A Cut Above In Ways That Matter
April 7th, 2010 -- by Chris Martens
Source: The Perfect Vision
Look further if: You need or want to be the first enthusiast on your block to own a receiver with all of the latest/greatest technologies. This receiver provides just 7.1 channels with 100 Wpc, where some like-priced competitors offer 9.1 channels with higher claimed power output per channel. Similarly, the NAD does not incorporate decoding features for Audyssey or Dolby modes that support so-called “height” or “width” channels. But that said, note that the NAD’s core sound qualities are among the best you’ll find in any AVR at any price.
Ratings (relative to comparably priced AVRs)
- User interface: 7
- Sound quality, music: 9.5
- Sound quality, movies: 10
- Value: 9
- Very conservatively rated at 7 x 100 Wpc or 2 x 130 Wpc
- Dual subwoofer outputs
- Standard Audyssey EQ options, plus Audyssey-approved proprietary “NAD EQ” mode.
- Tuners: The receiver provides standard AM/FM reception and is XM satellite radio-ready
- Provides support for optional NAD iPod dock.
- In addition to standard Audyssey EQ options, the receiver also incorporates a proprietary, Audyssey-approved “NAD EQ” mode (see sidebar, below).
- Proprietary NAD “EARS” (Enhanced Ambience Retrieval System” mode, which is geared for use with stereo source material and that promises to extract “the natural ambience present in nearly all well-produced stereo recordings.” NAD adds that the EARS mode “does not synthesize any ambience or other sonic elements and thus remains truer to the sound of the original musical performance than most other music-surround options.”
Features NAD’s Modular Design Construction AM 200 Audio Module, which provides:
- Dual High Speed DSPs with 32/64 bit Floating Point architecture.
- Dolby Digital TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic IIx decoding.
- DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS Digital Surround 96/24, DTS Neo:6 decoding.
- EARS, Enhanced Stereo, Enhanced Bass.
- Audyssey MultEQ XT room correction with support for Audyssey MultEQ Pro.
- Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ.
- 3 Coaxial SPDIF Inputs, 1 Output.
- 3 Optical SPDIF Inputs, 1 Output.
Features NAD’s Modular Design Construction VM 100 Video Module, which provides:
- HDMI Repeater.
- 4 HDMI Inputs, 1 Output.
- Converts analogue video to digital HDMI.
- OSD on HDMI.
- Supports all SD and HD video resolutions up to 1080p.
- De-interlaces 480i/576i to 480p/576p.
- Support for Deep Color and xvYCC color space.
- Real time support for data (like RDS text, iPod navigation, etc.).
The T 775 features a simple graphical user interface (GUI) and setup menu that is highly intuitive and easy to navigate.
Because Audyssey’s MultEQ XT room/speaker EQ system is a vital, integral part of the T 775, its setup and control procedures should be part of our User Interface discussion. My finding was that the NAD (GUI) guides you through Audyssey automated speaker setup in a straightforward way, though with less graphical clarity (that is, fewer illustrative onscreen diagrams and the like) than I have seen in some other Audyssey implementations.
Here are three important hints for best Audyssey results:
- Make sure you place the included calibration mic at ear level for a seated listener (ideally by mounting the mic on a camera tripod that you can move from one listening seat to another).
- The MultEQ XT system allows you to take eight sets of room measurements, and we recommend that you use all eight (Audyssey’s modeling of the room/speaker interface gets better as you capture more data). For best results, take the first set of measurements from the most central listening position in the room (typically the position you would use most often). Then, take the second through eighth sets of measurements from other frequently used listening positions (or from locations near those seating positions).
- Do the Audyssey setup when your room is as quiet as possible; the system is very reliable, but in my experience it can be thrown off by spurious room noises, such as footfalls, cars passing by, aircraft passing overhead, household HVAC fans, etc.). For this reason, it sometimes works best to do Audyssey calibrations either late at night or early in the morning.
The Audyssey system significantly simplifies system setup and adds readily apparent sonic benefits. Contrary to common audiophile wisdom (which can sometimes entail a bias against DSP-driven EQ systems of any kind), I find that Audyssey does not blur or diminish subtle sonic characteristics in good speaker systems; on the contrary, it leaves the core sound of speakers intact, while smoothing and balancing their in-room frequency response. But note: even if you do not want to use Audyssey EQ settings (and remember, you can turn those EQ setting off at any time, if you wish), it is still a good idea to use the Audyssey system to handle basic speaker system configuration/setup tasks, such as setting speaker sizes, distances, channel levels, and—especially—speaker-to-subwoofer crossover frequencies. Do be sure to check out the NAD EQ mode, which we’ll discuss in some detail, below.