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Chicago Tribune T 743 AV Receiver

June 20, 2004

Chicago Tribune
June 2004
Reviewer: Kevin Hunt

The NAD T 743, which stands out like a brown paper bag, obviously doesn't get caught up in the bright-lights, big-chassis superficiality of the modern audio-video receiver. There's not an ounce of glamor in the 29-pound T 743. In the NAD tradition, it has no frilly, flashing lights or synthetic-sounding listening modes or clutter of push-button controls. This is a simple-to-use receiver, not the cockpit of a Black Hawk helicopter.

...Since 1978, when it was founded in Germany as New Acoustic Dimension, NAD has been known for products that would rather sound good than look good. There's nothing quite like the T 743 at the local electronics supermarket.

...To the casual shopper, its aspirations would appear far too modest for a $699 audio-video receiver with an AM/FM tuner. It handles the usual 5.1-channel surround-sound formats like Dolby Digital and DTS, where others in the T 743's price class also might accommodate emerging 6.1-channel formats like Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES that add an extra surround channel.

...More alarming, the T 743 supplies only 50 watts of power to each of those five channels—two front speakers, a center-channel speaker and two surround speakers—where some of the least-expensive receivers routinely claim to hit 100 watts a channel.

...But when NAD calls this a 50-watt receiver, it's using the industry's most stringent standards. According to the company's "full disclosure" ratings, the T 743 delivers an honest 50 watts into each channel driven simultaneously at low distortion (under 0.1 percent) across the full bandwidth of human hearing. Other receivers are measured into only one or two channels, with much higher distortion and at a limited bandwidth.

...Greg Stidsen, NAD's director of product development, said the company recently measured a competitor's $1,200 receiver rated at 105 watts into six channels. With the same standards used to measure the T 743, says Stidsen, this 105-watt receiver "could only output a rather pathetic 12 watts per channel." Yet this same receiver, says Stidsen, can be advertised as having 630 watts total power (six channels times 105 watts).

[The T 743] puts the money where it counts.

...The T 743 has substantial power in reserve—it can deliver a minimum of 250 watts without exceeding its rated distortion. If, indeed, a movie's most demanding special-effects sequence overloads the T 743's amplifier, NAD's "soft clipping" feature reduces the harshness caused by distortion and also any potential damage to the speakers. Be mindful of its power limitations, though: The T 743 is best suited for efficient speakers in a small to midsize room.

...NAD, now owned by the Lenbrook Group of Pickering, Ontario, says the T 743 is the sonic equal of its siblings, from the $999 T 753 to the $1,799 T 773, with differences only in power, features and price. They look the same, too, in NAD's signature cloudy-day gray. On the audio side—music, that is—the T 743 distances itself from most receivers in its price class. NAD (www.nadelectronics.com) is particularly in tune with the audio purist. It includes, for instance, a tone-defeat control that disables the treble-bass adjustments. (Picky listeners say tone controls degrade the sound.)

...It also eliminates useless listening modes, like Jazz or Hall or Stadium, that attempt to duplicate the ambience of various venues. Instead, its proprietary EARS surround processing presents two-channel recordings as a 5.1-channel (five speakers and a subwoofer) surround-sound mix.

...One of its "Enhanced Stereo" modes sends a stereo signal to the rear channels only, which I found particularly useful for late-night listening. With the sound coming from the speakers closest to my ears, I could listen at low volume without disturbing the rest of the household.

...NAD has made a sweet-sounding receiver for the music (and movie) lover, reducing features to the essentials...At $699, the T 743 still invests a higher percentage of its retail price in sound quality than the typical audio-video receiver. It puts the money where it counts.

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