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Ten Most Significant Amplifiers Of All Time

April 15, 2011

The Ten Most Significant Amplifiers Of All Time


NAD 3020 Integrated Amplifier

The Modest NAD 3020 might lack the star-power of the other amplifiers on our Most Significant lint, but significant it is by virtue of its tremendous influence over an entire generation of music lovers. For budget-minded listeners who cared about sound, the 3020 was the amplifier you bought instead of a mass-market receiver. The 3020 sold in unimaginable numbers - 1.1 million units (even more if you include variations on the basic circuit) - and in the process created tens or hundreds of thousands of dyed-in-th-wool audiophiles. Although not the last word in resolution or treble clarity, the 3020 rendered music with a warmth and engagement that was the perfect antidote to the bright, sterile, grainy budget electronics of the day. Moreover, the 3020 sounded more powerful then its 20Wpc rating suggested, thanks to an innovative output stage designed for reproducing musical dynamics rather than impressing on the spec sheet.

The Absolute Sound lists the 3020 as one of the top "Ten Most Significant Amplifiers Of All Time"

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3020 Stereo Integrated Amplifier

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Comments (10)

2013-05-29 10:55
Geoff - Western Australia

I bought the 3020 new when I lived in the UK in 1983 it travelled out with me to Australia. I still use it most nights, I play mainly cds now, it still makes the music just as enjoyable and exciting today as when I first listened to it 30 years ago and except for a little crackling sound when I turn the volume knob, it's never missed a beat or needed any attention. I wonder if I shall still be using it in 30 years time?

2012-12-06 06:32
Steve Smith - West Sussex UK

I had a 3020 30 years ago -I wish NAD would reissue it - look at the interest and prices that they go for on E Bay. Would love to own one of these again!

2012-09-19 17:27
John - Florida

I bought a 3020 in the 70's and used it as a pre-amp for a McIntosh amplifier since I needed more power to drive Magneplaner speakers which are power hungry. It was excellent and we used it for many years in various systems and configurations and never felt short changed. Today, I purchased an NAD T748 receiver because of my positive experience with the 3020. Make me happy once and I'll come back 30 years later as a loyal customer.

2011-10-31 10:56
Brendan Van Zyl - South Africa

I just got myself a NAD T747 amp, NAD T557 Blu-Ray player with Mission MX4 and MX1 surround sound speakers. The best choice ever!

2011-06-20 09:29
Wayno - Brantford, ON

I recently bought a T-747 and it sounds amazing with surround paradigms. i was playing Call of Duty and cranked it one time....it sounded like the Commando machine gun was actually in my house... i could feel it! and yes it was a clean clean sound...so natural sounding

2011-06-19 15:27
Stephen King - England

The 3020B is a magnificent product. I bought mine new in 1985. I have added other NAD contemporary decks, more recently from e-bay, and they equally great. All my earlier mixtures of decks from Pioneer, and Dual have died- mind you my NAD CD 5420 is still great. Since 1985 I have spent thousands on other high tech audiophile hi-fi. I now have none. My 3020B does everything for me, I love it. Stuff modernity. The sound from it, does it for me.

2011-05-05 08:44
Steven Fleming - Brisbane

I bought a Model 120 stereo receiver at a garage sale for $30 about 10 years ago and, apart from some crackle when I first twist the volume knob, it works and sounds perfect - without a shadow of a doubt the best buy I will ever make in Hi-Fi components.

2011-05-01 05:25
Geoff - Australia

I have a Model 120. Since 1976 the only attention it has required was the replacement of the dial back lights. It has now developed a problem in the tuner, no stereo. Not bad at all for any 35 year old electronics.

It still sounds wonderful. When it doesn't I'll be looking towards NAD again.

2011-04-24 10:03
Paul - USA

I have a 2200PE power amp from the 80's and have to say that it is one solid piece of gear. This amplifier is rated at 100 w/ch but let me tell you that with it's 6dB of headroom it one serious performer. It sounds excellent and has tons of power to spare.

I don't know about their newer amplifiers but if they perform as well as the 2200PE does, they continue to create winners in my book.

2011-04-20 08:06
Nicola - Italy

Reviewers seems stuck on the 3020, like NAD wasn't here nowadays or like if its products aren't well performing or amazing like in the past.
Those same reviewers crawl and squeal to the lastest 10k bucks vinyl scratcher, 15W tube amp, or anything exotic made with more wood than electronics engineering.

So you might as well begin to understand why NAD is almost ignored, and when they talk about it "yeah,the great cheap 3020 from late '70,good days back then.But now let's talk about modern wood amps..".
They want you to think NAD isn't a "serious" brand, they know well that if you'd considered them,listened to them, the game will be over for three quarters of the market.
So come on, keep the story of the old-cheap-little-3020 well refreshed every year, make sure NAD is seen as little, cheap, unserious, great value for beginners.

But gentlemens, as long as my ears(and brain) work, i'll be stuck on NAD amplifiers, the only company which knows how to make an amplifier AND gives you performance for your money, respecting their customers. Long live NAD.

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