Savannah Music Festival 2015

After my Austin sojourn this year, I paid a visit to the more staid and adult universe of the Savannah Music Festival.
Fri, 04/10/2015
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NAD D 3020 integrated amplifier Measurements

Fri, 04/10/2015
Share | |
COMMENTS
AllanMarcus's picture

I happen to have a D3020 on my desk next to my computer. I use it with MartinLogan LS15 (~$800/pr), a variety of headphones (many brand new and with 1/4" jacks)', all connected with fine monoprice interconnects to my Mac. Oh, I use 14awg wire I got from radio shack. As for the remote on the device, it's pretty much universally reviled. The darned thing is black on black, making button identification impossible in most situations. The remote's battery compartment is also really difficult to open. Apparently the designer of the remove has never seen the original Apple white remote and doesn't nderstand the concept of a spring. Finally, as for the reviewer, the inability to turn off the device is most likely due to not reading the manual. To turn it off you have to hold the power button down for a few seconds. Finally, to talk about how he hates Bluetooth, then how great it sounds with APTx,, then talk about how he used an iPhone to listen to Bluetooth shows how little this review understands the technology. The iPhone doesn't use APTx; it uses AAC. Yes, I'm being a bit pedantic, but I expect a bit more from stereophile.

tonykaz's picture

Dear Sir,

My wife owns a beautiful new car and because she's not a owner's manual reader she can't figure out how to turn the lights on ( the car does it for her in most instances ).

Plenty of products don't even come with manuals anymore and why should the companies bother?, they do provide an 800 help line but….

You are soooo right about that Black on Black, it's always been nearly impossible for me to visually identify the control functions, multi-functions for each button compound the difficulty. Black kills any product's chances for me ( it's like the designer is giving me the finger each time I try to control the device ).

Disappointed with Glossy-Mag reviewers? You are the reviewer!, you and some guy in Two Rivers, Wi. writing his little review in HeadFi are the reviewers that speak from the ownership experience, people with a dog in the fight.

Glossy Mag reviewers are "Product Presenters" they are issued a manufacturer's ( advertiser's ) device, directed to write something positive and supporting of the ownership experience.

In fairness to Mr.Mejias, he did a nice piece of writing on this story. And that is what it was, a story about having an Audio component with a history, a multi-function device that has the capability of interfacing with today's technologies, (some-how).

In my Transportation Industry we give our Product Presenters an Outline of the Points we need mentioned, we instruct them on our position in these details and require them to say something supportive. We consider these people "Our Advocates".

I'd have to think that Audio Mag reviewing is just the same as Car reviewing.

NAD should've given the reviewer a good explanation of the product's functionality.

Why wouldn't NAD step-up to this responsibility?, they need this information "out-there" and easily understood.

Somebody at NAD dropped the ball on this.

I am routinely issued communication devices by my Company, accompanied with a detailed classroom-like explanations of it's functionalities, I am expected to master the device and use it for our work. These devices (iPhone) can simply accomplish complex tasks, if the user understands how to access the appropriate features which seem obvious after the schooling but are bewildering if a person hasn't had the benefit of a bit of training.

I think this D 3020 is just such a device, bewilderingly complex but understandable ( maybe but hopefully ) .

Our Audio hobby is in transition, how can anyone cope or master all the technology being released to us the un-suspecting public?

We are trying though, we haven't given-up, we aren't returning to our little Walkman cassette player with AM-FM-Weather-TV channels.

I give this Reviewer High Marks ( maybe Full Marks ), the piece is very well written ( probably re-written many times ). He tells a good story, what more can we ask of our reviewers?

Product knowledge and capabilities come from the Manufacturer.

Tony in Michigan

tonykaz's picture

Mr. Mejias,

You've pretty much surrounded every detail of 3020's impressive accomplishments.

I recall the LINN dealers using it to break people into a quality audio experience, driving their version of the LS3/5a ( KANN ) explaining the first importance being the Turntable.

I probably owned half dozen of these things over the years, brought as trade-ins ( to my Audio Salon: Esoteric Audio ) for Conrad-Johnson or perhaps Electrocompaniet or some other items.

I'd set them up in a little system and sell em within a week or so, people still love them today, as far as I can tell.

I don't recall there being anything great about these things, they did work well, sounded presentable, were entry level priced, didn't fail requiring service, they were probably the best value in Consumer Audio, they were and still are "reliable". Well, what more could you ask for?: Plenty!

The 3020 acted as a Gateway Drug into Hi-End, into VPI Turntables, Koetsu Phono Carts., MIT 750 Cabling Systems, Full-Range ( power hungry ) Dynamic Speakers with 10" woofers, Magnaplaner MG-3s, Pre-amps and Pre-amp upgrades, Amps and then Reference Amps, Seffield Labs Records ( r.i.p. Doug Sax ) and Reference Recording Records and then ( don't make me say it ) VTL Super Amps and Wilson speakers ( oh-my-gosh ).

