NAD is not a brand to follow the masses. In fact, while the AVR herd are grazing on features and connecting to the milking machine of network integration, NAD receivers are more 'free range'. The T757 goes a step further and is truly feral.
What we have here is a significantly wallet-wrenching AV receiver that has thrown off what are considered basic features on even budget models costing one-fifth of the price. Instead, this chunky beast concentrates on sonic performance, delivering your speakers an ultra-clean analogue signal designed to make your ears love you.
I would even go so far as to say that its dark grey exterior and clean lines make it the best-looking NAD receiver yet, too.
Not as EQ as others
So let's look at what the T757 doesn't do. There is no Room EQ as NAD believes in the more purist 'hi-fi ' approach to sound. There is no fancy GUI, no App-based remote control and no networking functionality.
While the relatively frugal 4-in/1-out HDMI connectivity has 3D/deep colour switching compatibility the T757 has no upscaling or Audio Return Channel functionality. If you have an old DVD player or standard definition broadcast TV the NAD will convert analogue inputs to HDMI, but only at native resolution. Given that anyone in the market for a £1,500 AVR probably already has an upscaling Blu-ray player or upconverting TV anyway, maybe this isn't such a great loss after all.
Connectivity is pretty comprehensive, but the lack of USB input is a pain for those with a penchant for digital music devices, or who regularly use their notebook PC as a source.
The T757 does offer some iPod integration, but only by using the optional IPD-2 dock, which will cost you another hundred quid.
Fully-powered zone 2 audio output can be achieved using channels 6 & 7 and NAD supplies a credit-card style second zone remote for this application. Alternatively you use those amplifiers to run 5.1 and bi-amp the front channels, which works a treat with the T757.
NAD has significantly upgraded its user interface and onscreen menus for the T757. Its simple text menus are speedy to navigate and presented at 1080p over HDMI. An onscreen mini-menu is also available that shows base-line info (volume adjustments etc) for a few seconds overlaid over the on screen content.
The menu methodology is straight forward enough, albeit after getting used to a quirk of the remote control; when you have highlighted a feature in the menu, you have to press the right arrow to select it rather than the more usual 'enter' key. Surreal.
And then there is the specification sheet. While supremely low distortion and excellent signal-to-noise figures are indeed impressive, 60W per channel is not. Looking at the beefy power supplies and solid internal build of the T757, I can only conclude that some of the smaller components, such as the transistors, have been chosen for their sonic abilities rather than their power output.
That said, if it can actually produce a genuine 60W for all seven channels when the going gets tough, it will then perform on par with most AVRs that like to claim power well over 100W on paper.
From an installer's point of view, the T757 is also well up to spec with RS232 control and plenty of 12v triggers and iR repeaters.
One of this NAD's most appealing features is its Modular Design Construction. Claimed to enable users to embrace the ever-changing world of AV technology without having to ditch their original investment, MDC means that most sections of the T757 can be swapped out and upgraded as and when they are available.
Theoretically, when we are all loving 4k x 2k video the NAD's HDMI board can be swapped out for one capable of handling this super high-definition format. The MDC concept has won NAD a prestigious Reddot Design Award.
The built-in Audyssey auto setup is a trimmed down system with only single point measurement and relatively coarse adjustment of dB levels and speaker distance. It also had quite an epic hiccup indicating that my monster Tannoy Dimension TD12 loudspeakers were 'small' and the Velodyne DD18 subwoofer was out of phase, irrespective of whether it was set at 0˚ or 180˚ phase.
Several re-runs with the microphone in different places failed to get any different result, so I resorted to manual setup. So, thus far we have an AVR that is rather expensive, bereft of features, low powered, hampered by a quirky remote control and utterly beleaguered with set-up issues in my room. As receiver reviews go, they don't start much worse than that.
However, in a come-back that The Who would be proud of, the T757 pulls magic out of the bag with its unfettered audio muscle and a soundstage richer than a tray of Belgian chocolates.
It sounds warm and robust with an engaging atmosphere that actually makes it difficult to concentrate on how it sounds, without falling into the plot of the movie. Such is its enveloping nature the speakers seem to disappear, leaving you cosseted by the smooth and inviting soundstage.