 81 SINAD). Measuring it as a DAC never made sense (that was where measurements were poor, but they probably don't reflect the real DAC performance, just the implementation of the pre-out if used in a nonsenical full range mode and driven to clipping IMO). The other flaw was only 50W, but on the other hand it is a better-measuring 50W than what the D3045 outputs. The D7050 clearly was intended for a much narrower use case: all-digital and driving bookshelves combined with a sub and optimized highpass xover frequency... clearly if you intend to use the pre-out in a D7050 other than as a very configurable sub-out, you should stay miles away from the D7050. Would be a bizarre use case though. Anyhow, that discussion should be confined to the D7050 thread, lots of info and pointers to other test results there.

I am surprised no one is baffled by the channel difference in the D3045.... if the measurement is true it is concerning.
 
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amirm

amirm

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I am surprised no one is baffled by the channel difference in the D3045.... if the measurement is true it is concerning.
There is no channel difference in amplitude which is better than many amps in this regard. Difference in distortion measurements is not near as important although it would be nicer if it were less.
 
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