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NAD 7080 with AR-3a and AR-11


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Not at the same time, even though as far as I understood the attached technical specs it allows 2 pairs of 4 Ohm speakers.

The question is - "NAD and AR - is this a good symbiosis?"

I read somewhere on this forum that NAD, the founding of that company was actually initiated(?) by AR?  

NAD 7080 is made from 1978 - 1980 and not much info can be found on the net, but it seems that it does not lack power. But how does it sound with AR's?

Should I buy the receiver or skip it?

The price is fair (290$), the condition is 8/10 (scratches on the edges of the faceplate, everything else seems to be factory original and perfectly working).


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46 minutes ago, Gaston said:

Should I buy the receiver or skip it?

Short answer.  Skip it. There isn't any evidence it was rated for continuous output below 8 ohms.  Also it is old, really old, and my experience at least has been that such amps are not to be trusted without careful examination by a trusted tech.  There are a lot of amplifiers but the supply of AR speakers is fixed. 

Happy Holidays

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34 minutes ago, Aadams said:

Short answer.  Skip it. There isn't any evidence it was rated for continuous output below 8 ohms.  Also it is old, really old, and my experience at least has been that such amps are not to be trusted without careful examination by a trusted tech.  There are a lot of amplifiers but the supply of AR speakers is fixed. 

Happy Holidays

Now that popped my balloon... but thanx :)

While I completely agree about the age, that is my main concern, why you say that there's no evidence for 4 ohm speakers?



this says: Output: Speakers: 2x2, 4 to 8 ohm

This review here attracted me to this NAD: https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/review-nad-nad-7080-receiver-amplifier

Happy Holidays to you, too

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Page 37


I am saying that you cannot find an explicit statement in english saying it is rated for continuous operation at 4 ohms.  I know of only one receiver from that period that would operate 2 or even 3 sets of 4 ohm speakers simultaneously and safely.  There must have been others but not many.

and a Happy New Year!

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The specs do appear to say that you could run 2 pairs of 4 ohm speakers, except that the impedance of 4 ohm speakers can drop to as low as 2 ohms at some frequencies. Which means that 2 pairs of 4 ohm speakers at the same time would present the amplifier with a nominal load of 2 ohms that at certain frequencies could become a 1 ohm load. Very bad.

What the 2/4/8 ohm power rating is probably meant to tell you is that you could run 1 pair of 4 ohm speakers whose load could be as low as 2 ohms or 2 pairs of 8 ohm speakers whose combined load could be as low as 4 ohms.

The person credited with starting NAD was for a time the president of AR, but left to launch NAD. AR the company did not do it.


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On 12/22/2022 at 4:46 PM, Gaston said:

Should I buy the receiver or skip it?

Although I have never personally owned NAD gear the brand has a very good reputation. Personally, I like vintage American amps with vintage American speakers so I'd say if you like the NAD receiver, go for it.

BUT I agree with Aadams that any amp that old should be thoroughly checked by a qualified tech. I've used vintage amps by AR, KLH, DB Systems, Hafler, Adcom, McIntosh, Dynaco, Sylvania (don't laugh--check out this site https://www.vintagesylvania.net/?page=components&category=recv ) and others in my systems but always after complete and thorough servicing. One leaky old cap could spell disaster.

I also agree that running 2 pair of 4 ohm speakers would be a bad idea but you stated in the OP "not at the same time" so I think you're safe.

Just my 2 cents....


PS: I "thought" the NADs were American made but a Google search showed the 7080 was made in Taiwan. Still a nice unit but I have to ask why that particular unit? The Audiogon article you linked did say it was TOTL and pretty much raved about it.  If you want vintage there were also lots of nice Japanese models. Over on AK there's a thread "most beautiful receiver" or something like that. https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/best-looking-vintage-receivers.293186/ or https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/best-looking-receiver-of-all-time.127469/

If you want new, the Crown professional amps are very powerful and  very reasonably priced.

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I think an old NAD receiver is a bad idea. Until its very recent closing, I was repairing speakers for a local shop for many years, and old NAD products were not popular among those tasked with repairing them. The shop was in business for over 45 years, and apparently NAD products were among the most frequent visitors. They were also troublesome to diagnose and repair. In fact one of the old-timer tech's referred to NAD as Nasty Audio Devices. :)  3a's are not speakers you should play chicken with.