A whole bunch of the above began with the lowly 3020!

When people chose the 3020 instead of a Pioneer Receiver they made a choice to pursue music as their Hobby.

These are the people that read Absolute Sound and HP, they chose Belt Drives over JVC direct drive turntables.

The 3020 was the place where the music road split into two different directions. Lots more folks chose the Pioneer road but plenty went the 3020 direction: the "High" road, I'm still on this road today, headphones for me and Schiit instead of 3020 or D-3020.

Nice to read this reporting, you bring back memories.

Tony in Michigan

ednazarko's picture

I had a 3020, purchased one of the first ones to show up at my local audio dealer. (Remember local audio dealers?) Seriously upgraded my college dorm room audio system. Thorens turntable, Tandberg reel to reel deck. I always felt like it had more power than its rating, drove several different speakers including a set of original Advents. Led to several progressively more costly and powerful upgrades, eventually to an NAD power amp and tuner/preamp setup driving a double-Advent tower. But i couldn't let the 3020 go, until it just seemed silly to keep it around unused, about 1998. Well after the Thorens and Tandberg units were abandoned. My audio system addiction continues, continuing at the same level of "really, is this what I SHOULD be doing with this money?" that underpinned my purchase of the 3020.

Reading this review has gotten me thinking about the new 3020 to drive a system in another part of the house where we currently rely on listening to system in an adjacent room. I'm thinking, nice efficient set of open baffle speakers that will love 30wpc, fed streaming audio from a Logitech Touch.

I do wonder at the new 3020D including a DAC and Bluetooth. There seems to be a tendency to design "all in one" kinds of systems. Could the audio stage have been made better with the $$ spent on including a DAC that's probably competent but not great? I've experienced this in a few products the last 10 years, where compromises in the quality of a function were made in the service of cramming in one of everything, and in a couple of cases those quality compromises ended up being unacceptable. I'd end up A/B comparing the Touch's rendering against that of the 3020D. The Touch (one of three I have, plus two Transporters) has won a couple of similar competitions with integrated amp/DAC combinations.

The essence of what made the original 3020 great was that it was stripped down. To a college student (acting major to boot, can there be any student less financially sound?) it seemed that they were being smart about what they did with the money they were taking from me. My one bit of hesitation on the 3020D is exactly that. Am I buying the best $500 integrated amp, or a compromise of amp and DAC? But I am probably not a good representation of "the market".

Anyway, good job NAD. Since 1978 I've loved you and periodically, when my addiction hits, blamed you...

fetuso's picture

I've had the D3020 for about a month now and I love it. Maybe I'm missing something, but the remote isn't the problem many have made it out to be. There are six buttons of consequence and I had their locations memorized in about 2 minutes. I don't think I've actually had to look down at the remote in weeks. It's ridiculously simple and it fits nicely in the hand.

Actually, the remote is a harbinger of the unit itself in that it is elegantly simple and couldn't be easier to live with. Like I said, I've had it for a month and I have yet to look at the owner's manual. I read the manual on line before I purchased it and haven't looked at it since. The touch buttons are easy to operate, but occasionally it does fail to respond as I expected and I need to press it again. No big deal. It's a quirk of the device that I find kind of charming. Anyway, I mostly use the remote.

Overall I'm very happy with the D3020 and I hope to enjoy it for years to come.

tonykaz's picture

Right there is all the review any normal person needs.

Thanks for pitching-in here.

Tony in Michigan

olc's picture

I'm also happy overall with my D3020 but there are some annoying things. Sound-wise it's good with all the speakers I've thrown at it, a wide variety of them with a $500 budget (this is for my bedroom). It has plenty of inputs, and I got to put away my aptX Bluetooth receiver. But some of the ergonomics are not up to what one would expect. The front penal is just an array of lights indicating volume and input selected, and not touchscreen. The on/off touch control is fussy, requiring 2 or 3 attempts to get it to do its thing. The volume control is cheesy and the volume increases much with even a small twist. The black-on-black remote can't be seen except in strong light, especially a problem in the bedroom (but NAD is now distributing the D3020 with a white-on-black remote and if you call and push for it they will send you one). The better solution is a Harmony remote because you can directly select inputs from it.

Ergonomically the D3020 is a mess, but the performance and features outweigh that. I'm keeping it.

Pages

NAD D 3020 integrated amplifier Specifications

Fri, 04/10/2015
Share | |
COMMENTS
AllanMarcus's picture

I happen to have a D3020 on my desk next to my computer. I use it with MartinLogan LS15 (~$800/pr), a variety of headphones (many brand new and with 1/4" jacks)', all connected with fine monoprice interconnects to my Mac. Oh, I use 14awg wire I got from radio shack. As for the remote on the device, it's pretty much universally reviled. The darned thing is black on black, making button identification impossible in most situations. The remote's battery compartment is also really difficult to open. Apparently the designer of the remove has never seen the original Apple white remote and doesn't nderstand the concept of a spring. Finally, as for the reviewer, the inability to turn off the device is most likely due to not reading the manual. To turn it off you have to hold the power button down for a few seconds. Finally, to talk about how he hates Bluetooth, then how great it sounds with APTx,, then talk about how he used an iPhone to listen to Bluetooth shows how little this review understands the technology. The iPhone doesn't use APTx; it uses AAC. Yes, I'm being a bit pedantic, but I expect a bit more from stereophile.

tonykaz's picture

Dear Sir,

My wife owns a beautiful new car and because she's not a owner's manual reader she can't figure out how to turn the lights on ( the car does it for her in most instances ).

