In general I was not originally pleased with the performance of the C658. But after 200+ hours of burn in, it definitely is sounding better than it started. I used to own the PS Audio DirectStream Jr (recently discontinued) and it sounded far better than the NAD. It's not a proper preamp, however, whereas the NAD is, so it's not an apples to apples comparison. It also costs a lot more. I don't have any experience with Mytek to compare them.
Dirac still hasn't been implemented in the C658 yet, so that may be the killer app that makes it sound a lot better. I wish they would hurry up with the Dirac firmware update. At this point I'm still planning to return mine but I am hoping to give it a fair shake by trying Dirac first. In my particular case, I'd rather up my budget and get more performance. The NAD has a killer feature set, but with Dirac 2 months late already and the sound quality not super impressive, it's been fairly underwhelming. Over on AVSForum there are a few people that have said they are happy with it and a few who were not and already returned it.
As far as which chip it uses, I'm not sure but I believe someone on AVS Forum posted something about that after inquiring with NAD. I don't pay too much attention to that since the chip is only one part (and not even the greatest part, IMO) in dictating the overall sound quality.
jnehma1....Thanks for your input. I could have sworn the I saw the PS Audio DirectStream JR last week on their website so that seems very recent they discontinued that model. I really don’t need a preamp as I have tube preamp I’m very happy with. It was all the functions that intrigued me as well as the BluOS service available. I’m getting into Roon and will have that on a separate Mac Mini but liked that fact that if I wanted to loose the Roon part I could run my Tidal "locally" on the C658. The Phono input is a plus for me too as I’m trying to consolidate and my vinyl setup is not my priority at the moment. The Dirac feature I will take as Christmas coming early...not getting my hopes up. Do you feel it’s the preamp that is the weak link in the unit ?
@zipiv I kind of feel like it's the DAC but it's hard to say for sure. When I had the DSJr I ran it through a Marantz receiver as a preamp and that combo sounded way better than the NAD. Obviously a Marantz receiver isn't going to be the greatest preamp either but it was still no contest.
The DSJr was just discontinued recently. You can still get to it on the PS Audio website but there is no button to buy one. There is also a forum post saying they will be redesigning it and re-releasing a new DSJr in the future, but that will be after the cost-no-object super DAC they are working on so I wouldn't hold your breath.
I use Roon but you can run Tidal to the DSJr using the free MConnect app from a phone/tablet so you don't really need BluOS for that.
If you are happy with your tube preamp and going to hold onto it, I would look at something else other than the C658. I don't know what your budget is but the PS Audio was far superior as a streamer/DAC (far more expensive too). I've seen some people post that the NAD doesn't really sound any better than a Node 2i if using both as just streamer/DACs. You can get one of those for 1/3rd the price and pair it with your nice preamp. Again, the caveat being Dirac could change everything...
Zipiv if you are looking at just a streaming dac the Lumin T2 is an excellent choice,
The T2 is pretty extraordinary sounding and it comes with an excellent streaming app that is far better than Mconnect.
The Lumin T2 is getting rave reviews and is one of the best sounding products at that price point. It is eaasy to use, Roon and MQA capable and is easy to use.
It will all come down to what you are looking for, Personally we have never been impressed with the build quality of the PS gear and having to be forced into listening to DSD is not always the best sounding solution as certain files sound better as PCM and others via DSD with the Lumin T2 you can do either one at your dicreation.
We also sell the NAD C 658 and we are very impressed by its peformance, it is way better than the Blue sound Node we have both, in fact a little setup we did of the NAD C 658 coupled with a very inexpensive Nuprime STA 9 power amp bested a $3,500.00 Hegel H190.
We would agree that a much more expensive streamer/dac would be better it just depends on what features and or inputs you need for many people the C 658 with a good amplifier will be a fantastic foray into getting good sound at a reasonable price with a very impressive feature set of a preamp, dac, streamer, with Room correction.
