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NAD C 538

Single-disc CD player

28 Reviews | 3 questions - 18 answers

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Overview

Our take on the NAD C 538

I've always admired the solid, no-nonsense feel I get from NAD components. For instance, the NAD C 538 CD player offers a clean, easy-to-operate front panel with raised buttons, and a vacuum fluorescent display that provides important title, track, and time information.

No-nonsense musical fidelity

I've always admired the solid, no-nonsense feel I get from NAD components. For instance, the NAD C 538 CD player offers a clean, easy-to-operate front panel with raised buttons, and a vacuum fluorescent display that provides important title, track, and time information.

Inside the vibration-resistant chassis, there's a custom-designed power supply, and a 24-bit/192kHz Wolfson digital-to-analog converter that ensures precise, accurate playback of your favorite discs.

A versatile performer

The C 538 is compatible with a variety of discs, ranging from regular CDs to home-burned CD-Rs filled with MP3 and WMA files. The included remote gives you command of the basics like "play" and "stop," plus access to repeat, random, and program modes from the comfort of your favorite chair.

Product Highlights:

  • plays CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and discs with MP3s and WMA files
  • vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) shows settings and disc playback information
  • repeat, random, and program play
  • forward and reverse skip and search functions
  • display dimmer
  • wireless remote
  • detachable power cord
  • regulated active power supply
  • Wolfson 24-bit/192KHz digital-to-analog converter
  • frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz (±0.5 dB)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 110 dB
Connections:
  • optical and coaxial digital outputs
  • stereo RCA outputs
Dimensions and Warranty:

What's in the Box:

  • Single-disc CD player
  • 6.5' AC power cord
  • Remote control (CD 8)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 5' RCA stereo cable
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Warranty Information

clean sound and easy set up. Functions as it should.

Jim, Somerville, MA

Reviews

NAD C 538 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(28 Reviews)

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Washington, DC on 11/14/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Have had this for a few weeks, sounded great out of the box and after breaking in for about 50 hours sounds even better.

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Cons:

NAD C 538

Jim from Somerville, MA on 11/13/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

clean sound and easy set up. Functions as it should.

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Cons:

Just what he wanted

Crutchfield customer from Sunnyvale, CA on 11/4/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

It was a gift for my brother. He likes it a lot.

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Cons:

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Richmond Hill, NY on 10/20/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Nice, solid player.

Pros:

Cons: None.

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Johnson City, TN on 10/16/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Super slim design and compact. Works seamlessly so far and no distortion.

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Very natural, distinct, musical sound.

Michael from Oakland, CA on 10/14/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Bought this to replace an aging NAD 512 CD player and while the 512 was good, the NAD C 538 is so much better. Much greater clarity and definition, plus clearer bass, makes my extensive CD collection really shine. It has a very natural, musical, British sound hooked up to my NAD 314 amp and original Rogers LS3/5A .speakers. I think it would be hard to find something better at this price.

Pros: Sounds great at a reasonable price. Good match for NAD components or other musical sounding gear.

Cons: None

Two units, both with issues

Russell from York, PA on 10/14/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great experience with Crutchfield, but a poor product from NAD. Fit and finish of the C538 were great: nice simple interface, great remote, etc. However during playback there was a periodic "chirp," possibly from the laser, during playback (did not occur while disc was paused). Wasn't noticeable until I played some quieter classical music, but was very distracting unacceptable. Crutchfield was great and sent me a replacement unit right away. Unfortunately, the second unit wouldn't read any discs - all were store-bought CD's which play fine in my other CD players. After inserting the disc, the unit would spin ("Loading") then read "No disc." So I was never able to confirm the first issue, since the second unit didn't work at all. Rather than tempt fate on another NAD, I had to spend a little more and tried out a Marantz unit (see separate review). Four stars for Crutchfield for their assistance - but watch out for these NAD units.

Pros: Nice form, nice price.

Cons: First unit had annoying / distracting chirp; replacement unit would not read CD's. Unable to confirm if first issue was 'normal' or a defect, but either way it wasn't acceptable.

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Washington, DC on 10/7/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This CD player took 2 minutes to install and sounds great.