Plenty of products don't even come with manuals anymore and why should the companies bother?, they do provide an 800 help line but….

You are soooo right about that Black on Black, it's always been nearly impossible for me to visually identify the control functions, multi-functions for each button compound the difficulty. Black kills any product's chances for me ( it's like the designer is giving me the finger each time I try to control the device ).

Disappointed with Glossy-Mag reviewers? You are the reviewer!, you and some guy in Two Rivers, Wi. writing his little review in HeadFi are the reviewers that speak from the ownership experience, people with a dog in the fight.

Glossy Mag reviewers are "Product Presenters" they are issued a manufacturer's ( advertiser's ) device, directed to write something positive and supporting of the ownership experience.

In fairness to Mr.Mejias, he did a nice piece of writing on this story. And that is what it was, a story about having an Audio component with a history, a multi-function device that has the capability of interfacing with today's technologies, (some-how).

In my Transportation Industry we give our Product Presenters an Outline of the Points we need mentioned, we instruct them on our position in these details and require them to say something supportive. We consider these people "Our Advocates".

I'd have to think that Audio Mag reviewing is just the same as Car reviewing.

NAD should've given the reviewer a good explanation of the product's functionality.

Why wouldn't NAD step-up to this responsibility?, they need this information "out-there" and easily understood.

Somebody at NAD dropped the ball on this.

I am routinely issued communication devices by my Company, accompanied with a detailed classroom-like explanations of it's functionalities, I am expected to master the device and use it for our work. These devices (iPhone) can simply accomplish complex tasks, if the user understands how to access the appropriate features which seem obvious after the schooling but are bewildering if a person hasn't had the benefit of a bit of training.

I think this D 3020 is just such a device, bewilderingly complex but understandable ( maybe but hopefully ) .

Our Audio hobby is in transition, how can anyone cope or master all the technology being released to us the un-suspecting public?

We are trying though, we haven't given-up, we aren't returning to our little Walkman cassette player with AM-FM-Weather-TV channels.

I give this Reviewer High Marks ( maybe Full Marks ), the piece is very well written ( probably re-written many times ). He tells a good story, what more can we ask of our reviewers?

Product knowledge and capabilities come from the Manufacturer.

Tony in Michigan

tonykaz's picture

Mr. Mejias,

You've pretty much surrounded every detail of 3020's impressive accomplishments.

I recall the LINN dealers using it to break people into a quality audio experience, driving their version of the LS3/5a ( KANN ) explaining the first importance being the Turntable.

I probably owned half dozen of these things over the years, brought as trade-ins ( to my Audio Salon: Esoteric Audio ) for Conrad-Johnson or perhaps Electrocompaniet or some other items.

I'd set them up in a little system and sell em within a week or so, people still love them today, as far as I can tell.

I don't recall there being anything great about these things, they did work well, sounded presentable, were entry level priced, didn't fail requiring service, they were probably the best value in Consumer Audio, they were and still are "reliable". Well, what more could you ask for?: Plenty!

The 3020 acted as a Gateway Drug into Hi-End, into VPI Turntables, Koetsu Phono Carts., MIT 750 Cabling Systems, Full-Range ( power hungry ) Dynamic Speakers with 10" woofers, Magnaplaner MG-3s, Pre-amps and Pre-amp upgrades, Amps and then Reference Amps, Seffield Labs Records ( r.i.p. Doug Sax ) and Reference Recording Records and then ( don't make me say it ) VTL Super Amps and Wilson speakers ( oh-my-gosh ).

A whole bunch of the above began with the lowly 3020!

When people chose the 3020 instead of a Pioneer Receiver they made a choice to pursue music as their Hobby.

These are the people that read Absolute Sound and HP, they chose Belt Drives over JVC direct drive turntables.

The 3020 was the place where the music road split into two different directions. Lots more folks chose the Pioneer road but plenty went the 3020 direction: the "High" road, I'm still on this road today, headphones for me and Schiit instead of 3020 or D-3020.

Nice to read this reporting, you bring back memories.

