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NAD C 658

BluOS™ network player/preamp/DAC with Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®

1 Review | 1 question - 1 answer

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Overview

Our take on the NAD C 658

I'm hard-pressed to think of a streaming source the NAD C 658 can't handle. It's compatible with popular services like Spotify®, Deezer, TIDAL, and Napster, as well as Qobuz, a promising new high-resolution music service. It also plays free internet radio stations from TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio. Built-in BluOS software means you can create a wireless multi-room audio system with Bluesound wireless speakers. And there's two-way Bluetooth with aptX HD, for playing audio content from your phone or connecting to wireless headphones.

A wireless streaming winner

I'm hard-pressed to think of a streaming source the NAD C 658 can't handle. It's compatible with popular services like Spotify®, Deezer, TIDAL, and Napster, as well as Qobuz, a promising new high-resolution music service. It also plays free internet radio stations from TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio. Built-in BluOS software means you can create a wireless multi-room audio system with Bluesound wireless speakers. And there's two-way Bluetooth with aptX HD, for playing audio content from your phone or connecting to wireless headphones.

It's also a preamp

If you have a few wired components you'd like to bring into the system, the C 658 has two coaxial digital and two Toslink optical inputs for digital sources. There are a couple of stereo analog RCA inputs, too. And vinyl lovers can use the dedicated phono input to connect any turntable with a moving magnet cartridge. If you keep digital files on a networked storage device, you can select songs using the BluOS mobile app, or you can plug a USB thumb drive into the USB port on the back.

A wealth of high-resolution streaming options

BluOS can send 24-bit high-res music to any room in your home, without any loss of sound quality. Stream music from your personal library or from internet streaming services. The selection of supported services — including TIDAL, Spotify®, and Rhapsody®, among others — is one of the most impressive we've seen.

A free app with advanced control options

Operate your system via Wi-Fi® using the BluOS Controller app with your Apple® or Android™ device, or your Windows® or Mac® computer. It gives you flexible control over your music system, letting you access, control, and stream music to different BluOS-enabled zones. Synchronize multiple audio zones, or stream different music to different zones at the same time. You can even use your Apple Watch to control your system.

Product Highlights:

    Features:
    • connects to your home network via wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi for music streaming
      • includes support for Spotify, Deezer, TIDAL, Qobuz, Slacker, Radio Paradise, Napster, Murfie, and Calm Radio
      • free internet radio from TuneIn Radio and iHeartRadio
    • two-way Bluetooth streaming with aptX HD
    • BluOS compatibility for further expansion with Bluesound wireless speakers
      • free BluOS controller app for iOS®, Android, Windows, and Mac OS X
    • compatible file types: MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, and AIFF
      • supports high-resolution playback (up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution)
    • 2-way Bluetooth® with high-quality aptX HD coding for playing Bluetooth sources or connecting to wireless headphones and speakers
    • built-in dual-band Wi-Fi
    • Dirac Live® Room Correction software (may require firmware update)
    • works with Amazon Alexa-compatible voice control assistants
    Connections:
    • Ethernet port for wired connection to a home network
    • 2 unbalanced stereo analog RCA inputs
    • phono input for turntables with moving magnet cartridges
    • 2 Toslink optical digital audio inputs
    • 2 coaxial digital audio inputs
    • unbalanced stereo analog RCA preamp output
    • balanced stereo analog XLR preamp output
    • dedicated analog output for powered subwoofer
    • USB Type A input for connecting a USB memory stick or compatible hard drive
    • IR and 12-volt trigger connections for use with external controllers
    • 1/4" stereo headphone output on front panel
    Specifications:

    What's in the Box:

    • BluOS Streaming DAC
    • 6' AC power cord
    • Remote control (SR9)
    • 2 "AA" batteries
    • 2 Antennas
    • Auto calibration microphone
    • USB microphone adapter
    • Quick Setup Guide
    • Internet Update Guidelines
    • Warranty Card
    • BluOS brochure
    • Dirac Live brochure

    Featured Video

    Reviews

    NAD C 658 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (1 Review)

