NAD D 3020 integrated amplifier Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Integrated amplifier. Inputs: one RCA coaxial S/PDIF connector, two optical S/PDIF connectors, one asynchronous USB input, one RCA analog input. Maximum power: 30Wpc (???dBW).
Dimensions: 7 3/8" (186mm) high by 2 5/16" (58mm) wide by 8 5/8" (219mm) deep. Weight: 3 lbs (1.4kg).
Serial number of review sample: Not noted.
Price: $499.
Manufacturer: NAD Electronics International, 633 Granite Court, Pickering, Ontario L1W 3K1, Canada. Tel: (905) 831-6555. Web:

NAD Electronics International
633 Granite Court
Pickering, Ontario L1W 3K1
(905) 831-6555

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.

wadeh911's picture

Several years ago I ditched my Yamaha receiver to move up into the separate component world of Classe Parasound get the point. When that happened I lost my source and amp for my patio speakers as I didn't have the room in my rack. So my wife and i have been using bluetooth wireless speakers paired with either my iPhone or iPad streaming Pandora. Yesterday in our backyard with Yuengling Lights, we found our beach. Even the music from our new Bose Bluetooth speaker was thumpin, and then I walked back into the family room where my B&W 803 Diamonds were playing Led Zeppelin. Something had to be done.

I remembered reading a couple of Stereophile reviews about some of the small 2 channel class D receivers like the Sprout and the D3020, that offered bluetooth. So I dug up the old issues on Zinio and did some more reading. The D3020 seemed perfect except it was missing an ethernet connection as I detest dropouts, plus I needed DLNA compatibility to use JRiver to stream my digital music to it as a Renderer. JA's excellent technical measurements of the D3020 gave me the confidence the D7050 would be at least equal.

But at $795 for the D7050 new, I tried my best to find it used on Audiogon and ebay with no luck. Finally found a Reconditioned unit with factory warranty for $595 and bought it. Can't wait for the D7050 to arrive so I can fire it us. Thank you Stereophile for your good equipment reviews. I get my Stereophile in the mail, but really like the Zinio electronic subscription for back copies or when I'm traveling.

Would love to see NAD D7050 get a full review as it really seems to fit a need with all digital inputs and all wired and wireless interfaces.

partain's picture

I've had my D7050 for a year now , it sounds awesome , but the remote will ruin your day.
My problem is that I cannot find out if there's a way to add MQA processing to this amp. Can you bypass the internal DAC ?
I listen to TIDAL , to me the MQA sounds good. I want to get the full decode.

shorewalker's picture

I'm impressed that Mejias and Saglio both experienced a version of the NAD 3020 with a variable loudness control. I had no idea such a thing existed. My 7020e receiver variant from 1988 doesn't have one. Actually, I can't find a photo of a 3020 that had one either. I always see just four knobs: bass, treble, balance, volume.

Are people somehow confusing it with the Yamaha CR-3020 that had such a control?

FWIW, the 7020e - basically a 3020e with a tuner - still sounds terrific to me at 30 years of age. It's been in use all that time and not a thing has gone wrong. It's also easy to operate one-handed, since all the controls are easy-press physical buttons or easy-turn knobs.

I have it paired with NAD 8020e speakers which were made by KEF, and plugged into my computer. After three decades, I'm adding a Dragonfly DAC. It seems possible that this lot can make their half-century. The return on investment has been extraordinary.

I hope the D 3020 can do as well, and I would love to buy one, but sadly NAD has provided me no excuse to do so.

vicsay's picture

Great review!

I'm interesting to buy a D3020 for a pair of KEF Q100, but I'm afraid about the 20w :( if is enough power, also I have reading that the C316BEE is a good option from NAD, but what about the sound quality between these two Amps. Can you help me? Many thanks!