Tony in Michigan

ednazarko's picture

I had a 3020, purchased one of the first ones to show up at my local audio dealer. (Remember local audio dealers?) Seriously upgraded my college dorm room audio system. Thorens turntable, Tandberg reel to reel deck. I always felt like it had more power than its rating, drove several different speakers including a set of original Advents. Led to several progressively more costly and powerful upgrades, eventually to an NAD power amp and tuner/preamp setup driving a double-Advent tower. But i couldn't let the 3020 go, until it just seemed silly to keep it around unused, about 1998. Well after the Thorens and Tandberg units were abandoned. My audio system addiction continues, continuing at the same level of "really, is this what I SHOULD be doing with this money?" that underpinned my purchase of the 3020.

Reading this review has gotten me thinking about the new 3020 to drive a system in another part of the house where we currently rely on listening to system in an adjacent room. I'm thinking, nice efficient set of open baffle speakers that will love 30wpc, fed streaming audio from a Logitech Touch.

I do wonder at the new 3020D including a DAC and Bluetooth. There seems to be a tendency to design "all in one" kinds of systems. Could the audio stage have been made better with the $$ spent on including a DAC that's probably competent but not great? I've experienced this in a few products the last 10 years, where compromises in the quality of a function were made in the service of cramming in one of everything, and in a couple of cases those quality compromises ended up being unacceptable. I'd end up A/B comparing the Touch's rendering against that of the 3020D. The Touch (one of three I have, plus two Transporters) has won a couple of similar competitions with integrated amp/DAC combinations.

The essence of what made the original 3020 great was that it was stripped down. To a college student (acting major to boot, can there be any student less financially sound?) it seemed that they were being smart about what they did with the money they were taking from me. My one bit of hesitation on the 3020D is exactly that. Am I buying the best $500 integrated amp, or a compromise of amp and DAC? But I am probably not a good representation of "the market".

Anyway, good job NAD. Since 1978 I've loved you and periodically, when my addiction hits, blamed you...

fetuso's picture

I've had the D3020 for about a month now and I love it. Maybe I'm missing something, but the remote isn't the problem many have made it out to be. There are six buttons of consequence and I had their locations memorized in about 2 minutes. I don't think I've actually had to look down at the remote in weeks. It's ridiculously simple and it fits nicely in the hand.

Actually, the remote is a harbinger of the unit itself in that it is elegantly simple and couldn't be easier to live with. Like I said, I've had it for a month and I have yet to look at the owner's manual. I read the manual on line before I purchased it and haven't looked at it since. The touch buttons are easy to operate, but occasionally it does fail to respond as I expected and I need to press it again. No big deal. It's a quirk of the device that I find kind of charming. Anyway, I mostly use the remote.

Overall I'm very happy with the D3020 and I hope to enjoy it for years to come.

tonykaz's picture

Right there is all the review any normal person needs.

Thanks for pitching-in here.

Tony in Michigan

olc's picture

I'm also happy overall with my D3020 but there are some annoying things. Sound-wise it's good with all the speakers I've thrown at it, a wide variety of them with a $500 budget (this is for my bedroom). It has plenty of inputs, and I got to put away my aptX Bluetooth receiver. But some of the ergonomics are not up to what one would expect. The front penal is just an array of lights indicating volume and input selected, and not touchscreen. The on/off touch control is fussy, requiring 2 or 3 attempts to get it to do its thing. The volume control is cheesy and the volume increases much with even a small twist. The black-on-black remote can't be seen except in strong light, especially a problem in the bedroom (but NAD is now distributing the D3020 with a white-on-black remote and if you call and push for it they will send you one). The better solution is a Harmony remote because you can directly select inputs from it.

Ergonomically the D3020 is a mess, but the performance and features outweigh that. I'm keeping it.

Pages

NAD D 3020 integrated amplifier Sam Tellig

Fri, 04/10/2015
Share | |
COMMENTS
AllanMarcus's picture

I happen to have a D3020 on my desk next to my computer. I use it with MartinLogan LS15 (~$800/pr), a variety of headphones (many brand new and with 1/4" jacks)', all connected with fine monoprice interconnects to my Mac. Oh, I use 14awg wire I got from radio shack. As for the remote on the device, it's pretty much universally reviled. The darned thing is black on black, making button identification impossible in most situations. The remote's battery compartment is also really difficult to open. Apparently the designer of the remove has never seen the original Apple white remote and doesn't nderstand the concept of a spring. Finally, as for the reviewer, the inability to turn off the device is most likely due to not reading the manual. To turn it off you have to hold the power button down for a few seconds. Finally, to talk about how he hates Bluetooth, then how great it sounds with APTx,, then talk about how he used an iPhone to listen to Bluetooth shows how little this review understands the technology. The iPhone doesn't use APTx; it uses AAC. Yes, I'm being a bit pedantic, but I expect a bit more from stereophile.

tonykaz's picture

Dear Sir,

My wife owns a beautiful new car and because she's not a owner's manual reader she can't figure out how to turn the lights on ( the car does it for her in most instances ).

Plenty of products don't even come with manuals anymore and why should the companies bother?, they do provide an 800 help line but….

You are soooo right about that Black on Black, it's always been nearly impossible for me to visually identify the control functions, multi-functions for each button compound the difficulty. Black kills any product's chances for me ( it's like the designer is giving me the finger each time I try to control the device ).

