I have NHT speakers for my Home Theater and ceiling speakers threw out the house for a number of years without issues.
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YOu threw out your house?? Damn, I was looking for a place to live not too long ago... hahaha J/K!
I've had NHT speakers since the company's inception way back when... I've only had 1 issue with the NHT II's that i owned back then, which was a result of my friends over-driving them w/out enough power during my absence (blown midrange driver).
Beyond that, I've never had issues w/ NHTs, however I've never used the XDs and their associated gear. So, as far as the speakers go, they are generally of good quality/ reliable. I cannot speak for the gear associated w/ the XDs, however.
just my 2c.
I own some Classic 3s, Classic 2s and a Classic 12 sub and all have been great. I blew a driver when I clipped using a low powered amp and they covered the part 100% even when I told them what I did. The part was only 40 bucks anyway!
The issue with the XD system is that is is based on complex active electronics and all the DSP software that won't be updated. I wonder how well that will be supported. I know they stopped making it due to the cost of supporting it and the R and D required to keep it working well. What if the firmware goes bad? You are out of luck.
I think you'd be rolling the dice on a system like that. I wouldn't worry a bit about the regular line of NHT--they'll keep the parts available for a while I would think.
I've had an Xd 2.1 system for 2+ years. Initially, I had a ground loop buzz, but NHT sent me a free set of RCA to balanced interconnects that solved the issue. I am now running fully balanced from my Transporter/pre into the xDA, and love the results.
In addition to NHT continuing service, you could contact www.audioconsultingservices.com, which are ex-NHT engineers who worked on the original Xd design. They do mods as well as custom filters. That gives 2 options should anything go wrong.
With prices for remaining inventory 1/2 of new, this is an absolute killer deal. If you want great sound quality that will get you off of upgrade-itis, xD's are an excellent choice.
At homecast.net a vendor called ~jhidley is selling Xd satellites with stands at app. $300/pair and woofers at $300 apiece. Now, while these include internal amplification, you must add your own x-over. Aside from the pricing, this may be appealling on 2 levels:
1) The original NHT x-over was a "watered down" unit (from, I believe DEQX) that didn't offer room correction. If you're okay in the price range, you can buy a full blown DEQX unit (new or used) and pick up rc at a relative bargain. By comparison, the full system being offered on clearance by Listen Up is priced higher than the above with a used DEQX, but a bit lower than a system with a new DEQX.
2) The x-over is the most complex piece in the x-d system. Buying this piece from a vendor that is still a going concern may be a good thing.
Just so that people are clear, I want to point out that only the XdW has built-in amplification. The XdS monitors are powered by amps housed in the XdA DEQX/amplifier module which is no longer available.
There is a discussion on another forum about building passive x-overs for the XdS as well as the possibility of using other electronic x-overs like the Behringer DCX.
Thanks for clarifying - I didn't realize that the mains were powered by the central NHT/DEQX x-over unit that's not available with this purchase. Four additional channels of amplification would be required - and, therefore, my economic analysis of relative purchase price should be moified accordingly.
BTW - I'm not sure that changes the final conclusion as to relative value, particularly if you value RC highly.
My system is/was Vienna Acoustics Baby Beethoven speakers , REL R 505 sub, Primare integrated amp (I21) and the Classic SqueezeBox 3. Cables are made by Cobalt for speakers; audioquest for the RCA link between SB3 and the integrated amp. I bought my system in 2005 (except the SB3 which I bought in 2006).
All my music is lossless stored on a computer (more than 700 CDs that now sit in the garage) and played wireless through SB3; this way there is no mechanical noise from the player (like a CD/SACD player would have). Of course the computer that stores the music is in a different room - all those noisy computer fans I can't stand...
The MSRP cost of the VA/Primare/REL system is 3995$ (VA) + 1995$ (REL) + 1495 (I21) + 130$ (10 AWG Cobalt cables) + 8.25% CA taxes = 8.243$
I am as happy as I can be with my system BUT (here I go) I am always reading reviews and listening to (too) many speakers (including some I couldn't afford) at many dealers.