In the past 3 months I've repaired KLH 17's and AR-3a's with fried voice coils due to faulty "vintage" amps (they weren't NAD) passing DC to them. It should also be noted that in both cases they were being operated at low to moderate volume levels. I agree with Kent. A pro amp brand like Crown connected to a nice preamp (vintage or otherwise) would be a safer bet, especially for low impedance loads. Along with being new, these amps have excellent protection circuitry.

For some reason I thought NAD equipment was always designed in the UK and manufactured in Asia.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, thank you all :)

I have abandoned the idea... and this is the second unit of this age that I am skipping so far. It was a Sansui AU-717 previously because of "Sansui dreaded glue" issue and now this Nasty Audio Device...

It seems that I should save some money and go for a brand new unit. The question is - which one; how much money will I need to gain that sweet, mellow sound that amps of aforementioned age provide. I cannot even think about a McInthosh even they all speak highly of them, their price is insane. 

I will get back in a year or two when I have money enough to talk about this subject :)  


On 12/24/2022 at 5:11 AM, RoyC said:

pro amp brand like Crown connected to a nice preamp (vintage or otherwise) would be a safer bet, especially for low impedance loads. Along with being new, these amps have excellent protection circuitry.

How good a pro amp sounds? I have one preamp - semi vintage. It's a Kenwood Basic C2 preamp (that I have no idea how it sounds), OR, I can use a real vintage Sansui AU-5900 amp as a preamp - that sounds nice, but lacks power to drive those speakers satisfactory.

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8 minutes ago, DavidR said:

I think you might be thinking of NHT (Now Hear This) by former AR engineer Ken Kantor.

That's not it. I know about NHT.

In the article by @tysontom here: 

when talking about the development of powered AR-9's he mentions this on page 14:

The amplifier design that was to be used in the “9D” later became the NAD 3020, one of the best-selling integrated amplifiers in high-fidelity history. The concept was to allow the speaker operate at normal levels with low or moderate power, yet accurately reproduce high peak levels by using a dedicated high-peak-current amplifier for each driver section. Before it started on its own, NAD was known as “New Acoustic Dimension by AR.” At NAD—essentially spun off by Teledyne AR—the company developed many innovative electronic designs by Erik Edvardsen.


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I haven’t tried them myself but I think it’s the Crown XLS series that folks recommend. The first reference I saw was a post by Tom Tyson, who knows AR. IMHO the “sound” of amplification comes mostly from the preamp. That’s why many people like a tube preamp with a solid state power amp. If you like the sound of the Sansui (and many people do) you could certainly use that as your preamp. Or try the Kenwood and see what you think. There are lots of options and lots of opinions. I use DB-1a preamps in two systems and like them but it’s a personal choice. 

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Looks like I'm a little late, but I'll comment anyways. I have a NAD 7030, a lower watt equivalent of the 7080. I wouldn't dismiss the NAD because it's old or built in Taiwan. It's a well built and great sounding unit. On par with the other vintage amps I've owned. It's also extremely easy to work on should you ever decide to recap, which wouldn't be a bad idea. 

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  • 3 months later...

I am very late to this thread but have to chime in on the 7080.  I purchased mine at an estate sale about 2 years ago for $300.  It needed the basic service of cleaning the pots , but other than that was in great shape according to the place I always take my stuff.  While maybe not applicable for Gaston's intended use, this is one of the best vintage receivers that I own from this time period.  Nothing flashy like many of the others from 75-79, but an absolutely wonderful and warm soundstage.  I own a number of pieces of NAD gear and they have been reliable and have great sound. At 90 wpc, this has easily powered all of my speakers, including my power hungry DQ10's.  These don't come along often but if you can get one for under $350, I wouldn't hesitate.

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Here's the review that helped me pull the trigger on this amp and it was spot on.


Review: NAD NAD 7080 Receiver Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers


In 1977 NAD was formed and the first products were 4 integrated amps,2 tuners, and 4 receivers. They were the 3030,3045,3060 and 3080 Integrated Amps. The tuners were the 4030 and 4080. Next was the receivers 7030,7045,7060 and the 7080 which was the flagship model.

