T 785 AV Receiver reviewed by Audioholics
March 1, 2011
First Look: NAD T-785 A/V Receiver First Look
by david — March 01, 2011
First Impression: Pretty Cool
New Acoustic Dimension, NAD Electronics latest entry at the flagship A/V receiver level is the T-785 Surround Sound Receiver. Clad in classic NAD charcoal gray, this 56 lb receiver boasts a dual toroidal transformer power supply that is rated at 120 watts full frequency range power into an 8 ohm nominal impedance. The T-785 also features modular construction of the pre/pro circuitry that is billed as future proofing for the receiver, that can perhaps eliminate the need to otherwise replace a more than satisfactory power amplifier section just because Hollywood wants to resell all of their movies in a conveniently, for them, incompatible new format.
The audio performance of the T-785 receiver is driven by dual Holmgren toroidal transformers powering the audio amplifier section, which should supply plenty of headroom for strong performance in the dynamics department. In a clear nod to NAD’s two channel, Hi-Fi audio roots, the transformers are configured with one to drive the L/R channel and the other for everything else. Personally, I would rather see the digital processing isolated from the analog circuitry, but at this price range, any other means of isolation employed is likely to be more than adequately handled. However you slice it, there is still a lot of amplifier meat in a 50+ pound receiver. The T-785 is a 7.2 design that provides a dual subwoofer pre-out along with seven amplified channels, two of which can be assigned to any one of four independent zones or used to bi-amplify the front L/R channels.
The amplifier design also includes several other NAD specific technologies, namely Soft Clipping and Power Drive. Soft Clipping has long been established as NAD's approach to overload protection. Rather than using any sort current limiting, NAD uses proprietary circuitry to round off clipped signals, effectively functioning as very localized signal compression, protecting the amplifier and speakers alike. Power Drive is the evolution of NAD long standing Power Envelope amplifier design, which is said to increase amplifier stability and low impedance load capability. By providing an additional high voltage rail in the power supply, NAD claims that this design can provide a near doubling of power under short dynamic peaks.
The amplifier section of the T-785 is capable of driving low impedance loads and is rated for 4 ohm nominal loads, but has been tested on loads as low as 2 ohm nominal impedance. Power output by the T-785 has been rated against multiple standards, coming in at 200 watts per channel via FTC (1 kHz at 8 ohms), 120 watts multi-channel across the full audio range (20 Hz- 20 kHz), as well as 170 watts when driving a stereo configuration.
Processing and Connectivity
The pre/pro section of the T-785 is built on a modular design with six removable boards that provide all of the processing and connectivity. Four of the boards provide all of the analog audio and video input/output connectivity that are divided into: HD component video, SD composite and s-video, two channel audio, and multi-channel audio. The remaining boards, currently the AM200 and the VM200 in North America, provide digital audio and video processing and connectivity. Additionally, the T-785 also supports a number of custom installation features and includes an RS-232 port and a contingent of IR in/out triggers.
A/V processing on the T-785 is handled by a dual core, 32/64 bit Texas Instruments Aureus digital signal processor. The DSP is supported by five two channel Burr-Brown 24 bit/192 kHz D/A converters, a multi-channel Burr-Brown 24 bit/192 kHz A/D converter, and a Sigma Designs VXP image processor. The T-785 provides support for all current digital audio formats including lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio. The T-785 also provides a full compliment of Audyssey functionality including Auto Setup, MultEQ XT, support for MultEQ Pro, Dynamic Volume, and Dynamic EQ. The Sigma Designs VXP video processor used in the T-785 features a programmable scaling engine up to a maximum 2048 x 2048 pixels resolution. With present video specifications, the T-785 supports up to 1080p video resolution with upconverting, aspect ratio conversion, analog to digital video transcoding with HDMI output, NTSC/PAL video format conversion, as well as a host of other features.
The analog audio modules for the T-785 include the full range of standard connections. This includes 7.1 channel input and 7.2 channel preamp output, 6/1 (rear/front) stereo inputs, and 3 stereo outputs including a zone 2 out. The analog video modules provides three component video inputs, one component output, and 5/1 (rear/front) composite/S-video inputs and four outputs including monitor and zone 2 out. The front panel, in addition to the auxiliary audio and video inputs, also features a headphone jack, an analog media player input jack, and an auxiliary toslink connection.
The AM200 audio module provides traditional digital audio connections for coaxial and toslink with three of each for input and one of each for output. The VM200 module provides HDMI v1.3 connections with 4 inputs and 1 output. Additionally, the VM200 provides a port for connectivity with a separate iPod dock. From the NAD website, future upgrades for these cards appear to include an updated VM module to support HDMI v1.4; assuming home 3D ever really takes off.
With a definite focus on delivering quality audio performance, the NAD T-785 has a solid feature set compatible with current audio and video formats. While not every feature is the absolute latest and greatest, but with an eye toward future proofing, the T-785 provides a focused upgrade path with a modular pre/pro design that limits the need for replacement to just those parts that become obsolete. But such things make a receiver like the T-785 the antithesis of the effectively disposable mass market receivers that change model numbers like clockwork: you buy it to keep it.