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Must Buy This Player

Mark from Florida on 9/27/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

First of all, out of the box I had an issue in that the player didn't recognize a CD in the tray and indicated, 'No DISC'. I tried everything I could think of but couldn't resolve on my own. One phone call to Crutchfield and the issue was immediately remedied. It involved sending the until back and getting a new unit, which worked! Point is, Customer Support is awesome and despite a few days delay, I was up and running. Now for the product review. This CD player is awesome! Like another review, I want to reiterate that you need to burn the player in. Stick a CD in and set player to 'Repeat All' and let it go, speakers on or off. I did this with the 'Greatest Hits of Kansas' due to high harmonies and strings, organ and deep bass. A decent mix of highs, lows and middle. After a couple days of burn in, I listened to the Kansas CD on the NAD and played it side by side with my old Pioneer player. Holy moly, what a dramatic difference! I heard so much more from the NAD, than ever before! If you can compare like I did, you'll hear what I mean. That is, of course, if you purchase the NAD C538, which you must do!

Pros: Easy set up, great DAC resulting in fan sound.

Cons: None

Excellent sound and value

GLENN from Amherst, OH on 9/25/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This CD player is exactly what I was looking for. I had read lots of reviews before deciding on the NAC C538, and I see why it was so well regarded. It shipped quickly, was easy to set up, worked flawlessly and sounded great. Best of all, it was surprisingly inexpensive. I'd recommend this player to anyone.

Pros: Low cost, great sound.

Cons: None.

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Fremont, CA on 9/2/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Works great just like all the other NAD components I have. Very happy with the sound quality and features.

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NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Kenai, AK on 9/2/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very good sounding low price CD-player. This is used in bedroom as secondary system. It does not match musical ability of Marantz CD 6006 in main system, nor did I expect that. Fast forward function of Remote conflicts with NAD C326bee integrated amplifier. Amps power LED pulsates followed by non-responsive remote function(s) for several seconds on CD player part. Amplifier it self continues normal function. This does not negate purchase decision. It is surprising NAD engineers never encountered this conflict when testing components.

Pros: wide sound stage, depth-width of instruments.

Cons: some issues with remote

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Orlando, FL on 8/24/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great quality in a Home CD player. No need to put more money into one with the quality and consistency of NAD.

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Great CD player. Perfect match for NAD C 338 Amplifier

Ray from Madison, MS on 8/12/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great sounding and looking. Perfect for the NAD C338 amplifier. Very impressed with the sound and the build quality for the price. One of the better sounding CD players I have owned at any price.

Pros: Small, simple, great sound, easy to use. Nice remote

Cons: None.

Great product

Mike from Bryant, AR on 8/5/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very pleased, no skipping, great sound a big improvement.

Pros: Bring new life to my old CDs which I thought were damaged. No skipping

Cons: None,

sound quality is not direct proportional to the price we pay

kvr from Riverview, FL on 7/30/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

i wanted step up my HIfi from Elac UB5 and Elac AMP and Started with Cambridge Audio CXC CD transport and i was happy with it. Then i tried Kef r300 speaker and NAD C 388 combo , this pair has rich in detail but not exciting and engaging sound for my serious Sunday afternoon listening sessions. After day and night research finally ended up kef ls50 wireless. this is very balanced no color to instruments or vocals and very dynamic even at low volumes. again started searching for CD player which has RCA outputs, to connect Kef Ls50w and i tried with NAD C 538 with audio quest Big sur RCA cable , After playing my reference and well known song, immediately i surprised improvement in clear mids and details over Cambridge Audio CXC CD transport. i think NAD nails the performance while keeping price lowest possible. For comparison sake i purchased Feetwood mac TUSK highres 96/24 album and same album CD payed over NAD, Some reason to my ears NAD CD player sound most enjoyable and instruments are more musical. through my upgrade finally i understood in Hifi world sound quality is not direct proportional to the price we pay

Pros: Great sound quality while keeping cost low

Cons: spinning sound when i changed to last track to fist track .

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from New Orleans, LA on 7/29/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great sound, easy setup.

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NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Atascadero, CA on 7/27/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Sounds great. There is a very nice separation of instruments when listening to orchestral/symphonic music.