    NAD C 658 is a game changer

    Lawrence from Palmdale, CA on 1/26/2019

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    NAD C 658 is a game changer. Several years ago, I created a dedicated stereo system for the purpose of listening to my NAS stored CDs, purchased HiRes music, and SACDs. I was not satisfied with the performance of an old home theatre preamp that I was using so I have been looking for a solution for over a year. I have been watching news about the development of a new hifi device that was being described as a digital preamp but most were priced over $8,000 which is beyond my budget. Even though NAD does not call the C 658 a preamp, in fact it is and so much more. The C 658 replaced a dedicated PC, DAC, headphone amp, and preamp that had cost over $10,000 with one magnificent component. Connected to NAD M22 v2 amp, Paradigm Prestige 95F stereo speakers, and Ethernet CAT6 Gigabit LAN for connection to NAS and internet Tidal Masters MQA listening, I was blown away with the warmth and depth that the C 658 provided for both NAS stored music and streaming. There is not enough space to talk about all the features this wonderful component offers, read the NAD datasheet or owners manual. I do want to let you know that the performance is so impressive, I have spent every available moment listening to music with a permanent smile. As an unexpected bonus, I even plugged in my two favorite headphones (Sony MDR-Z1R & Oppo PM1) into the C 658, wow. Even the headphone amp in the C 658 offered a new warmth and depth I never heard before. Well done NAD, this device is a game changer.

    Pros: Preamp/DAC/streamer as one component, BluOS, Roon supported, full MQA rendering, music reproduction far surpasses price category. Modular Design allows for future upgrades.

    Cons: Dirac Live was not yet available for C 658, NAD support advises update should be out in several weeks. MDC modules listed in owners manual are not yet available.

    Details

    Hands-on research

    Product Research

    Audio Section
    BluOS Enabled
    Remote Control

    Audio Section

    High Resolution Performance: The NAD C 658 BluOS Streaming DAC offers high resolution performance from input to output. It features the ESS Sabre 32-bit DAC, one of the best performing DACs on the market today with its 118dB Dynamic Range and incredibly low jitter spec. All preamp functions are executed in the digital domain including the same wide range non-truncating digital volume control used in our Masters Series components. This offers an incredibly short analog signal path that, rather uniquely, is identical for all volume settings. Sophisticated active power supplies provide super clean voltages to all circuits to keep noise and distortion at the edge of measurability.

    • Supported Audio File Formats: MQA, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, ACC, MP3, WMA, and OGG
    • Native Sampling Rates: up to 32-bit/192kHz
    • Bit-Depths: 16 to 24 bit

    Dirac Live Room Correction: The C 658 employs Dirac Live Room Correction software that delivers optimized sound quality for your home theater system. The built-in Lite version of the computer software (for Windows or Mac), with the option to upgrade to a full-featured version for $99, measures the acoustic performance of the system within the listening room and optimizes playback performance to provide the most transparent music reproduction possible. The setup process is automated and very simple, giving you the control they need to precisely tune for the best results. With Dirac Live, you can build the perfect listening environment that corrects for both the timing and colorations in sound using the supplied microphone and its powerful computer software.

    Note: Dirac Live will become available via a network software update later in 2019 (subject to change).

    Tone Control + Analog Bypass: The NAD C 658 lets you adjust Bass (60Hz) & Treble (20kHz) from -7 to +7dB, as well as Balance between the left & right channels (L10 to R10). Analog Bypass mode allows analog signals to remain in the analog domain without analog-to-digital conversion. In Analog Bypass mode, all DSP circuitry is bypassed, but full tone control functions remain activate.

    Analog Line-Level Inputs: The NAD C 658 offers two analog line-level inputs consisting of stereo RCA jacks. These two analog stereo RCA inputs can accommodate all kinds of analog line-level source components by offering ideal input impedance characteristics with linear ultra-low-noise buffer amplifiers to prevent any sonic degradation caused by inappropriate loading of the source device.

    High-Quality MM Phono Input Stage: The NAD C658 includes a high-quality MM phono input stage with precisely accurate RIAA equalization, high overload margins, extremely low noise, and an innovative circuit to suppress infrasonic noise that is present on all LPs - all without affecting bass response.

    Optical & Coaxial Digital Input: The NAD C 658 is equipped with two optical (toslink) digital inputs and two coaxial (RCA) digital inputs. These digital inputs will support 2ch PCM audio up to 24-bit/192kHz (not compatible with Dolby Digital/DTS).

    USB-A Port: The NAD C 658 is equipped with a rear-panel USB-A port for connection of a USB mass storage class (MSC) device, such as a thumbdrive or external hard-drive (an external hard-drive will require separate AC power). The unit's USB-A port supports playback of a variety of compressed and high-resolution music files stored on a compatible USB MSC device formatted in FAT 32, NTFS, or Linux ext4. Your connected USB MSC device will appear as a local source within the BluOS app on your Apple iOS or Android OS device. Access and playback of music files stored on your connected USB MSC device will be done through the BluOS app.

    Notes:
    • The USB-A port is not compatible with the direct connection of an Apple iOS or Android device.
    • There is also a rear-panel miniUSB port that is used for service purposes only (not for consumer use). Only authorized service personnel can access this miniUSB port.

