Will a NAD stereo amp work with an AV receiver ?


Active Member
Does anyone know if a NAD stereo amp can be used with an AV receiver, to drive the same front LR speakers (without having to set both volume controls) ?

I have a NAD C352 which has the usual line inputs, two pre-outs, and one 'main-in' which is physically linked to one of the pre-out pairs. The NAD manual suggests that the links can be removed, and a processor/receiver used inbetween. I'd like to use a Denon AVR-1906 if possible.

I suppose the receiver front LR pre-outs would connect to the NAD main-in, and the NAD pre-out connected to one of the receiver stereo inputs. This makes me wonder:

1. Which receiver inputs to connect the NAD pre-out to (I suppose any input could be used, but maybe there is a preferred pair)

2. Whether the receiver volume control will change the NAD output (I thought the receiver pre-outs were line level outputs, and that line level output is fixed and not affected by volume control ?)

And assuming this is possible, then I also wonder:
3. How the receiver would be set into passive/bypass mode, for the NAD to operate as a normal stereo amp (I guess the receiver can be switched to the input that the NAD pre-out is connected to, although the receiver volume control would probably still work and add distortion).

4. Amount of degradation/distortion that the receiver might cause even assuming bypass mode is possible


Well-known Member
yep exactly as you said.

1. any except phono (LP) if it has one
2. pre-outs are usually controlled by a volume control. so yes, the receiver would be in control
3. you would probably be better off plugging the receiver pre-outs into an input on the NAD, leaving the pre-power links in place on the NAD thus you retain its normal abilities. the only caveat to this is you need to set the NAD to a volume setting (which you could mark somehow) to balance it with the AV amps centre and surround levels. you would do this everytime you wanted to use the AV amp and then remember to reset the volume control afterwards.

neither solution is elegant. on the one hand you use the NAD as a power amp only, effectively. why bother routing CD -> NAD -> AV -> NAD? might as well go CD -> AV -> NAD power.
on the other hand, you retain an purer signal path and have to preset the NAD volume control when you want to go AV.



Active Member
Hi Chrisgeary, thanks for your reply.

If I route CD -> AV -> NAD, then I guess the analogue CD signal will go through the receivers digital pre-amp which I'd rather avoid. I suppose I could put the CD PCM output into the receiver and use the receiver DAC to generate the analogue signal, though the CD player probably has a better DAC.

Ideally, the receiver would be capable of accepting the NAD pre-out signal, and outputting it with no ADC->DAC conversion and no change in level. Now I think about it though, the NAD pre-out signal is probably greater than line level and might overload the receiver line inputs anyway. Shame the NAD doesn't have two switchable 'main-in' inputs, I guess I could use an external box but that's not ideal.

I just downloaded a copy of the AVR1906 manual and will have a good look through it, though the receiver pre-out -> NAD line-in seems the best compromise. (Possibly the receiver pre-out will overload the NAD line-in so maybe a receiver line-out should be used if there is one).

Cheers, ML


Well-known Member
The receiver will have line-outs (VCR and tape outputs), but don't use them!
They will be outputting a stereo signal, not the L&R components of a 5.1 signal.

The receiver pre-outs will be at line level. They'll work fine into a line-in on the NAD. By altering the channel levels on the AV amp, you should be able to get a good volume match between CD listening direct to the NAD, and AV via the NAD and receiver.

CD direct to the NAD will definately give you the best sound.

I used to do this with a Denon receiver and a Linn integrated amp. Worked perfectly. The Linn had a "digital" volume control, which defaulted to a set value each time it was switched on. I increased the levels of the left and right channels on the receiver, so the default was "balanced".
With a traditional rotary volume control, it's probably easiest to set it to "12 o'clock".

The latest video from AVForums

Star Wars Andor, Woman King, more Star Trek 4K, Rings of Power & the latest TV, movies & 4K releases
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom