Nakamichi IA-1Z Integrated Amplifiers

IA-1Z

80 Watt Integrated Amplifier - Dolby Digital

User Reviews (12)

Showing 1-10 of 12  
Matt Porter   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 18, 2000]
Strength:

Crisp sound in all modes, AC3 beats the pants off anything I have yet heard. Oh yeah, the unit LOOKS classier than most high end units out there!

Weakness:

Only 1! HELP....I CANT STOP WATCHING THE MATRIX!!!

You can tell by the no B.S. design that this is a machine that can last a lifetime. Listen, if you care about surround effects that basically distort the true "meant to be heard" clarity of music(hall, stadium, lunchroom cafeteria etc.) The Nak is not the reciever for you. Save yourself a few beans and buy any of the hundreds of products out there with these features. However, if you want a system which delivers on its promise to expel music and cinema how it is SUPPOSED to be heard: Shell out the cash my friend and realize that there is a purpose for this so called lack of features. Believe me, you will NOT be disappointed.

Similar Products Used: ONKYO, HK
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Peter   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 28, 2000]
Strength:

Clean, natural sound

The build is sturdy. Runs cool (no fan.) Trouble free operation since out of the box. Sounds very clean and natural, even at high volume. It is versatile in system configurations. The 5.1 AC3 mode adds a different dimension to music listening. It performs well in the home theater setup, but powered sub(s) will be needed if you like heart pounding sound effects. This unit cannot automatically sense and switch between AC3 and stereo. This can be a little inconvenient when you program the DVD player to play multiple disks (maybe including CDs) and they have different sound formats. As is, this unit is a good value. If you want DTS, Nakamichi will charge you 600 bucks for the upgrade.

Similar Products Used: Sansui, Bang & Olufsen
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Nghi   Audiophile [Jan 17, 2000]
Strength:

AC3 - very clean sound

Weakness:

None

I love it. Paid $900.00 from Ubid. You can not find anything better value than this one. AC3 is the best I have auditioned so far. The sale is still going on at UBID... Hurry until they run out.

Similar Products Used: Adcom
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jonathan Esher   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 18, 2000]
Strength:

awesome preamp section; good DACs; strong 5 channel amp is a bonus; learning remote; build quality

Weakness:

no subwoofer level test (though it has the other 5 channels); no composite to S-VHS switching

time for a little review... I haven't truly tested all the ins and outs, but since I've had the unit for some weeks now, I can give a pretty good, accurate review of its capabilities. in a nutshell: it's great. easily worth the ~$950 I paid for it. here's how the individual sections breakdown:

the preamp section is awesome. very clear, clean, and seems to throw a great big soundstage. my previous preamp was a CJ PV10A, a tube preamp, and this Nak may well throw out a bigger (better?) one. it's worth the money just as an A/V preamp, without a doubt.

for the first week or so, I only used it as a preamp, since I have 4' bi-wired cables, AQ Sterling, which made using the built-in amps quite a hassle. anyway, finally got around to testing the amps as well, with some bi-wired Kimber 8TC cable. in a nutshell: not bad. seems pretty similar to my Marantz MA-22 mono-blocks. I can't tell you specifically what the difference was, but overall, I felt the Marantz/AQ setup was superior. maybe more punch, slam, energy... definitely better cymbals (treble) from the AQ wire versus the Kimber. granted, the Marantz/AQ setup should be better as the retail on that setup dwarfs the Nak amp by quite a good deal: ~$4200 with cables versus ~$1000 or so for the 5 channel Nak amp. since I already have the more expensive stuff, I can get the (slight) sonic benefits. however, there is no doubt the Nak amp holds its own, and easily wins the "value" rating. recently, I've been using the Nak amp with the AQ cables, after a little speaker rearrangement, and can say that although I haven't really done any critical listening with this setup, the Nak amp compares very well with the Marantz mono-blocks, once the speaker cable is the same.

the DACs are top quality also. compared to my Wadia 12 DAC, a separate $1500 piece of equipment, the Nak DAC is very comparable, again likely winning the "value" judgment hands down. my Wadia has a much greater output level, 4V versus the normal 2V of most analog equipment, so that needs to be taken into account as the output level changes the dynamics. once that is factored in, the Nak and Wadia do seem quite similar. I suppose the Nak's newness helps here as digital seems to get better and cheaper year by year. the Wadia 12 is unchanged since its intro in 94 (I think), whereas the Nak was first made in 97/98 (correct?). since I still have the Wadia, for now at least, I use it instead of the Nak DAC, but assuming I sell the Wadia, I likely won't complain much in soley using the Nak as my decoder. I haven't separately compared the AC3 decoding of the Nak to that of my Toshiba 3109 dvd player, as I am sure the Nak is at least equal, if not far superior to the decoder in the dvd player.

oh yeah, the remote: excellent piece and very, very convenient. my only gripe is that the buttons are all similar, but since the remote is very easily programmed and customized with a little experimentation, it is a very welcome addition to my A/V setup. it controls my TV, CD, DVD, VCR, and of course, the Nak IA-1z itself. awesome!

