Looking for a high-quality, no-nonsense AV receiver that's built to last? The NAD T777 V3 offers an intriguing alternative to the big brands.
The modern AV receiver is a remarkable collection of components tucked inside a single box, delivering immersive audio and home cinema experiences that were previously unimaginable. The NAD T777 V3 is an excellent example of a modern, networked, 3D immersive audio-capable AVR. Here, we’ll look at the features that differentiate it from some the competition.
Features and Specifications
There are plenty of choices on the market when it comes to AVRs, but at the end of the day they all support various flavors of surround sound including 3D immersive audio from the two big brands: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, with some models also supporting Auro-3D (but not this one). In this case, were looking at an AV receiver with seven amplified channels and 11.1-channel 3D immersive sound processing.
Since you will get essentially the same flavors of surround-sound audio processing regardless of what brand AVR you buy, what is it you should look for that is differentiator? In my opinion, quality amplification and competent room correction are key features to look out for in any AVR. With the NAD T777 V3 , you get seven channels that can output 80 watts each concurrently, while Dirac Live V.2 takes care of room anomalies for up to 11 total channels plus the subwoofer. And, in the case of NAD, if you like the idea of a modular AV receiver that can be updated with new technology, the fact is that older NAD T777s can be updated to V3. The takeaway is NAD, as a company, is not in the business of making its older models obsolete on an annual basis, unlike some other brands.
This is a networked AVR that relies on the BluOS platform for hi-res streaming and app-based control. It also features an OSD menu that is blessedly simple in its structure and navigation. I was never confused about what settings I was dealing with, or how it affected operation. And yet, this is a highly configurable AVR.
Dirac Live room correction is a key feature. If you like to have as much control as possible over how sound is rendered in your room, Dirac lets you get your hands dirty and craft the exact response curve you desire. I've achieved notably good results using Dirac Live for years and consider it the gold standard.
The main reason you would want to invest in a modular AVR is to invest in good amplification while keeping up with advances in processing and connectivity. To that end, the T777 V3 is rated at 140 watts per channel per the FTC method and 80 watts per channel (all channels driven). The reality of this AVR is you'll need to add external amplification to take full advantage of its multi-channel processing. With the built-in amps you can do 7.1 or 5.1.2 Atmos/DTS:X; add a 4-channel amp and that expands to 7.1.4.
Of course, this being a full-featured AV receiver, it includes a variety of digital and analog inputs, neatly arranged on the rear panel. Here, you pay a slight price for the modular design in that 6 inputs and 4 outputs are provided. Please follow this link to nadelectronics.com for full specs.
Setup and Use
Initial setup, as with all AVRs, is a bit demanding in the sense that you need to connect a lot of cables and get the whole system measured using the room correction system. In this case, Dirac Live handles room correction and during the course of the review Dirac Live 2.0 was released an provided as a free upgrade.
The long story short is that Dirac Live lets you use a calibrated USB microphone to take measurements; I rely on the miniDSP UMIK-1. This is key as it insures greater accuracy since the mic has a custom calibration profile. Of course you can also use the mic provided by NAD. Either way, Dirac is very capable and fully tamed all the speakers and subs I used with the T777 V3.
This AVR is equipped with fans, but best I can tell it never used them. However, if ventilation is limited and you push your system hard, it's better to have fans than not. What's key is the T777 V3 never, ever faltered during the time I had it. And it never became too hot for my cat to take a nap on it, either.
Normally, I'd review an AVR by discussing what it's like to watch movies or listen to music. but here's the thing... I held on to the T777 V3 for a loooong time without reviewing it. Why? Because of all the AVRs I've used, it was the easiest to use as a tool, to get a system up and running properly so I can evaluate speakers, or a sub, using the NAD.
The result is I watched dozens and dozens of movies and listened to hundreds of albums using the T777 V3. That includes the majority of the blockbuster films to come out in 2018, and of wide variety of musical genres ranging from reggae dub to rock to classical to jazz... With a heavy focus on electronic music and hip-hop. Moreover, I did so with a wide variety of speakers and subs, ranging from 2.0 up to a full 7.1.4 rig, and with speaker ranging from bookshelf models to large and powerful towers. And what I found was a rock-solid system that's easy to configure, easy to use and reliable.
Indeed, I used this AV receiver in two different rooms, so the combination of different systems and different spaces provided empirical evidence of the robustness of Dirac Live room correction.
Ease of use is perhaps the most notable feature of the T777 V3. The menus are easy to access and clear. You get full control over input and output routing as well as surround parameters.
And that's the scoop! Seriously. I ran 4K HDR through the T777 V3. I used it to play video games and check out Ultra HD Blu-rays, connected to numerous TVs as well as projectors. It's accurate to say that I've never configured and then reconfigured any AVR more times than the T777 V3, and did so despite having numerous alternatives. Because when you do something repeatedly, you seek the most efficient solution to the puzzle and for me, when it comes to AV receivers, this NAD is the ticket.
If you're wondering how this AV receiver sounds, the answer is it sounds as good as your room, your speakers, and your skill at setting a system up allows. The only catch, best I can tell, is that you do pay a bit of a premium for good design and quality components. But the whole idea is that you're purchasing something that's built to last, so this should not come as a surprise.
There's plenty to choose from out there when it comes to AV receivers, so justifying the extra expense of an NAD requires a tangible benefit. To me, that benefit is the mix of Dirac Live room correction, easy operation, reliability, and build quality that self-evidently justify its classification as a premium AVR. Recommended for 2019, since it's not going to be obsoleted anytime soon.
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