NAD receivers - where are you Hawk?


K Mac
I've found a NAD T742, NAD T751, and NAD 761 that are all within a $100 price spread. The 751 and 761 are factory refurbs. Any advice?

Also, can you tell me about the bass crossover controls for subwoofer signals on each of these?

Finally, you seem to have a pretty good grip on how well speakers match with receivers. Since you're obviously a NAD fan, can you give guidance about speakers that match well with NAD receivers? I've been looking at Axiom M3ti's with some sort of budget subwoofer. Any thoughts? Thanks

K Mac:

Wow, there are a lot of questions here! Well, let me see what I can do.

First, get more power if you can afford it, so that would suggest that you get the 761. Now, I have not heard the 761 as I only started looking about a year ago when it was being phased out, but at the price I have seen it at ($499), I think it has to be a steal. There have been some other threads where people who have heard it were very impressed, so I have to believe it has that NAD sound that I really enjoy. I thnk John Allen has one and he seems to love his. I am not afraid of a factory refurb (my Denon is a factory refurb and it runs just fine), so I wouldn't base my decision on whether it was new or not.

As for the bass cross-over controls, I have no info on the older models at all (761 and 751). Try e-mailing NAD's technical department by going to their website at, and click on "guest book" in the upper right hand corner. That will give you the screen to e-mail questions. (I found this out quite by accident!).

Finally, I could suggest a hundred different speaker combos that I like, but I have no idea what your budget is or the size and shape of your room. Furthermore, what are your listening habits--how much HT and how much music? When playing music, what kind of music do you like to listen to? Do you want bookshelf or tower speakers?

Now, without knowing anything about the above issues, I have one speaker I really like--I mean these are incredible. After you get your NAD, contact Magnepan ( about their direct offer for the Magnepan MMGs which go for $550 pair delivered. This is the most incredible speaker deal I have ever seen and the sound is unbelieveably good. Check them out on the Magnepan website because they are flat panels 48" tall and not every room can accomodate them. My wife loved the sound, but she had real problems with the size of the speaker (she doesn't even want to see the speakers), so WAF can be a problem. Still, you can't get better speakers, IMO, without spending more than twice the amount.

However, you identify the Axiom M3ti as a pssible target. If this is because of your budget or the size of your room, they are a very nice speaker and I can recommend them. I would also suggest the PSB Image 2Bs, which can be had from DMC Electronics for about $250. The Axioms are more forward sounding and the PSBs are more reserved, so it really comes down to which sound you prefer. Either would be a good choice with the NAD, however. You can also get a PSB SubZero-i subwoofer for $199 from DMC and I recommend it highly, provided your room is not real large. If it is, then get the Subsonic 5-i fro $295.

I hope this helps.

K Mac
Sorry for the ambiguous speaker question. Floor standing speakers have a very low WAF (wife acceptance factor) in my house, so let's eliminate those. That's why I see bookshelf coupled with a sub as the way to go. My room is about 16 by 28 with 8 foot ceiling, most listening is done on one end of the room. My priority is definitely music (thus the appeal of the NAD, both from your reviews and others), good sounding HT is just icing on the cake for me. As far as type of music, I'm a chameleon, but listen to classical the least. Thanks.

K Mac
Oh yeah, I want to spend around 600 - 700 for a speaker system.

K Mac---

If your budget is about $1500 or less for a receiver and a 5.1 speaker system, your spending ideas are way off base. The speakers are far more important than the receiver and you should spend at least 2/3 to 3/4 of your budget on the speaker system.

There are a lot of refurb, used, or clearance receivers that are $250-$399 that will drive a lot of quality $1200+ speaker systems to their potential, but there is little to no sonic benefit derived from driving a $600-$700 5.1 speaker system with a $1,000 receiver or even a multi-thousand dollar unit.

K Mac
Thanks for the advice G-Man, it makes sense to me. The receivers I'm considering are in the $400 - 500 range: the NAD t742 is $449, with refurbed NAD t751 and t761 at $399 and $499 respectively. Does anyone have any opinions about the Outlaw 1050 compared to NAD? Again, my interest is primarily high quality sound for music with HT as a bonus. Thanks.

K Mac:

I am a little confused after reading the above posts. Are you looking for a full 5.1 system now, or are you looking for a pair of bookshelf speakers with a sub for your budget ($600-700)? If you are going to do the latter, you can always add speakers later on to complete your 5.1 system.

However, I would stick with the NAD for the single reason that the Outlaw (a very fine receiver) sounds very similar to the NAD, but it doesn't have Dolby Pro-Logic II, which appears to be the format that will dominate over the next several years. I don't think that the receivers you are considering are out of whack for your budget. To the contrary, I think too many people save on the receiver and then can't understand why their speakers don't sound as good as they did in the store. I think the receiver should be about 50% of the cost of a receiver and a pair of front mains, which is close to what you are doing.

