1) The NAD is a nice amp, but so were some of the Sansui offerings, though I am not familiar with the RZ-1000.
2) When does the "SNAP" sound occur? Is it when power is turned on? This could be a capacitor issue and may need to be looked at (I bought my 3020A new in 1979, i believe, so yours has a few years on it)
3) Any input except the phono will be fine to use with the CD, IPOD, or DVD. The Aux and Tape input were designed for line level voltage inputs as apposed to the very low voltage of the phono.
Great low power amp that has a smooth presentation. One of the units in my journey I regret letting get away.
Nice rig, to answer #3, you can run any line level source into any line level input, ie DVD into tape, ipod into auxilliary. You cannot run anything except a phono cartridge into phono, don't mess with this one.
Thank you. Drrsutliff: The snap occurs when I power on and off.
I do like the way it sounds, but compared to the Sansui it sounds a little tinny or something. I'm wondering if maybe it doesn't have the power to handle the speakers.
Viridian: Thanks for clarifying inputs.
my parents pops as well, it has done this as long as I can remember and should be no problem.
The speakers are probably revealing the flaws of the NAD. The NAD has a dry sound, and also lacks transparency. I would try a better amp myself. I think people liked them because they didn't have the solid state harshness, that a lot of other budget amps had in it's day. I'm not trying to be rude, but I think the rest of the system could do better with a different amp. I'm not familiar with that Sansui either.
The caps in that Nad are good 30 years old, generally the life of caps is about 15 years before they start to wear out and change the sound of a particular amp. The real character of this little beauty may not be what you are hearing so making a judgment after 30 years on the sound of the amp is kind of unfair.
In its day it was a great sounding amp and I had the pleasure of listening to one brand new bought by a very close friend who continued to own it for next decade or so driving his Wharfrdale Diamond initially and later the Wharfdale E40's. I had owned the Nad 3225PE which essentially was the same amp albeit with "Power Envelope" circuitry incorporated.
The Nad 3020A was the poor audiophiles integrated amp as I remember it being dubbed by the press.
Just my 0.02
Do you know if it is possible to replace the capacitors or is that prohibitively expensive to do? I love the design of this amp and a lot of the NAD stuff esp. from this era, so I'd like to stick with it. Looking for a NAD tuner now as well.
Iamnate, most likely not all caps need replacing, just all the electrolytics. Unless you can get a copy of a service manual to identify their location and values and have some de-soldering and soldering skills, you will be advised to find a tech to do this. The labor will be much more than the parts cost.
I have a 3020A I use in with my TV. I replaced the speaker spring clips with mini-binding posts and that is also recommended.
In my humble opinion the parts and labor will be more than the amount you may have paid for this amp so it is not me who decides. If you are handy with a soldering iron and know a bit about electronics you can do that yourself as suggested by Pryso. If not you need to consider your options
I know exactly what you mean about sound from that era, yes it was musical and warm. I have progressed to tubes and I am blessed with the same kind of sound I used to get from the equipment in question, I owned Quad equipment back in the days and upgraded with another Quad later on.
Here is an option for you to consider in future, as I am very satisfied with what I have now, it gives me the same musical sound as if I was transported back in the 70's and 80's.
What you need to be on the lookout is tube amps from Dared, they are extremely reasonable in price and have the best price/performance ratio under $1000. You can get a used Dared on Audiogon as well as on other sites. I currently use a Dared VP-16 in my bedroom and it is in one word "sweet"
You can get a Dared VP-16 for as little as $350 used (price for new is $895. Another great little model from them is MP-5 (brand new around $550 or thereabouts), You can get them used at much less than a VP-16. Dared has other offerings as well so I suggest you first check out their site when you have time and see what you fancy.
If you have questions or need to know more let me know and I will oblige.
I used to won two of these back when you could buy them new for under $200.00.
They were a refeshing change of pace from most of the over priced stuff in it's day.It was a no frills unit that delivered the goods, and I'll bet it would still compete today with some maintenance.
I'll take a good sounding no frills amp any day to one that is nothing but a collection of knobs and dials and options that degrade the sound.
This is one component from that era that never seems to appreciate in price like some of the other gear from that era, you know the stuuf with knobs and dials and switches and meters.
I used to run a pair of Swisstone 15 ohm Roger's Ls3/5a with one of my 3020's.
This made for some very nice listening.