    Bluetooth aptX HD: The NAD C 658 features two-way wireless Bluetooth capability that is powered by aptX HD for the highest possible sound quality available. aptX HD supports 48kHz/24-bit LPCM audio over a Bluetooth wireless connection for a "better-than-CD" listening experience. The C 685 can act as a Bluetooth Receiver or Bluetooth Transmitter (but not both at the same time). The Bluetooth Receiver and Transmitter modes are only accessible via the BluOS App. You can pair multiple devices with the BluOS Streaming DAC, but only one device can be connected and used at a time (the BluOS Controller app must be used for pairing). The NAD C 658 has a Bluetooth wireless range of approximately 33'.

    • Receiver Mode: In Receiver mode, you can wirelessly stream stored music and music apps from your smartphones, tablets and laptops to the NAD C 658. You can control basic playback functions (Play/Pause & Previous/Next Track) from the included remote, but your Bluetooth source device will have to be used for more advanced music navigation. The C 658 does not display song/artist/album information. However, you can view song/artist information and album art from the BluOS app on your Apple iOS or Android device.
    • Transmitter (Headphone) Mode: In Transmitter mode, you can wirelessly stream analog & digital inputs of the C 658 and BluOS network content to a set of Bluetooth enabled headphones (only one set of headphones can be connected at a time). Because the NAD C 658 does not support Receiver & Transmitter mode simultaneously, you cannot listen to a Bluetooth audio streaming source on a set of Bluetooth headphones through the C 658. There is no audio output from the C 658's preamp or headphone outputs when the unit is wirelessly streaming to a set of Bluetooth headphones.
    Note: Make sure the included Bluetooth antenna is installed on the rear-panel of the unit for wireless Bluetooth connectivity.

    Balanced & Unbalanced Preamp Outputs: The NAD C 658 BluOS Streaming DAC offers both Balanced (XLR) and Unbalanced (RCA) preamp outputs to connect to your power amplifier. Balanced connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality. The preamp outputs can be set to Variable or Fixed.

    • Variable: The volume level of the NAD C 658 is controlled from the BluOS Streaming DAC's front-panel volume know or the included remote control.
    • Fixed: The output level is fixed and the C 658's volume control is bypassed. This feature is sometimes referred to as "Cinema Bypass" because it allows the C 658 to be used for the front channels of a surround sound system by relegating the volume control function to a surround processor.

    Dual Sub Outputs: The NAD C 658 is equipped with two discrete mono-RCA sub outputs to connect up to two powered subwoofers.

    High Current Dedicated Headphone Amplifier: The NAD C 658 incorporates a discrete headphone amplifier with low output impedance and very high output voltage capability, enough to drive even high impedance studio monitor headphones. Connecting a set of headphone to unit's front-panel 1/4" jack will mute the preamp outputs. Volume, tone, and balance controls are all operable during headphone listening.

    Modular Design Construction (MDC): The C 658 incorporates a unique feature called Modular Design Construction that is exclusive to NAD. With MDC, all major digital circuits can be upgraded and replaced to keep the unit forever young and capable. This NAD innovation is a unique architecture that keeps pace with the fast-changing world of technology. With MDC, the ability to easily upgrade a component to include future digital formats is totally unique and unprecedented. Though installation and setup of any MDC module is straightforward, you are encouraged to have this upgrade professionally installed by their authorized NAD dealer. The C 658 comes with two MDC slots for future expansion.

    • Optional HDMI Module: The optional HDM-2 MDC module (sold separately) adds HDMI audio/video switching capability to the C 658 with three HDMI input terminals and one HDMI output. It supports 4K@60 4:4:4, HDR10, and is HDCP 2.2 compliant. With MDC HDM-2 installed, C 658 supports HDMI Control (CEC) and Audio Return Channel (ARC) functions. Both functions are possible if external devices that also support both features are connected to the C 658 via HDMI connection

    BluOS Enabled

    Wired or Wireless Network Connection: The NAD C 658 can connect to your home network and Internet provider via a hardwired Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) jack connector or wireless WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) connection. Either network/internet connection allows you to stream music from internet radio, select online music services and stored music libraries on your network using BluOS.

    Note: Make sure the included WiFi antenna is installed on the rear-panel of the unit if you will be using a wireless WiFi network connection.