The last 2 numbers indicate the watts rms per channel,with the exception of the 4080 and 7080 which produce 90 watts RMS per channel. These initial offerings were produced for the 1978 year only and are very rare today. In 1979 NAD released the Model 3020 Integrated Amp and stood the audio industry on it's ear. During 1978 the NAD dealer network was not as vast as today, and these were only sold in a select few high end shops,that needed to compete with the mid - fi explosion of the late 70s and 80s.

So the topic of this review will be the NAD 7080 Receiver.Tried very hard to acquire the NAD 7080 when it first came out,but due to the very thin dealer network was not able to locate one. Recently this has changed and finally found a very pristine example in gorgeous condition.

A Receiver is nothing more or less than the sum of 3 parts.Amplifier,PreAmplifier and Tuner. Lets face it electrons have no idea if they are traveling on 1 chassis or 3 chassis. Receivers are generally regarded as a comprised product due to one chassis layout. This is where it becomes interesting,if properly designed with this compromise in mind, then one can minimize the receiver solution. NAD executed this design in the NAD 7080 and produced a receiver with outstanding sonic characteristics and approaching the separates level indeed. The NAD 7080 is a fully descrete amplifier,no cheap IC parts anywhere. Appears to use the Motorola hi hat output transistors wired in parallel no less! Means they are coasting most of the time.

The heart of any receiver is the Amplifier section, so lets start there.

Power Amplifier Section:

Continous average power output at 8 ohms min RMS power per channel 20-20,000 kHz both channels driven,with no more than the rated distortion/ 90 W(19.5 dBW)
Distortion: 0.03%
Clipping Headroom: + 1.6 dB
Clipping Power(Maximum Power) 130 Watts at 8 ohms
160 Watts at 4 ohms
180 Watts at 2 ohms
Dynamic Headroom at 8 ohms - + 2.5 dB
Dynamic Power( short term) 160 Watts at 8 ohms
200 Watts at 4 ohms
200 Watts at 2 ohms
Reactive Load Rating - + 2.5 dB(160 W)
Transient Overload Recovery Time <5 uSec.
Slew Factor - >50
Slew Rate - 40V/uSec.
Damping Factor at 50Hz 8 ohms - 120
THD - <0.03
IM - <0.03
TIM - <0.03
Frequency Response 20-20,000 kHz at rated Power - +/- 0.5dB
Frequency Response Range 5-50kHz
Input Impedance -10K/100pf
Input Sensitivity - 140 mV
Signal to Noise Ratio - 104 db at rated power.

For a product produced in 1978,these are impressive specifications. Was way ahead of it's time when compared to other receiver products of the day.

Now to the Pre Amplifier Section:

Phono Inputs(2 provided)
Input Impedance - 47k Ohm/47pf
Input Sensitivty - 0.25mV
Input Overload - 200mV
THD - 0.01%
RIAA Response Accuracy - +/- 0.3dB
Signal to Noise w/cartridge - >82dB ref 10 mV

High Level Inputs(Tuner,Aux,Tape)
Input Impedance - 50k ohm/100pf
Input Sensitivty - 20mV
Signal to Noise Ratio - >80 dB
Maximum Input Signal - Infinite
Frequency Response 20-20 kHz - Infinite
Distortion All Types - <0.01%

Bass Control Range at 50Hz - +/- 11 & +/- 13dB
Treble Control Range at 10kHz +/- 6 & +/- 9 dB
Infrasonic Filter - 20Hz 12dB/oct.
High Filter - 8kHz 12db/oct

For a receiver pre amp this is very good indeed.

