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Which of these two amps!?!, I purchased both......
Which is the better amp?
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psinet
post Apr 16 2013, 06:22
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I have come to a dilemma which must be solved, and I find I must call upon the combined wisdom of HA members.

I "accidentally" purchased 2 "vintage" stereo amplifiers on eBay - when I only needed one. My wife was most displeased. They both cost a pretty penny.

I am completely in love with both of them, so I am looking for advice on which one I should sell ( I wish to keep the "better" one). Both are in excellent condition.

So here are the two beauties:

A) Sansui B-2101 - A rare and incredibly powerful amp from the Golden Days of Sansui. One of the best stereo hifi amplifiers of all time.

http://www.allegrosound.com/Sansui_B2101.html




B) NAD 3150 - Vintage (1983). This series is considered to be the very best of the vintage grey NAD's. Was awarded a "Class B" rating by Stereophile Magazine - a very prestigious award.








Finding exact info on the 3150 is not simple - all related series amps can easily be found.

http://www.audiocircuit.com/Home-Audio/NAD/3150

This post has been edited by psinet: Apr 16 2013, 06:24
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Melomane
post Apr 16 2013, 07:14
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the nad is a integrated amplifier 50 w

the sansui is a power ampifier 200 w

so, if 50 w is good enough , keep the nad.

if you need more power and you don't need preamplifier , keep the sansui

if you need preamplifier and more power, keep all!


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Fedot L
post Apr 16 2013, 12:41
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Even if 50 W/channel is good enough, 7 times worse THD (0.02% THD) of the NAD than “less than 0.003%” of the Sansui, does it mean something to you?

More, what could be good enough without any “extreme lows” spectral correction and/or high efficiency loudspeakers, may heavily lack with a rather strong correction and/or low efficiency loudspeakers.
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julf
post Apr 16 2013, 13:39
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QUOTE (Fedot L @ Apr 16 2013, 13:41) *
Even if 50 W/channel is good enough, 7 times worse THD (0.02% THD) of the NAD than “less than 0.003%” of the Sansui, does it mean something to you?


Both values are good enough not to be an issue.
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Fedot L
post Apr 16 2013, 14:04
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And Sansui’s “fluorescent peak power level indicators with a peak hold switch”...
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Nessuno
post Apr 16 2013, 14:25
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The NAD has a pre out, so use them both and tell your wife that's the way they're meant to work best! wink.gif

This post has been edited by Nessuno: Apr 16 2013, 14:28


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DVDdoug
post Apr 16 2013, 18:34
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QUOTE
Even if 50 W/channel is good enough, 7 times worse THD (0.02% THD) of the NAD than “less than 0.003%” of the Sansui, does it mean something to you?
You might hear 1% distortion under certain "lab conditions". With music at home, probably not. Any good properly designed solid state amplifier that's not defective will generally be far better than human hearing, unless you drive it into clipping (i.e. if you try to get 60W out of a 50W amp).

On the other hand, your speakers may have 5 - 10% distortion.

QUOTE
More, what could be good enough without any “extreme lows” spectral correction and/or high efficiency loudspeakers, may heavily lack with a rather strong correction and/or low efficiency loudspeakers.
What???

Again, any good solid state amp should have flat frequency responose over the audio frequency range (with the tone controls set flat or switched-out).

If there is any audible difference between the two amplifiers, one might be noisier than the other. In order to test that properly, you'd have to match the gains. i.e. With the integrated amp's volume control cranked-up, it's likely to be noisier.

Of course, low efficienty speakers require more power for the same volume. (200W is 6dB louder than 50W.) And strong bass requires power. So in a club/disco situation, or if you use your system for really loud parties, I'd choose the 200W amp... assuming your speakers can handle the power. Although, if a drunk person is controlling the party volume, the lower-power amp would be safer... The tweeter in a 200W speaker cannot actually handle 200W... probably not even 50W.
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greynol
post Apr 16 2013, 18:39
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QUOTE (psinet @ Apr 15 2013, 22:22) *
My wife was most displeased.

I can't say that I blame her.

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 16 2013, 19:03


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MikeFord
post Apr 16 2013, 20:04
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Google on both isn't very encouraging, the NAD 3150 shows up most often in need of repair, neither seem rare or special on ebay, Nad sells for $100 to $200 and Sansui maybe twice that, but good chunk of the Sansui is shipping cost.

What is the intended use?

What is the attachment, any special memories or ?