Disappointed with Glossy-Mag reviewers? You are the reviewer!, you and some guy in Two Rivers, Wi. writing his little review in HeadFi are the reviewers that speak from the ownership experience, people with a dog in the fight.

Glossy Mag reviewers are "Product Presenters" they are issued a manufacturer's ( advertiser's ) device, directed to write something positive and supporting of the ownership experience.

In fairness to Mr.Mejias, he did a nice piece of writing on this story. And that is what it was, a story about having an Audio component with a history, a multi-function device that has the capability of interfacing with today's technologies, (some-how).

In my Transportation Industry we give our Product Presenters an Outline of the Points we need mentioned, we instruct them on our position in these details and require them to say something supportive. We consider these people "Our Advocates".

I'd have to think that Audio Mag reviewing is just the same as Car reviewing.

NAD should've given the reviewer a good explanation of the product's functionality.

Why wouldn't NAD step-up to this responsibility?, they need this information "out-there" and easily understood.

Somebody at NAD dropped the ball on this.

I am routinely issued communication devices by my Company, accompanied with a detailed classroom-like explanations of it's functionalities, I am expected to master the device and use it for our work. These devices (iPhone) can simply accomplish complex tasks, if the user understands how to access the appropriate features which seem obvious after the schooling but are bewildering if a person hasn't had the benefit of a bit of training.

I think this D 3020 is just such a device, bewilderingly complex but understandable ( maybe but hopefully ) .

Our Audio hobby is in transition, how can anyone cope or master all the technology being released to us the un-suspecting public?

We are trying though, we haven't given-up, we aren't returning to our little Walkman cassette player with AM-FM-Weather-TV channels.

I give this Reviewer High Marks ( maybe Full Marks ), the piece is very well written ( probably re-written many times ). He tells a good story, what more can we ask of our reviewers?

Product knowledge and capabilities come from the Manufacturer.

Tony in Michigan

tonykaz's picture

Mr. Mejias,

You've pretty much surrounded every detail of 3020's impressive accomplishments.

I recall the LINN dealers using it to break people into a quality audio experience, driving their version of the LS3/5a ( KANN ) explaining the first importance being the Turntable.

I probably owned half dozen of these things over the years, brought as trade-ins ( to my Audio Salon: Esoteric Audio ) for Conrad-Johnson or perhaps Electrocompaniet or some other items.

I'd set them up in a little system and sell em within a week or so, people still love them today, as far as I can tell.

I don't recall there being anything great about these things, they did work well, sounded presentable, were entry level priced, didn't fail requiring service, they were probably the best value in Consumer Audio, they were and still are "reliable". Well, what more could you ask for?: Plenty!

The 3020 acted as a Gateway Drug into Hi-End, into VPI Turntables, Koetsu Phono Carts., MIT 750 Cabling Systems, Full-Range ( power hungry ) Dynamic Speakers with 10" woofers, Magnaplaner MG-3s, Pre-amps and Pre-amp upgrades, Amps and then Reference Amps, Seffield Labs Records ( r.i.p. Doug Sax ) and Reference Recording Records and then ( don't make me say it ) VTL Super Amps and Wilson speakers ( oh-my-gosh ).

A whole bunch of the above began with the lowly 3020!

When people chose the 3020 instead of a Pioneer Receiver they made a choice to pursue music as their Hobby.

These are the people that read Absolute Sound and HP, they chose Belt Drives over JVC direct drive turntables.

The 3020 was the place where the music road split into two different directions. Lots more folks chose the Pioneer road but plenty went the 3020 direction: the "High" road, I'm still on this road today, headphones for me and Schiit instead of 3020 or D-3020.

Nice to read this reporting, you bring back memories.

Tony in Michigan

ednazarko's picture

I had a 3020, purchased one of the first ones to show up at my local audio dealer. (Remember local audio dealers?) Seriously upgraded my college dorm room audio system. Thorens turntable, Tandberg reel to reel deck. I always felt like it had more power than its rating, drove several different speakers including a set of original Advents. Led to several progressively more costly and powerful upgrades, eventually to an NAD power amp and tuner/preamp setup driving a double-Advent tower. But i couldn't let the 3020 go, until it just seemed silly to keep it around unused, about 1998. Well after the Thorens and Tandberg units were abandoned. My audio system addiction continues, continuing at the same level of "really, is this what I SHOULD be doing with this money?" that underpinned my purchase of the 3020.

Reading this review has gotten me thinking about the new 3020 to drive a system in another part of the house where we currently rely on listening to system in an adjacent room. I'm thinking, nice efficient set of open baffle speakers that will love 30wpc, fed streaming audio from a Logitech Touch.

