Opinions on NAD D 3020 vs Denon PMA-50 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 02-28-2016, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Opinions on NAD D 3020 vs Denon PMA-50

Looking for a small form factor integrated amp for a 2.1 computer setup. There is no room for a full AVR or I'd get this one instead. Unfortunately small form factor means a lot higher cost.

The amp will be powering NHT SuperZeros + Super 8 sub, all near-field music listening. I'm not sure I need the high res formats supported by Denon at this time. FLACs from CD rips is the best I have for now.

So ... any thoughts on NAD D 3020 vs Denon PMA-50?
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post #2 of 25 Old 02-28-2016, 12:42 PM
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Based on recent research in my looking for a 2.1 system, I concluded they would be fairly similar in that scenarion. I think they have almost the same input options. I think the Denon has an extra full size optical-in, while the NAD has instead a full size optical-in plus a minijack sized one.

One thing to check is the behaviour of subwoofer-out on the Denon. It it filtering the signal into 2.1 or is more like 2+1? Can't remember about that on the Denon, but that seemed to be the catch on several of these mini-amps.
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post #3 of 25 Old 02-28-2016, 02:15 PM
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Of the compact NAD offerings the NAD D 7050 would be the best option IMHO as you would have bass management with the app. Not sure if the 7050 is out of budget or not in your case.

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post #4 of 25 Old 02-28-2016, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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@Osamede It's hard to find any definite info on the sub handling. So much conflicting info out there, even NAD support is confused about it. Denon support is terrible too unfortunately.
The good news is that I don't think it matters much in practice. Yes, if you measure it with the right tools you can probably tell, but this past weekend I played with my NHT setup and a cheap amp that has no bass management, full signal to both speakers and sub and I tried different crossovers on the sub, my ears couldn't really tell the difference.
It may make a difference if the speakers can play down to say 60Hz. Mine only go down to 85Hz and setting a crossover on the sub at around 100Hz or even higher seems to be fine. Now there could be a problem if the amp decides to only send to the sub < 80Hz, you may end up with a gap between 80Hz and what your speakers can handle.
It's unfortunate that we don't get clear info and the only way to know for sure is to try the amps, which gets expensive rather quickly.

@postrokfan The NAD D 7050 is way out of budget, but from what I read it's actually comparable to the Denon PMA-50 in terms of chips used, in fact Denon uses newer revisions of the chips. But looking through the Denon manual there's no sign of any bass management at all.

So far I'm trending towards the NAD because it's smaller, cheaper and I don't really need the extra formats the Denon supports. What I don't like about the NAD is that it doesn't look as good horizontally as that's how I'm going to use it. I sound picky but for the money, I think they could have gone with a design that works equally well both ways and the display flips based on position like it does on the Denon.
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post #5 of 25 Old 02-29-2016, 07:51 AM
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the display flips on the 7050

Paradigm PW AMP, KEF Q100, Emotiva B1, Rythmik L12
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post #6 of 25 Old 02-29-2016, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpp8140 View Post
the display flips on the 7050
It does, but it costs a lot extra for it to do so :-) I don't really need the extra streaming features of the 7050 as I will have a computer attached to it.
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post #7 of 25 Old 02-29-2016, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
It does, but it costs a lot extra for it to do so :-) I don't really need the extra streaming features of the 7050 as I will have a computer attached to it.
Sorry, I thought your post above about display flip was in regards to the 7050.

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post #8 of 25 Old 02-29-2016, 10:49 AM
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NAD D3020 - sub out

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Originally Posted by SirDracula View Post
So far I'm trending towards the NAD because it's smaller, cheaper and I don't really need the extra formats the Denon supports. What I don't like about the NAD is that it doesn't look as good horizontally as that's how I'm going to use it. I sound picky but for the money, I think they could have gone with a design that works equally well both ways and the display flips based on position like it does on the Denon.
We use the NAD 3020 in a space-confined set-up to drive a set of PSB Imagine bookshelf speakers.
Overall, the NAD 3020 works very well. I use two of the digital inputs - Toslink (optical) and Coaxial.

