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  1. #1

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    Default NAD T955 - Opinions Welcome

    I considered getting this amp before buying the Onkyo 707 but held back because of the price difference and the thinking I would ultimately want a 7x HT.

    The NADs now on sale at about half the original retail - and it seems I'm very happy with my setup as a 5.2 - so the 'bug' to bring one home is coming to life.

    Just a born sucker for a deal, I welcome any input that would help decide if there's a real difference in quality (50/50 Music/HT) to be had.

    Am I correct in thinking I can put this behind the Onkyo and benefit from the increased (real vs. advertised) power? Other benefits?

    Thanks,

    Dave
    Marantz AV7005
    Marantz MM7055
    Onkyo DX-755 CdP
    Oppo BDP-93
    Technics SL-1301/Shure M97xE
    Polk RTi A7s
    Polk CSi A6
    Polk FXi A6s
    Velodyne VDR10-BV
    Panamax M5100-PM
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  2. #2

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    The T955 is an attractive proposition IMO, because of it's NAD heritage and because of it's pricing from reputable dealers such as Spearit Sound and Saturday Audio Exchange. Used, it can be found sometimes from AudiogoN sellers at $500 and up - the closer the price to $500 the more likely the unit will be sold within 48 hours. Both of the retailers mentioned also sell on AudiogoN BTW.

    http://www.spearitsound.com/nad/nadspec.htm
    http://www.saturdayaudio.com/
    http://cgis.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/src...archstring=NAD

    Quote Originally Posted by Gulfstrings View Post
    ... I welcome any input that would help decide if there's a real difference in quality (50/50 Music/HT) to be had. ...
    Well, the CW is that an amplifier, with its beefier power supply than most receivers (and other factors that are beyond my technical knowledge to explain adequately) will always be better than receiver power. Most receivers (with a small handful of noteworthy exceptions, including NAD and harman/kardon) don't deliver their stated output in real life, although Onkyo has been improving of late when bench tested to 0.1% THD (which, TBH, is a less stringent level for a good result that the level used in the specifications as published).

    What you're looking for, in a nutshell, is headroom and dynamics during the playback of difficult (such as bass heavy) passages. Various other factors come into play, however, such as how difficult your speakers are to drive (think 4 ohms vs. 8 ohms and efficiency/sensitivity lower than 87dB vs. 87dB or higher). Room size is also a factor, since the requirement for power increases with the distance of the listener from the speaker, and so on ...

    NAD units are thought to be of good quality, with excellent headroom and very conservative ratings. In fact, in some cases, a NAD integrated amplifier claiming 50w/ch will perform as well (or better) than some amplifiers claiming much greater output. Hence the statement that "all watts are not created equal". Others will say that "a watt is a watt", regardless who made the amplifier, and you really should get 200w/ch to be sure you are getting the most benefit from your speakers (if this were indeed true you could ignore almost every NAD ever built, so you'll have to make up your own mind).

    ... Am I correct in thinking I can put this behind the Onkyo and benefit from the increased (real vs. advertised) power? ...
    Yes, this is correct.

    The three hardest channels to drive, normally, are the front three L/C/R. Even multi-channel dedicated amplifiers can deliver more power per channel when used with fewer than the maximum channels present. One other option you might also explore is getting one or more two channel amplifiers instead.
    Alea jacta est!

  3. #3

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    Hi Gulfstrings,

    Thanks for starting this thread. I have the same questions, although my rig is more modest than yours. Iv'e also been considering used NAD and Adcom amplifiers found on E-Bay (the fellas here at Club Polk speak highly of brands), and the Emotiva UPA-2, UPA-5, and XPA-3 (these are not spoken of as highly, but for what I'm finding online they are more wallet-friendly for me). Best wishes for success on your search for an amplifier that meets your needs.

    Kex, thank you for taking the time to provide such a complete explanation of the issues involved in choosing an amplifier. (I have read several of your posts over the past few weeks and have benefited from them quite a bit.)