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Did not expect this type of quality for the price

mike from NYC on 7/24/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Just for the record, I am a pro musician, recording engineer and mastering engineer with over 35 years technical experience. I have been around all kinds of studio equipment, usually the best quality down to the mediocre. CD players are a way of life for me and I have over 5,000 CD's and LP's. Getting that load out of the way, l need to say this CD player is one of the best I've ever heard. D/A technology has come a long way since the 80's and the circuitry in this unit really shines above a lot of the much higher priced units out there today. This unit replaced a top of the line, let's called it an "M", that I only had for 8 years but was plagued with mechanical problems after the second year. I used to think the sound of that unit was above reproach, but when that unit finally died recently I had to get a new one for home. After doing a lot of reading I decided to give the NAD C 538 a try. To be totally honest, the soundstage, tight bass and overall air around instruments was immediately apparent but there was a bit of harshness to my ears around 1K to 2K. I knew instinctively, the CD player needed to be "burned in". Yes, CD players need to be burned in just like headphones. I picked a very dynamic CD I have & loaded it in & pressed "repeat all" and let it spin for 2 weeks. The results absolutely floored me. I am now hearing things I've never heard on CDs I've been listening to for over 20 years now. A testament to some awesome technology here. Highly recommended.

Pros: impeccable sound quality very quick, solid bass response, clear mids, natural highs solid CD tray and mechanics nice, clean, modern looks small footprint love the blue LED

Cons: no CD text readout does not shut off totally, only reverts to standby (but with 1/2 watt usage in standby mode, I'm not complaining)

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Whitman, MA on 7/11/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Only had it for a few days, but seems like a really nice CD player. Great sound and seems well built.

Pros:

Cons:

Easy to set up

Larry from Faribault, MN on 7/11/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'm very pleased with the Nad C 538. Great sound, plays cd'rs and about everything else. The sound is very good and natural. I have about 2000 cd's dating back to the 80's so it will get much use. The remote works well, after taking a little time to figure it out. I have it connected to a Harmon Kardon 3700 2 channel located in my bed room, with Polk bookshelf speakers and a sub woofer. NAD has been around for about 45 years and makes good stuff.

Pros: Seems to be well made, durable

Cons: None yet

A Gem Of A CD Player

Dan from Henderson, NV on 7/10/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is the best CD Player I have ever had. What you are getting here is technology that was in much higher priced units in previous models. I replaced a Cambridge C350 which I purchased about 6-7 years ago. The technology today is light years ahead which results in amazing sound quality at any price point while this is so called "entry level". I have paired with 316BEE amplifier, PP2 phono preamp, Project Debut turntable with Ortofon OM20 cartridge, Tara Labs RSC Prime M3 interconnects, Pair stand mounted Monitor Audio Silver 1Gloss Black, REL TZERO Gloss Black, Audioquest Rocket 44 Speaker Cables. This is my master bedroom system and it sounds better than primary system in living room which is much more powerful with similar but higher line products.

Pros: Great Sound, Great Remote, Great Looking

Cons: NONE

NAD C 538

Crutchfield customer from Winter Park, FL on 7/4/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very happy with my new NAD C 538.Loads discs smoothly, no skips, very fine sound with my NAD 3020 integrated amp. Super value at this price point.

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Great little CD player

Vincent from Apex, NC on 7/1/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Sounds so much better than the blu-ray player I was using before. Paired with a NAD C 368 for great sound.

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Fantastic NAD sound!

P from Clarendon Hls, IL on 6/25/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Thanks Crutchfield for such quick delivery. The C538 replaces an old NAD player that 's time had come. The sound improvement with this player is fantastic! I have always liked the clean design exterior of NAD products. I'm extremely happy w/ the sound quality w/ this player.

Pros: Amazing sound from NAD at respectable price.

Cons: EU cable included. Seems like a waste of money for something most will toss into trash.

Great value CD player

Craig from Cooper City, FL on 6/9/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This CD player has great sound. You can't beat this for the price.

Pros: Wolfson DAC makes it sound sweet.

Cons: Tray is a little cheap but it functions fine.

Best option for the money

Michael from St Paul, MN on 6/2/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This NAD C 538 replaced my 17 year old Denon player. I have to say it is a dramatic improvement. My old deck would skip at the slightest bump and would have frequent drop-outs in signal. There are none of those issues here. The fidelity is warm and listenable. I am very impressed with the clarity of the low end and the highs are smooth without a hint of harshness. There are no drop-outs and it plays both manufactured CDs and home burned CDRs without any issues. I can hear previously hidden details in all genres of music by a variety of artists from Erykah Badu to Judas Priest. When comparing my options, the NAD has the best specs of all the players in this price range. I also picked the NAD over the Cambridge Audio player at the same price because this one has seamless playback (no silent gap is added between tracks). You can't go wrong with this player at the price.

