The NAD T 757 surround-sound receiver might be the most understated A/V product. Especially these days, when most receivers- including others from NAD- boast front panels stamped with a litany of logos and buttons.
Aside from the product’s name and company logo, you’ll find just seven buttons on the T 757’s elegant front panel (an input/output panel is also there, but well hidden). However, this is anything but an underperformer, and it keeps the focus on what people employ a receiver for the most: audio reproduction. Music plays loud and clear through the 120 watts per channel (or 60 if you’re using all seven channels at once), while soundtrack dialogue and effects are crisp, intelligible and immersive.
That’s not to say the $1,599 machine includes everything. You won’t find Pandora, Internet radio or other popular streaming services built-in. There’s no HD Radio, no integrated phono stage for the growing vinyl revival, and it accommodates only up to 7.1 surround sound (no DTS Neo:X for, gulp, 11.1 surround).
These are all possibilities, though, as the unit’s modular design is meant for relatively easy future swapping and upgrading to preclude obsolescence.
Setup is easy and intuitive. NAD has done a nice job of slimming down areas such as the analog input section. This is where some manufacturers get carried away, which can make the rear panel unwieldy. In addition to a Blu-ray player, I connected NAD’s C 565BEE CD player to use its DAC to listen to high-res music files stored on my PC. It also allowed me to test the T 757’s ability to load the library codes from other NAD components into the remote for streamlined operation—this worked almost instantaneously for me, and is nice if you’re not inclined to buy a universal remote.
A couple of other built-in audio enhancements worth noting: Audyssey and EARS. The first is a calibration tool that uses test tones to help process and manipulate the audio for improved surround-sound playback based on your room conditions. EARS is a good, enveloping feature that spreads a two-channel audio signal into a surround-sound mode—not necessarily for audio purists, but fun for those who enjoy “theater” sound. Performance was nothing but solid. Blu-rays such as The King’s Speech and Rush’s Snakes and Arrows Live demonstrated the T 757’s capable range of dialogue and music playback with clarity, weight and fullness. I could crank it through a set of Paradigm Studio series speakers without distortion. I connected an iPod touch to one of the analog inputs and streamed compressed music from Pandora and Wolfgang’s Vault with pleasing results.
If you can’t get enough music from it in just one room, the T 757 supports a secondary zone and includes a creditcard- size remote to simplify your enjoyment there, too.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.