Hawk, Can you help me choosing?


I am totally new to this forum and I don't have any prior experience in choosing a stereo system. I need some help and your suggestions to choose some components. I thank you in advance for it.

I have a budget of approx $1200 to buy an amplifier/receiver+DVD/CD player+Speakers (not too big, mostly bookshelf size). I went to a store to look at components and the store salesman recommended me to buy a NAD C320BEE amplifier along with a NADT512 DVD/CD player (as it can serve both purposes of watching movie and listening CD) and I listened to a Paradigm as well as B&W DM601 speakers (B&W sounded better to my ear). The price quoted was $399+$269+$450 excluding tax. I am not looking for surround speakers at this time, just the front two speakers. I mostly listen to classical music so clarity is very important.

Then I was speaking with a friend of mine and he owns a Marantz SR6300 reciever (which he bought for $550) and he suggested Marantz. However, the store I went for demo did not have Marantz and I have to audition that.

So my questions are,

1. Will I be better off to have a reciever instead of an integrated amplifier as I can connect my TV etc to make it more like a home theater system?

2. Then I looked in the web and found deals of NADT742 + NADT512 for $598 (www.saturdayaudio.com). I looked at the Marantz website and found Marantz SR 5300 for $499 (http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/store/category.cgi?category=sbb_marantz).

My question is that if you have to buy one, which one will you prefer? The NAD combination, or the Marantz with a NAD DVD player? What do you look for in these receivers to judge its quality for that amount of money spent?

I have not listened to B&W 602 (as they were out of stock in the store), and if I have to really stretch my budget I may listen to DM602 and buy it over something like DM601. If I can get a nice quality speaker similar to DM602 for a different brand in a cheaper price, I may opt for that. So please let me know your suggestions and thoughts. If you also know some web addresses form where I can buy things cheaper carrying full warranty, please let me know.

I also saw some posting about problems regarding NAD receiver systems, so is that of any concern?


1. Tough question. If you are only looking for stereo sound, you would be hard pressed to do any better than the NAD 320bee. It is a super integrated amp. However, an AV receiver will give you a lot more flexibility for the future. The key, when switching to an AV receiver, is to not sacrifice the quality stereo sound for home theater. It has been my personal experience that it is very easy to sacrifice good stereo sound even when you spend $1K for a highly praised AV receiver (as I feel I did with my Denon) because so few actually can do a good job on stereo. NAD and Marantz are at the top of my list of quality receivers that can do both stereo and home theater well. However, if you do have an AV receiver that can do stereo very well, you do have the best of both worlds.

2. I have looked at the price list at Saturday Audio and I would strongly recommend the following: Get the NAD 742 receiver ($449) with the T532 DVD/CD player (($299), rather than the 512. I recommend the 532 over the 512 as the 532 has a much better design for producing quality sound. You will hear a difference. As they are selling it at 40% off, it is definitely worth stepping up to get it. Now, that puts you at ~$750 and will leave you enough money to get the B+W 601s ($450) within your budget and close enough that you can get the 602s if you think you can stretch your budget.

I have compared the NAD with the Marantz and the NAD is simply a much better sounding receiver--more power, more dynamic and more realistic to listen to. For anyone who likes to listen to classical music, high fidelity is a crucial threshold and I think that reqiures the NAD. The Marantz is a nice receiver, but you will not get nearly the same high quality stereo sound from the Marantz. The NAD will have the same high quality sound as the NAD integrated amp you listened to.

3. The problems that have been elucidated on this board with NADs have been almost entirely with the bigger models--the 752 and 762, so I do not believe you would have any trouble with the 742. There have been too many posts from satisfied 742 customers to lead me to believe that there is anything wrong with that receiver. For that matter, most of those complaints about the bigger models have dealt with people who use a digital connection between the receiver and the DVD player. When they put a CD in after playing a DVD, it takes a half-second to a second of the beginning of the CD for the receiver to recognize that a CD is playing and switch to the appropriate mode. Some find this irritating and unacceptable. Currently, we have posts from owners of Yamaha and Marantz units which do the same thing, so it is not a problem that is confined to NAD. It should not be a problem for you since it is easily remedied by using regular audio cable to conenct the two units rather than using the digital cable connection.

I hope this is of some help.


Thank you very much. I truly appreciate your help, judgement and suggestion. I think I will buy it without further deliberation.

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