Long story short, I heard about the NHT XDa an active crossover system with DEQX crossovers and Power Physics amplifier(s) in 2006 but it was just a few months after I bought my system so I wasn't very interested. Plus, at that time "digital" amplifier was a bad word, a profanity in the boutique oriented audiophile world and NHT is not quite an exotique brand - they are down to earth guys.
Here we are today in 2009 with the economy in the toilet and NHT slashes prices - XD* Active 2.2 is down to 2999$.
In the meantime I read quite a bit about class D amplifiers and learned they are (or at least could be) actually pretty good. So I order the NHT XD* Active 2.2 in special dark, factory-direct.
Here I am, I got the Beethovens/Primare/REL + the NHT XD* Active 2.2.
I also had to order a preamp and I chose the Parasound Halo P3 I heard it many times and I like it. That set me back another 850$ (tax included).
*I was thinking - if a don't like the NHT I will sell them on Audiogon (yes I will loose some money but there is no place that let's me audition them). If I like them better than my current setup (I thought that was unlikely) I might keep both. After all, the VA/Primare/REL combination is as good as I can afford.
Or so I thought. The only speakers I like better than my Beethovens and under 15k$ are the Martin Logan Summit X. Now that is way above budget and my wife wouldn't approve either way (don't you bring those UFOs in our house, OK?). Speakers more expensive than that make no sense to me. A lot of doubtful (pseudo) technology go in such esoteric and expensive speakers - my 2c. Also - do not try justifying me k$ cables - it makes me laugh.
on one of my preferred websites.
So, how do 8243$ spent at Magnolia HiFi stack up against 4100$ ( 3247$ is 3k$ + taxes then add 850$ for the Halo P3) spent buying factory direct gear from NHT + the Parasound P3 preamp?
Looks and appearance first:
The VA are some gorgeous lookers - the kind of finish you rarely see. If you look at the binding posts in the back then it'll be clear for you - the Austrians from VA mean quality. And that is not only outside, to be seen; read up on their website about their crossovers... Unless you are willing to spend a lot more I'd say the VA Beethovens are as good as it gets for a mortal's audio system.
The Primare amplifier is also a beautiful amplifier, simple, elegant and classy.
The RELL sub is also very nicely finished - a true black piano high gloss - really nice.
The NHT XDs speakers are very nicely finished - on par with the VA. I even consider the dark red chocolate/black piano high gloss finish better than the VA/RELL. The spikes that come with the stand are in a beautiful metallic gun color (and no, I don't like guns) - nicest spikes I've seen in a long time. Now there are two things I am not really thrilled in the looks of the NHT XDs:
*a) the cable that comes standard is not that cool looking
*b) there is a sticker on the back of the speakers with their serial #. Nicer/better finish and look than the VA yet a piece of sticker on their back!
Now the XDa (XD's amplifier) is not very nice looking - plastic front plate. Nowhere close to the Primare look.
The XDw are very nice looking - better looking than the RELL.
I like listening to baroque (I love organ) music and all kind of fast, ear blasting punk/heavy metal. This (strange) combination music I like makes me hard to please when it comes to sound reproduction.
The VAs sound very relaxed with good imaging and clear mids while the highs sound silky smooth and mellow. They almost sound like they are meant to play Baroque music (even organ - with the REL subs) and Jazz. There is a sense of calm and precision (made in Vienna/Austria, remember?) in the sound of these speakers that gives you years of enjoyment listening to them.
The bass integration with the RELL is pretty good and the RELL never rattles and never booms - a sealed subwoofer, the only type of sub I like.
I could go on and on about their sound qualities but I'd rather skip to the critique part.
