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NAD C658 Streaming DAC Review

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Yeah that's kinda unexpected. Only minidsp has the SHD, which also has DIrac and can stream. That unit measures very well if I'm not mistaken. But that's it in the stereo universe for now.
 
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Interesting thread. After reading the OP's first 16 posts, I was convinced he was preparing to toss the unit out with the trash. Then he said something I didn't expect.

"at the end of the day no matter how I look at it there's no streamer/dac/preamp/dsp all in one box on the market in this or anywhere near price category so if anyone is looking for one which does all of this in one box I think C658 is no brainer"
I understand what you think.

But at the end of it all, the unit is somewhat unique.
And even though you can criticise its measured performance, and though some of the technical decisions regarding the construction could be better, the audible performance is very good, and good enough to satisfy listeners. The performance is good enough that the deficits are probably at about or below the human capacity to hear them.

I'm very happy with mine, and though I would have preferred that it measurred better, it doesn't ruin my music experience. Its a delight listening to music through it.
With Dirac dialed in, it has transformed the reproduction of music of my setup.

I'm definately keeping mine. If something comes along with similar features, but much better measurements, I will consider exchanging it. Otherwise its not going anywhere. It does everything I need, and does so very good.
 

Dj7675

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I understand what you think.

But at the end of it all, the unit is somewhat unique.
And even though you can criticise its measured performance, and though some of the technical decisions regarding the construction could be better, the audible performance is very good, and good enough to satisfy listeners. The performance is good enough that the deficits are probably at about or below the human capacity to hear them.

I'm very happy with mine, and though I would have preferred that it measurred better, it doesn't ruin my music experience. Its a delight listening to music through it.
With Dirac dialed in, it has transformed the reproduction of music of my setup.

I'm definately keeping mine. If something comes along with similar features, but much better measurements, I will consider exchanging it. Otherwise its not going anywhere. It does everything I need, and does so very good.
Thinking about this unit for living room. Couple of questions..Was the clicking/popping on digital inputs fixed via firmware? HDMI TV usage trouble free?
 
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I understand what you think.

But at the end of it all, the unit is somewhat unique.
And even though you can criticise its measured performance, and though some of the technical decisions regarding the construction could be better, the audible performance is very good, and good enough to satisfy listeners. The performance is good enough that the deficits are probably at about or below the human capacity to hear them.

I'm very happy with mine, and though I would have preferred that it measurred better, it doesn't ruin my music experience. Its a delight listening to music through it.
With Dirac dialed in, it has transformed the reproduction of music of my setup.

I'm definately keeping mine. If something comes along with similar features, but much better measurements, I will consider exchanging it. Otherwise its not going anywhere. It does everything I need, and does so very good.
Well, we should never assume what others think ;). I am currently enjoying the C 658 I picked up last November :cool:.

Unlike the C 658, the miniDSP SHD does not include the MM phono input I need – and does not render MQA independently (if I ever choose to explore the format). My decision became obvious after failing to find any compelling arguments to choose Volumio over BluOS.
 

AGLeS

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Well, we should never assume what others think ;). I am currently enjoying the C 658 I picked up last November :cool:.

Unlike the C 658, the miniDSP SHD does not include the MM phono input I need – and does not render MQA independently (if I ever choose to explore the format). My decision became obvious after failing to find any compelling arguments to choose Volumio over BluOS.
Have you experienced any of the popping issues others have found? Have you integrated subs without issue? Thanks!
 
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Have you experienced any of the popping issues others have found? Have you integrated subs without issue? Thanks!
In the beginning (I have owned the unit for 1½ years now), I had some issues, with the unit making weird noises, when not playing audio and set to an analog input. But havent experienced that for over a year.

Popping, I'm not sure what is meant. I sometimes have a _small_ pop (from the main speakers) when changing numbers, but nothing that is disturbing to me.
They are low volume, and only happen seldomly.

I have my sub integrated, and have never had any issues. I have heard about people having issues with weird sounds from the sub outputs though, so perhaps I'm just lucky with my setup.
But the integration between the sub and my main speakers is very good, I think.

Only problem I ever have is that the unit can become unresponsive, and require a power off / on on the switch on the backside. But I have had this happen perhaps 4 times in the 1½ years I have used it, so not a major issue. Nothing I cant live with anyway.

