Turning the NAD way up is good! Why would you want excess gain to be thrown away with a pot?
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Let's reframe the discussion just a bit. The so-called "volume knob" does not actually increase the volume -- it actually turns it down. At full rotation (maximum volume), the volume knob is simply passing along the signal as it enters the pre/pro from the source. Most preamps seem to be at "full gain" at roughly 12:00 on the dial, which means that the rest of the gain setting is largely irrelevant. It is actually better when the volume pot must be turned up to around 3:00 to yield the maximum volume setting, since this range gives you a wider, more discrete range in which to adjust the volume. It sounds like your NAD is simply set to use more of the rotation range of the "volume" knob.
Sdcampbell notes that most volume controls don't seem to do much for the last 1/2 turn or so. I too have noticed this. I think that the reason is that pots are being made with "linear" taper and with "log" taper, but the "audio" taper that we used to use seems to be unavailable. Sometimes, back in the old days when audiophiles built their equipment, if we couldn't find an audio taper pot we would use a log taper, but we always considered this to be a less-than-satisfactory substitution. In these days of multikilobuck preamps you'd think they could get this right.
We discussed this John :)
The way receivers are designed often the preouts are not up to the task due to the input impedance and sensitivity of an outboard amplifier. They have to cut the corners somewhere. :)
There is nothing wrong with turning the NAD up since there is no load on the speaker terminals and you really can't hurt the receiver or your amplifier. but 1 o'clock if I rememeber correctly will be about it for the output on the NAD preouts with a full signal input.
The fact is the MCA5 II requires 2V to get to full power and the NAD only puts out 1.3V so what you have is what you have,
B&K Reference 50.2 or for less the NAD 173? prepro will do just fine.