The launch of the 3020 first introduced SoftClipping technology, the way that Bjørn-Erik Edvardsen tackled the common problem in class A/B amplifiers where music that contained sudden crescendos of loud or dynamic sounds was simply “clipped” out of the presentation, since more power was required than the amplifier could deliver. In extreme cases, clipping could damage the speaker if the amplifier experienced a surge that the then sent a sudden and full-powered burst of audio data to the speakers. Edvardsen’s design prevented clipping by monitoring the power supply for characteristic dips in voltage that would indicate an oncoming clipping incident, and the amplifier responded by reducing the input gain to protect itself from being overwhelmed.
Flat Tonearm Turntable
With the 5120, NAD took a fresh approach to turntable design. Notably, the execution of an interchangeable tonearm meant that audiophiles could buy extra tonearms and switch out different cartridges. Each cartridge could be installed and aligned on its own arm, with the tracking force and other adjustments pre-set. The semi-automatic, lightweight tonearm also featured a Dynamic Vibration Absorber (DVA), a clever counterweight which was not mounted to the tonearm, rather suspended on a spring to resonate in sympathy with the arm mass, in turn reducing audible flutter, intermodulation distortion, rumble and other unwanted vibrations.
Where SoftClipping prevented the amplifier from becoming overwhelmed by intense crescendos in music, Power Envelope helped the amplifier carry the load with a small second power supply that would kick in and bolster the output of the main power supply. This was another of Bjørn-Erik Edvardsen’s clever circuitry designs that gave NAD amplifiers the ability to perform like higher end amplifiers while keeping costs down, as two smaller power supplies was less expensive than one large power supply.
Dolby HX Pro and Dyneq
Despite a bare exterior outlook, the 6300 Cassette Deck leveraged some of the most sophisticated recording and playback technology of its time. Beyond the top-of-the-line features; three heads and DolbyC noise reduction; the 6300 combined Dolby HX Pro, Dyneq, and Play Trim circuits – all operating with a precision-built dual-capstan, dispersed-resonance tape transport. More importantly, Dolby HX Pro and Dyneq worked synergistically: HX Pro automatically adjusted record bias to the needs of the program material while Dyneq adjusted high-frequency equalization to prevent tape saturation. The tape machine incorporated advanced circuitry while maintaining user convenience in one affordable package.
Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
As with many companies that push boundaries, not all of NAD’s innovations were met with commercial success, even if they were technically brilliant, and such was the case for the 118 pre-amplifier. In 1997 the brand released its first digital pre-amplifier to incorporate Digital Signal Processing (DSP). The 118 contained as much processing power as an Apple computer of its day, allowing tone controls, volume, and spatialization and dynamic range adjustments to occur in the digital domain. Although the 118 received limited commercial success, its design brought a level of accuracy and listening customization that had never been possible before.
Full Disclosure Power (FDP)
In the early 2000s, manufacturers and retailers began to take liberties in specifying power ratings, providing only the highest power rating an AVR was capable of, even if it was for a split second and at one frequency. This meant consumers were purchasing AVRs with incomplete and potentially misleading power ratings that did not reflect real-world listening scenarios.
In response, NAD created its own power rating standard called Full Disclosure Power in 2002 with the introduction of the T 752 and T 762 A/V Receivers, and subsequently T 753, which applied an average of power outputs across various frequency and amplitude levels to mimic real-world listening. This was a significant decision by NAD since this methodology almost always put NAD at a disadvantage at face value by understating the power ratings of its amplifiers versus those from other manufacturers.
Modular Design Construction (MDC)
MDC was first introduced in 2007 in the T 765, T 775, and T 785 A/V Receivers, and T 185 pre-amp. Each MDC-equipped AVR or Processor chassis housed six removable modules that include digital video, digital audio, HD analogue video, SD analogue video, analogue audio inputs and outputs. The success of MDC technology continues to grow today, preventing old units from becoming obsolete, and a next-gen MDC2 platform was recently released in the C 399 stereo integrated amplifier.
Direct Digital Feedback Amplifier (DDFA)
In 2009, NAD released the M2, the first integrated amplifier to feature Direct Digital Feedback Amplifier (DDFA) technology. This revolutionary technology featured a purely digital signal path, creating the shortest and most direct path for audio data to travel from source to output, significantly reducing the possibility of introducing distortion and interference along the way. By taking a digital PCM signal directly, the M2 could eliminate any discrepancies in conversion during the amplification stages.
Network Music Streaming
When NAD released the M50, HD digital music downloads were saturating the hi-fi music industry. To compensate for the digital shift, NAD looked even further ahead to create a dream system for serious music lovers that would allow them to download tracks directly to the unit’s built-in hard drive and do network shares supporting hi-res music files up to 24-bit/96kHz music. Equipped with Ethernet, Wi-Fi, HDMI and USB, the M50 was capable of managing, controlling, decoding and playing the most popular digital music formats including Linear PCM up to 24-bit 192kHz, FLAC lossless, MP3, AAC, WMA and Ogg Vorbis.
The M33, released in 2020, was the first commercially available amplifier to carry the Eigentakt technology, the latest in hybrid digital designs that boasts near immeasurable harmonic and intermodular distortion, load-invariant power delivery, and clarity at low volumes that even the most expensive amplifiers struggle to duplicate. Today, Eigentakt technology continues to be interwoven into NAD innovations, delivering a distortion-crushing, ‘black-background’ type listening experience that represents the pinnacle of ‘pure’ hi-fidelity music enjoyment.