In recent years we see more and more all-in-one devices appearing on the market and although initially people looked down on these crammed boxes, they seem to determine the future of the audio world today; the year 2020. In recent months we have seen the birth of the Nad M10, Hegel H120, Arcam SA30 and Linn Klimax to name but a few. Even high-end manufacturer dCS jumped on the cart with the great Bartók. These all-in-one 2.0 devices not only sound better than ever, they also drastically reduce the number of boxes, make a hi-fi rack unnecessary and often look very stylish. What’s not to like, the price maybe? Time for the NAD C 658.
After the test of the special Nad M10, today it’s time for the budget-friendly Nad C658 BluOS Streaming Dac. Quite a mouthful and that’s why from now on, to keep it readable, we’re talking about the Nad C 658. Yet the name says a lot about how we should look at this device. A d/a converter with which you can stream. A different approach than the M10 and especially a different price range. But one with almost as many possibilities and with Dirac Live Room Correction!
The dac that Nad implemented in the C 658 is based on a 32-bit ESS Sabre chip (type not known) that plays PCM, DSD, is MQA compatible and processes everything up to 192kHz. The BluOS streaming module is a well-developed Node that is Roon Ready but can also be controlled via the great BluOS app. And if that’s not enough, you can also use it as a preamp. For this, Nad uses the digital volume control, we know very well from the Masters series
If you have a better preamplifier you can connect it but then you will add extra boxes and that’s not really the intention here. But it’s possible. We suspect that the most common configurations will be adding a (Nad) power amplifier or connecting it directly to active speakers. This device seems to us as an ideal hub to use in conjuction with a television set-up. Enjoy watching Netflix or playing games because everything can be connected to the dac.