The key ingredient in any NAD A/V receiver, however, is always the amplifier section and in this area the T 757 does not disappoint, though NAD’s specifications tables are so inherently conservative that they might give those accustomed to (and easily wowed by) inflated receiver specs an moment of temporary shock and/or heart failure. In a world where just about anything with a working pilot light claims to produce 100+ watts per channel, the NAD steps up to the line with seemingly underwhelming power output claims of “only” 7 x 60 watts per channel. But the correction factor to bear in mind is that NAD, unlike most other AVR makers (except for Anthem), rates power output with A) all seven channels driven simultaneously, B) all seven channels driven from 20Hz – 20 kHz, and C) all seven channels producing vanishingly low levels of distortion. NAD regards this as the only right and proper “real-world” power rating system, whereas most mass-market AVR makers tend to avoid such stringent ratings like the plague, largely because they tend to expose weaknesses, if any, in amplifier section designs. We applaud NAD’s (and Anthem’s) tell-it-like-it-is honesty in specifying power output. Still, recognizing that some are bound to be fooled by the lightweight spec methods other manufacturers use, NAD allows that, if rated by not-very-stringent FTC methods, the T 757 could claim to produce a whopping 7 x 120 watts per channel (which shows you just how inflated the other guys’ specs really are).
Personally, I tend to think of NAD’s approach as one whose motto could be, “spec softly and carry a big stick,” since the fact is that NAD’s receiver almost always sound more dynamically robust and accomplished than their modest power rating numbers would suggest. And that, I think, is the whole point; NAD would prefer to give you a multichannel amplifier that actually sounds like a killer in reality, rather than merely looking like a killer product on the undemanding pages of a product brochure. Give me the real deal, any day of the week. The proof, remember, is always in the listening, and—judging by the listening experiences I’ve had with the T 757 thus far—it’s an area where the T 757 is a muscular musical (and cinematic) performer.
In keeping with NAD’s less is more theme, the T 757 provides high quality video format conversion to HDMI, but deliberately does not provide video processing, since NAD strongly believes video processing should be handled in the display (or perhaps in source components), but not in the AVR. Their argument is that some AVRs attempt so much video signal processing that they actually wind up making picture quality worse. Food for thought, don’t you agree?
One other aspect of the T 757 that I really must mention is that the visual themes of simplicity and ease of use are carried through on a deeper conceptual level in the set up and adjustment menus the receiver provides. While menus won’t necessarily seem radically different from others you may have encountered in the past, there’s a certain underlying clarity of logic and organizational structure in the T 757 that makes its user interface feel simpler and less convoluted than others of its ilk. This, to my way of thinking, makes both the initial setup experience and day-to-day use more comfortable for the NAD owner. Part of the goodness, here, is that NAD has shown both the vision and the courage necessary to strip out superfluous and/or questionable features and functions, leaving you with essentials that really are, well, essential. The only area where I might quibble with NAD’s design choices, however, is that this receiver does not make it particularly easy to adjust channel level trims on the fly (something I personally feel all AVRs should be able do). But apart from that one drawback, the NAD is really simple and straightforward to use (meaning my kids, naturally, had all the basics figured out in a matter of minutes).
Watch for our upcoming full length review of the T 757 in The Perfect Vision/Playback. Until then, happy listening.