Pros: Price Build quality Fidelity

Cons: None

Just a great simple CD player

Peter from Humble, TX on 5/11/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Just a great simple CD player. I had the same feeling listening to CD's on this as I did returning to listening to some vinyl. Quality is just awesome. I have not spent too much time with the unit yet, as it is at as it is not at my main house. My wife said she has enjoyed listening to it when she has had the chance.

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Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

Disc Compatibility: The NAD C 538 single-disc CD player can play both CD-Audio and finalized CD-R/RW discs, as well as decodes MP3/WMA music files copied onto a CD-R or CD-RW disc.

Wolfson 24-Bit DAC: The 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution Wolfson DAC of the C 538 was chosen for its excellent low-level linearity and detail retrieving capabilities

Stereo RCA Output: The CD player also features a stereo RCA output for analog connection, utilizing the high quality Wolfson 24-bit/192kHz DAC.

Coaxial & Optical Digital Outputs: The coaxial output is buffered and isolated by a transformer from the converter itself, and the output impedance has been carefully tailored to produce a precise 75-ohms impedance to ensure perfect matching. This attention to detail reduces the timing errors (jitter) that could otherwise distort the digital data stream. An optical Toslink output is also provided allowing connection to devices that only provide this option.

Remote Control: In addition the unit's front-panel controls, the player includes a dedicated full-feature IR remote control for easy wireless operation.

Playback & Search Functions: The NAD C 538 single-disc CD player offers a variety of convenient playback & search functions - like Random, Repeat, Program, Direct, Skip, and Scan.

  • Random: Random playback gives the listener a random selection of all tracks on the disc.
  • Repeat: The Repeat feature allows repeat playing of either the entire disc or individual tracks.
  • Program: Up to 20 tracks can be programmed with the ability to delete tracks.
  • Direct: The remote's keypad can be used for direct track access, so you can immediately go to a music track.
  • Skip: Individual tracks can also be quickly accessed using the Skip function (Forward and Back).
  • Scan: The Scan function (Forward and Back) gives listeners the opportunity to reach specific sections of the track. 

VFL Display w/ CD-Text: The C 538's Vacuum Fluorescent (VFL) display provides clear and comprehensive information to the listener. The track number is displayed, along with current time elapsed or remaining time for complete CDs or individual tracks. The CD player will also display CD-Text for song/artist information.

AC Power: The CD player has a C7 non-polarized connection for the included power cord. The unit has a power rating of 120-240V; 50/60Hz (15W).

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Accessories
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Quality [ Robert  Dec 07, 2018 ]
after reading reviews I decided to go with this product [ Tim  Nov 30, 2018 ]
After doing some serious buying/testing/returning of a various CD players over the last month, played with the same reference CD over the same system, it is easily noticeable that CD players absolutely do sound different. Some I've bought sound too muddy. Some are too sterile and thin. This one claims to be clear but not over-crispy on the highs. That's what I'm looking for. Natural, yet still open and clear. [ Stephen  Nov 29, 2018 ]
I wanted a CD player for a compact location where I already have several good quality smaller components including a TV, DVD player, Video Tape player, AM/FM radio, Bose Ipod player with stereo speakers. I have accumulated a significant CD library many of which are on my Ipod. But I still like to select and play individual CD's which this CD player will do. [ David  Nov 28, 2018 ]
Reviews [ DAYLIN  Nov 21, 2018 ]
5 star rating main reason, will have to see how that works out! [ Bret  Nov 19, 2018 ]
Love NAD products and sound [ Henrik  Nov 19, 2018 ]
NAD equipment user since 1989 [ Zijo  Nov 16, 2018 ]
Well rated and have liked past NAD products. [ Michael  Nov 05, 2018 ]
husband researched best one.... we still use cd's [ virginia  Oct 20, 2018 ]
favourable reviews; low price [ Angela E.  Oct 06, 2018 ]
safety [ Thomas  Oct 06, 2018 ]
NAD quality by personal experience and company reputation. The reviews on Crutchfield. The modest price. [ Herbert M  Oct 05, 2018 ]
Ordered one before. Excellent quality. [ R. J.  Sep 30, 2018 ]
Good reviews at good price. Replacing NAD 512 CD player in an all NAD system with Rogers original LS3/5A speakers. [ Michael  Sep 28, 2018 ]
Price and performance per reviews. [ SCOTT C  Sep 12, 2018 ]
I wanted an affordable CD player with an optical output. The six year warranty was the deciding factor for my final choice.. [ Wyatt  Sep 01, 2018 ]
I needed a entry-level audiophile CD player for a new apartment at a good price and I've always loved the simple design and high value of NAD equipment. [ Mitch  Aug 20, 2018 ]
I have heard nothing but good things about it. [ StevieG  Aug 04, 2018 ]
I like NAD products and my old Sony CD died [ Homer  Aug 04, 2018 ]
From the review of your site. [ Timothy  Aug 03, 2018 ]
Looking for a second player for another room and the NAD has no negative reviews so far! [ Phillip  Jul 26, 2018 ]
Designed in Canada, assembled in China, 2 year warranty parts and labor. I am previous owner of many NAD components and they are generally reliable and understated. Although I listen mostly to MP3 these days, I still need a dedicated CD player for the big Tannoys and my last player (assembled in Malaysia) started skipping after only 3 months. [ kermit  Jul 14, 2018 ]
Recommendation for Trevor [ Ratnesh  Jul 05, 2018 ]
I chose this product based on it's price, feature set, and my complete satisfaction with prior NAD products I've purchased. I chose Crutchfield for their unparalleled quality of service. [ Alan  Jun 06, 2018 ]
recommended [ john  May 17, 2018 ]
crutchfield review [ Thomas  Apr 17, 2018 ]

