Not Only Bluetooth Receiver: NAD D 3020 Hybrid Digital Amplifier DAC with aptX Review
Introduction of NAD D 3020
NAD D 3020 is not just an apt-x codec supporting Bluetooth receiver. It is also a hybrid amplifier and a USB DAC. So very suitable for desk or bedroom system. It has a contemporary designed tiny body built with really excellent quality. The amplifier can be set upright or laid flat as you prefer.
NAD D 3020 maybe just 1/8 size of a standard AV receiver, but it is capable of every job for a receiver. This Hybrid device looks right at home next to a desktop computer where its carefully developed headphone amplifier works. Nonetheless, it could fit well near a TV for delivering really good sound into your stereo speakers.
Design and Interface
NAD D 3020 comes more like a network device rather than a Hi-Fi equipment. There are just a headphone jack and a volume button on the front. The volume knob feels every bit as plasticky as it looks. Two touch-sensitive buttons, power and source switch, are situated on the right side. They respond better to a gentle caress than firm press. There’s a fairly tidy remote – finished in the same rubberized-plastic found on the side walls of the main unit.It has a nice size and shape, feeling substantial in your hand, but the labels have the same color like buttons, making them hard to recognize. Unlike a universal remote control, this clicker has nor dedicated mute either power button, which appears to be an oversight.
As a compact receiver NAD D 3020 has plenty of inputs, that means it has four inputs on the back: one special "mixed used" input that can function as either an optical input via unique adapter cable or a mini jack input, two digital audio (optical and coaxial) and one pair of standard RCA analog input interfaces. There’s also a USB port you can use to connect a computer directly to the amp. We tried using the NAD with a MacBook Pro and it worked perfectly. That’s more than enough for an integrated amp. It can be used as a media switcher for living-room by connecting any device you want to this D 3020.
Apt-X Bluetooth streaming
Apt-X offers an improved distortion profile over SBC, so switching into wireless streaming via apt-X Bluetooth option provides a notably improved sound over standard Bluetooth. Though still not as good as a wired connection, but convenience is just as important as sound quality.
For me, the sound improvement is drastic and more detailed in general. The amplifier’s innate smoothness makes even low data rate music streams sound listenable, and I like the warmth and weight the amplifier delivers. After using Apt-x bluetooth streaming down to SBC codec will show a more clear image about how much apt-x change the wireless music quality. This is the NAD’s knockout feature for anyone.
During our test this little D 3020 had no trouble driving bookshelf speakers and high impedance headphones. Its acoustic mass was thicker and dynamics was more muscular. Stereo imaging was spacious, deep and broad, and overall transparency was excellent. D 3020 was significantly tighter in the low end and more lit up across the remainder of the frequency spectrum. The low-end bass power was on full display. The NAD managed to keep the track enjoyable, displaying plenty of finesse with a definite sense of grip on rhythm. When switched to 24-bit/96kHz material in DAC mode the D 3020 responded with plenty of details, a nice sense of delicacy and the kind of top-to-bottom cohesion.
It doesn’t matter what kind of music you are listening to. This little NAD amp will come up with trumps. It has the muscle, precision and delicacy to make all types of music work.
The D 3020′s core appeal is its exclusiveness: Amplifier(where it exceeds price expectations), Headphone amplifier, apt-X Bluetooth streamer and DAC. The NAD remains a musically satisfying unit. It works well across a wide range of music and partnering equipment, while it may not be as capable of hi-end in sonic terms but the standard it reaches is still very good.
Considering its compact size, clever shape and spec-sheet we are confident that NAD will be a winner. Its gutsy presentation and wide-ranging connectivity turns it into an easy recommendation for newcomers!
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