Have recently purchased NHT 3.3 from an audiogoner

Have recently purchased NHT 3.3 from an audiogoner (or is it audiogonite). Auditioned these 8 years or so ago, always remember how great they sounded in a Chicago audio store playing Dark Side of The Moon. I now feel fortunate to own a pair set up in a 2-channel (mostly) and 5.1 system with NHT AC2’s and NHT 1.5 rears and NHT sub 2. For the first week drove them with Adcom’s gfa 5500 2x200watt @ 8 ohms using AQ c4 biwired speaker cables and Monster interconnects through a Yamaha rxv 2200 ht receiver 5x100watts as a preamp. My source components are Yamaha carousel (awwwful) cd player and a 25-year-old TT from Scott. Not bad results especially considering the front end stuff. But this system needs help!!! Mid’s were just ok but not very defined (muddy) and the vocals seemed recessed. Bass was very nice and the highs not as bad as the mid’s. Just for kicks I
Bi-amped them with the Adcom for the uppers and two front channels from the 100-watt htr for the bass. This helped the upper region a lot but the bass was now terrible with drastic problems with the gain of the two different amps. Using the sub to help the lower regions this has the best results so far. I would like to get the amplification up to par before I work on the front-end stuff. I don’t think even at 200watts of my Adcom amp for the mid’s and tweets has opened up that region as much as it should have or could have. I’m considering the Adcom 565 mono blocks 300watts @ 8 ohms and the Adcom 5500 for the bass. I don’t have 2 main outputs on my htr and am not sure of the results of using a Y connector. Should I consider an altogether different amp and not try to bi amp???? I have read a post of a NHT 3a sub amp but could not find any info on it. My guess is it’s a class D amp and not sure that it’s for me or the 3.3’s. I'm thinking of $1000.00 to $1500.00 for upgrading the amp/amps. I enjoy listening to R & B, R and R and little jazz. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks T. J.


Of course, all responses are going to be personal opinion, but like you I have many fond memories of auditioning the 3.3s (ended up with 2.9s for the moment). I have heard them on approximately 4 different occasions. Two times with Bryston gear, another with Levinson, and another with CJ solid state. My PERSONAL opinion is that the Adcom equipment is not a good match. Won't go into details, but suffice to say there is a reason why many of the dealers selling NHT used Bryston gear. I don't own a Bryston amp, but as much as I admire CJ and Levinson, the Bryston just seemed to match ever so much better, and like you, made me sit back and listen for what seemed to be a few minutes, but turned out to be almost an hour!!! That told me something. Everyone will tell you the 3.3s need plenty of power, but there is more to it than that. If you can get your hands on a high power Bryston, or ML if you can afford it, then do so and see if you don't find that "good feeling" return, and that you don't need the sub after all.

As for the front end gear, well, it sounds like you already know the answer to that. You can not expect to recreate the audition experience with a Yamaha carousel. I am no snob, and am currently using a cheap 1990 Philips player, but when I threw in a Cary 303 just for fun - let's just say "WOW" was an understatement. If you do the above audition, you MUST use at least a decent player. Otherwise it is not a total waste of time, but the weak link will make itself obvious.

Best of luck, and congrats on a great pair of speakers!!
Yeh, your speakers are tough to drive. However, I'd take 60 watt pass labs over 300 watt adcoms any day of the week. You may not get as much volume but you will get tighter bass and clearer highs.
I do not like to mix amps when bi-amping (personal preference). You will be best served to try different amps for their sound first. Once you find the sound you like, then worry about the power. You can always bi-amp then.
From what i understand, Nelson Pass has designed more than just the Adcom 5800, 5802 and GFP-750 for them. I could be wrong about this though and am only repeating what could be "audiophile mythology". Sean

PS... Even if Nelson did design some of their gear, that does not mean that Adcom built it exactly as designed, followed proper lay-out of components or used high grade components.
Thanks to all for the replies,
Seldenr, I think I will take your advice and find a decent cd player first and look for the amps some time after. That make loads of sense I must have had a bad inter connect plugged into the wrong input of my synapse!!!

It sounds like the Cary worked out well for you. After reading your post I check some of the reviews (all favorable), what model did you try? The older 300 looks like a deal for around $1000.00 used. I was also looking at the AH! 4000 (Niloe Tioeb) from Upscale Audio new for around $800.00 as you don’t seem to benefit much from buying that player used. I don’t think that I want to go down the SACD or DVD-A path. I have too many-loved red book CD’s that I know I would feel a need to replace.

Thinking ahead, I have an account with Listen Up (fairly hi end audio store) in Boulder CO as I’m an electrical contractor there and buy in-wall speaker wire from time to time. They deal in Bryston gear but I don’t believe they carry NHT line. What kind of amp’s do you used for your 2.5’s. I understand that this is the same speaker as the 3.3’s with the
exception of smaller enclosure and 10” woofer instead of a 12”. I like the idea of mono blocks as I think I have just enough space in our room and it will keep the speaker-wiring short along with other sonic improvements. I am considering either the 4sst or the older 7’s. What do you think?? I’m unsure if I can arrange an audition of the Bryston only because I don’t think I have enough $ in the audio budget to buy new and I don’t want to mislead the good people at Listen Up. I will however be straight up with them and ask, as I sure would like to hear them in my system before buying. Thanks again for your help and happy listening!!!! T. J.
Congratulations that your dream become true. NHT 3.3 is fantastic speakers. I bought a pair when NHT discontinued them and love them. At beginning, I paired them with a Denon 4800 due to limited budget and they sound pretty good. But apparently something is missing. Then, just like you, I bought an Aragon 8008 power amp and use Denon 4800 as preamp, but no gain except the hum due to lack of ground in AC plug of Denon receiver. Now I have built whole system. Here is the list:

Transport: Theta Data II
DAC: Theta Pro Basic II
Pre: Audio Research LS15
Amp: Aragon 8008 MkII

All monster cable and I am thinking about DIY cables including XLR. Right now I am using only RCA.

It sounds way better than before. NHT is a little bit bright to some audiophile. Seems the tube preamp cured that problem a lot. Vocal is not lean at all. Mid-range is also more transparent, no forward at all. The bass is much more rich and extend even lower with the transport.

For your setup, I feel you put pretty much effort on power amp, but not the source and preamp. The rule is garbage in garbage out. Considering the price tag of new 3.3, Yamaha receiver is apparently not a good match, and Adcom is not the same level too. Biamp will only add more input power unless you have crossover right after preamp.

So I would suggest you consider your budget, buy some used equipement and let them feed your 3.3 instead of receiver.

BTW, the designer of 3.3, Ken, said NHT was using Aragon to test their 3.3, I guess it is 8008ST.
I, in the early years of my life owned a pair of NHT 6.6's . . . yes, 6.6's, two (2) paris of 3.3's stacked, top pair, upside down; it looked really awesome! Incredibly, crazy, but I had the money, and found the 2nd pair locally and got a great deal. I initaly wanted to use the 2nd pair as rear surrounds, but the speaker angle did not work, hence the 6.6's I powered each pair of 3.3's with a monoblock aragon palladium. Only problem I had at the time was some humming, but this was taken using a Van's Evers "Clean Line Unlimiter". I must agree with Seldenr, get a better CD player, that would be the least expensive start. As for the 3.3's their power hungry and I would stick with solid state, so check out (this would be in order of price, least-to-expensive): b&k, adcom, aragon, parasound, classe, bryston, jeff rowland, mark levinson, krell, lamm. If you can get monoblocks, that would be best or get two (2) amp pairs, bi-wire the speaker inputs and "Y" the rca inputs. Yes . . you can go crazy; stay sane.