As per Jhenas findings not sure on that one, we easily heard the difference between cabling with this setup so perhaps he wasn’t using a great set of cords don’t really know, we just found that a Wireworld Gold was really better than a Silver the cable in question cost as much as the C658 but the differnece in sound was bonkers.
Dave and Troy Audio Doctor NJ NAD, Lumin, Nuprime dealers
The Lumin looks like a sweet unit but it's beyond my budget unfortunately. I'm glad to hear you guys like the C658. My current set up is this : Bluesound N100 -- Music Hall 25.3 DAC -- Cary SLP 98 preamp -- PS Audio M700 mono's to Vienna Acoustic Strauss'
Looking to add a Mac Mini running Roon and from what I gather it seems to be the better option to network the Mac to the DAC and rely on Roon's RAAT protocol rather than a USB cable. At this point I think I will leave it to fate and get which ever piece of gear comes up for a good deal first.
The NAD C 658 is on my radar and I'm just waiting for Dirac to be released (due June 2019) before embarking on some demos.
This post has been prompted by a couple of points touched on in earlier comments and I'd really appreciate more info if anyone can offer it.
Dave & Troy mentioned the Nuprime STA-9 as a possible amp for the NAD but Nuprime apparently doesn't have a UK dealer. Notwithstanding the observations about the build quality of PS Audio, I wondered if anyone has experience of their Stellar S300 amp with the C 658? Other power amps on my radar include the Parasound NewClassic 275 v.2 and the 2125 v.2. The Parasound A23 is just too much. Nord amps have also been noted but I don't need that much power.
The other point relates to cables and the reference to "Wireworld Gold" - was that the Eclipse 7 or the Eclipse 8 (or something else)?
If anyone can help, great. If not, thanks for reading.
@rockaddict I don't have experience with those amps but since it's clear you are considering using Class D amps, why not consider the NAD M10? It does everything the C 658 does and has built in Hypex amplification for $1k more (plus other features like a color touchscreen display, etc). Dirac is already available for the M10.
@jnehma1: thanks for the NAD M10 suggestion but, sadly, it's beyond my budget (GBP £2,500 to £3,250 to include both power & pre-amp). A lottery ticket shall be purchased later today :) .
@audiotroy: many thanks for responding. Hopefully, I will find a way of sourcing a NuPrime STA-9 in the UK to include in the demos over the coming weeks. The option of making monoblocks of 2 bridgeable stereo amps has already been noted and absolutely not discarded.
Subscribed. NAD C 658 is on my short list. I really want to try Dirac Live. But I wish the NAD had a digital out that could bypass the internal DAC so that 3 years from now if/when something better comes along I could just upgrade the DAC and not the entire component. But I guess that’s not really the point of this box. I believe future MDC modules will be for HDMI inputs or some such.
The miniDSP SHD is also on my radar screen. It’s cheaper and has digital output but uses open source streamer vs. the excellent BlueOS. Pros and cons.
I'm considering this C 658 product, I'm not exactly are die-hard audiophile but I do have NAD gear, 116 preamp and 218 THX power amp - yeah, old stuff! I'm driving Focal JM Lab tower speakers, older Cobalt model.
What are your general thoughts about adding this C 658 to my system? My main interest is the streaming aspect, perhaps giving Tidal a spin. I no longer play vinyl, my own library consists of CD's. Thanks/Bill
@rockaddict I'm not sure you have that info correct about the M10. First off, it's an integrated amp so you don't need to buy an external amp. That's why I suggested it because the C658 plus an amp could easily cost more than the M10 which has an amp built in. And from what I'm seeing online, the M10 costs GBP 2,100.
I purchased the C658 a couple of weeks ago. It sounds amazing, definitely better than the Blusound Node 2 that I was using previously. Phono stage also sounds really good. Using it to feed a Wyred For Sound ST500 amp hooked up to Kef LS50's. Crystal clear, amazing detail, full deep bass. Only issue with this setup is that any flaws in the recording are revealed. Can hear absolutely everything that's on the tape. I've had a couple of connectivity issues which (I think) related to running the BluSound app on too many devices simultaneously. Rebooting my router solved the issue. Still waiting for the Dirac software update. Safe and Sound has these open box for $1200 with warranty. (No affiliation to them, btw.)
