New NAD 326 BEE Owner -Disappointed Help

I've browsed the used gear for sale at the Audiogon site, but never posted a new topic. I'll be brief.

I bought an NAD 326 BEE in late 2009 from an authorized dealer. I just got around to hooking it up, since the controls on my NAD 3140 need cleaning. Problem is...I hate it!

I LIKE the sound of the 3140. Sure, the sound is a bit muddy, but I like warmth, so I've put up with it's shortcomings. But the 326 BEE is wimpy. I've got the bass set at about "7" on a 0-10 scale. At this setting, it's comparable to around a "3-4" setting on the 3140. The bass range on the 326 BEE is really disappointing.

Here's my very humble set-up:

-NAD 315 BEE CD player
-Technics SL 1200 turntable w/Shure M97 XE cart
-B & W 602 S3
-NAD 326BEE w/NAD PP2 phono preamp, (sure the Jolida JD 9A would be nice. But it won't solve the amp problem).

So, my question to the forum is, should I keep the 326 and try a pre-amp, or just ditch it for something else? Maybe a Parasound amp? I like really warm, tubey sound, but I want to stick with an integrated amp.

Thanks, John
A problem could be is that the 326 is a 50w per channel amp and the 3140 is a 300w per channel watt. This may be what you are hearing. Also an amp that has sat for so long really needs to be broken in. The bass should improve with time but the power differences especially in bass power might be the problem.
I'm sure it's not a power thing, the 3140 is a 40W per channel amp, the 300 watt spec is max. draw from the ac line. There may have been a problem with the 326 BEE out of the box that went undetected since it sat around untried. The early NAD stuff had that sonic signature you describe and the newer BEE stuff does not but I don't believe that can account for this problem.
I use a 326 BEE with Sound Dynamics 300ti speakers and am very happy with the bass. The overall balance is a bit full and I agree there is a bit of 'murkiness' but the sound is dynamic and vibrant. Also the 300ti's go fairly low and the NAD seems to serve them well.

I am not familiar with the 3140 so can not comment on the difference...
Thanks for the replies so far!

I'm hoping that it's a break-in time issue. The sales guy at Spearit Sound spent a lot of time on the phone with me, assuring me that the 326 would marry-up nicely with the B&W 602s. I don't doubt him, but I just wonder how much this amp can warm up over time. I'm thinking it's destined for a listing on eBay, then I could use the funds to buy a Jolida amp.

Digepix, you are correct. The 3140 is 40w per "side". I bought the 3140 from a friend, who was the original owner. I love that the 3140 has a decent onboard phono pre-amp!
I switched from an old NAD 2200/1130 amp and pre-amp to the NAD C372 after close to 25 years with the former. I felt about the same as you. The older gear had far greater dynamics than the new and for that reason I felt disappointed initially.

The NAD C372 had a far more articulate and expanded sound stage. The dynamics were there. Just not what I was used to. After a time I came to fully appreciate the C372 and no longer miss the older gear.

My guess would be, give the new amp time. many hours of playtime do you have on the 326BEE? What is the suggested break-in period by the manufacturer and/or Spearit Sound? The B&W DM602 S3's are an 8ohmn nominal (4ohm minimum probably in the bass region) and 90dB sensitivity speakers, so your NAD 326BEE should drive them ok. I would wait for full break-in period to see if the sound fills out in the bottom end. If not, you can always explore adding a sub for the lower frequencies. I believe your 602 S3's frequency range are 52Hz-20KHz at +/- 3dB on axis, which is typical for monitors but clearly they are not full range speakers. It could be that the 3140 was rolled off in the highs and now that you hear the full spectrum the speaker is capable of delivering, the tonal balance seems tipped up to what you are used to.

Wow, I get very informed replies in this forum. That's excellent! More sophisticated than my technical expertise.

I have about 15 hours of listening to vinyl with the 326, through the NAD PP2 pre-amp, and with CDs via the NAD 515 CD player.

Yep, I do "get" that the 602s are very efficient monitors. What was nice with the 3140, is that the highs didn't seem too bright, just shimmery. For example, the sound of a ride cymbal was just that- shimmery. With the 326, I kinda of wince at how exacting it sounds. And the bass with the 326 seems very elastic, not punchy. Which to many folks' ears, this would be a good thing. For example, I just listened to the Police's 'Certifiable' (live) on vinyl through the 326. It's accurate, but the NAD 326 just seems to put a governor on the low end I know the 602 are capable of.

I dunno, perhaps I should just keep the 326 as a very nice playback platform for my iPod. I also purchased an NAD iPod dock from Spearit Sound. So I could keep the amp just for this purpose. I've considered trying a Jolida tube amp, but I think a different set of speakers would be in order. Perhaps the B&W 684, with the new crossovers?
B&W / NAD matchup? I'm not sure about this.......and, the B&W speakers are generally a more ...... difficult load meaning you need a better amp, or at least one better into the 602s load.

If you like the midfi approach, B&W with Rotel is considered good.

I've owned the NAD C352 for many years and only recently replaced it with Ayre components. It's very similar to your C326 in design, and it's anything BUT strident, overly bright, and lacking bass. I'm also using 90dB two-way speakers. The NADs typically understate their power ratings.