Now I don't wanna tell you that there arent any faults, because I'm sure there are. I just don't experience any of them in my day to day use.

@Dj7675
I use my TV through SPDIF (optical) with no issues I'm aware off. Sometimes it takes ½ -1 second between channel changes before sound plays, but I have not had any popping sounds. It simply works for me.
 
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Dj7675

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In the beginning (I have owned the unit for 1½ years now), I had some issues, with the unit making weird noises, when not playing audio and set to an analog input. But havent experienced that for over a year.

Popping, I'm not sure what is meant. I sometimes have a _small_ pop changing numbers, but nothing that is disturbing to me.
They are low, and only happen seldomly.

I have my sub integrated, and have never had any issues. I have heard about peoble having issues with weird sounds from the sub outputs though, so perhaps I'm just lucky with my setup.
But the integration between the sub and my main speakers is very good, I think.

Only problem I ever have is that the unit can become unresponsive, and require a power off / on on the switch on the backside. But I have had this happen perhaps 4 times in the 1½ years I have used it, so not a major issue. Nothing I cant live with anyway.

Now I don't wanna tell you that there arent any faults, because I'm sure there are. I just don't experience any of them in my day to day use.

@Dj7675
I use my TV through SPDIF (optical) with no issues I'm aware off. Sometimes it takes ½ -1 second between channel changes before sound plays, but I have not had any popping sounds. It simply works for me.
All very helpful. Thanks.
 
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Does the Dirac processing restrict the resolution of the output to 96KHz as the MiniDSP SHD does.
Also, is MQA available when using Dirac?
 

RichB

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In the beginning (I have owned the unit for 1½ years now), I had some issues, with the unit making weird noises, when not playing audio and set to an analog input. But havent experienced that for over a year.

Popping, I'm not sure what is meant. I sometimes have a _small_ pop (from the main speakers) when changing numbers, but nothing that is disturbing to me.
They are low volume, and only happen seldomly.

I have my sub integrated, and have never had any issues. I have heard about people having issues with weird sounds from the sub outputs though, so perhaps I'm just lucky with my setup.
But the integration between the sub and my main speakers is very good, I think.

Only problem I ever have is that the unit can become unresponsive, and require a power off / on on the switch on the backside. But I have had this happen perhaps 4 times in the 1½ years I have used it, so not a major issue. Nothing I cant live with anyway.

Now I don't wanna tell you that there arent any faults, because I'm sure there are. I just don't experience any of them in my day to day use.

@Dj7675
I use my TV through SPDIF (optical) with no issues I'm aware off. Sometimes it takes ½ -1 second between channel changes before sound plays, but I have not had any popping sounds. It simply works for me.
My popping issue occurs continuously when Roon sends PCM that exceeds 44.1 kHz using built-in Roon Bridge over LAN.
This occurs on the newest hardware (Neo3) based units, that seem to have begun shipping in this January.
It is likely a software issue, and hopefully, the Roon Ready support comes soon and does not have this issue.

There is also another user reporting a buzzing sound when the new hardware enters low power standby.
MiniDSP contacted me and is sending a replacement power supply. Great service BTW.
When I received this note, I put my ear to the SHD and it does whine when in low power standby.
The whine goes away when powered on but the PS is still not silent. The new PS looks completely different.
I should have it within the week.

- Rich
 

JDRCapeCod

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Does the Dirac processing restrict the resolution of the output to 96KHz as the MiniDSP SHD does.
Also, is MQA available when using Dirac?
I am not sure of the output, but I can tell you that MQA decoding does work with Dirac using Tidal as a source. I have owned this unit for a while now and really enjoy it. I am moving over to surround sound and I am having a hard time parting with this due to it's feature set.
 
