Having owned both, I would say that there is no "better" in this case. The NAD is warm and full sounding, the Cambridge clearer and leaner with better dynamics and greater clarity. Of course the Cambridge will lift a moving coil cartridge and the NAD will not.
If you cartridge is lean, or your tastes run to a warm sound, the NAD is for you. If you have a rich cartridge and you are concerned with detail retrival the Cambridge will get you further.
There are many that enjoy the Cambridge, I was not one of them, though I really don't think that matters, as it is your taste that should be the arbiter of the decision.
I bought a 640p because of reviews and the fact than it has a rumble filter, and I love it. The 640p is "lifted" by the Pangea P100 power supply (killer design built like a tank) which recently got cheaper...$69 at "advisor", although I bought 2 of these for 100 clams each and thought THAT was a steal (use one for my DacMagic). Highly recommended. Plus, the 640p should be a deal currently since they've been replaced by the 651p which, according to "advisor", will accept the Pangea P100 cable size...THAT combo might sound better still, and remains relatively inexpensive.
The Pickering cartridge would be a better fit with the Cambridge phono amp it would seem?
Why not splash out on a a nice phono stage, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2SE, Musical Suroundings Phonomena 2, Jolida JD-9 etc.? The Cambridge is a thin sounding phono stage.
The 640p is not thin sounding (in my system anyway), period. It's an accurate, full range, well made great sounding phono preamp by any standard.
Is too, is not, is too, is not, is too, is not!
Is too, is not, is too, is not, is too, is not!
My nominee for post of the year, hell maybe the decade!!!!
I have had both. the 640p is much better in my opinion.
Has anybody tried a 651p?
I'm using a 551P and it's very full sounding. Had the JD9 and wasn't crazy about it
I bought my son a 640P for use with his first analog setup, to go with a
vintage Technics and AT cart. I spent several days listening to it in my
system. Frankly, I was surprised how good it sounded CONSIDERING IT'S
COST. It was clearly in the ss camp, and while I did not find it to be thin
sounding, it was not very dimensional and with fairly flat images. It's
biggest failings were, IMO, a lack dynamic verve (the music always
sounded a little polite), and the soundstaging, while fairly stable, was
compressed with images that were too small compared to other phono
sections that I am familiar with. I owned the NAD 1020 (?) phono section
many years ago. It was the same phono section that is in the 3020, in it's
own box without a line stage. While I agree with Viridian's comments about
how to make the choice, IMO, the Cambridge, overall, sounds closer to
natural than the NAD.
Having said all that, if it is true that the 640 is "an accurate, full range,
well made great sounding phono preamp by any standard", where
can one go from there? It's good for the money, but not nearly as good as
the EAR 834P, Jolida 9 to name two, which are themselves far from the
best. Good luck.
Thanks for the ideas,but I've been building my modest system with thrift store buys.Bought the 3020 for $5,the pioneer pl-530 with pickering cartridge for $12.A magnavox CDB460 and 492 cd players for $8 along with paradigm compact monitors for $20.friend of mine has sold me the 640P for $20. I've been lucky for they all look and work really well.not a $10,000 system, but I've been happy so far with it.
You can obviously do better than my modest 640p/Pangea rig for more money (the cables I use for it cost plenty more than it did), so I encourage everyone to do so as I'm "the encourager.". Maybe it's the Pangea that makes it work so well, but I refuse to unhook the Pangea to find out because I'd hurt its feelings, and I find the blue light comforting. I compared it to an over 10 grand Pass Labs phono stage...well...actually I didn't, but if I did I'd maybe lie about it anyway, because I can. Also, what part of "an accurate, full range, well made great sounding phono preamp by any standard" claims there's no where to go? No part. Plus, I need the rumble filter...
"accurate": to me, that means its just about perfect. Accurate, is
just that; pretty much no where to go.
"full range": I would agree; pretty much.
"well made": agreed
"great sounding": Well, then what is an Aesthetix, or Steelhead
or....? Maybe "fantastic"? Is fantastic better than great?
Hey Wolf, just having some semantics fun here. I don't mean to be a
hardass nor beat up on the Cambridge at your expense; I think it's a good
sounding piece and for the money pretty amazing. God knows, my gear is
far from the best that I have heard. I can be a stickler for perspective; just
ask my wife, she puts up with me.
I respect the pesky perspective speculation stickledge. By accurate I merely meant it doesn't seem to add or subtract much...note I didn't say "extremely accurate", "hideously accurate", "most accurate ever", "nauseatingly accurate", "disturbingly accurate", or "inacurately accurate" (personal favorite). I stumbled on my analog rig by accident...found a very clean Basik/Akito (rewired it with a Jelco Mogami Neglex with gold din gizmo cable) and wound up with a Sumiko Pearl by default...somehow it's mondo el cheapo mui bueno a mundo for days.
Congrats to John for putting together a fantastic system on a limited budget. He is an example for all music lovers that want to have good sound without breaking the bank. I hope that you enjoy your new phono stage.
Thank you,I've been lucky for what I've found.