Once again, impressed by NAD

I bought an NAD receiver for a small due room system 18 years ago. The only thing that remains of that system is the NAD receiver which has been in my basement for years now.

Well, my Pass INT-150 developed an intermittent fault so I shipped it out for repair. In the interim I pressed the NAD into service. Presently the only source connected to it is phono. And guess what- it sounds quite, quite good! It's astonishing that a receiver that had a $300 list 18 years ago can come close to a current $7150 integrated amp. Oh, the Pass is quieter, has a more robust and developed low end but overall the NAD is much more that just listenable.

Makes me wonder how much we hobbyists pay for that's last 15-20% of sound quality.
Not sure how the 314 compares to other NAD models. It is forward, open and bright sounding with great bass. The preamp section I think is its highlight and is a good value relative to other preamps I have owned that retailed for under $2k. I have owned it probably fifteen years for use in my computer system. It did do temp duty in my main stereo after my last preamp kicked the bucket. But the 314 moved over for a Lamm L1, and (as should be the case) there is no comparison between them.
Yes I had the famous NAD 7240PE two channel receiver for many years and it worked flawlessly. I finally did sell here on Audiogon when I upgraded to surround sound. But that machine was so well built. Now because of the audio dealer I prefer working with nearby, I've switched to Rotel and Integra as they don't handle NAD. Very comparable though. Rotel and NAD have always been close in their lines. I do have an NAD universal player and love the audio it produces.

The other conclusion is that the Pass integrated is not as good as you thought


your systems resolution is in some way compromised.

I would look at your various interconnects, are they of good quality are they matched.

With an $7k integrated your interconnects should generally be around $500-$1,000.00 which is where you start getting really good cables.
I put my spare NAD 7020 receiver that I keep around into service in my second system a year or so back when my other pre-amp there died, and I have been hard pressed to find a good reason to take it out again. IT does quite well in there!

I bought it for $25 used in a pawn shop in Alabama back around 1986 or so.

One of these days, I'll swap it into my main rig in palce of the ARC sp16, just for kicks to see how it might stack up.

It's not a good idea to use cost as the main metric for what to use or not use. Better to have a budget that need not be extensive, be well informed, do not overpay, maybe but used to try, choose a weapon wisely, and then use your ears to judge how many $$s are needed to get good sound that you like.

In regards to resolution/detail, the easiest way to find out what is possible is with computer or good quality portable devices and a good pair of buds or phones. It's the low cost way to hear what you might hear in a digital recording without bringing expensive home gear, room acoustics, etc. into the equation.

Digital audio has come a long way...do not discount it totally until heard done well, which is not all that difficult these days.
The NAD M51 DAC is a sleeper among this generation of DACs. IMO it shames some DACs costing thousands more that are highly reputed and often written about in reviews.