Now, you do give me quite a challenge to come up with bookshelf speakers that have a high WAF, but can also fill your room, for $600-700, including a sub. Given the size of your room, I would strongly suggest the PSB Subsonic 5-i subwoofer (10") available from DMC Electronics for $295. You need the bigger sub and you will be hard pressed to come up with a better sub for that amount of money.

Now for the main speakers, we have discussed the Axioms and PSB Image speakers. I have another idea. Check out Ascend Acoustics CM-170 for $328 pair ( They are smaller (that is, the size of the box) than either the Axioms or PSB speakers, but they are very dynamic and will do a good job filling your room. Later, you can add the CM-340 center speaker and a pair of surrounds. The only downside is that they come in one color only--black.

In fact, I would suggest that you use your budget to buy good front mains and a center speaker and defer the purchase of the subwoofer. With good mains, you don't really need the sub that much (it doesn't cover that much of the audio spectrum) and your center speaker will really add to your HT watching, particularly with that big room.

K Mac
Sorry for the confusion. You are correct in assuming that I am looking for a good pair of mains paired with a sub, with the other speaker components added down the road. In fact, I was planning on using my old Bose 301s as surrounds for the time being.

In an effort to clear up any confusion, let me start at the beginning of this story. I haven't purchased (or kept up with) audio equipment for about 15 - 20 years now (pre home theater). Thus I am pretty much a newbie as you can probably tell from my posts. My old Kenwood stereo receiver started sporadically dropping the right channel a few months ago, so I thought I should probably catch up with the times and get some new equipment - I sure got my money's worth out of the old stuff. My main interest is high quality sound for music, but I thought why not get something that I can also run the TV through. From what I could learn, a stereo receiver wasn't an option for that (am I wrong about that?) as none seem to have sufficient inputs, thus my arrival at surround sound receivers. From what I could tell, all the more common AV receivers (Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, etc) were more geared toward the HT market. Frankly, experiencing all the subtle nuances of the Black Hawk Down soundtrack is just not a priority for me. Therefore, stumbling on these and other discussions about high quality sound of NAD and Outlaw and their emphasis on music rather than HT was refreshing.

I also checked out several reviews of the Ascend cbm 170, especially raving about them paired with a sub. No matter that they're black and not pretty, my WAF problem seems to be the floor standing issue. Given my priority of music over HT, does anyone have opinions about whether I should combine a good pair of mains with a sub or a center to start with? Would the Ascends handle bass frequencies well enough for me to put limited $$ to a center instead of a sub? Thanks for help and patience!

John Allen
For music you still need stereo and two channels, so two good main speakers. For HT the first extra thing is probably the center channel, then the rear channels, added on.

About receivers, I bought an NAD T760 three months ago and it is terrific. I paid about USD 450 equivalent. I think it is the T761, but without Prologic II. Those prices look reasonable, K Mac, especially if they include some sort of guarantee.

NAD seems to want people to use its products (compare with Sony) so you can get all user manuals (including discontinued models) free on

The manuals are detailed and boring if you don't have the product itself, but they have all the specs and will tell you about bass management and all that. I had to go there because the original owner of my T760 had thrown away the English manual.

I think Hawk has the right priorities. I am just a few months ahead of K Mac with upgrading an old but good stereo system. Keep your main speakers, unless they are complete rubbish. Get a good centre speaker. I bought one KEF "egg". That was also a good decision. Rear speakers might be old ones (that is what I did). Alternatively, you could get new mains (and match the center with those) and use your Bose 301s or whatever for the surrounds, at least for the time being. Get a sub later. For $1000 or whatever you will have a system that completely blows away a new, complete system that costs the same. It will last, too; you can ungrade parts of it when you need to.

The legend of Magenpan keeps growing. Hawk is a persuasive advocate! If I had $550 I would be tempted, but shipping could double the cost where I live. NAD receivers will drive quite different speakers happily on different channels, they are discrete. Whether Bose ever sound good is a question on another thread.

As regards WAF, well, assume it is one (if it is really a factor), get the best speakers you can regardless of size, find a nice movie, and demonstrate how great it all sounds. If that doesn't work, consider upgrading to get a better WAF.... This thread was already bordering on the politically incorrect. It wasn't me, honest. I have to say my personal WAF is just great, so I can afford such remarks. I also think a low WAF can sometimes be offset with a high KAF (kids acceptance factor). Ours sometimes bring home friends to watch movies all night.

If you buy the Ascends you really need a self-powered subwoofer. The Ascends will be able to play both cleaner and louder if the subwoofer takes over the frequencies below 80 Hz or 100 Hz.

Heck, if you buy about any bookshelf-style speaker it is very beneficial to buy a good subwoofer for the reason stated above. It allows the bookshelf speaker to do what it does best--concentrating on high quality midrange and high frequencies.