    Best Wishes

    Pappy

    AVR - Pioneer VSX 9040TXH
    TV - Samsung HL-T6756W DLP
    BD - Panasonic DMP-BD605
    Cable - CableOne HD DVR
    Fronts - Polk Audio Monitor 70s
    Center - Polk Audio CS2
    Rears - Polk Audio Monitor 60s
    Subwoofer - Polk Audio PSW 505

  4. #4

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    Kex/Pappy1 -

    Apologize for the slow response - that whole work-travel thing ... but I do appreciate the info and knowing there's a shared interest.

    What appeals to me about the 5 channel amp is an assumed increase in both stereo and HT quality compared to the 707 alone. More ooomph = more smiles! The Onkyo does have the Pure Audio feature that I really like and would be disappointed if the NAD would do anything but enhance the experience (as opposed to neutralizing the option), again, more questions than answers.

    So:

    1. If the 5 channel NAD would improve the output of the Polks for HT, and ...

    2. When the two channel (Pure Audio) selection is made on the Onkyo the NAD would
    take that input and give it a nice boost ...

    ... that would probably kill the bug.

    Dave
    Marantz AV7005
    Marantz MM7055
    Onkyo DX-755 CdP
    Oppo BDP-93
    Technics SL-1301/Shure M97xE
    Polk RTi A7s
    Polk CSi A6
    Polk FXi A6s
    Velodyne VDR10-BV
    Panamax M5100-PM
    Antec VERIS A/V Cooler x 2

  5. #5

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    Hi Dave!

    No apology necessary. Work does keep one busy. I wish I had first hand experience with the T955 to share with you, but others like Kex will be back to give you a hand. For me, the wealth of knowledge on this site has been amazing. (Not to mention the willingness to share and the genuine concern for your questions that is evident in the responses that people provide.) Hope that someone can help you before the sale expires. For what its worth, to me the T955 appears to be a great package. If I had the shekels I would invest in one.

    Best Wishes!

    Pappy

    AVR - Pioneer VSX 9040TXH
    TV - Samsung HL-T6756W DLP
    BD - Panasonic DMP-BD605
    Cable - CableOne HD DVR
    Fronts - Polk Audio Monitor 70s
    Center - Polk Audio CS2
    Rears - Polk Audio Monitor 60s
    Subwoofer - Polk Audio PSW 505

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gulfstrings View Post
    ... 2. When the two channel (Pure Audio) selection is made on the Onkyo the NAD would take that input and give it a nice boost ...
    Yes, you should see some improvement in two channel mode also, if that was your question. Although some might describe it as "subtle", and others would say it was "night and day", if I had to quantify it, I would probably estimate about a 10-15% improvement, but such guess work will always be subjective, not "scientific".

    It's not guaranteed to "blow your socks off", depending on what type of speakers you are using, since in two channel mode, the receiver itself should be able to perform better as well.
    Alea jacta est!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pappy1 View Post
    Hi Gulfstrings,

    Thanks for starting this thread. I have the same questions, although my rig is more modest than yours. Iv'e also been considering used NAD and Adcom amplifiers found on E-Bay (the fellas here at Club Polk speak highly of brands), and the Emotiva UPA-2, UPA-5, and XPA-3 (these are not spoken of as highly, but for what I'm finding online they are more wallet-friendly for me). Best wishes for success on your search for an amplifier that meets your needs.

    Kex, thank you for taking the time to provide such a complete explanation of the issues involved in choosing an amplifier. (I have read several of your posts over the past few weeks and have benefited from them quite a bit.)

    Best Wishes

    Pappy
    There are several good amps to consider and they all have their pluses and minuses.
    The Emotiva amps are good and definitely worthy of consideration. Let your ears decide what you like.
    There is just some bias against them from some members of this forum.
    I wouldn't have been a repeat customer if they didn't sound good. I have music playing on a pair of RTi12's via a pair of XPA-5's and hey sound great with good bass response, midrange and high end detail.
    Emotiva does offer a 30 day trial, so that is something to consider. Not every manufacturer does that.

