NAD, a company that has blown the minds of the audiophile industry since 1972 by providing an affordable hi-fi amplifier that was still capable producing high current, HD audio. Even though they are not the traditional company that they had proven themselves to be since their establishment, they have adjusted with times and they have adjusted well. Now, NAD provides gear for the modern, generation with a wider range of digital audio options at affordable prices that anyone could ever find; enter the D 3045.
This is a NAD D 3045 Integrated Amplifier/DAC Amplifier review but just a little while ago, I also reviewed the D 3045 predecessor amplifier, NAD D 3020, which was fresh on the market at the time. I remember how it was one of my personal favorite reviews of the newer models because of the new adjustments: a compact design with a new built-in data-to-analog (DAC) lifting capabilities for streaming audio through computer sources. When it was finally released, I lit up and felt that same excitement all over again because I knew that, once again, market changing products were arising again.
About the NAD D 3045
NAD was, at one time, one of the best stereo amplifier brands on the market. This is not to say that they are not one of the best brands but to try making such a determination among the many brands out now would be difficult. However, they had made a name for itself by providing the reliable audio that people desired at a reasonable cost and the push of a button. How? By avoiding the use of costly parts, they were able to maintain a compact size while still providing the top-quality components to be a reliable NAD amplifier.
The NAD D 3045 Hybrid Digital DAC/Headphone Amplifier takes on a similar style to its predecessor, the D 3020. For years, the D 3020 had been the number one option for affordable home amplifiers in comparison to its many competitors. Maintaining its sleek, simple style like the D 3020, the D 3045 comes with additional features to give it the upgrades that the typical audiophile desires from their amplifier, such as:
- 2 x 60 Amp
- Two-way Bluetooth wireless streaming feature aptX HD, the latest 24-bit High Res
- Asynchronous USB 24/192 input that supports MQA and DSD
- HDMI Audio return channel
- Coax and optical input
- MM phone and line input
- Preamp out
- Sub out
- Headphone amp
- IR remote
This even includes a hard-plastic cover for the amp as opposed to the original rubberized surface on the original.
The connectivity of D 3045 has seen much improvement in comparison to the D 3020. The D 3045 comes equipped with Bluetooth wireless streaming featuring Qualcomm aptX HD audio, both HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) input and an MM (moving magnet) phono input, which allows you to connect your turntable and play music.
The D 3045 carried over many of the features that its predecessor possessed, such as the inputs: the 3.5, RCA, two optical, one coaxial, and one USB. It also retains its output sources, being stereo preamp-subwoofer RCA outputs, sturdy 5-way speaker cable binding posts, and a 3.5 12-volt trigger port.
The cherry on top is the built-in digital converter which is specifically designed to handle high res PCM formats. It will allow you to play files of up to 384 kHz/24 bit without any specification towards DSD, another hi res format that is not very distinguishable without a lot of experience.
Construction and Function
NAD was able to optimize the modern design language of the D 3020 to make it more functional. The D 3045 model possesses 2 x 60W enabling it to produce double the original 60 watts of it predecessor, a digital display for the volume and source display, an overall space-saving design that allows it to be used upright or laying to the right and emits very little heat, and a remote control fitted with a European and a US power cord.
The compact design helps with simplifying the input and output options of ‘at a glance” features, such as:
- 2 x 60W Hybrid Digital Amplifier
- two analog inputs
- three digital inputs
- one coaxial
- two optical
- a MM phono input
- a set of sub pre-outs
- HDMI input
- Asynchronous USB and computer attachment
- Bluetooth wireless streaming
The USB input supports 24 bit/384 kHZ but the coaxial and optical inputs take up to 24/192. This was a surprising disappointment; this makes a huge difference in the quality of the sound, especially to the more advanced audiophiles.
Overall, NAD still has not yet disappointed when it comes to the quality of sound and that reputation continues with the D 3045. After connecting with a set of PSB Alpha P5 Bookshelf speakers for a test run, again, I was initially disappointed in the improvement in quality, or lack thereof, since the D 3020. However, I still was relieved to hear that the great sound quality that NAD had provided with the D 3020 had been maintained with notable improvements in the bass, dynamics, and THD (or TDHi, total harmonic distortion).
I chose a piece from my personal favorite playlist of sounds and songs: Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra’s “Cantaloupe Island.” I found that it features a wide range of recorded instruments with such deep, focused sounds; out of my collection, I found that this is the obvious choice for this form of project quite often. The ohms tickled at the small hairs of my ears as I listened, each chord manifesting itself crisp and clearly to me as if I were listening directly to a live instrument.
The D 3045 has a more full and laid-back sound with the ability to make sonic connections with your music, blending with the chords and allowing you to ride along within the melody; fully embracing the moment and absorbing the timbre of each note as it flows in a stream from your headphones to your ears.
- Sleek, space-saving design
- Great EQ/Subwoofer filter options
- Improved connectivity and sound
- aptX HD compatibility
- The digital conversion ends at 32-bit/384 kHz.
NAD was once again able to produce a good, affordable integrated amplifier, the NAD D 3045. It is surprisingly powerful considering the price and compact design plus, as an upgrade from the D 3020, it has been completely modernized to stay relevant within our ever-growing world. To this day, NAD is still working as diligently as ever to be able to bridge the gap between low-end and high-end amps. Purchase your D 3045 now; please your ears, listen to music the way they really want to.