Ask any audiophile which product defines NAD Electronics’ rich history better than any other, and the classic 3020 Stereo Integrated Amplifier will almost certainly top that list. In celebration of its 40th birthday, NAD is reinventing all of what made the 3020 such a fan favorite, with a digital age twist, in the D 302 Digital DAC/Amplifier—one of three new digital audiophile products the company is releasing in celebration of the milestone.
The D 3020 ($499) builds on everything that made its grandpappy such a winner—amazing build quality, stunning performance, the ability to drive even the most difficult loads—and adds oodles of digital connectivity, including an asynchronous USB input with support for 96kHz/24-bit digital downloads, along with coaxial and optical inputs for your other digital sources. It even includes analog inputs for older components so you can take advantage of the premium quality headphone amp output.
It’s not all about the physical connections, though; NAD has also equipped the D 3020 wiht Bluetooth wireless reception capabilities, with support for aptX so you can enjoy the higher quality of those HD downloads. Power output is conservatively rated at 30 watts per channel, and standby energy consumption is a minuscule <0.5W.
Power output may sound small at 30 watts per channel yet like all NAD amplifiers this can be very misleading as a properly designed 30W amplifier can often sound superior to a so-called 100W amplifier from a promotional brand. More importantly, the D 3020 can drive real loudspeakers to satisfying levels without adding noise or distortion. Its highly efficient design wastes less energy, resulting in extended component life an increased reliability. Standby power consumption is <0.5W.
Joining the D 3020 is NAD’s new D 7050 Digital Network Receiver ($999), which ups the ante with UPnP network audio streaming and Apple AirPlay connectivity, along with NAD’s Direct Digital technology, borrowed from its $6000 Master Series M2 amp. Bluetooth with aptX is also onboard, as is the USB connection and headphone amp. Missing from the D 3020, though, is the analog input, owing to the D 7050’s complete lack of analog circuits, for reduced noise and distortion.
Direct Digital means there are no noise and distortion producing analog circuits in the D 7050; music remains digital right up to the speaker outputs. NAD’s Direct Digital technology of the D 7050 performs all preamplifier functions in the digital domain using sophisticated software to control all aspects of performance. Digital is converted to Analog by a simple passive two-pole reconstruction filter located right at the speaker outputs. This radical design is the worlds’ first successful closed loop digital amplifier. Closed loop means that we compare the output to the input, and then compensate for any differences to achieve a ‘perfect’ result.
If you just need a high-quality DAC to add to your system, NAD has you covered in that department with the D 1050 USB DAC (also $499), which adds a balanced AES/EBU digital input, along with support for USB Audio Codec 2.0 and 192kHz sample rates.
The digital processing of the D 1050 features Delta/Sigma architecture with active oversampling filters. This technique effectively reduces out of band noise while maintaining linear phase response and virtual elimination of filter ringing in the pass band. This assures detailed and extended high frequency response while taking full advantage of the extended response of recordings sampled at 88.2 kHz and above.
NAD promises a perfect mix of digital and analog audio performance from the D 1050, thanks to ultra-short, impedance-controlled signal paths, balanced and unbalanced analog outputs, and an incredibly low impedance headphone amp output
All of that wrapped up in an incredibly pretty package.