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NAD PP 3i

Phono preamplifier with USB output

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  • NAD PP 3i

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  • NAD PP 3i

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  • NAD PP 3i

Item #: 745PP3I
 

Review Summary

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Original price $199.99
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Our take on the NAD PP 3i

by Dave Bar
NAD

Missing the music in your record collection? Longing to listen to your LPs? There's no need to miss out on the musical treasures in your vinyl library just because your receiver doesn't have a phono input. Add the NAD PP 3i to your system, and you can connect your turntable to any of your receiver's line-level inputs. And your options don't stop there. A USB port lets you connect your turntable to a PC so you can transfer your record collection to your computer's hard drive. Use the included VinylStudio™ Lite software to archive your records as high-quality digital files for easy transfer to recordable CDs.

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Highlights:

  • compatible with moving magnet and moving coil phono cartridges
  • line-level input for connecting another source like a cassette deck
  • line-level output
  • USB port for connecting to a PC (includes USB cable)
  • built-in analog-to-digital converter
  • includes VinylStudio Lite software for converting LPs to CD (Windows and Mac compatible)
  • purchase of full version of VinylStudio software required for converting individual tracks to MP3 or AAC
  • external power supply for reduced noise and interference
  • RIAA response accuracy ± 0.3dB (50-20kHz)
  • 5-3/8"W x 1-15/16"H x 3-5/8"D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Digital phono preamplifier
  • AC adapter with attached 6' output cord (24 VDC/100 mA)
  • 30" Retractable USB cable (USB Type-A plug on one end and USB Type-B on the other)
  • VinylStudio Lite CD ROM
  • Warranty information
  • Instructions and specifications on box

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: NAD's PP-3i combines the award winning PP-2 MM/MC Phono Preamp with a high quality Analog-to-Digital converter and USB interface. Utilizing VinylStudio Lite PC Software, you can convert records and tapes to CD. The PP-3i also includes the same analog outputs as the PP-2 for connection to an analog stereo system.

RIAA EQ: The PP-3i phono preamp consists of a low noise discrete MC preamp followed by a low noise opamp-based RIAA MM stage incorporating a 12dB/octave infrasonic filter to attenuate turntable "rumble" noise. The output feeds the Line Output as well as the soft clipped input of an A/D converter with USB Output. This can be connected to any PC for recording from vinyl disc to a hard drive. The built-in passive equalizer curve follows the RIAA standard within 0.3 dB, measured from 50 Hz to 20 kHz.

USB: Using the USB Type-B port on the front panel, the phono signal can be routed to your computer; with the included VinylStudio Lite software LPs are easily converted to CD (Macintosh version available on NAD's web site). The PP-3i has an analog to digital converter (A/D) that optimizes the gain for the best signal to noise ratio and lowest distortion. The USB output is 16-bit linear PCM signal sampled at 48 kHz.

Note: In order to save the tracks as MP3 or MP4/AAC files, you must upgrade to the full version of VinylStudio Lite software.

Cartridge: The PP-3i accepts inputs from either moving magnet (MM) or moving coil (MC) cartridges. On the rear panel there are separate RCA inputs for MM and MC, and a switch to choose which you are using.

Line Input: The RCA line inputs allow you to send a standard source to the internal A/D converter and use the included software to record to your computer. Another switch on the rear panel selects the phono or line input. The line input can also replace the input on your receiver taken by the PP-3i.

Ground: A post on the rear panel provides easy grounding for your turntable.

Specifications:

  • Input Impedance:
    • MM: 47 kΩ + 200 pF
    • MC: 100 Ω + 180 pF
  • Gain:
    • MM: 35 dB
    • MC: 58 dB
  • Input Sensitivity: 300 mV output
    • MM: 5 mV
    • MC: 0.38 mV
  • S/N:
    • MM: 76 dB (A-weighted with cartridge connected)
    • MC: 78 dB (A-weighted with cartridge connected)
  • Input Overload: (20 Hz/1 kHz/20 kHz)
    • MM: 10/100/900 mV
    • MC: 0.65/6.5/60 mV
  • THD: <0.03% (20 Hz-20 kHz, 3 volt output)
  • RIAA Response Accuracy: +/-0.3 dB
  • Infrasonic Filter:
    • -3 dB: 10 Hz
    • -14 dB: 5 Hz
  • Digital Output (USB): 16-bit linear PCM
  • Sampling Frequency: 48 kHz
  • Dynamic Range:
    • MM: 89 dB
    • MC: 86 dB
 
