Interesting question. As the Sprout has gone up to $700 now, it’s going to have competition. I didn’t compare before I bought mine, but I was amazed at the difference in depth and soundstage when I replaced my Denon AV reciever with the Sprout100. Absolutely no comparision, night and day difference. Moved on since (SGCD, monoblocks) , but Sprout still running in my den. It’s a great piece of kit. interesting to see how it compares to others. That NAD looks interesting…even has a trigger on the back.
I bought the NAD 3020 integrated amplifier on Steve Guttenberg’s review on CNET and YouTube, but I sent it back and bought a Sprout because:
SG said the USB port was connected to the DAC and it isn’t. It’s just for firmware upgrades.
The NAD goes to sleep in about ten minutes and doesn’t auto-wake. I have to fumble for the remote, press ON, and wait ten seconds (no exaggeration) for the sound to come on.
I use my Sprout with Klipsch RP-500M speakers with a 10" Klipsch subwoofer. My media computer drives the Sprout via USB and I listen to digital music, turntable, and Internet via the Sprout. I even use Bluetooth sometimes from my Android phone. I use the subwoofer output.
Somewhat difficult, as I swapped NAD for Sprout at the same time I got the subwoofer, but if I recall it sounded good, but I am barely an audiophile. I would say “comparable” on my budget Klipsch speakers.
I have only done intensive listening to forty year old recordings that I have memorized on the Sprout. Here is a data point:
I love the original mix of Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats from 1969. He remixed it in 1987 and I resented the changes to Gumbo Variations. But I gave the 1987 remix a listen on my new setup and I heard things that I never heard before. I am happy about my new sound quality and I am beginning to respect why FZ remixed Hot Rats after all those years of loving the original album.
In the UK these are all about the same price as the Sprout 100. I have the Audiolab, but bought the Bluesound for the streaming. The Audiolab was used with an Aries Mini which my son now has, one of the kids will end up with the Audiolab if I don’t sell it. Quad and Audiolabb are both IAG and made in the made factory and very high build quality/reliability.
I didn’t upgrade to the Sprout, upgraded to Steller stack when I bought new speakers but used 2 of these as trade… I feel they are Sprout competitors. $850.
I loved them for the time they served my Infinity Kappa 8.1’s because two Rialto’s can be bridged to make 400 watt mono’s. Plus lots of input options. I have two more to trade in for something compelling… AudioControl Rialto 600