The unit is horizontal, and the display is set up for vertical - a minor inconvenience. One gripe is that the 3020 inputs are not directly selectable by the remote - you have to go through them sequentially. But the 7050 was twice the price and had power and features that were not needed.

I did use thicker rubber bumpers (feet) than those supplied by NAD in this horizontal configuration to help ensure adequate airflow. Mainly because I had them available; I would not have shopped for them.

Sub-out: is crossed at 80 Hz, with a shallow filter (for better blending with mains). The signal to the mains is always full-range (per email with NAD support). No bass management, except that the signal to the mains can have emphasis added (i.e. 'loudness switch'). We don't use this.

Last edited by clpetersen; 02-29-2016 at 10:52 AM. Reason: add info
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post #9 of 25 Old 02-29-2016, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clpetersen View Post
We use the NAD 3020 in a space-confined set-up to drive a set of PSB Imagine bookshelf speakers.
Overall, the NAD 3020 works very well. I use two of the digital inputs - Toslink (optical) and Coaxial.

The unit is horizontal, and the display is set up for vertical - a minor inconvenience. One gripe is that the 3020 inputs are not directly selectable by the remote - you have to go through them sequentially. But the 7050 was twice the price and had power and features that were not needed.

I did use thicker rubber bumpers (feet) than those supplied by NAD in this horizontal configuration to help ensure adequate airflow. Mainly because I had them available; I would not have shopped for them.
Apparently NAD makes all the discrete remote codes available, so with a universal remote such as the Logitech Harmony, or Pronto or JP1 remotes it is possible to select an input directly. I will be using the USB and Bluetooth inputs only and unfortunately they are not next to each other when cycling through inputs, otherwise I would have been fine with it, just up/down (or is it left/right?).

I was thinking the same thing about ventilation, I already have some bigger sticky rubber fit. It seems there's a vent on what would be the bottom of the amp, some extra airflow should help.
I also talked to the NAD support and was told that in a horizontal position it runs hotter, but that's normal, it's designed to be used horizontally so I shouldn't be concerned about it as long as the NAD log is on top and don't put anything on top of it.
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post #10 of 25 Old 02-29-2016, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Based on my conversations on the phone with both NAD and Denon support, I decided to go with the NAD D 3020. NAD support is very helpful and knowledgable, Denon support is clueless, they have no idea how their own products work. Unfortunate because I own a few Denon products and in general I like them, never had to deal with their support until now though.
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post #11 of 25 Old 03-01-2016, 07:22 AM
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I actually tried out the Denon in an office setup I have. I am using the Martin Logan LX16 speakers and they sound wonderful together.

Hope you enjoy the NAD. It is a nice unit.
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post #12 of 25 Old 03-01-2016, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bondslex View Post
I actually tried out the Denon in an office setup I have. I am using the Martin Logan LX16 speakers and they sound wonderful together.

Hope you enjoy the NAD. It is a nice unit.
I'm sure the Denon is wonderful, I love their AVRs, I own two and had another one before. I also have the Denon Envaya Mini bluetooth speaker, it's impressive for the form factor (if you set the right expectations) and compared it against many other speakers of its size.

With the NAD I hope I can diversify a bit. It's all about diversity these days, right?
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post #13 of 25 Old 03-01-2016, 11:56 AM
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Diversification is where it's at. It is my first Denon product. But I appreciate the quality product.
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post #14 of 25 Old 03-02-2016, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I picked up a Griffin Twenty for now and it's impressive. Didn't think much of Griffin but it seems they got a winner on their hands. Plays very loud for only 20W/ch rating, it's bigger than the pics make it look and it's heavy. Build quality seems excellent.