    Sunfire is another brand to consider. They make some very fine amps and several members from this forum enjoy them.
    Last edited by xcapri79; 05-23-2010 at 12:56 PM.

    Main HT/2 ch:
    Pioneer SC-07, BDP-05FD, Emotiva XPA-5 x 2, XPA-1 x 2,
    Polk Audio LSi25, RTi12 x 2, LSi15 x 4, LSiC x 2, PSW1000 x 4,

    MB HT/ 2 ch:
    LG 47LM5800, Pioneer SC-1523, BDP-23FD, Sony BDP-S790, Emotiva XPA-2, XPA-5,
    Polk Audio LSi25,15, CSi5, LSiFX, PSW505 x 4

    Listening Room 2 ch:
    McIntosh MC162, MC202, C15, C41, C42, MA6500, MA6900, MCD201
    Emotiva RSP-2, RPA-1, ERC-2
    Adcom GCD 750, GFP 750, GFA 5802
    Polk Audio LSi7,9, 15

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by xcapri79 View Post
    ... Emotiva does offer a 30 day trial, so that is something to consider. Not every manufacturer does that. ...
    Actually, to be fair, just about every manufacturer does do that, except that they do it via the bricks and mortar stores that distribute their products. For example, you can buy any audio product from Best Buy, and bring it back for a full refund within the specified return period on the receipt. The advantage is that your only costs will be the gas you put in your vehicle: there will be no shipping costs to pay, and those can quickly add up in the case of a 50lb amplifier. In the case of specialized audio stores, repeat customers often benefit from far more generous trial options, but their products are generally more expensive to buy than Emotiva products, of course.

    To be even fairer still, similar internet purchases from amazon.com will be subject not only to return shipping charges (like Emotiva) but (unlike Emotiva) they may also charge a restocking fee.

    Some people may have an anti-Emotiva bias in Club Polk, but certainly not everyone does, nor has it always been this way. When I bought my first Emotiva products, and didn't like them, there was no anti-Emotiva bias whatsoever, perceived or otherwise. In fact, it was recommended here. Yet every time I related my blind listening test experience and how disappointing it was, I was rebuked by all sorts of Emotiva fans, convinced I was lying, or had some sort of hearing deficiency, or my system was to blame, or some similar excuse. They just could not accept that it might be true that, in some cases, the addition of an Emotiva amplifier and pre/pro would not be an improvement when compared to a half decent receiver.
    Alea jacta est!

  9. #9

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    Would like to take advantage of the good pricing available on the NAD especially since it was on my short list when putting this system together several months ago. At $799 it's very tempting, considering that in December I was tempted at $1199 (if memory serves), and I believe retail is $1499. All good stuff for a "on deal" fish like me.

    BTW, I did look at the Motiva 5 channel and read much of the enthusiastic support their products receive on this forum. But at that time my leaning was for the NAD and if I do this deal "today," will stay with the NAD.

    Thanks again for all the valuable input on the equipment. Now if I could just overcome this "dealitis" condition ... think of all that shelf space I'd have in the garage!

    Dave
    Marantz AV7005
    Marantz MM7055
    Onkyo DX-755 CdP
    Oppo BDP-93
    Technics SL-1301/Shure M97xE
    Polk RTi A7s
    Polk CSi A6
    Polk FXi A6s
    Velodyne VDR10-BV
    Panamax M5100-PM
    Antec VERIS A/V Cooler x 2

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kex View Post
    Actually, to be fair, just about every manufacturer does do that, except that they do it via the bricks and mortar stores that distribute their products. For example, you can buy any audio product from Best Buy, and bring it back for a full refund within the specified return period on the receipt. The advantage is that your only costs will be the gas you put in your vehicle: there will be no shipping costs to pay, and those can quickly add up in the case of a 50lb amplifier. In the case of specialized audio stores, repeat customers often benefit from far more generous trial options, but their products are generally more expensive to buy than Emotiva products, of course.

