Problems with running an amp at low volume


Marky B


I have a newish NAD C320BEE amp, running Quad 11L speakers and a Pioneer PDS901 CD player. I find that when listening to music (mainly classical) at low volume levels, one channel is 'brighter' (louder, better!) than the other (at greater volumes, the problem disappears). I've contacted NAD, who were not able to help, and had the amp checked, with no faults found. My old NAD amp (3020e) had a 'low level' button, which reduced the volume output by 20db (allowing the volume control more freedom), but this feature was discontinued for marketing reasons. Is it possible to fit a device between the amp and speakers to reduce the volume?
If not, do any other amps out there have a similar 'low level' button (in the £200 to £300 price range)?
Many thanks for your help.


Active Member
have you tried switching speaker wiring (left to right, and right to left) to confirm that the amp's to blame?


Novice Member
Could be a speaker placement problem. Try listening with headphones to check the amp, and rule out the speakers.

Make sure that all the speaker terminals are fully tightened - maybe one of the bridging links is loose.


Novice Member
I remember reading somewhere on here (and in a Review) that this problem is present in all 320BEE's... i.e. channel inbalance at very low volumes, this was the primary reason I decided not to get this model.

Marky B

Cheers Guys!

I did swap speakers, cables, interconnects, etc, but only swapping the speaker cables moved the sound from one channel to another. As to speaker positioning, that's what I thought at first, so tried the sound with them both together, with the same result, one channel better than the other. However, I've now used the positioning to quieten the brighter channel by putting that speaker in a worse place than the other, so balancing the sound to some extent. Problem is, I know it's not as good as it could be!

I'll look in to the attenuator, though.

Many thanks!

Marky B

Hi Chaps,

Well, I went for the attenuators and they did what I wanted (allowing me to use more of the NAD's volume control). However, they also seem to have sucked all the life out of the sound, making it seem very dull!

Would it be better to cut my losses and bin the NAD C320BEE and maybe go with the Rotel RA-04 (I don't need a remote)?

I tend to play Early Music (ie Dowland, Byrd, Gibbons, etc), which mainly uses the musical instrument the Viola de Gamba (Viol) and as such has a very warm sound.

Oh, and I relocated the speaker, which improved the sound balance!

Many thanks, Marky B

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