Either one I think you should expect the need for service before long.
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soulsearchingsun
post Apr 17 2013, 13:25
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I just wanted to share my experience with NAD:

I once had to repair an NAD amplifier from the same era or slightly earlier for a friend, I recall the model to be a NAD 3100. It had been dropped and had severe damages, on the chassis as well as on the pcbs. The repair was doable, though it might not have been profitable if I have had to charge for it.
But: I was really underwhelmed with the build quality, the pcb and some design choices made while engineering this amp. The worst thing was IMHO the choice of the mounting holes on the pcb. It may have survived the drop when the mounting holes had been designed with regard to potential stress.
As all correctly designed audio amps should sound the same, in my eyes the brand NAD thus is overrated, at least the products from this era.

I may have some pictures of the amp, the defect and my repair if someone is interested.
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chicks
post Apr 17 2013, 16:07
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QUOTE (MikeFord @ Apr 16 2013, 12:04) *
Google on both isn't very encouraging, the NAD 3150 shows up most often in need of repair, neither seem rare or special on ebay, Nad sells for $100 to $200 and Sansui maybe twice that, but good chunk of the Sansui is shipping cost.

What is the intended use?

What is the attachment, any special memories or ?

Either one I think you should expect the need for service before long.


Almost guaranteed that the NAD will need service soon. That era of NAD was notorious for very poor QC, many had bad solder joints. I had one of the 3150's, they're typical NAD, a PITA to work on. They were designed to be cheap to manufacture, not easy to repair. Electrolytic caps on both are aging, will need replacement at some point.
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mzil
post Apr 17 2013, 16:16
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I was an NAD [New Acoustic Dimension] dealer at the time, or maybe a little bit later, so I can probably answer any questions you might have about it. I thought well of them and found them to be reliable. Their founders were "the good guys" (from my perspective) and they talked science, not the typical audio mythology of almost all the other brands, at least at the time. I have no idea what they are all about now.

NAD used a rather intuitive numbering scheme to their products which I will explain before I discuss this particular unit. The last digits described the series or what vintage they were (also sometimes power, in the case of amps). The first digit told what the device was. Here's a breakdown of what the first digit meant:

1 - preamp
2 - power amp
3 - integrated amp [1+2 in one box, get it?]
4 - tuner
5 - CD player
6 - cassette deck
7 - receiver [3 + 4]

So as you can see, a 7150 would be the same unit as the 3150 you have, but it would include a tuner, so it's a receiver. Stereo Review magazine's reviewers Hirsch and Stark wrote of the 7150: "both in the performance of its various subsections and it's overall capabilities, the NAD 7150 is an exceptional receiver." It appeared in the May 1983 issue, if you want to dig it up at a library, but there is no web version of it I am aware of. It would have details on the actual measured performance of the unit, if you are looking for that, such as SNR, load capability, etc..

This post has been edited by mzil: Apr 17 2013, 16:36
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psinet
post Aug 22 2013, 06:13
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Hey all and thanks for the many interesting responses. Sorry I have taken so long to respond.

The upshot is - I kept both of them. They are both now part of the same multi-dimensional sound system I have.

Both amps are setup with two sets of speakers on A and B channel, and both amps are connected to the SAME speakers via a NOR switch.

The NAD pre is also on a NOR switch to feed the Sansui, or itself! Clever, huh?

Two separate, active 10' subwoofer cabinets (based on bridged STMicroelectronics TDA7294 chip amps - 170W RMS @8Ohms each) compliment them both.

With this setup I can mix and match my components. One of the speaker sets is an old (mint condition) 4-way Yamaha Natural Sound 7171's (only released in Japan?)

They are a great speaker but not so exclusive or audiophile. So I ended up hand building the second set of speakers I have - a classic 2 way monitor design - 6.5'' mids and a 1'' textile dome tweeter.

I completely over-engineered these with 3/4'' 'marine'(?) MDF. The drivers are Vifa NE180W-04 midrange and Vifa BC25SC06-04 1" Textile Dome Tweeter - min. 130W RMS @4ohm per channel, with a crossover at around 2850hz.

The winner? It seems to me that my custom speakers running on the Sansui B-2101, with the signal fed from an E-MU 1212M soundcard is the 'best' sound.

But to be honest - any combination of the above sounds amazing, and pretty much capable of levelling a house. Both of the amps still seem to sound as they did new. I hope it lasts!

This post has been edited by psinet: Aug 22 2013, 06:15
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