@jnehma1 : Hmmm! I knew the NAD M10 was an integrated amp but, for some reason, had completely confused the price point. You are obviously right about the price being well within budget as a standalone unit. However, the M10 doesn't have enough digital inputs for me (I need 2x coax + 1x (pref 2x) optical). Ironically, it has an HDMI input which is extra for the C658 (at least until an ex-demo units become available with the HDMI module already installed).
Unfortunately, the search is now on pause due to an unforeseen blip in my circumstances. For now, it's idle browsing and keeping an eye on the various NAD C 658 & related threads for developments (and references to possible alternatives). Experience has taught me that fate of this nature is, sometimes at least, a blessing in disguise. Maybe a new version, or a completely new product (whether or not NAD) will appear in the next few months blowing away the C 658. Alternatively, it will just be a rather frustrating wait before I can go ahead and get something that's already out there. The joy of music / hi-fi....
@rockaddict Sorry about your blip, whatever it may be. Arcam has recently announced the SA-30 which is just like the M10 -- an integrated amp (class G amplification), DAC, preamp, with room control, MQA support, and Roon endpoint. No pricing announced yet and it doesn't come out until the fall, but I think Arcam prices are more favorable in the UK than comparative US prices. Good luck!
Follow up: apparently the latest update switched the one subwoofer setting to the opposite sub out. Apparently the prior software had the single sub going to output 2. So if anyone else has the problem, just switch the wire.
I think they're still working out software bugs, like most companies do with complex computer driven products these days (Apple for instance). I think it's a stellar unit. Really sounds amazing, and interface with the BluOS app is great. I don't regret buying it at all.
I bought an early unit several months before the Dirac update. As with some of the older OPPO players I knew the Sabre DAC would require some run in time. Before I ever listened to it I ran it 24 hours a day for 6 days. Didn't help. The digital glare was so excruciating even my wife noticed it. Out it went and taking its place is a TEAC NT-505. Worlds better. I will say the Bluesound app is superior to the one TEAC and Lumin use but the difference in sound is huge.
Despite the array of glitches involving the NAD C 658, I’m heading ever closer to bagging one. My search has resumed (it had stopped due to personal circs) and, as at now, only the C 658 remains on my list. Demo will be done within the next few weeks. If for some reason the C 658 doesn’t cut it, then it’s going to be a long wait to save up for the Anthem STR pre-amp (+ RME ADI-2 additional headphone amp).
In case it’s of interest to anyone, Parasound options had been considered but there are too many reviews and forum posts echoing a similar theme; this being along the lines of "The Parasound "X" is really good....but, IMO... other products (usually named) better it...". In addition, a rock artist I’m familiar with has a Parasound Halo HINT 6. Great, you’d think. However, in his case, ownership of a particular product shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a recommendation (long story! :) ). The Elac Alchemy DDP2 was also considered but it has pre-set filters instead of tone controls.
For all the problems identified with the C 658, the SQ is consistently well regarded. Some forum posts (not necessarily here) have referred to brightness but having spoken to dealers and taken into account overall observations by users and dealers (including @audiotroy), that doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem - more a tweaking / system / speaker matching issue.
The demos will also be for a power amp which is likely to be a Nord One MP NC252 (maybe the SE version) or a Mytek Brooklyn Amp. Just because it will be there, I’ll also give the NAD C 268 a whirl.
To @audiotroy, the Nuprime STA9 was on my list but UK distribution is very limited and getting a demo would be difficult. Luckily, there are lots of options for power amps and I think the three still in contention will all do a decent to excellent job.
Assuming the NAD C 658 parts me from a chunk of cash in the next few weeks, I’ll post again with thoughts and observations. Unless anyone would really prefer I didn’t.... ;)