Any Users of the NAD C 568 CD Player?


Looking for overall impressions, sound quality, etc. Not much on the web on this unit but the little there is speaks well of it. I’ve never heard a NAD player so also am curious what differentiates this one sound-wise from the lower models in their CD line-up.

Thanks!
jaybe
nudge (nudge, wink wink)

And I’ll take any comments at all about NAD CD players, particularly top of the line units from the past, about their sound and build quality and user experiences.

I am considering the C 568 for purchase, but am researching a few other selections in the ~$500 - $1000 range. I already have a very good DAC so might output digital from the player to the DAC. The NAD has circuity built into their SPDIF output to clean up the signal.

I’ve already heard enough about the Cambridge Audio transport and am not sure its SQ is at the highest level that can be achieved within this price range. So no comments needed there. And there is plenty of evidence online about CA’s early failure rates and breakdowns, borne out as well by a friend's CA unit that also failed on him.
I had a predecessor model in a prior "B" system.

in brief:

(1) strengths:

-- yeoman mid-fi audio performer
--attractive price performer that is a logical piece in an an all-NAD system


(2) question mark: either a positive or a negative

-- signature NAD sound : an unavoidable result that either you like it or you hate it. It’s a consideration in how it meshes with the rest of your system.... system synergy matters, big-time.


(3) warts:

-- NAD is just a brand name now with a dodgy Chi-Fi build quality. NAD today is not the original NAD of a couple decades ago. My NAD cdp crapped out catastrophically and suddenly, one month after its warranty expiry . Thankfully the dealer appealed to the distributor to fix it au gratis as a measure of good faith.
-- its audio performance can be described as on the "dark" side with a rolled off top end .... fine for my "B" kit but clearly not in the hi-fi strata performers.

-- its audio performance can be matched or bettered (IMO) by cheaper alternatives.

Summary:

-- its an okay/fine performer for a budget audio system or a "B" system as long as you FIRST cautiously assess and reconcile to yourself that you actually like its distinct "NAD" audio sonic signature as the source in the rest of your system. If it does not stir your drink, you will have a very expensive disappointment with a limited appeal in the used market if you then want to dump it.

-- I would DEFINITELY personally avoid a blind purchase and do a personal hands-on audition with your own gear. It’s system synergy capabilities are questionable at best.

-- it is NOT a robust build purchase for the ages
@akg_ca Thanks for your feedback. Mine would not be considered a budget system by any means, despite a fairly low amount budgeted for this purchase. I’ll keep my door open to other players in this range.

You say "its audio performance can be matched or bettered (IMO) by cheaper alternatives." Any suggestions?

Thanks again.
Jaybe....


(1) NAD’s lower price models are near-equivalent or equivalent performers to your target NAD model. A high-end used Euro-brand unit , now deeply depreciated in the used market, will smoke it.... not even close.

(2) please list the rest of your system (all of source(s), DAC (if any), amp(s), speakers, cables (ALL of ICs, speaker, and power)

(3) Are you amenable to investing in used gear instead of new?

(4) Are you amenable to investing in a separate transport and DAC instead of a cdp?

(5) Is the $500-$1000 suggested budget range a rigid one or would you consider a further upward investment ? The reason I ask is that most DACs under $2000 (new) are largely minimally differentiated in performance and build in a large sea of contenders and pretenders . Going instead for a used "better" unit and stepping up in build and performance quality is a whole another tangent.

The largest cdp repair risk is that the cd transports and lasers WILL fail in cdp, especially failing earlier in "cheap" CDPs. And many have no replacement parts available , especially in the budget range.

FWIW.....


Pass Labs amp, custom tube preamp, Auralic Vega DAC, custom (high-end) server, ATC speakers, REL sub, mostly Audience and Audio Sensibility cables.

I am not opposed to using a CD player or transport running into my DAC, in fact this was my plan.

Used is not out of the question, neither is upping the price somewhat. But still at this time I do not want a huge expense.

Thanks again for your time.


Jaybe... you have a very nice hi-fi rig overall and a quality DAC in the chain already.

so.... THE GOOD ....

-- IMO you can target  -- in the first part -- a stand-alone quality build cd transport to dovetail into your DAC.

THE BAD

-- The real independent cd transport risk  is shared with all CDPs in general.... see "2- (v) below. 

1. There are Numerous contenders and pretenders in the various pricepoint strata. Everything is built to its pricepoint ..... ' nuff said.

2. My "buy" personal decision was predicated therefore on MY screening checklist (emphasis added on the "my") ) for a very top-tier CDP/DAC  audio performer performer . Many of the points likely dovetail into a common checklist for any of your prospective contenders. 