    To be even fairer still, similar internet purchases from amazon.com will be subject not only to return shipping charges (like Emotiva) but (unlike Emotiva) they may also charge a restocking fee.

    Some people may have an anti-Emotiva bias in Club Polk, but certainly not everyone does, nor has it always been this way. When I bought my first Emotiva products, and didn't like them, there was no anti-Emotiva bias whatsoever, perceived or otherwise. In fact, it was recommended here. Yet every time I related my blind listening test experience and how disappointing it was, I was rebuked by all sorts of Emotiva fans, convinced I was lying, or had some sort of hearing deficiency, or my system was to blame, or some similar excuse. They just could not accept that it might be true that, in some cases, the addition of an Emotiva amplifier and pre/pro would not be an improvement when compared to a half decent receiver.

    I agree with Kex, after owning the XPA-1's, XPA-3 and the UPA-2 I feel that I got a lot better sounding amp when I moved away from them. For HT they were fine, however I didn't like the sound I got in 2 channel. It was too straight forward and for me the highs were way to bright for my tastes.

    I also have to say I have been a lot of different brick and mortor places that offer a 30 day or sometimes more in home trial. They would commonly allow you to use the gear for X number of days and then if you were not happy you could bring it back, if you didn't or wanted to purchase the item they would then just charge the card you use to "place the item on hold". This is a nice option if someone is trying to consider if they wanted to spend 10K on a McIntosh amp or Krell Monoblocks, ect. You get to hear your gear, in your room, and make your own choice on your own time. Nothing better.

    I have to say it is a pain in the butt shipping the emo amps. The XPA-1's cost about 100 bucks a piece to ship to MO from WI for me and just are a pain in the butt to handle and lug around. Depending on some places like Fed Ex they want to charge you a large item policy meaning you have to pay more because the amp requires speical handling due to the weight. It can get pretty costly doing this, espcially if you are just starting out and don't really want to lose money. Yes other amps also do weight a lot, but if I can just bring it home myself and know that that fed ex guy didn't drop it getting it off the truck, or that the shipping place rammed a forklift through it I would be a lot happier.

    I think the NAD would be a great choice, espcially when you can find them for like 800 bucks new. To me thats a no brainer and I'm tempted to pick one up myself for an HT set up if I decided to move to a pre/pro.

    The banter that gets hit on a lot with Emo btw comes from when people say they sound just as good as McIntosh amps, or Krell, Modwrights, ect. They are a good entry level into the world of amps, but they are not the end all be all amp, and that is where the fighting happens because some people get it and thinks its the bees knees while they never heard the other amps in a true comparisons.
    Last edited by cstmar01; 05-24-2010 at 01:18 PM.
    2 Channel-
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    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by cstmar01 View Post
    I agree with Kex, after owning the XPA-1's, XPA-3 and the UPA-2 I feel that I got a lot better sounding amp when I moved away from them. For HT they were fine, however I didn't like the sound I got in 2 channel. It was too straight forward and for me the highs were way to bright for my tastes.
    You can't blame any amp for bright sounding speakers, you need to look at the tweeter on your speakers for the brightness.

    All the amp does is amplify the sound that is already there.

    It's well known, that the RTi's are fairly bright speakers that excel at movies, but can be a bit much when it comes to music.

    That's why you should always check out speakers with music rather than movies.

    You also have to factor in the return shipping costs of gear that you buy over the internet if you choose not to keep something. It's simply the price of doing business this way to get a cheap price up front.
    Sunfire TGP III PrePro, Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature 405wpc 5 ch. Amp, Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, Onkyo TA2600 Tape Deck, Pioneer Elite 47-A DVD, Sony 32" XBR TV, Polk RTA-8T Main Speakers, Boston VR-920 Center Channel, Boston PV-600 Subwoofer, Polk DSW 400 Subwoofer, Polk FXi-3 Surround Speakers

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