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NAD and Home Theatre

August 12, 2006

The Heart of Home Theatre

We have thought a great deal at NAD about what Home Theatre buyers really want and deserve. As usual, we have put users' real-world needs first, without being swept away by what other manufacturers have hurriedly assumed would be needed to sell gear. (We have gambled our company from the beginning on satisfying users rather than tempting them, and we would not be us if we acted otherwise when it came to Home Theatre equipment.)

Our design work started with the simple but mostly overlooked realization that a home theatre is not just a movie theatre but a music hall too. Even the most avid fans of bus crashes and explosions in movies also like to listen to music on their systems, whether up front at theatre levels or in the background of everyday life. Our feeling from the outset—confirmed by our research—has been that practically nobody buys Home Theatre equipment in a music-less void. Most surround systems are at least as focused on music as on movies, and music actually remains the primary source for most people's listening. So it is mandatory, in our view of the world, to make Home Theatre equipment satisfying on music as well as special effects.

With that in mind, we have not been impressed with most A/V receivers on the market. We find that most of them are poor, or mediocre at best, in hi-fi terms when playing music. (And when it comes to the "Home Theatre in A Box" systems pumped out by the standard mass-market appliance stores, we can not find any polite words for the way most of them sound.) Knowing that all of the qualities needed to make A/V equipment sound great on music would also result in great movie sound, we have developed a "Music First" approach to Home Theatre design. In implementing that approach, we have applied the same high standards of value, ease of use, flexibility, and anti-obsolescence that have always been our focus.

Starting Where We Are.

No matter how digital the world gets (and it is obviously getting more so every day), the analogue performance of an A/V receiver is critical. To create the performance we are sure listeners want and need, we build on the same basics we have pioneered ever since the time of our pathbreaking 3020 integrated amplifier—benchmarks such as high current capability, dynamic power, wide internal bandwidth, and rock-solid power supply. No matter how digital the rest of a receiver gets, those qualities in the analogue output stage—and highest-quality circuitry in prior stages handling both CDs and DVDs—are what make speakers sing as they should. And our high-current, dynamic, useful power (as opposed to the "brochure power" that is impressive only for driving printing presses) makes for effortless, transparent performance on demanding and sustained passages in both movies and music.

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