I've borrowed a Marantz PM6005 and NAD D3020

stitch123

Standard Member
Hey guys. My local Sevenoaks has leant me a marantz pm6005 and nad d3020 for two days to demo at home.

I've only had them for about 2 hours but I'm going to post my initial reactions before some more thorough testing tomorrow.

My system; dali zensor 5 speakers, apple airport express for spotify / MacBook Air airplay tunes, sky hd box, panasonic e6b TV. I also have an onkyo sr506 av amp which I'm looking to replace.

First of all the NAD. I won't labour on about how small this thing is. Initially I tried a spotify track from my iphone and I was amazed at how much sound this thing produces. The first track I played (NWA) sounded so much better than my onkyo, the bass was a lot more controlled and just seemed to have more impact and could handle being turned up louder than my onkyo without losing control. I then tried Bluetooth from my phone as the nad has Bluetooth built in and couldn't detect any audible difference. I then connected my panasonic tv optical out to the nad. The tv has my ps3 for video streaming and sky hd box attached to it by hdmi. The sound is very good, however there is an issue. The output volume from the tv is very low. I literally have the amp as loud as it can go. Don't get me wrong it's still loud, and there's no distortion at all, but it doesn't leave much room for manoeuvre and I don't know if this will cause any issues down the line. If I get a chance I'll try connecting the sky box optical straight to the nad but if I do that I'm going to runout of inputs.

Next up I tried the marantz. Because of the fath of changing cables and speaker wires (banana plugs) it's hard to do a direct test. The marantz seems to have some more oomph however it is a higher powered amp. Everything for now sounds very similar to the nad, however I can turn up everything that goes through the tv a lot louder.

The downside of the marantz is it's connectivity. There's no Bluetooth, but to be honest it'll be rare that I use that. There's no usb input. I have to do some more testing with that from my macbook to the nad. There's only one optical input. I could do with two really, one for the panasonic tv output and one for the airport express. The marantz also has bass and treble controls which could be a benefit as the nad doesn't have any control over the eq whatsoever.

This is only my initial thoughts and I'll do some more playing tomorrow. I have only listened to each amp once and not gone back and forth yet.

If anyone has any points in an effective way to test these, or wants me to do anything specific for you to see if it works then ask now as I've only really got tomorrow to test it.

Stu.
 
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rorackowe

Well-known Member
Hi, just a thought , the TV optical output might be variable. Try turning the TV volume to full and see if the output is more in line with other sources.
 

stitch123

Standard Member
Hi. Yeah I tried that, it just turns the tv speakers up which is handy to check audio video sync!

Its not necessarily the tv output, it might be the skybox hdmi out out. Tomorrow I'll try connecting the coaxial audio from sky to the nad and see if that makes a difference.

Right now I'm leaning towards the marantz as it's got features I may use in the future I.e pre outs, speaker a b selection,eq and a loudness button for late night films. It's also £100 cheaper than the nad which could get me a usb dac for my mac like a dragon fly
 

zenza

Well-known Member
I have the same tv and was wondering what are the options of connecting the TV to an older amp like an Audiolab 8000A?

Would you be able to connect via RCA to RCA?

I know the newer amps have optical which is easy to connect to the TV but not sure about older amps that don't have optical?

Also have you tried headphones through the Marantz and the NAD?

Also does the NAD have two optical inputs so you can connect the TV and the airport express?
 

stitch123

Standard Member
I'm going to try the phono outputs of the tv in a bit to see if they're louder.

Yes the nad does have two optical inputs so I can connect both airport express and tv but if I can't get round this volume issue then it might be game over for the nad. I guess this shows the importance of home demo.
 

stitch123

Standard Member
I finally settled on buying the NAD D3020, which is now living happily in my lounge and sounds great.

After hours (literally) of comparing the sound quality between the NAD and the Marantz I couldn't tell any difference. I think in some cases there was a psychological barrier with the NAD as I had to drive it harder than the marantz, but it still reached levels way beyond my comfort zone.

I was also very impressed in comparing the sound quality between the USB connection on the NAD and spotify extreme via the airport express. I could really only tell a difference if I really listened for it, but in no way did listening to spotify take away from the enjoyment of the music for me.

I chose the NAD because it has a way smaller form factor and I'm trying to scale down the kit I've got. It had better input options - 2 opticals, one coaxial, and also has a sub out if I ever go somewhere smaller and need to move to sat/sub combo.

I really cannot express how amazed I am by the sound of this little NAD. Sound quality wise in stereo it is far far better than my Onkyo SR-506.