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NAD PP 3i Reviews

Average Customer Review:

13 people say:

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3 out of 5

NAD PP 3i

Written By Anonymous, Rhode Island on Friday, April 05, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Bought this to listen to some old vinyl on my NAD C 375DAC. I does the job.
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4 out of 5

NAD PP 3i

Written By Richie, Suffern, NY on Sunday, March 10, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great product, works like a charm to save my LP and cassette songs.
Pros:
Compact, easy to setup and use
Cons:
Needed to upgrade included software
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2 out of 5

Disappointing

Written By Russ, Brooklyn, N.Y. on Friday, February 01, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Given the price of this pre-amp, I was not expecting high-end audiophile equipment. Nevertheless, it failed to live up to my relatively low expectations.

I purchased this item for two reasons. First, my turntable (Pro-Ject Debut III, which uses a MM cartridge) had been hooked up to my 30-year-old receiver's internal phono amp, and I wanted to improve the quality of the sound without investing in a new receiver (I'm saving up for that and wanted to listen to good-sounding vinyl in the mean time). Second, this is the one stand-alone pre-amp I was able to find with a USB-out connector for the purpose of converted vinyl to digital.

I was disappointed with the performance on both fronts. First, the sound quality of my turntable, when connected to the receiver's auxiliary input via this pre-amp, was actually worse than when connected via the receiver's own phono amp. The sound was flatter and duller than it had been before. Second, as far as I can tell, the USB output can only convert to digital in 16-bit/44.1 kHz format. Why not 24/192? On top of that, the software provided is a lite version. You need to pay extra for the full program. (Fortunately, Audacity, which is available for free, is fine for purposes of recording from vinyl, but it would still be nice if this item came with decent software.)

If you want a stand-alone phono pre-amp, save up and get something better. If you want to convert vinyl to digital, I am not sure of the best way to do it, but this can't be it.
Pros:
Works with both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges. Has a separate line-in input and switch, so it doesn't hog your receiver's auxiliary input.
Cons:
Disappointing sound. Disappointing software. Appears to convert to digital at no better than 16-bit/44.1 kHz.
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4 out of 5

Simple Solution

Written By Bjornmeansbear, Baltimore, MD on Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The NAD PP3i is a small, simple solution for a phono preamp. Over christmas I picked up my dad's old turntable while visiting, and decided I'd hook it up to my system when I got home. I have several modern receivers of which none have a phono stage on them. The NAD PP 3i solved this problem for me. It seems to be nearly completely transparent as the signal runs through it, I notice the warmth of the LPs when compared to their digital counterparts on the same system but don't notice really any other coloration from the box. Its fairly inexpensive, is small enough that it just tucks in behind my turntable on the shelf becoming basically invisible, and even has a USB connect incase I ever need to rip an old vinyl album I can't find anywhere digitally. It also is switchable between MM and MC cartridges, so its flexible from that standpoint as well. There was some bad grounding buzz at first, but I managed to fiddle around with where I was connecting that from the turntable and sorted that out pretty quickly. So far I love it.
Pros:
Simple, small, relatively cheap, seems to be completely netural as a pre-amp
Cons:
As a semi-newb to vinyl I found lack of instructions around grounding sort of frustrating.
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4 out of 5

NAD PP 3i

Written By EdR, Baltimore, MD on Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
It works well and was easy to set up. I could convert vinyl to MP3 and clean up the pops, etc. However, there was an additional cost for software that was not revealed at purchase.
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5 out of 5

NAD has my respect

Written By Ernie M, Michigan on Friday, November 09, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
NAD makes good stuff. This is the second NAD product I bought, and they will get my first look anytime I am shopping for some new audio electronics. The NAD 275BEE power amp is an underrated beast, and this PP3i phono preamp is a graceful little ballet dancer. The PP3i is priced right and true to NAD form: Value. Use this with a good turntable and digitize your LP collection. A far better choice for LP ripping than a cheap USB turntable. I tried using the ADC in my sound card by running the turntable phono plugs into a mini adapter plugged into the sound card input, and the digitized recording was poor; sounded like someone put paper bags over my speakers. With the NAD phono preamp you run a USB 2.0 cable to the PC and use the USB micropohne driver, and the recording sounds good. NAD provides vinyl studio software with this, and it is a great thing for both ripping LPs and also has a great set of tools to optionally automatically remove any needle pops/clicks, hum, and hiss. In many cases users will find that the digitized LPs will sound better than the original.
Pros:
Takes signals from moving magnet or moving coil cartridges. A must in case you someday upgrade a MM to an MC. Also has a line level input, so you could even use it to digitize cassette tapes.
Cons:
I wish it was capable of outputting 24 bit x 96 kHz. Some say this would be foolish, and they are right for the "masses" with average equipment. For audiophiles with fine turntables, NAD electronics, and reference speakers, we want 24 bit FLAC files. I wish for a PP4i that has that.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