Lastly the Tuner Section of the NAD 7080

FM Tuner Section:

Input Sensitivity 30 dB quieting 1.8uV/10.3dBf
Input Sensitivity 50 dB S/N Stereo 35uV/36.1 dBf
Signal to Noise Ratio Mono/Stereo 74dB/70dB
De-emphasis Accuracy re 75u.sec +/- 0.3 dB
Frequency Response 30 - 15 kHz +/- 0.5 dB
Channel Separation at 1kHz - 40dB
Selectivity,alternate channel - 70dB
AM Supression at 45 & 65 dBf - 65dB
Capture Ratio at 45 & 65 dBf - 1.0dB
Image Rejection - 70dB
I.F. Rejection - 80dB
SCA Rejection - 70dB
Pilot Signal Suppression - 55dB
THD at 100% Modulation Mono/Stereo 0.2%/0.3%

AM Tuner Section:

Usable sensitivity - 300uV
Selectivity - 30dB
Image Rejection - 55 dB
I.F. Rejection - 45dB


Width x Height 19.3 x 5.9 inches
Net Weight 42 Pounds.
Power Consumption 110-120 V 60Hz.

Additional Info:

Has Pre in/Main out jacks
Has switchable de-emphasis FM switch.
Housed in Wood Cabinent with Black Overlay & Vented
Separate power supplies for preamp & power amp.

That covers the technical end of the NAD 7080 Receiver. Overall the build quality and construction is exemplary indeed, truly built to withstand the test of time. The face plate is 1/8 inch thick extruded aluminum. The tuner dial and meters are covered in actual glass, not cheap clear plastic.

But with all the above being said, it would matter not,unless it has the ability to deliver the music. That it does very well indeed. Tested it against another receiver from that era the Marantz 2270. More on that later. What follows next is the musical listening experience of the NAD 7080.

Thought I would throw a difficult test at it right away. That being the Telarc Disc of "Fanfare for the Common Man".This is a real time recorded CD and is pure DDD recording. The opening shots of the kettle drum were right on, not muddy or loose, but tightly defined and with great ambience and decay. The horn sections of this piece were alive and not shrill. This is one of the most dramatic recordings you will ever hear and the NAD 7080 reproduced it with a sonic excellence, that was hard to imagine. It was geat fun to play this recording a few times and marvel at the results the NAD 7080 played this recording. The cymbal crashes gave me chills, the accuracy was uncanny.

Satisfied that the NAD 7080 can handle the most difficult material, it was on to something less demanding than a real time CD recording. Next up was Hiroshima on CD. This group plays a wide variety instruments and the tonal textures of each instrument are sometimes difficult to reproduce accurately. The album was Providence. The result was more than satisfactory with the keyboards,flutes clearly there and all the octaves and nuances of the program material fully realized. The background vocals remained just that,but clearly there. It was interesting to hear the different percussion instruments. As in the Copland disc,the NAD 7080 played the percussion parts with true verve and not over embellish that end of the recording.Had been awhile since I had heard this recording and it was very refreshing to hear the way the NAD 7080 brought it to life.

Now on to something perhaps less demanding than the above two selections,was some rock. Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits CD.Once again the NAD 7080 performed very well. Usually Rock n Roll is an up in your face experience with most gear. The NAD 7080 presentaion was a wide soundstage with great depth front to rear. Not hard or grainy. Stevie Nicks voice was reproduced with great accuracy. Buckinghams guitar was well reproduced,the guitar strings really came on without harshness. Christine McVies voice took on a timbre that was indeed mellow,but with her distinctive sound. And as always Mic Fleetwood drumming and percussion was right dead center and had a certain authority. The overall presentation was quite pleasing and sounded very good, but was a tad lay back. But the accuracy was amazing.

Last selection for this review was Bob James "Restless" CD. I have always found that piano music is the most difficult to reproduce due to the many tones and octaves this instrument represents. The NAD 7080 had no problem in reproducing Bob James piano. One could almost hear Bob strike the keys and the hammer hit the strings. One of the most musical presentations I have heard on this CD. From the lowest register to the treble, the NAD 7080 was able to render a most convincing performance. Heard all the octaves and nuances one would hear if there in person. Attack,decay and ambience were immediately there. The opening track called "Lotus Leaves" was a tour de force by Bob James and the NAD 7080 captured the performance with solid verve. Once again accuracy and detail filled the room. At one point I thought Bob James was about to emerge from the speakers. Each note,register was uncanningly right on, with the soundstage putting Bob James right in the middle,with the sidemen to the left or right. The NAD 7080 plays music with great authority and accuracy.