My problem with low volume from the TV appeared to be low volume from Sky, which also appears to be channel specific.
 

stitch123

Standard Member
I have the same tv and was wondering what are the options of connecting the TV to an older amp like an Audiolab 8000A?

Would you be able to connect via RCA to RCA?

I know the newer amps have optical which is easy to connect to the TV but not sure about older amps that don't have optical?

Also have you tried headphones through the Marantz and the NAD?

Also does the NAD have two optical inputs so you can connect the TV and the airport express?
I haven't tried headphones yet. I don't have a particularly good pair (creative aurvana) and to be honest I don't know much about headphone sound quality.

I had major problems with getting sound out the TV. The only way I have got it to work is via the optical out. The specs says it has optical out and phono out, however the only possible phono outs i could find were the two on the back which were part of the component set. Im sure these are inputs but I tried them as outputs and couldn't get it to work. There is a setting on the TV to change audio from HDMI to analogue but it wasn't clear if this meant input or output. Either way I tried each combination and couldn't get any sound out of the phonos. Maybe its country specific. For example I know there is a SPDIF delay setting, but only on models destined for Northern Ireland. It doesn't bother me too much as I don't need phono out. I emailed panasonic about another problem to do with streaming and they replied within 3 days so it might be worth you emailing them and asking about your phono question.

Hope that helps a bit.

Stu
 

zenza

Well-known Member
Thanks Stu for the update.

So the NAD sounds better than the Marantz.

Have you tried the Bluetooth from your phone or tablet to the NAD?

Ignore that just saw that your first post mentioned Bluetooth.

I think I may have to demo the NAD.
 

stitch123

Standard Member
Hi. Sorry I probably wasn't very clear. To me I couldn't hear any real difference between the two amps. I didn't use the analogue inputs so it may be the case that the DACs are very similar. I'm no hi fi expert with a dedicated listening room, it's just a normal set up in a normal lounge. I do like to have a listening session of an album or two when the wife and kids are out where I'll pull the speakers out a bit and this is how I compared the two amps. I really couldn't tell the difference.

I ended up with the NAD as it's smaller ( suits me better) and it's got the additional optical input. The Bluetooth sounds good and happily use it if something went wrong with the airport express. It doesn't sound as good to me as airplay, there doesn't seem to be as much control, but again you have to really listen for it.
 

zenza

Well-known Member
Thanks mate.

For airplay to work does the apple express need to be connected to the internet via wifi or Ethernet?

Or is it just a matter of connecting it to the amp via optical for it to work?
 

stitch123

Standard Member
It doesn't need to be connected to the internet at all, but it does have to be connected to your home wifi. The airport express has wifi built in. The version of airport express I have has a plug built into it so I simply leave in connected to a socket, and the only cable it has coming out is an optical to the amp. To me it sounds awesome.
 

zenza

Well-known Member
In this months what hifi mag, these two were pitched against each other and the Marantz was the winner.

They said that it sounded more fuller and a touch more detailed than the NAD but the NAD wins on connections.
 

zenza

Well-known Member
In this months what hifi mag, these two were pitched against each other and the Marantz was the winner.

They said that it sounded more fuller and a touch more detailed than the NAD but the NAD wins on connections.
ImageUploadedByAVForums1397559992.471106.jpg
 

stitch123

Standard Member
Yeah I know.like you said I needed the extra connections - 1 optical input isn't enough for me as I need 2. I need one for my airport express and 1 for the TV as my sky box and ps3 run through that.

With my input source, my cables, my speakers, my room acoustics, and after 2 days of intensive testing, I couldn't hear any difference between the two amps. I only use the DAC sections so maybe the analogue inputs sound different but that would obviously be reliant on the quality of the source.

So to me the nad sounds identical, has more inputs so I don't need further boxes to split the signal if I had got the marantz, has bluetooth (which means in a few years I can move it to a kitchen or study or somewhere with a bit more flexibility), not played round with usb input much yet but that offers a more stable connection to my music when required (the marantz offers no way for me to connect my mac straight to it, and it's got such a small foot print I have it behind the tv where it can't even be seen.
 
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sergiup

Distinguished Member
I had the NAD D 3020 home for a few days as a trial and did a little review too, I completely agree with you. For the size and price, it has ample connectivity and it sounds great, and it's nevertheless remarkably loud.
I used the Bluetooth (AptX) for a lot of that time and I couldn't really fault it.
 

TheOP

Novice Member
Hi guys. I just wanted to add that the NAD D 3020 sounds far better from its analogue input than the DAC. Overall balance, smoothness and bass control. The small amp is far more musical through the analogue input. Anyone noticed this. Headphone amp which is separate is smooth. I am driving them using amphion argon 3 speakers.
 

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