(I) needs to  built like a battleship including laser and transport proof (see below).  E.g Mine  is ~ 55 lbs / 25 kg kit  that contends in the very top end cdp/DAC strata,

(ii) has balanced XLR jacks on the back panel,  and having fully balanced, differential circuitry throughout for superior performance ,

(iii) has a direct USB input into its high-end DAC to facilitate external NAS drive/  USB hard drive / USB thumb drive digital file playback through the unit remote without any further need for  a separate DAC, 

(iv) mine is  the optional cdp/DAC valve model (with tubes) for a silky smooth as ice-over-glass analog-like delivery,  and

(v) MOST importantly .....(emphasis added) ....  a guaranteed pathway forward to a satisfying ownership legacy with no fear of laser and transport obsolescence or being orphaned out of one.

Those worried about the viability of the CD format and getting your player serviced in the future, need to consider to plan for possible issues. Inside my owner’s manual, there is a signature from the technician that assembled it, another tech that QC’d the electrical and mechanical systems,  and the tech that tested and archived (at the OEM mfg) not one, but two spare laser units with matched serial numbers reserved ONLY for my unit.

This is my insurance that it will last longer than most of its owners and I appreciate this attention to detail, with CD transport mechanisms getting scarcer all the time.

.... but I am excluding that one because it is a LOT more money even used ~ $6K versus  $12K before taxes brand new. 

But I encourage you to list and weigh the compromises and trade-offs in the price vs build vs performance matrix. I am not directing you to mirror my views or my experiences , but rather hopefully highlighting the  tensions between the risks of L-T ownership versus its performance capabilities versus your inescapable budget issues.
Thanks for your detailed response. Very interesting points.

If you don't mind, again, your statement " its audio performance can be matched or bettered (IMO) by cheaper alternatives" piques my curiosity. What are these units you mention.
Then Let me expand what I already posted above:

".....(1) NAD’s lower price models are near-equivalent or equivalent performers to your target NAD model. A high-end used Euro-brand unit , now deeply depreciated in the used market, will smoke it.... not even close...."

your takeaway:

(1) Choice 1

if you want a fast and cheap proxy: the NAD cheaper spinner models are a better buy in price vs performance IMO. The NAD C545bee (now discontinued but was $499 new vs the 568 at $699 new ) is almost as good for far less money. I would look at that unit "used" first ( also likely half price of what it went for new)

(2) Choice 2 (preferred IMO)

A very large arena of far better build and far better performance Euro and NA spinners available in a heavily discounted used market that you can audition:

e,g.:

-- a personal fave---- ARCAM FMJ -- any and all of its various FMJ-level successive models ( not The cheaper Alpha level) on up starting from the FMJ CD23T with its famous DCS "Ring" DAC. I had it in a prior rig and it’s still very popular in the used market, .... and Google the great reviews on all their FMJ models.

-- top CAMBRIDGE spinner (maybe.... it sounds nice at its pricepoint when it works, but it is just another dodgy build Chi-Fi variant. I had their very top Blu-Ray player that crapped out suddenly and catastrophically 6 months after its 2-year warranty expiry that was NOT covered by the CAMBRIDGE distributor warranty. Cost to repair > its FMV value so it was relegated to scrap and I replaced it with an ARCAM FMJ Blu-ray player for my HT WITH A FIVE YEAR warranty and have had no issues and it works flawlessly since.

-- Or consider one of the many MANY other Euro premium brands and premium NA brands available in the used markets (AGON, CANUCKAUDIOMART, HIFISHARK, or buy it inspected in "used" from a dealer (preferred) ..... any and all of ’em will easily best (... dare I say.... "smoke" ) the NAD offerings stable IMO auditions and experiences.


Euro and NA abbreviated sample list in your current price strata --

(A) Euro premium brands including inter alia: : REGA SATURN , REGA APOLLO, ROKSAN KANDY, YBA, PRIMARE, electrocompaniet, CYRUS, NAIM, LINN, DENSEN, and on and on.....

(B) NA Premium brands, including inter alia: ; BRYSTON,, SIMAUDIO, CLASSE,

REGA , NAIM, BRYSTON, and SIMAUDIO ARE MY FAVES because they are both premier audio performers with premier quality build components AND also they have a best of breed popularity in a resale arena in case you want a change.

They all have their bespoke subtle sonic signature, ... that’s your call .... it’s your own system.... one-size does not fit all.

Great thanks. All those names and brands I'm familiar with. So seems there are no cheaper alternatives that can match or better the NAD.
Has anyone compared this player against the 565BEE spinner?
"...jaybe OP
168 posts
05-31-2017 6:08am
Great thanks. All those names and brands I’m familiar with. So seems there are no cheaper alternatives that can match or better the NAD....,


The NAD is a yeoman performer in the MID-FI audio equipment strata whose main market consumer attraction is price. There are other Asian-sourced gear in mid-fi that just don’t stir my drink either because of audio performance severe compromises when compared to the many hi-fi contenders and pretenders ..... that’s why I eliminate them.