problems: no subwoofer level test-tone and no composite to S-VHS switching. the lack of a subwoofer level test-tone is quite annoying as it is very difficult to accurately setup a sub without one. the lack of composite to S-VHS switching is an annoyance, as I run all my video sources through the Nak, but it's not really a problem as my TV has enough A/V ins and outs to compensate.

note: all this testing/reviewing is only 2 channel (stereo) mode. considering that the Nak IA-1z is a multi-channel, AC3 unit, that is merely icing on the cake.

in conclusion: the Nak is an excellent integrated A/V amp. individually, the unit breaks down very well against some high quality competition. taken as a whole, it is a great piece of equipment that must surely rank as one of the better buys in audio today. the A/V digital preamp qualities are at least equal to anything I've compared, including a $2500 B&K Ref20. factor in the included 5 channel amp, and it's a genuine bargain at or near its MSRP of ~$3200; considering the $950 I paid, it's a down-right steal... I haven't decided what to do with my Marantz mono-blocks and Wadia DAC, but considering that I can probably sell them for a good bit more than I paid for the Nak, this is likely the finest audio purchase I've yet made. in an audio purist sense, it's not really an upgrade, thus the 4 overall rating, but in a practical/value/convenience sense, it most certainly is. great purchase!

Similar Products Used: B&K Ref20 and B&K 4090 digital A/V preamps; CJ PV10A tube preamp; Wadia 12 DAC; Marantz MA-22 mono-blocks
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Todd Kennedy   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 10, 2000]
Strength:

Clean sound. Integrated components.

Great sounding amp. Nice to find one without all the sound field crap cluttering the sound and interface (my opinion). The on-screen display and s-video switching is nice. Definetely worth the $900 from ubid.com (Thats why I gave it 5 stars).

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mikhail   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 04, 2000]
Strength:

sound quality

Weakness:

lucking features

Listen... If you want to listen to HIFI music and do not expect to do it laud this may be a perfect peace for you. While 80 wats per channel is conservative it is sure enough for most of us and will not piss off you neigbours.
DD and DTS sounds are increadable, ProLogic have some strange noise from my tuner ( I am using HarmonKardon TU 9600)
Center channel appear to be too laud so I had to ran it at -10DB level.
Also left channel seems to be a bit lauder than right, but that may be my speaker positioning or something else. I fixed it by setting right speaker at +1DB.
For $900 form UBID it is defenetly better than Denon 3300.

Similar Products Used: Sony, Rothel
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
karen somerset   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 30, 1999]

Very good product, low price, well balance.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Dr. Chill   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 24, 1999]
Strength:

superb sound, transparent signal processing

Weakness:

lack of six channel inputs

Undoubtedly an audiophile quality piece, but at $1107 from UBID, new with a full 3 year factory warranty- an absolute steal. Audibly similar to the CA1/PA1, the IA1z will transform a low end system to a mid level sound quality. I'm glad this unit is upgradable to DTS however don't expect to ever upgrade.

Similar Products Used: trialed the CA1/PA1 separates, Sony ES555, Rotel 965
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
B F   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 18, 2001]

Bill Freehorn again:
I just wanted to make a small correction to one of my prior review's comments, so as not to hurt ubid or Nakamichi:
The button that I thought was scratched/scraped, actually only had tape glue stuck to it.
I removed the sticky stuff with my finger and it's as good as new now.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bill Freehorn   Casual Listener [Oct 13, 2001]
Strength:

Solid construction, elegant no-nonsense/non-flashy (i.e no multi-color LED displays) look, quality components, sound quality. Power.

Weakness:

Buttons seem a bit cheap; that is about it.

I just got the unit today from ubid with the DTS upgrade (I have some questions about how to make sure I have DTS, since the unit was upgraded and the manual doesn't mention DTS).
It was an absolute steal at $509 including the DTS upgrade.
It is refurbished, but other than one small button that has been scraped/scratched, the case is in brand-new condition. It must have been a return after a few days or (short term) demo.
It even included both remotes, which I was worried about receiving, since the auction stated "remotes and accessories MAY be missing.

So far I love it!
I would like some advice, about the best settings for delays and also speaker levels for Dolby Digital DVD playback. I like to get plenty of sound from the rear surrounds. Maybe someone can suggest some good levels.

This unit sounds great and is built so well, that I may very well keep it for 10 or more years.
It is 12:15 at night, so I can't test everything without
waking or disturbing my neighbor. I'll post a follow-up
soon.
The Dolby Digital sounds crisp, clear and powerful.
It doesn't include all the DSP settings, that really aren't that useful anyway.If someone could e-mail me (studx66@hotmail.com)
with instructions on how to make sure DTS is installed properly and working fine, I would really appreciate it.

The value rating is based on the price I paid,
although even at twice the price, it would still be a good value in my opinion.

Similar Products Used: Carver HTR 885.1 (not in the same league), Onkyo Integra stereo-only receiver (but dynamic power of 380 WPC into 2 Ohms!)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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