The high bass - low mids sounds a bit lifeless even with the RELL - almost missing a bit of energy/speed. At low levels there is plenty of details but when turned on a bit too loud the speakers distort a bit and the sound is not so relaxed anymore and no, it is not the amp; the knob is around 30 out of 75 when this is noticeable (there is some decent reserve in the amp). During my 4 years with this setup I noticed the piano sounds a bit boxy at times, especially in the low mids. As good as they are these speakers will not rock the house - they just don't play that clear at (acceptably) loud volume.
On par with the best I ever listened to then some. I have listened to a lot of gear in the 10-15K$ range and even above - Mahler from VA 13k$, Amati from SF 28K$, Summit and Summit X from ML 10 respective 14 k$, the 801/802 from B&W, old/new Tannoys, etc.
NHT is nothing less. If anything the NHT are better.
The XD system can rock very LOUD and can play jazz very relaxed. With the 2.2 and the filter that sets the system to go down to 20Hz you can listen to organ music and it sounds real. You put the filter for high SPL and you can rock the house and still have plenty of bass down to 25Hz.
The best part - these speakers do not distort at (very) loud volume. One day I asked a friend of mine who is a motocross enthusiast: What kind of cars do you like? The answer came without a blink: The kind of car you can drive at 120Mph and makes you think you're driving 60 Mph, well controlled, balanced cars with sharp steering.
That's how I feel about the NHT Xds - they can rock and sound effortless. They can play organ effortlessly and have all the detail. And this comes from somebody who went to many concerts and operas. Many.
The mids are very fast - I dare to say on par with the best electrostats - don't take my word for it, try them out.
The bass is fast, never boomy and never rattles. The highs are crisp, detailed never too harsh but never mellow.
And the speakers, both bass and monitors are sealed.
Again - unbelievable sound, hard to describe. Precise, effortless and fast.
Instruments like piano and the organ never sounded more life like, ever. Large orchestras, rock bands never sounded so crisp.
After listening to the NHT I decided I have to part with the VA Beethovens/Primare/REL (Audiogon anybody?) - they make no makes no sense to me anymore; they were dwarfed by the NHT XD.
Now, in all fairness below are the things I don't like in the NHT XD active setup:
There is a the setting for the XDa that allows you to start the XDa with a music signal. During quiet passages the amp shuts down - annoying. The easy way I fixed that was to use the external trigger input on the XDa: I plugged wires from my preamp's trigger output to the XDa trigger input. It takes 1 minute and a simple wire to do that. Read your preamp manual to locate the 12V trigger output and send that to the trigger input in the XDa. Ok - this was easy.
Another thing is that whenever XDa starts there is a small sound pop in the tweeters.
I guess these speakers will not be easily accepted by everybody - progress isn't easy to accept. In a world polluted by mediocre sounding 15k$+ expensive speakers there are a very few of them that sound quite good.
And NHT XD active system sounds better than those.
I've had these from the time they were first released April of 05 I think.
In terms of overall capability they can't be beat. It's not going to happen. The rigidity and design is second to none. A lot of work went into developing these.
Also, the better you match them with a good preamp, stand, the better the results. But you throw a nice hard drive with all your music a solid dac like the Lavry DA10 and you will be flying high. (Manual volume on that DAC btw.)
You can't get that good sound for such a low price. And I've been there trust me.
Unless you have a really large room, 30 x 30 where you can crank it up real, real loud, 120db+, you will do great with this.
My system also includes a Grand Prix Monaco Audio stand - makes the clarity of this go from aces to The Ace of Spades. Truly remarkable.
I got in at $5500. They have been let go at $2900. Jump on it. Years of great pleasure and performance awaits.
Bought a new home in April 2010. Have a living room that is 21 feet x 24 feet - peak height is 15 feet. The NHT Xd does not fill the room at high volume and create "Room Lock." Beautiful and pristine sound at low to normal listening volumes. (I`ve heard nothing better) But - in this relatively large room - the NHT VT-3s have NEVER sounded better! These bad boys can move some serious air. They have great "room lock" to say the least. The NHT Xds are very well built. And the best value in audio today period. But not to fill big spaces.