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I have just bought this unit NAD C658. I am absolutely clueless to your reviews. I have just finished setting the unit up. Got it acting as a Pre-amp to my Rogue Audio Magnum Atlas Power Amp. Turntable - Technics SL-1500 with the Ortofon Blue stylus, Yamaha CD-S2000 and speakers are KEF LS50.
The set-up process was a breeze with DIRAC LIVE and BluOS on my iPad Air.
The sound from the turntable, CD player and in-house server to my ears are clear sharp with good bass. I don't have any fancy words like most of these audio magazine reviewers.
My point here is, you can use all kinds of spectro testing equipments to test all these audio equipments. The bottom-line that matters is our individual ears on how we perceive the sound.
I LOVE the unit and I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a pre-amp with streaming capability and a built-in DAC. I am also very pleased with the price point.
absolute right! Love my C658 since day one without any problems
 
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absolute right! Love my C658 since day one without any problems
KarVi71 also said it perfectly above. The measured faults of the C 658 are real, and I certainly wish that NAD had done a better job. But while disappointing in an absolute sense, the issues are not likely to be audible for most (any?) of us. There really is such a thing as "good enough", and sometimes good enough is pretty damn good.

Meanwhile, the faults are balanced by extraordinary utility. In fact, I think of this piece of kit as the most sensibly designed unit out there. Why *not* put all of the functionality that one could desire into one unit rather than make the user string together multiple components? Why isn't every manufacturer doing this? Room correction (Dirac in this case) really is transformational, and every system should have it; why is room correction included with so few units? Everything in one place with one very capable control system is heaven when what you want to do is listen to music. Again, "good enough".
 
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It's good to see these positive user reviews, as the device is still definitely on my list. Does anyone know what the two spare upgrade slots might be used for, apart from the HDMI module?
 
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It's good to see these positive user reviews, as the device is still definitely on my list. Does anyone know what the two spare upgrade slots might be used for, apart from the HDMI module?
So far, NAD has not announced any other upgrade boards. There are other boards available from NAD, but they don't apply to the C 658, as most of them duplicate functions currently included in the unit.
 
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First post here, hi team!
I'm really interested in this unit and feel encouraged by the positive feedback on here. I also really appreciate all you early adopters doing the QC testing for the rest of us ;)

I've only just started researching options to replace my AVR as I've ditched my surround speakers, and it's slightly shocking to me how few 2 channel units offer this range of feature in 2021. The 2 channel world seems to be slowly awakening from a long night in the analogue dark ages!

My question is, I must assume NAD is soon planning a replacement to it's M12 pre-amp which would surely include all of the features in the C658 and maybe some more. We are crystal balling here, but other than inaudible SINAD improvements, can anyone imagine features a replacement M12 might have that would make it worth waiting for? The only thing I can think of is HDMI passthrough, but that's already available as an add-on to the C658.
 
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Daniellu

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I learned a lot from here, thank you everyone! I have a question and I am not sure I am thinking correctly. I probably would not particularly like the inbuilt ESS DAC inside C658. If I use a better DAC, and I really like Dirac function in C658 (and it's the main reason I will buy it), I use the good DAC analogue output into C658, then C658 has AD conversion for Dirac process , then DA converting (must be using its ESS dac ?). It seems there is no point to use a better DAC in such application. is this right? thanks in advance.
 
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First post here, hi team!
I'm really interested in this unit and feel encouraged by the positive feedback on here. I also really appreciate all you early adopters doing the QC testing for the rest of us ;)

I've only just started researching options to replace my AVR as I've ditched my surround speakers, and it's slightly shocking to me how few 2 channel units offer this range of feature in 2021. The 2 channel world seems to be slowly awakening from a long night in the analogue dark ages!

My question is, I must assume NAD is soon planning a replacement to it's M12 pre-amp which would surely include all of the features in the C658 and maybe some more. We are crystal balling here, but other than inaudible SINAD improvements, can anyone imagine features a replacement M12 might have that would make it worth waiting for? The only thing I can think of is HDMI passthrough, but that's already available as an add-on to the C658.
Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath on that M12 replacement. But that's pure guesswork. Another personal opinion: it's difficult to see what features are left to add to the C658.

It certainly would make sense from a marketing standpoint for NAD to "clone" the C658 into a product in the "Masters" (M) series. One could imagine such a thing with better SINAD, maybe a better DAC chip (although it's hard to say that there's anything particularly bad about the ESS 9028), a few other tweaks. For the truly spec-conscious, that would seem to be appealing. As it is, I would be very curious to A/B the M12 and the C658 to see if there is any audible difference.
 
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