IMO it's entirely possible that your new NAD will provide you with better fidelity and performance that you may not have "dialed in", yet.

Assuming you've already double-checked these items:
- Make sure your speakers are not wired out of phase (a classic for "tinney" sound and losing bass), reclean all your terminal contacts, and double-check integrity of speaker wires.
-Revisit your amp settings for tone controls, soft clipping, etc.

If you have any flexibility on location, go thru speaker placement exercises again. Maybe speakers closer to back wall will give you some of the extra bass response you need.

When we upgrade to better resolving systems, sometimes room acoustics issues that didn't really matter before now become apparent. So it's a good exercise to also revisit the steps for optimising listening position, room bass effects, etc., after significant upgrades.

If it still reeks and you've already allowed a long burn-in, then suggest taking the amp to your dealer and A/B this amp against one of his 326's in a demo system setup.

Other options: the NADs are truly the Swiss-Army-knives of integrateds. Easy to isolate the pre- and amp sections to
test with other amps, or to bi-wire, or bi-amp, or to add a powered sub to your system.

Whatever the outcome, good luck!

Magfan...the B&W DM602 S3s are a relatively easy load and of sufficient high sensitivity that the NAD 326 ought to easily drive them.

John...I would give the 326BEE at least a few hundred hours of break-in and see where its sonics settle out at. I also think Sandstone's recommendations are all very good. Check phase, speaker positioning, etc... after the break-in period and make sure you are optimizing as much as you can before considering changing amps. Good luck.
I've heard some claim that the B&W line can be difficult to drive. The 600s? I've never seen actual measured data, though if it exists, Stereophile has it.

The other issue is NAD / B&W which doesn't do much for me.....that is a matter of taste, though I think Rotel is under the same corporate umbrella and would be at least a reasonable amp to test with the 600 series B&Ws.

And, finally, the one I hadn't thought of. Are the speakers wired out of phase?
I like the setup suggestions, too. Throwing more power at it? Nah, the NAD is pretty robust and has good dynamic power, which is what music needs.

I'd like to hear the resolution of this one......
I have been thinking about the tonal balance of my system with the 326 and 300ti speakers (which I told you before is on the warm side) however, I use old Tera IC which are warm and the speaker wire is White Lightning DIY which is warm as well.

When listening to my Sansui tuner the sound is very big, intimate and soft but with my Muse CD player it is far more extended and detailed though with some recordings can be a bit aggressive, not lacking bass but forward in overall balance.

It just got me to thinking about the old bugaboo - system matching and how a few things can make the sound lacking in one way or another. I am listening right now to Coltrane Blue Train and the mids and high end are very detailed with nice bite but the bass is a bit light even with the warm wire in my system.

I just thought I would give you a bit more to chew on.

Overall I am pretty blown away with the 326 BEE and have been thinking about it lately while listening.

good luck and enjoy!
OK, Shine - I'll give you a different viewpoint. I owned the C325BEE for a couple of months in my mid-fi second system and my conclusion is that this integrated basically s***s: it's grainy and underpowered relative to the NAD published stats and isn't good tonally, either. (It is an example of a thoroughly overhyped component, IMHO.) Keep in mind that I had realistic expectations for this unit and compared it to an equivalently-priced Rotel unit which was comprehensively better.

You're getting a lot of advice about adjustments and burn-in. I think you are listening carefully and hearing the shortcomings of a deficient integrated.
John posted his first new topic on Agon, after finding that a current model of his amp's line sounded much worse to his liking than a much older version, after only 15 hours or less of burn-in.

"this integrated basically s***s"
Interesting, in that it's one of the more popular amps out there. Paul Seydor at TAS and many on this thread would disagree with you.

IMO, it's a good enough unit to take the time burning it in, dialing it in (esp. for better bass response), and finding out if there's a unit defect before then evaluating and deciding for yourself.
-Even if you eventually decide to move on. It's likely that no matter what you do, it will still be more revealing and tonally neutral than your older unit.

The point is, if one doesn't go through the drill to troubleshoot and integrate new components properly into a system each time, you never really know for sure what you've missed. I usually seem to learn something new, and for me it's also a good antidote to the time and expense of "component roulette" that is sometimes contagious on the boards.

Sandstone - I was commenting on the 325BEE and you pointed to a review of the 326BEE. I would assume the models are pretty similar. If not, my comments don't apply. If they are similar, then Shine is making what I think is an accurate negative judgement on the component and should seriously think of an upgrade.
the 326 is supposed to be a step up from the 325 especially in the area of refinement and detail...
OK Jult, good enough, but I think you'll agree he should burn it in and set it up properly, before considering.

And as John mentioned, there's still the question of whether his amp would be the next upgrade needed. Maybe one of our vinyl experts could comment on his phono setup, and how the Jolida or other suitably priced phono pre might help.

I am curious

what speaker did you use with the 325?

You might want to step up to the 372, used around 400 bucks. Big jump in power and a relatively good sound stage. I am using mine in a mono config with a 272, so I can not tell you how the integrated part of the amp works.