There's a deal on them with NHT speakers/sub if anyone is interested, I posted it here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/122-gr...per-8-sub.html
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post #15 of 25 Old 03-02-2016, 06:41 PM
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Wow! That looks sweet. It is an outstanding deal. How are you enjoying the sound? What did you do with the Nad?
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post #16 of 25 Old 03-02-2016, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bondslex View Post
Wow! That looks sweet. It is an outstanding deal. How are you enjoying the sound? What did you do with the Nad?
The Griffin is awesome, it kinda came out of nowhere. None of the cheap ones you see mentioned such as SMSL, Lepai, Grace Digital, Topping, etc. hold a candle to it. My only nitpick so far is that it doesn't come in black, white doesn't really match anything in my office, it stands out and draws attention. The blue lights are kinda annoying too, but luckily you can turn them off. They thought of everything it seems.
Bluetooth aptX works really well too and I like it because I can control the volume from the source device, I thought not having a remote would be a drawback, but I don't feel like I miss it. It auto-selects the input, you can have 2 Bluetooth devices connected at the same time, it goes into standby on its own, so no need for on/off buttons. I could hide it under my desk, I don't think I'd ever need to touch it.

The NAD is incoming, I will compare and keep one of them. Most likely the NAD unless it really sucks. I want to use the USB DAC in the NAD. I can get a USB DAC with optical out for the Griffin but it's yet another dongle that I don't want to deal with.
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post #17 of 25 Old 03-02-2016, 08:44 PM
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The USB-DAC in Denon PMA-50 supports more types of audio files:
supported sample rates for USB input: 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192kHz Linear PCM; 2.8MHz (DSD64) and 5.6MHz (DSD128)
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post #18 of 25 Old 03-02-2016, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
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The USB-DAC in Denon PMA-50 supports more types of audio files:
supported sample rates for USB input: 32/44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192kHz Linear PCM; 2.8MHz (DSD64) and 5.6MHz (DSD128)
True, if you need all the extras. The best I have is FLAC 44.1/16 which is plenty good for my ears.
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post #19 of 25 Old 03-02-2016, 10:42 PM
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I picked up there AudioEngine N22 for a set of kef q100 I had. Sounded great but I felt it hit its limit.

The AudioEngine N22 is rated @ 22w per and also got pretty loud. I'm picking up my monitor audio bronze 2 today and may have to switch to a NAD 3020 or just suck it up and find a spot for a bigger integrated amp somewhere else.

Last edited by hyperactiveme; 03-03-2016 at 02:04 AM.
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post #20 of 25 Old 03-03-2016, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperactiveme View Post
I picked up there AudioEngine N22 for a set of kef q100 I had. Sounded great but I felt it hit its limit.

The AudioEngine N22 is rated @ 22w per and also got pretty loud. I'm picking up my monitor audio bronze 2 today and may have to switch to a NAD 3020 or just suck it up and find a spot for a bigger integrated amp somewhere else.
Those nice speakers deserve a nice amp to abuse them.
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post #21 of 25 Old 03-03-2016, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperactiveme View Post
I picked up there AudioEngine N22 for a set of kef q100 I had. Sounded great but I felt it hit its limit.

The AudioEngine N22 is rated @ 22w per and also got pretty loud. I'm picking up my monitor audio bronze 2 today and may have to switch to a NAD 3020 or just suck it up and find a spot for a bigger integrated amp somewhere else.
hyper,

Would you mind sharing where you purchased your Bronze 2s? Thanks!
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post #22 of 25 Old 03-03-2016, 01:18 PM
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hyper,

Would you mind sharing where you purchased your Bronze 2s? Thanks!
I got them locally for $570 cdn taxes in. Very happy. Not sure about site rules but I pm'd you store name.


Last edited by hyperactiveme; 03-03-2016 at 01:25 PM.
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post #23 of 25 Old 03-03-2016, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^ What a nice, clean setup! Enjoy.
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post #24 of 25 Old 03-03-2016, 05:59 PM
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I got them locally for $570 cdn taxes in. Very happy. Not sure about site rules but I pm'd you store name.

Thanks and nice cabinet. I've got the same in teal.
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post #25 of 25 Old 03-03-2016, 07:02 PM
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Very nice. Gonna post a pic of mine when I organize my cables.
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