The Rogers cost $400.00 new back then and the 3020 was $200.00 new.
Both I would consider classics,yet the 3020 somehow never gets any respect, yet it was the amp that was the real competition to all that 1970's Japanese stuff that was more show than go in my opinion.
Most of that gear that is so sought after today,granted was built better than the Nad,but sonically, the 3020 put the money into the parts that made it sound good.
So good in fact, that around the time of the 3020, those big heavey brutes from Japan started to disappear.
You have a nice piece of audio history in the 3020, and it is as deserving of upgrades as any other amp from that era or any other.
The thing I like about the 3020A is that I can bypass the power amp portion from the back and send the signal out to a stand along power amp. I'm wondering if anyone thinks I can get better sound by using the 3020A in this manner just as a preamp if I get a decent Power Amp?
I didn't try the preamp out when I had it (3020), but its worth trying, if it has it. Sometime they sound almost as good as a dedicated preamp. People do it with receivers to, and report good results at times. I've done it with others(brands/models) in the past, and received nice results. It depends how well it mates up to the particular amp you might try, just like a stand alone preamp. A lot of them put the feature on in case you want to go to a bigger amp in the future, but sure doesn't limit you to the quality either. I was satisfied with one setup in the bedroom for awhile, that I used the full integrated for TV, the pre-out for a tube amp for music. That worked fairly good, until I traded, and moved on. Part of the fun of the hobby.
If you still have those 4312a speakers, see if you could get a hold of a Mcintosh 2100 amplifier, at least to try the combo. That amp, and those speakers sound like they were made for each other.
I've owned both the 3020A and the 3225PE units and if your 3020A has the stock preamp/amp jumper links in place, get rid of those things and use a .5m or 1m pair of your favorite IC's. Heck, even the IC's that come stock with most budget/midline components are better than those notoriously bad sounding jumpers.
Give it a try, you have nothing to gain but much improved sound and it will most likely hold you over until you can buy that bigger amp :-)
I owned a 3155 that I bought a lifetime ago when new. About 3-4 years ago I went in an inventoried all the caps, then placed an order with Digikey for Panasonic FC's and replaced them all. It was fairly simple to do and the results were that I have essentially a brand new piece of equipment for about $150.
It also made a nice improvement in the sound.
Iamnate, specifically to your question about using an outboard amp.
Basic question, how sensitive are your JBL speakers? Does the NAD under power them or are you wondering about a better quality amp section?
I've only used mine as a full integrated (and Nmmusicman's suggestion is likely a good one) but years ago there was an audio topic program on a LA FM station called "In Fidelity". The guy who hosted that used the preamp section of a 3020 with a Dyna St 70 to drive his Quad 57 speakers. Considering how revealing the Quads are it must have had good sonic qualities. Note here I'm not suggesting the St 70 for your situation. That would be a different question.
Nmmusicman's suggestion about replacing the jumpers with the IC is surely a great tweak for the Nad, yes it does improve the sound. I remember I used a Cable Talk Monitor 2 interconnect and there was a huge improvement. The cable which has low impedance as well as low capacitance will do the trick, I used Cable talk for this very reason.
I did replace the stock jumpers a few weeks ago w/ some regular old interconnects that I had laying around and I do think there was improvement. As my ear is not so finely attuned I always wonder if its a placebo though!.
I'm mainly interested in adding a power amp and using the 3020A as a preamp because it does somehow feel like its straining a bit to power the speakers. I know nothing about the whole impedance/ wattage thing w/ regard to matching amp to speakers, but something tells me these speakers need more heft.
HiFiHvn: I'll chk out the McIntosh. I've got a friend whose got an old McIntosh setup he got from his Dad that I'm eager to check out.
Thanks all f/ the suggestions...
Again, please excuse my neophyte-ness in advance. I thought I would just keep this thread rather than start a new one. I currently have:
NAD 3020A Amp
JBL 4312A Control Monitors
REGA RP-1 Turntable (1 year old)
NAD 4220 Tuner
NAD blu-ray player don't have it in front of me.
I'm trying to figure out how I can improve the performance incrementally w/out huge cost. I have cheap Radio Shack interconnects & speaker wire so that's one thing.
I know there are also upgrades available for the Rega in terms of cartridge etc. Any recommendations on improving the overall quality of sound would be appreciated. With my limited knowledge of stereos its hard for me to understand what is the weakest link in the chain.