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NAD Receiver beats LD MKIVse?? - Page 4

post #46 of 191
My neighbor has the 320BEE. I liked the sound so much that I bought one myself. I went for the upgraded 325BEE, it has a extra 1/8" input in front for MP3s.
To my suprise they sound is different. The 325 sounds better. better high end extention and more open mids. The amps board is totaly different too. Like two different amps. Turns out NAD changed hands a few times and I lucked out with the new circiut design of the 325 vs. the 320.
I have not listen to any Hi-end dedicated headphone amps but so far the NAD 325BEE is my favorite for headphones. One reason being that just cracking the the volume the sound is already wonderful. No need to turn it up loud to get enough power to drive the headphones.
post #47 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunneebear View Post
My neighbor has the 320BEE. I liked the sound so much that I bought one myself. I went for the upgraded 325BEE, it has a extra 1/8" input in front for MP3s. To my suprise they sound is different. The 325 sounds better. better high end extention and more open mids. The amps board is totaly different too. Like two different amps. Turns out NAD changed hands a few times and I lucked out with the new circiut design of the 325 vs. the 320. I have not listen to any Hi-end dedicated headphone amps but so far the NAD 325BEE is my favorite for headphones. One reason being that just cracking the the volume the sound is already wonderful. No need to turn it up loud to get enough power to drive the headphones.
I don't know for the new NAD design, but the headphone impedance out has changed from 220Ω to 68Ω. It looks like a trend on new NADs. This alone can probably explain better/worse sound with your phones.
post #48 of 191
The sound difference is not just with the headphone output. You can easily hear the difference driving speakers too.
post #49 of 191
The above is the sort of feedback info that can be extremely useful, and which there's too little of on this forum. I would not have considered the NAD 325BEE for my HD650s based on having owned the 320BEE, but now I would. That is, if I wasn't so satisfied with my Marantz.

However...Tim, I'm intrigued by the Panasonic receiver. Is it really that good with HPs? Digital receivers have certain inherent advantages, like tidy digital connections and the ability to adjust volume via remote in much finer increments. How long has this receiver been out?
post #50 of 191
Quote:
However...Tim, I'm intrigued by the Panasonic receiver. Is it really that good with HPs? Digital receivers have certain inherent advantages, like tidy digital connections and the ability to adjust volume via remote in much finer increments. How long has this receiver been out?
I have the SA-XR55, which has been out a few years. I'm not sure you can find one at this point. the XR57 is essentially the same receiver. I can't tell you a whole lot about the headphone amp in it. Only that it is op-amp based. I know this because I wrote to Panasonic and asked. Perhaps the headphone amp benefits from the fact that the signal path, up to the point of conversion, just before amplification, is all digital. Perhaps it benefits from the fact that all of the digital processing is 24 bit (even if you feed it an analog signal, a 24-bit ADC converts it at the front end and all processing, until conversion back to analog just before putting voltage on the speaker terminals is digital and 24-bit). I don't really know. What I know is that it drives my HD580s well, with excellent bass control, very fast transient response and great clarity. Lots of detail. Big "sound stage" for 580s. Crisp, tight, powerful bass. Very transparent upper mids (cymbals, bells, etc. are very realistic).

Now, with all of that said and a nod to the subjectivity of humanity, I keep going back to my old Harman Kardon integrated amp. I'll set the Panasonic up in my office for headphone listening and listen for awhile. There is no doubt in my mind that it is more precise, more transparent. Then after awhile, I find myself switching them out again and really enjoying the warm, smooth character of the old HK.

But if you want to hear the clarity and speed that big Senns are capable of on the cheap, a Panny digital receiver will do the trick. You should be able to find one for <$300. And as a special benefit, it drives speakers really well, too. Yes, it is an AV surround receiver. But if you set it up in stereo mode, it sends two amps (100 watts each into 6 ohms, about 75 int 8) to each speaker. If you set it up in bi-wire mode, it sends two amps to each woofer, one to each tweeter. That's a lot of remarkably clean, fast, grainless power. There are folks out there who have discovered these receivers and are powering high-end B&Ws, even electrostatics with them. It does not sound mid-fi, much less cheap. The caveat is that it does not sound the slightest bit "euphonic" either. Feed a straight digital signal to one of the Pannys and you will have something that is brutally revealing of the limitations of both your recording and your speakers.

Tim
post #51 of 191
When you say Panny, do you mean Panasonic? Wow, I'd like to hear it. Maybe, Black and Decker makes an amp too?
post #52 of 191
double double post post
post #53 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsudaMan View Post
When you say Panny, do you mean Panasonic? Wow, I'd like to hear it. Maybe, Black and Decker makes an amp too?
Yep. It uses Equibit class D all digital amplifiers, developed by a (relatively), small technology company in Europe bought out by Texas Instruments, and currently used in cheap Panasonic AV receivers and the Lyngdorf (the original developer's company) integrated amp of Holland...

