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NAD 20 Series 3020 models

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

reubensm

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i have worked on and listened to a few 3020s over the years, all the models including silver, Champaign gold and so on. After looking inside and studying the circuitry (and even repaired some), I can confirm for sure that the difference between the silver/champaign gold versions and their grey coloured counterpart (of the same model/version) is purely the body paint. Yes, although audiophiles debate about this and collectors talk about that brilliant sound that these painted models supposedly produce. However if you want to know the secret behind which 3020 model to choose, here goes. The first edition of 3020 has a PSU board bolted to the back panel. This is the model of 3020 which apparently benefited from cross-talk which created an out of the world experience. However NAD made some layout and circuitry refinements and released the second edition of the 3020, also numbered as 3020 (not 3020A). The 3020s with serial number greater than A32005011 labelled 3020 are the best ones. The 3020A and 3020B are also good but not like the 2nd edition of pure 3020. Avoid the 3020e and i, they are good but not as good :). The new amp pictured above, is in this 'best ever 3020 category'
 
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Geoellis

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I’m a new member here and also a new owner of the 3020A and 4020A. Just waiting for the units to arrive. Great information in this thread. One thing that has struck me, and it’s not exclusive to the 3020, is how much prices have increased for vintage audio in the last 10 years. However, it’s for a good reason as people are rediscovering the rich sound of analog audio. Most telling is the interest that has developed from the younger generation. Hopefully, the future of quality audio has become brighter as a result.
 

Record Player

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I’m a new member here and also a new owner of the 3020A and 4020A. Just waiting for the units to arrive. Great information in this thread. One thing that has struck me, and it’s not exclusive to the 3020, is how much prices have increased for vintage audio in the last 10 years. However, it’s for a good reason as people are rediscovering the rich sound of analog audio. Most telling is the interest that has developed from the younger generation. Hopefully, the future of quality audio has become brighter as a result.
Welcome to the forum and yes the NAD 3020s are legendary. There is something about these vintage amps and their dynamics really. Collectors items these days !

Cheers !
 

reubensm

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Welcome and great choice, the 3020A and 4020A. Yes the prices have gone up. NAD also had a matching cassette deck, 6020 so if you find that sometime, you'll have all matching components. The great aspect about the 3020 amplifier is that it is not just a great sounding amp, it has a very simple circuit design and can be easily repaired or serviced (with all commonly available components).
 

arunhc

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i have worked on and listened to a few 3020s over the years, all the models including silver, Champaign gold and so on. After looking inside and studying the circuitry (and even repaired some), I can confirm for sure that the difference between the silver/champaign gold versions and their grey coloured counterpart (of the same model/version) is purely the body paint. Yes, although audiophiles debate about this and collectors talk about that brilliant sound that these painted models supposedly produce. However if you want to know the secret behind which 3020 model to choose, here goes. The first edition of 3020 has a PSU board bolted to the back panel. This is the model of 3020 which apparently benefited from cross-talk which created an out of the world experience. However NAD made some layout and circuitry refinements and released the second edition of the 3020, also numbered as 3020 (not 3020A). The 3020s with serial number greater than A32005011 labelled 3020 are the best ones. The 3020A and 3020B are also good but not like the 2nd edition of pure 3020. Avoid the 3020e and i, they are good but not as good :). The new amp pictured above, is in this 'best ever 3020 category'
Hi @reubensm

wanna know what is wrong or not so good about 3020e? compared to other models
 

reubensm

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The 3020e and i versions have some mods over the original design. These differences are essentially noticeable mostly when using a phono source. Otherwise they sound essentially the same to the normal ear. The phono stages of the 3020e and i are different from the older versions. By the time the e and i came out, cassette decks had started to dominate and CDs were slowly taking over while turntable use was on the way out. This can be noticed in the simplified phono stage design of the e and i versions. Also the myth of the 3020 sound is strongly attributed to the component layout on the PCB, of the original version. The 3020 series-1, series-2, A, and B maintained the basic layout except for some basic changes between series-1 and series-2, which were retained in the A and B versions. The e and i had a revamped layout (which purists believe, caused the e and i to loose the original 3020 charm). These are all myths and opinions. To me it sounded quite the same. There is another myth, the silver paneled 3020 sounded better than the grey panel one. Anyone who knows the inside will tell you that the silver 3020 was essentially the grey 3020 series-2 with a painted faceplate, knobs and buttons :)

Personally, I have owned or repaired all 3020s versions that have been made, and i found the original 3020 series-2 to be the best sounding of the lot. Again, this is a very subjective statement as all the amplifiers that i experienced were not in the same condition, some had been repaired, some had been recapped, etc and hence even my opinion is up for debate.

Just in case you were wondering what is this series-1 and series-2 and how different is this from the A, B, e and I - well the original 3020 (without any alphabet suffixes) debuted around 1977 and this is considered series-1. This version had an additional powersupply PCB (for the preamp and pre-driver stages of the poweramp) bolted to the back panel and the power transformer was bolted to the bottom frame of the amplifier chassis. Around 1980, NAD redesigned the 3020 and released series-2 which did away with the additional powersupply PCB and had the power transformer bolted to the back panel. This is the highly sort after version (and the same version which was released with a silver face plate). For those who are into the serial number classification stuff, the amplifiers that have serial numbers before A3205011 are considered to be series-1 and those with serial number A3205011 onwards, are series-2 models, running up to the next generation which was the 3020A. There were may iterations of the 3020s, especially the original series-2 and can be found in the form of American versions, European versions, Asian (far-east) versions, etc. All these are essentially the same with different power transformers, switched AC outlets, etc :)

Hope this helps.
 
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