If it ain't broke, don't fix it?

Discussion in 'Solid State' started by sj.brodie, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. sj.brodie

    sj.brodie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I won a 26 year old NAD amp on ebay which appears to be in great condition. My question is, although it's fully functional, is it likely that the components (and consequently the sound) could still be compromised by age/neglect? Could improvements be significant enough to justify restoration costs (ie re soldering or replacing caps, electrolytics etc)...or should I be satisfied with a functioning amp showing no obvious signs of deterioration or damage? Does "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" apply to vintage amps or is periodical work required to help the amp perform optimally? The model is NAD 3020i.
     

     

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  2. ivandezande

    ivandezande Super Member

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    Only you can make that call. There's plenty, arguably too many, opinions on this topic all over AK.
     
  3. ivandezande

    ivandezande Super Member

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    My opinion:
    Caps.png
     
  4. ConradH

    ConradH Addicted Member

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    Looking at online photos, I see about 30 electrolytic caps in that unit. I'd bet money they're not all bad. I wouldn't bet money they're all good, though a few lucky souls might win that bet. A once-over on the test bench is never a bad idea.
     
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  5. sj.brodie

    sj.brodie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My main problem is I have no repair experience
    It's precisely that grey area "working but not optimally" that I'm concerned with when it comes to older gear.
     
  6. sj.brodie

    sj.brodie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    appreciate you taking the time to look at that
     

     

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  7. Silentnet

    Silentnet AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    NAD isn't exactly known for reliability in the best circumstances.

    I'd recap. Check the board for bad traces / cold solder joints while you're at it.
     
  8. teal'c

    teal'c Moomber Subscriber

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    Do you have soldering experience? I wouldn't recommend it without it.
    If not, go to ebay and/or craigslist and find a local 5$-10$ receiver that you can practice on. That will help you in finding components and matching them up with the solder points on the other side too.
     
  9. rickb119

    rickb119 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If you had the ability, I'd say go for it. Since you have no repair experience, I'd enjoy it "as is". Then again, if you have a friend who has the ability, and would love to do you a favor.

    I recently picked up a 45 year old Pioneer (SX1010) that I am enjoying "as is". I have the ability to recap it, but don't have the time. Maybe when I retire. Nah, I'll be too busy fishing.
     
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  10. sj.brodie

    sj.brodie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Looking at your pioneer for example, assuming it plays fine and balanced without any gross disturbance would you still consider restoring it critical in improving performance?
     
  11. rickb119

    rickb119 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For most Pioneer 1010's I'd say yes, it would be critical as the power supply usually has at least some evidence of heat damage. This particular unit however has absolutely none. I don't think mama let him use it much. Or at least not very loud. When I bought it were were in the garage (where he had it set up) discussing the quality of the build and sound. Mama came through the door, looked at me and said, "DON'T SELL IT BACK TO HIM". o_O

    I'm sure it would benefit from a recap. How much I don't know. It replaced a SX-850 that I did a full recap on several years ago. The untouched 1010 blew the socks off the recapped 850 so I'm already better off than I was. It's used in the garage with mediocre speakers so I'm not that concerned about it. I did find out yesterday that I do need a better CD player out there. Just for grins, I hooked up my office player and DAC to it and found out that the mediocre speakers are at least a notch or two better than I thought they were.

    The rabbit hole for better sound is long, deep and can get expensive. The question is, how much are you willing to spend (time/money) to get that extra notch or two? And, would the money be better spent on other components? DAC's, speakers, etc.
    My Sansui AU-919 sounded good, until I got better speakers. Now it sounds GREAT!
     

     

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  12. 62vauxhall

    62vauxhall AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Until you notice a deficiency, let it be.

    I'm not as hard a core enthusiast as others but I like to tinker. I was on the wholesale capacitor replacement bandwagon for while and actually did so to a couple of NAD 3020's. My thoughts were to make them better than new but it made no difference that I could notice. It didn't hurt, but there was no improvement. The biggest benefit was when it came to sell them, I could say that they had all new capacitors installed. But time spent receives no compensation.
     
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  13. sj.brodie

    sj.brodie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I may have been listening with an overly critical ear. Anything beyond resoldering bad joints may not be feasible so think I'll let it be (how much can resoldering achieve sonically anyway?) I'm still interested to hear about your replacement work especially on the NADs. I'd be lost when it comes to replacing parts and unaware of services that are available in my area. There will probably come a time when I'll need to learn some restoration skills as I like buying old gear.

    Did your replacement caps include the 30+ electrolytic caps previously mentioned? Unfortunately, I'm ignorant when it comes to the anatomy of an amp. Really appreciate all the responses!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  14. sj.brodie

    sj.brodie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This is an interesting point. As much as I like my mission bookshelfs, I have considered upgrading to room filling floorstanders. I feel an audition coming on...
     
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  15. Smallies

    Smallies Super Member

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    Recapping is serious fun, with a solder sucker, If you can get the board out easily . Soldering is basic and it doesn't have to be perfect it sticks to the traces. When you throw those old caps in the bathroom trash and fire it up, you won't believe you ever considered leaving it be.
     
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  16. teal'c

    teal'c Moomber Subscriber

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    In some cases, none. In some cases, incredible.
    Same goes with the recapping. I've recapped one receiver so far and the difference was very noticeable.
     

     

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  17. rickb119

    rickb119 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    With only 20W to push them with, they'd need to be very efficient.

    What is your main source for music? Streaming? CD's? Records? My main source is CD's, and a little streaming. Even with my Sansui, a good player and a very good set of bookshelves, I got a huge improvement in SQ by adding a DAC. I have a Schiit but have read very good things about the topping D30 (at less than half what I paid for the Schiit). https://www.parts-express.com/topping-d30-multi-function-s-pdif-and-usb-dac--310-340 They have an excellent return policy if you don't like it.
     
  18. sj.brodie

    sj.brodie AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    All three actually and I have a Cambridge dacmagic 100. I'm satisfied with my system. My question was more concerned with extending the life of a vintage amp which I really enjoy. I have a mid range sony bluray player connected to my DAC. Watching movies and netflix in PCM is good enough for me, I'm not a home cinema guy, more into music. The Sony of course acts as CD transport. Both cambridge DACs and NAD amps are known for their warmth so I'm hearing my music with a refreshing punch and depth (less on the detailed side which I don't mind)

    I arrived at the DAC inadvertently when I attempted upgrading my old cambridge entry level CD player to a Pioneer CD player, expecting good results. The Pioneer was more revealing and detailed yet sterile to my ears compared to my old (and cheaper) cambridge. The cambridge DAC was my next, much smarter purchase. The lacking "darkness" was restored and I had more digital sources all for a better price. It's funny, I used to think detail and clarity was my goal in a system however the lower sound signature gear I have continues to please me. What does a Schiit DAC offer generally? I'd like to experiment with the D30 you shared. I paid similar for my DAC.

    I have a pro ject debut carbon turntable with goldring cart. Besides the DACs mentioned, another comparison I would love to make would be the NAD 3020's phono stage vs any other phono stage old or new, internal or external at around the same price! I regularly record LP rips to my laptop with stunning results. Really nice range and hum/static is virtually non existant.
     
  19. 62vauxhall

    62vauxhall AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  20. 62vauxhall

    62vauxhall AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sorry, my reply got included in the quote.
     

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