I do wonder at the new 3020D including a DAC and Bluetooth. There seems to be a tendency to design "all in one" kinds of systems. Could the audio stage have been made better with the $$ spent on including a DAC that's probably competent but not great? I've experienced this in a few products the last 10 years, where compromises in the quality of a function were made in the service of cramming in one of everything, and in a couple of cases those quality compromises ended up being unacceptable. I'd end up A/B comparing the Touch's rendering against that of the 3020D. The Touch (one of three I have, plus two Transporters) has won a couple of similar competitions with integrated amp/DAC combinations.

The essence of what made the original 3020 great was that it was stripped down. To a college student (acting major to boot, can there be any student less financially sound?) it seemed that they were being smart about what they did with the money they were taking from me. My one bit of hesitation on the 3020D is exactly that. Am I buying the best $500 integrated amp, or a compromise of amp and DAC? But I am probably not a good representation of "the market".

Anyway, good job NAD. Since 1978 I've loved you and periodically, when my addiction hits, blamed you...

fetuso's picture

I've had the D3020 for about a month now and I love it. Maybe I'm missing something, but the remote isn't the problem many have made it out to be. There are six buttons of consequence and I had their locations memorized in about 2 minutes. I don't think I've actually had to look down at the remote in weeks. It's ridiculously simple and it fits nicely in the hand.

Actually, the remote is a harbinger of the unit itself in that it is elegantly simple and couldn't be easier to live with. Like I said, I've had it for a month and I have yet to look at the owner's manual. I read the manual on line before I purchased it and haven't looked at it since. The touch buttons are easy to operate, but occasionally it does fail to respond as I expected and I need to press it again. No big deal. It's a quirk of the device that I find kind of charming. Anyway, I mostly use the remote.

Overall I'm very happy with the D3020 and I hope to enjoy it for years to come.

tonykaz's picture

Right there is all the review any normal person needs.

Thanks for pitching-in here.

Tony in Michigan

olc's picture

I'm also happy overall with my D3020 but there are some annoying things. Sound-wise it's good with all the speakers I've thrown at it, a wide variety of them with a $500 budget (this is for my bedroom). It has plenty of inputs, and I got to put away my aptX Bluetooth receiver. But some of the ergonomics are not up to what one would expect. The front penal is just an array of lights indicating volume and input selected, and not touchscreen. The on/off touch control is fussy, requiring 2 or 3 attempts to get it to do its thing. The volume control is cheesy and the volume increases much with even a small twist. The black-on-black remote can't be seen except in strong light, especially a problem in the bedroom (but NAD is now distributing the D3020 with a white-on-black remote and if you call and push for it they will send you one). The better solution is a Harmony remote because you can directly select inputs from it.

Ergonomically the D3020 is a mess, but the performance and features outweigh that. I'm keeping it.

Pages

NAD D 3020 integrated amplifier Page 2

Fri, 04/10/2015
Share | |
COMMENTS
AllanMarcus's picture

I happen to have a D3020 on my desk next to my computer. I use it with MartinLogan LS15 (~$800/pr), a variety of headphones (many brand new and with 1/4" jacks)', all connected with fine monoprice interconnects to my Mac. Oh, I use 14awg wire I got from radio shack. As for the remote on the device, it's pretty much universally reviled. The darned thing is black on black, making button identification impossible in most situations. The remote's battery compartment is also really difficult to open. Apparently the designer of the remove has never seen the original Apple white remote and doesn't nderstand the concept of a spring. Finally, as for the reviewer, the inability to turn off the device is most likely due to not reading the manual. To turn it off you have to hold the power button down for a few seconds. Finally, to talk about how he hates Bluetooth, then how great it sounds with APTx,, then talk about how he used an iPhone to listen to Bluetooth shows how little this review understands the technology. The iPhone doesn't use APTx; it uses AAC. Yes, I'm being a bit pedantic, but I expect a bit more from stereophile.

tonykaz's picture

Dear Sir,

My wife owns a beautiful new car and because she's not a owner's manual reader she can't figure out how to turn the lights on ( the car does it for her in most instances ).

Plenty of products don't even come with manuals anymore and why should the companies bother?, they do provide an 800 help line but….

You are soooo right about that Black on Black, it's always been nearly impossible for me to visually identify the control functions, multi-functions for each button compound the difficulty. Black kills any product's chances for me ( it's like the designer is giving me the finger each time I try to control the device ).

Disappointed with Glossy-Mag reviewers? You are the reviewer!, you and some guy in Two Rivers, Wi. writing his little review in HeadFi are the reviewers that speak from the ownership experience, people with a dog in the fight.

Glossy Mag reviewers are "Product Presenters" they are issued a manufacturer's ( advertiser's ) device, directed to write something positive and supporting of the ownership experience.

In fairness to Mr.Mejias, he did a nice piece of writing on this story. And that is what it was, a story about having an Audio component with a history, a multi-function device that has the capability of interfacing with today's technologies, (some-how).

In my Transportation Industry we give our Product Presenters an Outline of the Points we need mentioned, we instruct them on our position in these details and require them to say something supportive. We consider these people "Our Advocates".

I'd have to think that Audio Mag reviewing is just the same as Car reviewing.