As mention earlier used a Marantz 2270 as a comparison to the NAD 7080. The Marantz 2270 was certainly one of the most sought after Receivers of the day, and power wise the comparison to the NAD 7080 was close indeed. Have to tip my hat to the Marantz 2270 in the rock n roll listening test.The Marantz 2270 can certainly rock and its AM/FM Tuner was very good indeed. But when it came to real time recorded CDs,classical, and jazz it could no where deliver the same sonic excellence as the NAD 7080. The NAD 7080 can rock make no mistake about that,it is just a tad laid back in doing so. The NAD 7080 with its excellent power reserves just has the Marantz 2270 out classed completely. The Marantz 2270 has a forward soundstage and the its depth is shallow. Many receivers from this era exhibit the same basic sonic signature. The NAD 7080 is by far more musical,with a glorious sounstage, with tremendous depth.Its main strength is its power reserves,detail,accuracy,transparency and speed. The slew rate of a receiver provides an index to the circuits ability to produce undistorted power on demand high frequencies.The Nad 7080 power receiver stage is actually a moderate gain video amplifier! Hows that for speed and clarity in all regsiters!!!

Another area where the NAD 7080 excels over the Marantz 2270 is in the function of the controls. The NAD iis very precise in its action. Each control operates with authority and is precise in its action.Plus NAD used the Baxandall controls. Whereas the Marantz 2270 controls feel not near as precise and lack that precision feel. Only Luxman receivers had controls approaching the NAD 7080 level.

As far as glitz and glamour go the Marantz easily covers the NAD 7080. With its silver face,back lit dial, to its gyro tuning wheel. Quite impressive. NAD on the other hand decided from the very beginning. that the best quality was to be put inside the cabinent. If there was to be a compromise it would be in an area that did not affect musical performance. The original name was "New Acoustic Dimensions" and later would become known as NAD. In fact all their early gear has "New Acoustic Dimensions" labeled on their gear. The cosmetic appearance of NAD gear from early days to present has remained basic. Although the first generation has a brownish front color,with faint yellow for the lettering. Sometime back this was changed to gray with white lettering. However NAD has remained with a basic no nonsense cosmetic front.

Most all the receivers from this era were silver in wood cases, or supposed wood. Anyway the idea was to have as many lights,meters,etc, like a Tokyo light show. Very clever marketing. If you can't dazzle them with brillance of design, then bulls**t them with lights,that don't make music.

But for the true music lover the NAD 7080 was the only choice.

The early NAD gear is truly a Classic and in recent years have become quite collectible. Although hard to find,the search is truly worth it as a fan of fine audio gear and music.

I would like to thank the Audiogon staff for posting this review of this fine piece of NAD History as well as Audio History. I also ask the indulgence of the Audiogon membership for the posting of this in the amplifier section.Just wasn't another place to post.

Lastly, No the NAD 7080 cannot compete with todays separates or my Threshold/Forte gear. We are talking about two totally different ends of the spectrum. But the NAD 7080 will outperform any receiver in the so called stereo wars of 1975 to 1985 and certainly sounds vastly better than any receiver I have heard in recent times. Perhaps the Magnum Dynalab Receiver is better, but I have not heard one.

Without question the NAD 7080 Receiver has withstood the test of time and continues to deliver the music. The early NAD designers and engineers have to feel justly proud of these early products. They created an instant Classic for the ages.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/6/2023 at 3:48 PM, JohnVic said:

But the NAD 7080 will outperform any receiver in the so called stereo wars of 1975 to 1985 and certainly sounds vastly better than any receiver I have heard in recent times

I beg to differ. Spec for spec, sound for sound, feature for feature, all discrete preamp and amp. Separate power supplies for preamp and amp. 93 W/ch at rated specs, 185 w/ch long term into 4 ohms, 200 w/ch long term into 2 ohms. +/- 0.25 dB RIAA.  These fly low under the radar. I have 3 of these. I bought it in spring of ‘81. In constant use since then; I’ve replaced the power switch. It’s powered 901s, Apogees, KEF 105.2, Quads, MMGs, B&W 801s.  Designed in USA, made in S Korea. Sherwood S9600-CP. I bought 2 more a couple of years ago, both less than $50 each; both “as is not tested,” and both work perfectly. 

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