As NA2 ap­proaches its Opth birth­day, we look back to its roots and ahead to its fu­ture ” and, in­deed, the fu­ture of hi-fi

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Feature -

ech­nol­ogy moves at a fear­some pace, but some things never change. The core goal for any hi-fi com­po­nent is to get as close as pos­si­ble to the orig­i­nal per­for­mance. It should son­i­cally dis­ap­pear, so that the mu­sic can do its Kob – mak­ing the hairs on your neck stand on end.

When NAD en­tered the hi-fi arena in 1972, es­tab­lished in -on­don by in­dus­try vet­eran Dr. .artin -. Bor­ish, the elec­tronic gi­ants of the day had lost sight of that goal. They were en­gaged in a bat­tle of one-up­man­ship that had seen the de­vel­op­ment of un­nec­es­sary frills wrapped up in im­pen­e­tra­ble mar­ket­ing Kar­gon. This small Bri­tish firm set out to show them how it should be done.

Seven years later, it all clicked. In 1979, NAD re­leased the 3020, an unas­sum­ing-look­ing in­te­grated am­pli­fier that be­came the mak­ing of the brand.

Where other am­pli­fiers added, the 3020 stripped back. Bk·rn Erik Ed­vard­sen, NAD’S direc­tor of ad­vanced de­vel­op­ment, be­lieved that each un­nec­es­sary fea­ture adds cost and com­plex­ity to the cir­cuits, and cre­ates a po­ten­tial ac­cu­racy-harm­ing ob­sta­cle for the au­dio sig­nal to avoid. By re­mov­ing them, you straighten the sig­nal path and re­duce the chance of it be­ing dis­torted. The sound re­mains truer to the orig­i­nal record­ing.

Al­though the 3020 was rated at 20 watts, NAD’S version of 20 watts is very dif­fer­ent to that of other hi-fi firms. Thanks to its in­no­va­tive high-volt­age, high-cur­rent out­put stage, it could, for a short time, de­liver 40 watts into 8ohms, 8 watts into 4ohms and 72 watts into 2ohms – and was thus more than

Tca­pable of driv­ing the most chal­leng­ing hi-fi speak­ers of the day. Rather than settle for the lab­o­ra­tory tests that most used, NAD in­sisted on test­ing with real-world speak­ers – a far more rig­or­ous test of the 3020’s ca­pa­bil­ity.

So while it looked sim­ple, there was plenty go­ing on un­der the 3020’s hood. It re­de­fined what was pos­si­ble for an c80 am­pli­fier, wow­ing the hi-fi press with its warm and ar­tic­u­late de­liv­ery and cap­tur­ing the imag­i­na­tion of the au­dio­phile com­mu­nity. It took on the Japanese gi­ants and won, go­ing on to sell over a mil­lion units.


The 3020 ce­mented NAD’S ap­proach to hi-fi. Ev­ery­thing it now cre­ates is guided by three core qual­i­ties: per­for­mance, value and sim­plic­ity. It in­vests more in the com­po­nents that make a dif­fer­ence to how its prod­ucts sound, in­no­vates in ways that gen­uinely en­hance de­liv­ery and ar­chi­tects to keep the sig­nal pure, al­ways aim­ing to put on a knock-out per­for­mance at a great price. It’s win-win-win for the dis­cern­ing hi-fi fan who val­ues au­dio qual­ity over flashi­ness, and who wants the most ac­cu­rate sound achiev­able at their bud­get.

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NAD is as com­mit­ted to class-lead­ing sound qual­ity as it’s ever been, but it recog­nises that your au­dio kit now lives along­side and in­te­grates with all sorts of other de­vices: con­ven­tional com­po­nents, yes, but also TVS, smart­phones and your in­ter­net con­nec­tion.

That’s why it builds hi-fi am­pli­fiers with USB ports, TV in­puts and Wi-'i (al­though those amps can also make the most of a good vinyl press­ing), and its why an in­creas­ing range of NAD prod­ucts are man­aged by its op­er­at­ing sys­tem, Blu0s.

Blu0s is one of the most pow­er­ful pieces of tech­nol­ogy at NAD’S dis­posal. It’s the plat­form that con­trols a num­ber of NAD’S prod­ucts, and it sits at the heart of sis­ter brand Blue­sound – a range of 24-bit hi-res, high-end wire­less mul­ti­room prod­ucts. Cru­cially, it lets all these com­po­nents talk to­gether.

-et’s say you’ve al­ready got an NAD hi-fi with Blu0s in your lounge. Blu0s lets you add other NAD and Blue­sound de­vices to any room, ex­pand­ing your hi-fi across your home. It isn’t a col­lec­tion of barely re­lated de­vices, ei­ther: the shared plat­form al­lows de­vices to work in har­mony, with the same core func­tion­al­ity, the same con­trol app, and shared in­te­gra­tion with al­most ev­ery makor mu­sic stream­ing ser­vice. It’s multi-room au­dio with sys­tem-wide sup­port for hi-res mu­sic – and an ob­ses­sion with sound qual­ity.

What’s more, Blu0s is one of the few mod­ern multi-room mu­sic plat­forms that sup­ports stan­dards such as Con­trol4 and Cre­stron. It means you can put real hi-fi right at the heart of your smart home.


.odern tech­nol­ogy doesn’t mean fast-tracked ob­so­les­cence, though. NAD builds kit that can be upgraded to stay ahead of the curve. )eard of .2A? Think slimmed-down file-si[es but with bet­ter-than-cd sound qual­ity and you’re on to what .2A is all about. This is the for­mat that takes studio mas­ter qual­ity mu­sic and packs it in a file that’s com­pact enough to be down­loaded or streamed, and ev­ery NAD device with Blu0s can play it, thanks to a re­cent soft­ware up­date.

What about those itches that soft­ware up­dates alone can’t scratch? That’s where .DC (.odu­lar De­sign Con­struc­tion) comes in.

NAD’S .Dc-equipped prod­ucts have mod­ules that can be upgraded to sup­port new hard­ware stan­dards. This, com­bined with Blu0s, means there’s prac­ti­cally no way you’ll miss out on the next big thing in mu­sic tech.

In short, NAD makes real hi-fi for the 21st cen­tury: undimmed per­for­mance, ex­cep­tional value and the right tech­nol­ogy to fur­nish you with the purest mu­sic now – and in the fu­ture.

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The .12 dig­i­tal preamp DAC can now take ad­van­tage of a Blu0s-en­abled .DC plug-in

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