So, what is the 120 watt amp?
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Years back I had a ML amp that needed to be repaired. While it was being repaired I used a 25wpc NAD unit to power my system. In a word, it was spectacular. It was easily 90% of what the ML was in terms of sound quality. Not long after the ML came back all repaired I sold it and have been chugging along quite happily for maybe 11 years with amps that have a quarter of the power the ML had. WPC ain't everything, and smaller and cheaper amps can be great.
Well this throws all my pre-concieved notions out the window. From now on it's listen and decide, forget the specs :-)
I would rather not mention the brands of the pre and amp the NAD replaced as both are very very highly regarded and do sound great otherwise (less the dynamic contrast and punch). We're talking same class as Bryston's, Classe's, Odyssey's, Electrocompaniet, etc...
I guess just like Bruce Lee, Mini Coopers and well sometimes integrated amps, "Big" performance can sometimes come from "smaller" packages :-)
Another thought I have is "sweet spot": if I am using 10 watts from a 30 watt amp it is probably operating in its sweet spot for optimal performance, where as 10 watts out of a 120 Watt amp may be well before its optimal sweet spot kick in. Kinda like driving a high performance high HP car but keeping to the speed limit, the engine never really opens up. In the end who knows.
Thanks for all the valuable input.
I have an NAD 7225PE that I will never sell in a millions years. It just sounds awesome, and the only word I can use to describe its sound is "alive." I think that its sense of pacing is the key. It just makes me tap my foot and smile when I hear it, and it has run nearly continuously (with an occasional vacation) since 1991. When they designed this amp, they did it RIGHT.
Have a NAD 7140 that I have not used in over two years sitting on top of an excellent sounding Sansui AU 919.
Decided to run the 7140 for a while after playing with another recent find that surprised me.
I revived a thread I wrote about the 7140 in comparison to a Nakamichi Stasis 2 which it easily thumped, and had better build quality.
It's right up there with the Sansui on both power, and sound quality.
Using a pair of Yamaha NS 1000's with it.
Point taken Ddd1... I am not mentioning brands for the 120 watt amp and Pre as I may be selling them and would rather not give the impression that they are not great pieces.
I was only looking for input from the more "technical" folks as to what could give a good indication for control and dynamic punch with Amps. I always thought damping factor (higher equals more control), slew rate (ability to respond quickly) and wattage (power output) would give those indications. Now I'm not so sure...
A lot of it is synergy, matching the amp to whatever speaker is partnered with it. The 120W amp, whatever it is, might sound better with a different pair of speakers and suit a listener who plays music at louder levels and/or in a larger room. Years ago I used to own a NAD C370 integrated and enjoyed it very much in my system.
Ddd1 has hit the nail on the head - synergy - that component combination where the stars align and everything comes together.
Matching components is much more than watts, high current designs and efficiencies.
Each component impacts the other components it is connected too
It even includes cables - e.g. naim amps require (as stated on their web site) that the speaker cables be low capacitance.
I've read that they sound pretty bad if high-cap cables are used
Also, that 28 year old amp used exceptional components - andNAD had a great design and quality reputation back then. Once the bean counters take over then component quality often suffers.
Also - not all watts are equal - line up any number of amps with the same output rating in the same setup and you will get differing results in the system performance
When I bought my existing speakers I took my naim 5i amp and speaker cables to the store because of concerns about their ability to control them - turns out 50 watts (of naim power) was more than enough. Some brands my work better and some not as well - you have to hear them
When I first started this hobby, matching components was far more critical - things like input and output voltages had to be matched- then the manufacturers got together and settled on standard input and output specs, but even today other factors still come into play, which make certain component combinations excel in their performance - yours is one such case.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to know what combinations excel, other than plowing through forums like Agon and soliciting advice and then try some options.
But bottom line - 28 year old NAD's were an exceptional design and a quality build.
Recently I came into possession of a Sansui receiver from the mid 70s, an HK integrated from about 82 and an Onkyo integrated from 85. They all had this in common, they were calibrated or voiced to work well with sources such as tape decks and turntables, both much less dynamic than the modern cd player.
For that reason they gave the impression with a CD player that was punchier and more dynamic. I'm sure the NAD is much the same. The more dynamic and higher voltage cd player made the difference. BTW, turntables sounded really nice on this old gear.
Thought it was a very silly response. Obviously you, and anybody else could.
The point is that the unit is surprising for what it is and what it can be had for.
I find it amusing you don't want to mention the brand let alone what model it is.
Another words you spent a lot of money and are getting diminishing returns and deciding you want to sell.
And yes the phono stage is great in the 7140.