NAD 3020 Repair
By ARS, Aug 28 2012 04:07PM
One of these has just left the workbench after arriving faulty on one channel. Clear signs that the owner had attempted repair and given up however in the end it was simply a dead driver transistor with an internally arcing main power switch also found faulty, the latter causing a unusual burst of noise for a few seconds until it settled down every time it was powered on. Once a few dry joints were attended to with some power cabling below the pcb properly sleeved (sharp component leads were chafing it!) and biasing set up it was back to earning it's keep once again.
For a cheaply built Taiwanese amplifier now close to 30 years old for the early models these are a real shock (audibly of course!) if you have never heard one and are more used to what you would consider much higher end equipment. Quite simply they are fabulous amplifiers and sound far better than their plastic utilitarian design and 25W would suggest and they will certainly give a Cyrus One a good run for it's money and many others which sell for considerably more. Part of it's magic must lie in the preamplifier stage as when substituted with an old Linn Wakonda (kept in the workshop for testing) driving the NAD power amp stage the whole setup was immediately rendered bland and lifeless and the Wakonda soon went back to it's shelf! Most 3020's sell between £40-£100 secondhand and the simple design means it should be possible to keep these running almost indefinitely unlike modern equivalents with their unnecessary microprocessor 'bells and whistles' which add nothing to the listening experience! In terms of audiophile performance per £ spent these can easily be regarded as being close to the very top. A repair service for these is available from ARS and a comprehensive NAD3020 upgrade service too for those owners who wish to know that all will be well 'under the lid' for another 25 years.