Please can anyone advise me on choice of speakers for older NADs?


New member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 1
Registered: Sep-04
Hi, I'm new to this forum. Couldn't resist joining when I saw all the talk about the vintage NADS. NAD is pretty much my amp of choice, but I have a couple of questions, concerning both the 3020i and 3225PE I have.

Until recently (and from reading here) I didn't realise how low powered the earlier generation amps were! I have no idea what the ratings are on either of 'em - and have been running a pair of modern Acoustic Solutions 80Watt floorstanders with my old 3020i for about a year now!
Now, I heard the idea that you can put a strain on the amp by running it with too-hard-to-drive speakers. Is what I'm doing okay, or am I heading for a fall in terms of long-term longevity? Before anyone asks - the setup sounds great. Detailed and has the sound of a better than average budget system. I know I could do better if I spent more on speakers, but does anyone think I ought to be exchanging them for something of the same age group? No - I am defininitely NOT going to part with the NAD(s) - it's a sentimental thing!

The other question is:
The 3225PE is recently aquired and as yet does not have speakers. Can anyone recommend the optimum match (or even a good one)- without me having to break the bank?

Thanks in anticipation,



Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1514
Registered: Dec-03
Very nice! and welcome:-)
You shouldn't have any problems with your Acoustic Solutions mated to the NAD. There really is no need to pair them with older/same age group speakers, they don't ID:-)
What is your budget and what speakers have you auditioned and are you leaning towards any brand/type speakers?

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2115
Registered: Dec-03
NAD does have a reputation for conservative and honest power ratings, see e.g.

I personally have no problem with NAD driving older KEF speakers, which are low sensitivity by today's standards: the newer KEF models e.g the Q-series should give absolutely no cause for concern and are not at all "difficult". Find a good local dealer and see what they say, and can demonstrate.

New member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 2
Registered: Sep-04
Thanks for your comments, guys :-)

I've hooked up the A/S floorstanders to the PE for now. Sounds great.

I wonder if anyone could tell me....
Okay, I understand the bi-wiring concept - but here's the rub - and could do with a little advice:
I bought a Cambridge Audio A5 earlier this year to use as a main downstairs system. This replaced my old NAD 3020i, which went upstairs to the art studio to provide an amp for the computer's sound output.
Since the A/S speakers are bi-wirable, I went for the A5, as it offers the full bi-wire option. When I bought the A/S's, I was told by the dealer it would make a welcome difference to the detail of the sound, by simply feeding both H&L speaker cables into each of the single set of terminals that the NAD has. I never found out if bi-wiring in this half-baked fashion made a real difference or not, simply because the bi-cable I bought later replaced the old 79-strand I had been using with my old speakers - and went straight into the A5 based system.

Well, the A5 is smooth, it's lean and kind of does the job, but somehow just does not have an involving sound. I'm just not getting the pleasure I got out of the NAD!

How can this modern amp not be as involving and punchy in the midrange, and have (in my opinion) a narrower sound stage and just generally not go as loud as that old 3020i, which is clearly a less powerful and sophisticated piece of kit?

I like the A5 for what it is, and enjoyed it's sound previously, since there's an A5/Gale setup in the holiday flat I go to twice a year in Whitby. This system does not even take advantage of the bi-wiring cap. of the amp and is even using the poorest speaker wire I would not even consider?

I've replaced the A5 now with the NAD 3225PE I've recently aquired just today - and WOW! I don't know why, but I'm just getting a bigger kick out of my CD's than I did with the A5 and more so even than the 3020i!

The rub is, that not only does the 3225PE have only one set of terminals - but those terminals are much poorer in terms of size and robustness, compared with the old 3020i's nice chunky screw-downs. The only way to feed both H&L cables in, is to twist together and force what little of the end I have left into the tiny pinprick of a hole in each terminal, hoping it will make a decent connection. It works, (and it's STILL better than the A5!) but my main question is a bit multi-pronged now:

Am I compromising what this system could achieve by having such a half-good connection, and does half bi-wiring have ANY advantage over a single wire connection at all, or is it all in the imagination?

Secondly - are there people who might suggest bi-wiring is not essential to good sound and maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be?

Thirdly, if a half-bi wire is useful at all and gives me a little edge - would it be possible (and worth it) to have a set of nice fat terminals set in by a professional to allow a better connection?

Fourthly - anyone suspect foul play in a possible replacement of terminals before I bought it? Could this PE have had bigger terminals originally?

Fifthly (and here's an easy one!) am I just using inapropriate speakers with the A5? (FYI: Acoustic Solutions - 80w short term / 120w long term / 4 ohms. Is the A5 a good amp in the face of these old NADs, or not?

Sorry to go on - but anyone's help would be most appreciated.

Thanks again,


Oops! Sorry this post is rather long!


New member
Username: Varney

BirminghamEngland, UK

Post Number: 3
Registered: Sep-04
After looking around in here, I think I've discovered an answer to just one of my Q's.

I think the terminals on the NAD 3225PE are actually the proper ones. I think they accept the 'banana' plug I just learned about. There is a hollow shaft running the length of the screwdown. Is this where the banana plug goes? If so, then I can at least get a more robust connection by using both the screwdown clamp and the banana in the end.

Right? I do hope so.

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