NAD should've given the reviewer a good explanation of the product's functionality.

Why wouldn't NAD step-up to this responsibility?, they need this information "out-there" and easily understood.

Somebody at NAD dropped the ball on this.

I am routinely issued communication devices by my Company, accompanied with a detailed classroom-like explanations of it's functionalities, I am expected to master the device and use it for our work. These devices (iPhone) can simply accomplish complex tasks, if the user understands how to access the appropriate features which seem obvious after the schooling but are bewildering if a person hasn't had the benefit of a bit of training.

I think this D 3020 is just such a device, bewilderingly complex but understandable ( maybe but hopefully ) .

Our Audio hobby is in transition, how can anyone cope or master all the technology being released to us the un-suspecting public?

We are trying though, we haven't given-up, we aren't returning to our little Walkman cassette player with AM-FM-Weather-TV channels.

I give this Reviewer High Marks ( maybe Full Marks ), the piece is very well written ( probably re-written many times ). He tells a good story, what more can we ask of our reviewers?

Product knowledge and capabilities come from the Manufacturer.

Tony in Michigan

tonykaz's picture

Mr. Mejias,

You've pretty much surrounded every detail of 3020's impressive accomplishments.

I recall the LINN dealers using it to break people into a quality audio experience, driving their version of the LS3/5a ( KANN ) explaining the first importance being the Turntable.

I probably owned half dozen of these things over the years, brought as trade-ins ( to my Audio Salon: Esoteric Audio ) for Conrad-Johnson or perhaps Electrocompaniet or some other items.

I'd set them up in a little system and sell em within a week or so, people still love them today, as far as I can tell.

I don't recall there being anything great about these things, they did work well, sounded presentable, were entry level priced, didn't fail requiring service, they were probably the best value in Consumer Audio, they were and still are "reliable". Well, what more could you ask for?: Plenty!

The 3020 acted as a Gateway Drug into Hi-End, into VPI Turntables, Koetsu Phono Carts., MIT 750 Cabling Systems, Full-Range ( power hungry ) Dynamic Speakers with 10" woofers, Magnaplaner MG-3s, Pre-amps and Pre-amp upgrades, Amps and then Reference Amps, Seffield Labs Records ( r.i.p. Doug Sax ) and Reference Recording Records and then ( don't make me say it ) VTL Super Amps and Wilson speakers ( oh-my-gosh ).

A whole bunch of the above began with the lowly 3020!

When people chose the 3020 instead of a Pioneer Receiver they made a choice to pursue music as their Hobby.

These are the people that read Absolute Sound and HP, they chose Belt Drives over JVC direct drive turntables.

The 3020 was the place where the music road split into two different directions. Lots more folks chose the Pioneer road but plenty went the 3020 direction: the "High" road, I'm still on this road today, headphones for me and Schiit instead of 3020 or D-3020.

Nice to read this reporting, you bring back memories.

Tony in Michigan

ednazarko's picture

I had a 3020, purchased one of the first ones to show up at my local audio dealer. (Remember local audio dealers?) Seriously upgraded my college dorm room audio system. Thorens turntable, Tandberg reel to reel deck. I always felt like it had more power than its rating, drove several different speakers including a set of original Advents. Led to several progressively more costly and powerful upgrades, eventually to an NAD power amp and tuner/preamp setup driving a double-Advent tower. But i couldn't let the 3020 go, until it just seemed silly to keep it around unused, about 1998. Well after the Thorens and Tandberg units were abandoned. My audio system addiction continues, continuing at the same level of "really, is this what I SHOULD be doing with this money?" that underpinned my purchase of the 3020.

Reading this review has gotten me thinking about the new 3020 to drive a system in another part of the house where we currently rely on listening to system in an adjacent room. I'm thinking, nice efficient set of open baffle speakers that will love 30wpc, fed streaming audio from a Logitech Touch.

I do wonder at the new 3020D including a DAC and Bluetooth. There seems to be a tendency to design "all in one" kinds of systems. Could the audio stage have been made better with the $$ spent on including a DAC that's probably competent but not great? I've experienced this in a few products the last 10 years, where compromises in the quality of a function were made in the service of cramming in one of everything, and in a couple of cases those quality compromises ended up being unacceptable. I'd end up A/B comparing the Touch's rendering against that of the 3020D. The Touch (one of three I have, plus two Transporters) has won a couple of similar competitions with integrated amp/DAC combinations.

The essence of what made the original 3020 great was that it was stripped down. To a college student (acting major to boot, can there be any student less financially sound?) it seemed that they were being smart about what they did with the money they were taking from me. My one bit of hesitation on the 3020D is exactly that. Am I buying the best $500 integrated amp, or a compromise of amp and DAC? But I am probably not a good representation of "the market".

Anyway, good job NAD. Since 1978 I've loved you and periodically, when my addiction hits, blamed you...

fetuso's picture

I've had the D3020 for about a month now and I love it. Maybe I'm missing something, but the remote isn't the problem many have made it out to be. There are six buttons of consequence and I had their locations memorized in about 2 minutes. I don't think I've actually had to look down at the remote in weeks. It's ridiculously simple and it fits nicely in the hand.

Actually, the remote is a harbinger of the unit itself in that it is elegantly simple and couldn't be easier to live with. Like I said, I've had it for a month and I have yet to look at the owner's manual. I read the manual on line before I purchased it and haven't looked at it since. The touch buttons are easy to operate, but occasionally it does fail to respond as I expected and I need to press it again. No big deal. It's a quirk of the device that I find kind of charming. Anyway, I mostly use the remote.

Overall I'm very happy with the D3020 and I hope to enjoy it for years to come.

tonykaz's picture

Right there is all the review any normal person needs.

Thanks for pitching-in here.

Tony in Michigan

olc's picture

I'm also happy overall with my D3020 but there are some annoying things. Sound-wise it's good with all the speakers I've thrown at it, a wide variety of them with a $500 budget (this is for my bedroom). It has plenty of inputs, and I got to put away my aptX Bluetooth receiver. But some of the ergonomics are not up to what one would expect. The front penal is just an array of lights indicating volume and input selected, and not touchscreen. The on/off touch control is fussy, requiring 2 or 3 attempts to get it to do its thing. The volume control is cheesy and the volume increases much with even a small twist. The black-on-black remote can't be seen except in strong light, especially a problem in the bedroom (but NAD is now distributing the D3020 with a white-on-black remote and if you call and push for it they will send you one). The better solution is a Harmony remote because you can directly select inputs from it.

Ergonomically the D3020 is a mess, but the performance and features outweigh that. I'm keeping it.

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NAD D 3020 integrated amplifier

In the mornings, just before I leave for work, I power up the system, turn the volume down low, and set the CD player to Repeat. I like to think that if I play calm, soothing music while Ms. Little and I are away, the cats will feel less alone and more relaxed. It's also nice, on returning home from work, to walk into a room filled with music. One evening a few weeks ago, I stepped into the apartment, dropped my bags to the floor, settled down into the couch with my iPhone, and began scrolling through text messages. I'd been seated for only a moment before I had to turn my attention entirely to the sound of the system, which, even at a very low volume, sounded warm, detailed, and unusually good—unbelievably, almost unbearably engaging.
Fri, 04/10/2015
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To Save a Soul Like Mine: the Blind Willie Johnson Project

He is easily among the most accomplished and influential slide-guitar players ever to put a ring of glass or metal around his finger. In 1977, on the golden record carried by the space probe Voyager, alongside the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony 5 and recordings of "footsteps, heartbeat, and laughter," his greatest song, "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" went off to represent humanity to the stars.
Fri, 04/10/2015
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Who's Right? Accuracy or Musicality

Many years ago, the now-defunct Life magazine ran a feature article about science and its sacred cows, in which a cartoon showed a huge inverted pyramid-shaped structure of great complexity, tapering downward to a single support at its base: a toothpick. The toothpick was labeled "basic premise," the inverted pyramid was the entire body of scientific knowledge.

Everything we do or think or know is based upon assumptions, some of which are rather more justified than others. When we set the alarm clock, we assume there will be a tomorrow. When we reach for the car's brake pedal without glancing at it, we assume it will be where it was yesterday, and that it will stop the car. When we scorn a phono cartridge because it is too bright, we assume the brightness is in the cartridge, not in the rest of our system. We have to trust our toothpicks or live in a world totally devoid of security—a world where 2+2 can equal anything from 3 to 11, all the laws change unannounced every few days, and Greenwich Mean Time is determined by a roulette wheel.

Thu, 12/01/1977
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Computer Audio Seminars in Canada This Weekend

Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12: Fillion Électronique will host seminars on the fundamentals of computer audio, with specific focuses on digital-audio file formats and networking strategies. Saturday's seminar will begin at 10am and will be held at Fillion's Laval location (2323 Laurentides Highway), while Sunday's seminar will begin at noon and will be held at Fillion's Montréal location (5690 Sherbrooke East).
Fri, 04/10/2015
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Doug Sax: From Direct-Cut to Compact Disc

As reported by Michael Fremer on AnalogPlanet.com, legendary mastering engineer and co-founder of Sheffield Lab, Doug Sax, passed away on April 2. Doug had been suffering from cancer and would have been 79 on April 26.

Coincidentally, we had just posted J. Gordon Holt's October 1982 review of the Sheffield Track Record, which Doug had cut direct-to-disc. This reminded me that Robert Harley had interviewed Doug in the October 1989 issue of Stereophile; rereading that interview reminded me that in September 1984, I had published an interview with Doug in the magazine Hi-Fi News, which I edited at that time.

So, in tribute to Doug, here is my 1984 interview, reprinted with the kind permission of Hi-Fi News editor Paul Miller.—John Atkinson

Sat, 09/01/1984
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