With the resurgence of good Hi-Fi, where more and more people buy good headphones and listen to a lot of music thanks to streaming, it’s sad to see the things the mastering engineers (and in the end the artist) do to music. Yet, the recordings are getting worse. Even old records that gets the “Remastered” or “Expanded” treatment doesn’t sound as good as the original. Why?
A friend of mine bought a new amplifier but he wasn’t pleased with the sound. So he called me and asked if I could recommend a good old amplifier that could drive smaller speakers because he likes the aesthetic of older things. And the venerable NAD 3020B was the first one that came to mind. When I was young, this was the first affordable amplifier that actually sounded good.
It’s not a power house by any means, putting out (a very conservative estimate) 2 x 20 watts. But the phono stage which is switchable for both MM and MC pickups is good, and the sound quality is excellent. So he scoured the used market and finally found a NAD 3020B. Unfortunately when he got it home, there was a loud hum from the output. So I told him to send it to me so I could fix it.
After fixing my Pro-Ject Speedbox II SE I thought I check how it worked and if I could improve it. I’m in the process of comparing my bench version against the Speedbox, and my model is winning big time! I’ll get back when I have a nice unit up and running…