You have a large room and I haven't looked at the distortion vs. SPL graphs (among some other graphs) on the Ascends. The graphs I have seen definitely show this speaker to perform wonderfully from 90 Hz to much higher than you can possibly hear. As a matter of fact this speaker has a flatter response at a reasonable output than most speakers many times the price. And if filling your room with loud music isn't your thing, or having big and solid depth of sound isn't all that important to you---you could probably get away without a subwoofer. You could try it this way first and if you want buy the subwoofer later. But if it appears to distort when playing loud and appears to sound thin at the bottom end you are ripe for a good subwoofer.

While the speaker can play lower frequencies, the graphs indicate that the performance rapidly declines--and I imagine if it is played loud---it is even further exacerbated. This speaker is probably a wonderful candidate for the HSU-VTF-2. I would bet that a pair of these speakers along with the center channel version coupled with the HSU subwoofer would be as close to sonic heaven as you could get at this price range in bookshelf speakers.

As far as receivers are concerned, I do like Dolby Prologic II for non-DVD movie and tv applications and for music---it makes CD's sound almost as good as DVD Audio discs---particularly if you have a 5-channel DSP in the receiver to go along with it. That is how I listen to all my older CD's now and it can be breathtaking with good speakers in a 5.1 set-up.

That said, while the Outlaw Audio receiver doesn't pay Dolby for this Prologic II chip, I would be very suprised if the Zoran DSP processor Outlaw uses doesn't do more than a creditable job doing the same thing. I can't swear to this as I don't own an Outlaw receiver, but you have 30 days with Outlaw Audio to return the receiver if it doesn't perform at least as good as you want--no questions asked.

There are a number of companies that refuse to pay the licensing fees to various patent holders, but have performance on their own DSP processors that can be identical or better. Of course, it can be worse too. Buyer beware. But with a company like Outlaw you can always return the receiver within 30 days and get your money back. It isn't like buying speakers from a guy in a van :-)

Not that I am shilling for Outlaw, but it is very difficult to find a receiver that gives you this much performance for the money---unless it is a refurb, used, or is on a clearance or demo sale.

John Allen
Following the link in Hawk's post, Ascend Acoustics looks like a really good manufacturer. The frequency response for the CBM 170 is on
The graph suggests -3 dB at 65 Hz.
This is an honest manufacturer. What a pleasure.

So G-man is quite right about the need for a sub. But don't write off the Ascends. My first priority would be clear, accurate sound. Small speakers have many virtues. Better spend money on sound quality in the first place. If you buy lesser main speakers and a sub first, you will want to shell out again soon on the mains. After reading all the above, I'd try the Magnepans. They have enough bass extension not really to need a sub.

I have tried hard to like Prologic for music. Maybe I am missing something without Prologic II, but the whole design is based on taking out-of-phase sounds, putting them in-phase, then giving you them from the rear speakers. This is not what you would hear if you were there. I really like hearing where instruments and voices are, relative to each other. The only thing that improves on stereo is a real multi-channel recording. Prologic does a good job with movies on videotape, though.

About WAF and floor-standing speakers. If you have speakers like Ascend Acoustics CBM 170, you are, anyway, going to put them on stands. If you want sound quality. So I don't see the problem.

From over here in Europe I am learning there are makers called things like Magnepan and Ascend. I suppose the household names win on global marketing and brand recognition. The only high profile N. American speaker brand in Europe is Bose, I think. Their manic and deranged claims for their all-in-one CD/radio box are in newsapapers and even on TV. Just on the basis of those ads, I would discount anything Bose says about speakers. Who knows, though. Sony makes great TVs, Yamaha fine motorcycles. Maybe there are independent, high-quality speaker manufacturers in Japan, too. An old Panasonic music center left by the previous owner of our house included the original, unbranded speakers with "Made in Denmark" on them. Puzzling.

Hi, this is a real interesting thread. I had nearly closed on the 742, when this comes up!
First look the 761 has more power...
Any other technology changes when compared to the 742?
I remember seeing some threads about over-heating issues on the xx1 models - does anyone know if there is anything to this.

John have you faced any heat issues with your 760?

John Allen
None at all. It has a fan but I have never heard it kick in.
The top of the case gets warm, but so it should. Also I have soft clipping off and have still never heard it clip. It seems to be running well within its limits, even with the volume up.

John Allen
I was looking at the T742, too, but decided I needed more power, and the T742 is about $600 anyway over here. The T760 is so conservatively rated for power that I am sure the T742 would have been OK. Anyway I saved $150 and that's a good center speaker. I don't lose sleep, it was a good choice for us.


Has anybody found the T762 to be harsh in the high end? I recently auditioned it against a Rotel 1055 and found it a bit harsher at the top and a tad less detailed throughout.

Maybe anything would sound harsh next to the rotel. However, when I auditioned a Marantz 7300 ose next to the rotel it was just less detailed, but not harsh at the top.

Does anybody have any ideas?

I did. I found the T752 less clear than the Rotel.

The 752 is less detailed or clear compared with the 762, in my opinion.

What about the 762 v rotel 1055?
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