So far, in your posts, you have emphasized "cheaper alternatives " as your largest driving influence on a prospective choice.  The mid-fi wares are all built to their cheapest parts components available. IMO -- with mid-fi gear brands -- just pick one of ’em .... there is minimal differentiation in performance so you might as well invoke the $$ as the primary decision factor.

Your  nice audio system as you have described is well worthy of a hi-fi caliber unit IMO in line with the rest of your gear. Otherwise you are putting brown shoes on a tuxedo... it just does not work well together and that would be an entirely avoidable shame IMO.

Without prejudice to the extremely likely outcome that if you want to upgrade from a mid-fi NAD to a hi-fi unit later, you may be plain stuck with it because of its limited appeal , and you will lose out on most of your purchase price recovery in any case....

I highlight that you first hypothetically check with any local dealer what he thinks about accepting a NAD cdp trade-in, and what the trade-in value might be. It can be a sobering event.

Regrettably, "Hi-fi" and "mid-fi cuz it’s cheaper" are inescapable polar opposites ..... the cold hard truth is that you will only get what you pay for .... full stop.

best of luck....

NAD 565Bee review highlights ?

Of course you are going to find equipment reviews all over the map. Mag reviews = caveat emptor as we all know.

(1) So heres a Brit mag review sampler that  highlights their opinion that
--  the cheaper NAD cdp models may be a better pathway for many, and
-- at the upper $$ level of the 565, the shadow of the comparative  "great" ones like CYRUS or ROKSAN looms large.

".... But the margin of superiority over its cheaper in-house rival isn't huge, and its price puts it closer to great players from Cyrus and ROKSAN...... However, we'd like more expressive dynamics and better rhythmic drive. We compared it to the cheaper C545BEE, and we preferred the junior model for its greater attack and excitement..."

https://www.whathifi.com/nad/c565bee/review#px2eEihWYDvObzAF.99

(2) Head to head bakeoff audioforum commentary FWIW...

http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17083

".... I have been using a NAD C 541i for the last 6 yrs and I have not had any problems with it. In terms of sound, I auditioned the Rega Apollo yesterday against the C 565BEE and there was no comparison.

The Rega absolutely blew it away.

 Let's just say that I am now looking for a reasonably priced used Apollo or get myself a new one at my local dealer. BTW, nothing wrong with NAD, I also auditioned the M5 and it was better than the Rega Apollo, but then we are also talking more than twice the price...."

(3) Posted quality control issues of this Chi-fi build NAD unit (and others) are out there. Here  is a sampler of some of the posted consumer complaints that are not insignificant ...

https://www.avforums.com/threads/problems-with-nad-c545bee.1408160/

http://www.justanswer.com/home-theater-stereo/8wbmz-nad-565bee-cd-player-s-display-doesn-t-always-li...

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/269080-nad-565bee.html

https://www.electronicspoint.com/threads/nad-cd-player-front-panel-buttons-dead.272382/




@akg_ca 
I really appreciate the time you've put into this. So I've got some exploring and researching to do, as well as read up on all these links. I was hoping to get in the door at a lower cost but not so sure now. Thank you.

I have been using a C542 for the last 6 years and it has never failed to play a disc or amazed me with it’s fast, punchy, detailed sound quality.

Bill

Thanks! for sharing-

I sure hate to read about these EU cd players being junk-sourced to china.
@jafant

What an asinine and uninformed statement to make.

I spend a lot of time working supply chain in China and sourcing for US companies. There are lots of very good manufacturing companies, equal to and in some cases better than the West. So called "quality" problems are often attributable to a lack of oversight and controls by the buyer. Same thing causes poor quality in the west.
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Problem- Dave?
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At least we are honest.
Here's a little real-world experience which I hope you'll find helpful. I'm a partner in a classical CD store in Berkeley, and about 12 years ago we bought a Cambridge Audio CD player which ran 12-14 hours a day all that time without a problem. The thing was built like Sherman tank, but everything has a finite life, this player being no exception. When it finally failed (about a month ago) I replaced it with a refurbished NAD 546BEE, a well-reviewed unit that fit our limited budget. Whether it can stand up to the kind of (ab)use it's going to get is yet to be seen, but before I installed it at the store I gave it a couple of hours audition here at home in my own system. Now I should point out that the unit probably didn't have enough time to find its real voice (this can take many hours sometimes) but my initial impression is that its sound, which I'd describe as "lively," emphasizes clarity and detail over warmth. Having listened to it through its own digital processing and then through my Bryston BDA1 DAC, I still prerfer the sound of my player, a 5 year old Cambridge Audio 751BD. My impression of the build-quality of the NAD player is that it can't hold a candle to the store's retired CA player, but only time will tell that story.
TY- cooper52

I enjoyed the CA 651BD player on the many times I heard it in several different systems.  It was matched w/ a CA integrated amp w/ Sonus Faber Toy speakers and Straight Wire cabling.  Happy Listening!