3 questions already asked

There is nothing special that you need to do. Typically a burn in period is described in hours, after which many people find a change in the sound quality. Some people may put some music on and leave on repeat to hasten the burn in. It is a very subjective thing. [ Peter  Dec 07, 2018 ]
what does burned in mean? [ PETER  Dec 06, 2018 ]
A drift in response time is an undesirable drawback in high end audio gear, easiest way is to use a cd with a wide dynamic range and put it on repeat, let it run day and night at low volume for 2-5 days [ ROGER  Dec 06, 2018 ]
Greetings Keith: This is a lower priced machine. The electronics are all surface mount and the only mechanical part is the transport. I play a wide variety of music from classical to black metal including many CD'Rs. It has seemed to improve on playback as it has been used, slightly. I would say that use effects the transport the most as the parts wear in. This is my personal opinion. Speakers in a system are a different matter and do require break in. Hope this helps Larry [ Larry  Dec 06, 2018 ]
It will play CD-Rs fine and according to the instruction sheet it will play random, track,, files. I haven't used the random play or other features but it sounds like it will do what you want. It's a great sounding player, and works great. [ Larry  Oct 05, 2018 ]
My best answer is that the writer needs to ask this question of the manufacturer. I am not the person to ask, given I have little knowledge of the request. The tray has one slot; beyond that, I see no way for the player to accept multiple discs. [ C  Oct 05, 2018 ]
Adam Good Friday Morning: I am afraid you are asking me about an option I am not presently using. Sorry! I can tell you that this NAD CD Player is OUTSTANDING! it has exceeded my expectations as far as sound and performance.... I hope this helps. [ Thomas J Mc  Oct 05, 2018 ]
I do not know [ john  Oct 05, 2018 ]
UPS 3-Day delivery [ Nancy  Aug 10, 2018 ]
Sorry, don't remember but it arrived safe and sound. [ mike  Aug 09, 2018 ]
I believe it was shipped via UPS Ground, Promptly and without damage. Works great too! [ William  Aug 08, 2018 ]
UPS 2nd day air !! [ Silvio  Aug 08, 2018 ]
UPS ground. Arrived safely. [ John  Aug 08, 2018 ]
Mine came UPS. [ Craig  Aug 08, 2018 ]
UPS [ jisung  Aug 08, 2018 ]
Ups very fast n free! [ Noel  Aug 08, 2018 ]
UPS [ JEFFREY  Aug 08, 2018 ]
Ups [ Tim  Aug 08, 2018 ]
Articles

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NAD C568

NAD C 568

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In Stock

$699.99

Add to Cart

Improved power supply and more inputs

The NAD C 568 offers these features:

toroidal power supply

USB input on the front panel

IR and 12-volt trigger inputs

signal-to-noise ratio of 118 dB