Lyngdorf - Product - TDAI 2200

...they're a bit more expensive than the Pannys . Do the Panny's sound as good? I haven't heard the Lyngdorf but the odds are not bad. The concept, the basic design, makes all of that audiophile stuff about simplicity, short signal chains, the quietest, most transparent components, etc. completely irrelevant by eliminating them. There is almost no analog signal chain. And it just doesn't get any more pure than that. But don't take my word for it. Order one. They're cheap. You can probably find someone who will give you a 30 day return policy, I did. Get it in your house. Unhook your high-end components. Plug the Panny into your best reference speakers.

I dare you to send it back. All the old paradigms are crumbling in the face of advancing digital technology and world markets...

Tim
post #54 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
I have the SA-XR55, which has been out a few years. I'm not sure you can find one at this point.
I've got just one (four letter) word to say to you, Mr. Tim: EBAY. Keep that word close to your heart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tfarney View Post
Now, with all of that said and a nod to the subjectivity of humanity, I keep going back to my old Harman Kardon integrated amp. I'll set the Panasonic up in my office for headphone listening and listen for awhile. There is no doubt in my mind that it is more precise, more transparent. Then after awhile, I find myself switching them out again and really enjoying the warm, smooth character of the old HK.

But if you want to hear the clarity and speed that big Senns are capable of on the cheap, a Panny digital receiver will do the trick. You should be able to find one for <$300. And as a special benefit, it drives speakers really well, too. Yes, it is an AV surround receiver. But if you set it up in stereo mode, it sends two amps (100 watts each into 6 ohms, about 75 int 8) to each speaker. If you set it up in bi-wire mode, it sends two amps to each woofer, one to each tweeter. That's a lot of remarkably clean, fast, grainless power. There are folks out there who have discovered these receivers and are powering high-end B&Ws, even electrostatics with them. It does not sound mid-fi, much less cheap. The caveat is that it does not sound the slightest bit "euphonic" either. Feed a straight digital signal to one of the Pannys and you will have something that is brutally revealing of the limitations of both your recording and your speakers.
None of this is surprising. It's not for nothing that people coveted the "radiogram" sound for so long: a bit of euphonic warmth is no bad thing and probably compensates for the "digital" Redbook sound. We all want a bit of "soul" in our music, and if that means colouration, so be it. Hence the popularity of tubes: they ramp up the distortion, but it's mostly even-order distortion, the kind our ears respond well too. I say let the music sound better before strictly accurate.

However, I will be keeping an eye out for the Panasonic.
post #55 of 191
Quote:
I've got just one (four letter) word to say to you, Mr. Tim: EBAY. Keep that word close to your heart.
Evilbay was close to my heart and my fingers for many years, when I was nearly as obsessive about buying/selling/holding high-end acoustic guitars as some folks here are about audio equipment. ebay bad. Money in pocket good.

Tim
post #56 of 191
Thread Starter 
NAD is just awesome. Well my 712 is stupid customs still haven't cleared my SR-X
post #57 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by vvanrij View Post
NAD is just awesome.
Well, I don't have a LD MK4SE to compare with my NAD, but the C720BEE is my best to drive D2000 (25ohms) and DT990 (600ohms). It doesn't seem sensitive to the headphone impedance... If there is such a thing... Now, I think about trying a Stax (SR-404 maybe)... Would I need a Stax amp or the NAD could drive it also?

Edit: Let me correct this statement. The Nad 220 ohms headphone out doesn't sound best with the 25 ohms D2000.
post #58 of 191
I drive my Stax with my NAD 3155 and an SRD-7. You can use any speaker amp really. I use a SI Super T amp at work for a Magnavox SR-3 clone. It works fine. For pro bias, you need a SRD-7 Pro.
post #59 of 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by scompton View Post
I drive my Stax with my NAD 3155 and an SRD-7. You can use any speaker amp really. I use a SI Super T amp at work for a Magnavox SR-3 clone. It works fine. For pro bias, you need a SRD-7 Pro.
Thanks. What's pro bias Scompton? I understand the SRD-7 is a dedicated amplifier... It's probably hooked in the pre-out or tape loop of your NAD... The super T amp doesn't have headphone out, so the electrostatics are driven directly from the speaker out of the T amp... Please confirm or clarify. I know these are basic questions, but I'm totally new to the Stax world.
post #60 of 191
Stax can be driven from specialized amps or from speaker amps with an adapter. The SRD-7 is an adapter. It hooks to the speaker outs of any amp. I think the amp must produce at least 8 watts. I'm not sure of the exact number, but it is something small like that. The Super T is 15 watts and the volume knob sits at 11 o'clock. With the NAD, it's at 7-8 o'clock, depending in which ear speaker I'm listening to.

Ear speakers can either be normal bias or pro bias. I'm not exactly sure of the voltages, but pro bias is I about 200 volts higher than normal bias. All current Stax are pro bias. I think they stopped making normal bias in the 80s. I have all normal bias because they're a lot cheaper. I've spent anywhere from $1.50 for my SR-3 clone with an adapter, to $125 for my SR-Gamma (and $75 for the SRD-7).

The biggest advantage for me of having a integrated amp, is that I need the speaker amp for the Stax anyway. The fact that it has a great headphone jack is a great bonus. I have limited real estate for electronics. If I had a dedicated headphone amp, I'm not sure where I'd put it.
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