Ancient history I

I should ‘fess up. I have history with NAD. I played some small role in the remarkable success of the NAD3020 amplifier…here’s how.

I owned a pair of New Acoustic Dimension electrostatic headphones long before becoming a professional hi-fi reviewer in the late 1970s. Some years later – landed with four behemoth tuner amps for review as a freelance contributor to Hi-Fi Sound magazine – it slowly dawned on me that the NAD 7060 was from the same stable.

I didn’t give the 7060 an overly critical review. Or so I thought. Until the letter questioning my parentage arrived with the publisher from Malcolm Blockley (the NAD distributor). I gave back as good as I got in print and seemed to gain Mr Blockley’s respect for standing my ground. We agreed it politic to start over and that  I should look at their interesting small amp – the NAD 3030 – in a system context review in Sound‘s sister magazine Hi-Fi Answers. Luckily the distributor’s confidence in this amp turned out to be justified.

Low finance

Low finance high fidelity – started a ball rolling that is in motion today. About this time PR legend Andy Giles left the Haymarket Publishing advertising team to set up his public relations company. I think it was Andy who had the smart idea of introducing the hi-fi rabble to NAD amp designer Bjorn Erik Edvardsen who was of a not dissimilar age and disposition. At least on HFA we saw and agreed with what Erik was striving to achieve – at its remarkable price point – with the 3020. The over-featured, power-metered £89 NAD 3030 gave way to the stripped down £69 NAD 3020 and history was made.


A footnote has to deal with the central role played by the 3020 in the infamous Linn/NAD/Minimax system, which caused grown men to faint and blood to boil in various quarters. I’ve been told more than once this system didn’t exist, that it was a marketing figment of a corrupt magazine’s imagination. All that money on a turntable and such tiny speakers – utter madness.

Sorry to disappoint but I installed one Linn/NAD/Minimax system for our good colleague Terry of Greetings magazine with whom we shared an office. She was certainly happy with the money she spent on her system. And to bring it back to the digital era, the importance of source and of clean power delivery can never be underestimated. My ‘bonkers’ office system could be the ultimate expression of that philosophy.




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