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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Audio Technica

I recently acquired an NAD C350 integrated amplifer.  It has a distinctly different sound than does the Sony TA-F444ES which is my main amp, and has some of the proprietary technologies NAD is famous for, such as automatic speaker impedance matching.  This is a good feature for Dynaudio speakers as they tend to be 4 ohm nominal impedance and low sensitivity, which rules out some less muscular amps.  The C350 is rated at 60 watts into 8 ohms, which despite the fact that my listening room is small, is not (I have been advised) really enough to "control" the sound of the Focus 220s.  Nonetheless, it sounds quite adequate, and I may even prefer it when I am playing blues, or live amplified rock.  It takes the "edge" off things.  My upper frequency hearing is still pretty good- probably because I don't go to rock concerts that often.  I am sure the new NAD C375 at 150 watts would be superior, but it's a little over a grand, so I have to do some serious auditioning before I take a chance on that one.  My two complaints about the C350 are: 1. no phono input, and 2. overall cheap build quality.  In the latter case NAD has always put their money into the INSIDE of their gear, so as long as there are no reliability issues, it's no big deal.  In college I had a 3125 integrated that I really should have kept (thank you Jon, for helping me acquire it.  Remember I bought it w/out listening?  You said: "Brass ones."), as NAD stuff was built better then- newer NAD receivers have been known for problems (T series especially).  My C350 was repaired once by a previous owner, supposedly, but it has given me no trouble.  The first point- no phono preamp- was more of an issue for me.  I actually have over one hundred records, many of which I listen to pretty often. I've got some great Chet Atkins stuff.  NAD makes an outboard phono pre (including USB out, an interesting option but one that I understand lacks fidelity, I'll have to look into that.  Anyone out there have experience?) but I found one at The Needle Doctor by Audio Technica, the PEQ3, for only $43, as opposed to around $130 which seems to be the next cheapest model out there.  It should get here tomorrow.  I don't know its s/n ratio or its channel separation ratings, a quick search at Audio technica didn't turn up the info.  Hopefully it is printed in the manual.  We'll see.  it'll have a hard job competing with the phono pre in the TA-F444ES.  The Rega really sounds GREAT through the Sony, very smooth and very little noise, especially on clean records.  I'll report as soon as I get some time with it.

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