NAD PP 3i

Written By Anonymous, Chicago, IL on Sunday, September 16, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Works perfectly! Highly recommended
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4 out of 5

NAD PP 3i - More than just a great phono pre-amp

Written By rkbaker, Harrisburg, PA on Sunday, August 05, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This little pre does exactly what It's supposed to do. I have it hooked up to Pro-Ject Debut III, and a TEAC reel to reel tape deck. Having that extra connection sweetens the deal tremendously. This thing is tiny, but it does everything it is supposed to do. I have used it as a day to day pre-amp, and have also used it to digitize a few LP's of my dad's Jazz band in college.

I can only make two complaints about this product.

1. The software for digitizing analog stuff is clunky. It works, but it's a little difficult to learn. 2. It's almost too small and light. I use quality cables from Blue Jeans Cable, which have rather heavy connectors. Where I have this device placed, the weight of the cables has a tendency to tip the device off it's front two feet.

I would recommend this product to ANYONE looking for a great independent phono pre-amp, and the extra analog input just sweetens the deal.
Pros:
Transparently transfers great sound. Looks great, and is a great value.
Cons:
Software isn't the perfect, and the device is small and light which can cause tipping issues with heavy cables depending on how close to the back of your rack the pre-amp is.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

A timid pre-amp

Written By Emin S., Austin on Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is a solidly built preamp by a company that's famous for making great hardware at reasonable prices. However although I really wanted to love this pre-amp I must say I feel a little let down by it. I think the amplification is on the weak side. The signal still requires considerable magnification through my main amp and by that time you get noise introduced into the signal. I keep feeling like the phono amp should have a volume adjustment dial.

I never used the usb port for transferring records to mp3 as it seemed counter to where I am headed -- from mp3 to CD and back to vinyl.

I am using a magnetic cartridge and the stylus may be a little worn out so I ordered a new Ortofon Omega Pro replacement. If that cartridge does not do the trick, then this box is going back.

This amp should have been more like $100 as I have a feeling by spending a little bit more I may be able to get better sound from other phono amps that are $250 or more.

I will most likely return it.

I own NAD amp that I am very happy with so I wanted to try their phono amp before I ventured to other brands.
Pros:
Solid built and works as advertised, has both MM and MC capability, usb out is a nice touch for those wanting to digitize records
Cons:
The amplification is not strong enough and lacks the depth I was looking for.
5 out of 6 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Awesome. I can play my records again

Written By Wilma F, Chicago on Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Works great and now I can hear my records again.Crutchfeild delivered it promptly.
Pros:
Sounds pretty dang good for the price.
Cons:
none so far. I have hed it a month
3 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Sound

Written By DickB, Griffin, Ga. on Thursday, October 20, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The Nad pp3 sounds good in my system. I connected it to the AUX of my Aragon preamp since I have no phono option. I'm enjoying my old LPs now for the first time in years playing on my new Thorens TD190 turntable. Great product. Hats off to Nad. Crutchfield service was great too.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Poor sound quality

Written By Jimmy, Tampa, FL on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This preamp delivers poor sound, removing both the highs and lows and giving flat sounding music with a weak signal.

I have an MC turntable and a receiver with a phono input designed for MM. The receiver manufacturer recommends connecting a preamp to line in for MC turntables. The sound is ten times better when NOT using the preamp and connecting the MC turntable to the MM phono input. Maybe it works for MM, but if you have MC and like to enjoy your records, look elsewhere. This preamp is being returned.

The preamp does have one good quality. It does do a good job as a ground and eliminates phono "hum" quite well.
10 out of 37 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

NAD PP3

Written By Roy, Albuquerque, NM on Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Setup was a breeze. Paired it with my Denon turntable and very pleased with the sound. Great to hear my albums come to life again.
7 out of 7 people found this helpful
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