    BluOS Wireless High-Resolution Multiroom Audio: The NAD C 658 is part of the BluOS wireless high-resolution multiroom audio eco-system - consisting of powered speakers, soundbar speakers, amplifiers, players, and hard-drives. The BluOS wireless high-resolution multiroom audio ecosystem uses your home's wired or wireless network to connect multiple Bluesound products and play your music in perfect sync, or different music simultaneously, anywhere in your home. BluOS can wirelessly transmit lossless music up to 24-bit/192kHz at ultra-fast speeds with no lag and zero loss in sound quality.

    • Compatible Multiroom Audio Sources: The following audio sources can be used for multiroom audio playback - internet radio (including TuneIn & iHeart Radio); online music services (including Tidal, Spotify, Amazon, Deezer, Slacker, and Napster); Bluetooth & USB audio, music libraries (from computers and NAS drives); and Aux inputs (analog or digital).
    • Number of BluOS Zones: Up to 16 Bluesound devices can be connected in a strictly wireless environment. Demonstrated practice has shown that you can create up to 8 groups of 8 Bluesound devices or 4 groups of 16 Bluesound devices. If you want to connect more than 16 Bluesound devices, you will need to connect the Bluesound devices to your network using a wired connection. BluOS can then control up to 64 devices in a strictly wired environment.
    Note: Make sure the NAD C 658 has the latest BluOS software and firmware update installed.

    BluOS Controller App: The free BluOS Controller app (for Apple iOS 9.3-up, Android OS 4.1-up, Windows XP-up, and Mac OS X 10.7-up) turns your mobile device or computer into a full-featured wireless remote control for the NAD C 658 and the BluOS wireless multiroom audio system. The BluOS Controller app on your compatible device uses your home's WiFi network to connect with Bluesound devices, so you can play all the music you love anywhere in your home for a wireless multiroom music experience. Get on-demand access to your music libraries on your home network, stream live Internet radio from almost any place in the world, or listen to one of the many music services available on Bluesound, all from the palm of your hand with the easy-to-use BluOS Controller app.

    • Multiroom Audio: Play a different song at the same time in different rooms, or group all your BluOS enabled devices together and listen to your favorite music in perfect sync throughout your home.
    • Now Playing Screen: Control your music and adjust the volume in any room, get rich album artwork and detailed artist info, right from the Now Playing screen. Even check what quality you are streaming at to ensure the best possible listening experience.
    • Individual Songs & Playlists: Tap a song and have it play instantly, or create and edit playlists on the fly by simply adding songs or entire albums to the play queue. Playlists can then be saved inside the app and listened to at any time.

    Alexa Compatible: The NAD C 658 BluOS Streaming DAC will support Amazon Alexa and voice control through an over-the-network firmware update (now available). Using an Amazon Alexa enabled device (sold separately), you can use your voice to explore music services, select presets, adjust volume levels, switch up songs in different rooms, or even group your Bluesound components together and play your music in perfect sync throughout the house. Each Alexa voice command will need to start with the phrase "Alexa, ask Blue Voice to" or "Alexa, Tell Blue Voice to". Alexa Skills for BluOS will need to be setup through the Amazon Alexa app on your Apple iOS or Android device.

    Note: Click here for more information regarding Alexa setup and voice commands.

    High Resolution Audio: High-resolution audio tracks are either 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz, and contain up to 6.5x more data than standard CDs, letting you hear all the detail of your favorite music in superior quality. With full support for hi-res audio, you can stream WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, WMA-Lossless, MQA music files over your home's WiFi network or directly from a connected USB mass storage class device. Bluesound also supports compressed music files such as MP3, AAC, WMA and OGG. Bluesound has been designed to work with today's larger music collections, and has indexed libraries up to 200,000 songs in demonstrated practice (this will depend on the music's metadata & artwork). Bluesound also offers gapless playback by default for all supported file music types.

    Compression File Type Sampling Frequency Bit Rate or Bit Depth
    Compressed Lossy MP3 16-48kHz 192-320 kbps
    WMA
    AAC
    OGG
    Lossless WMA-Lossless up to 96 kHz up to 24-bit
    FLAC 192 kHz up to 24-bit
    ALAC
    MQA
    Uncompressed AIFF up 192 kHz up to 24-bit
    WAV
    Notes: Bluesound cannot index or play AAC files with the extension ".m4p". These files were purchased in iTunes prior to 2009 and are subject to copy protection. Apple Consumers with an iTunes Match subscription can delete and re-download these files free of charge from their iTunes Cloud

    Master Quality Authenticated (MQA): The NAD C 658 will playback and decodes MQA content from BluOS network audio sources. Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) is a revolutionary end-to-end technology built into the NAD C 658 that captures and delivers master quality audio. The C 658 includes a powerful decoder and audio renderer for the MQA system. This ensures that MQA-encoded audio files sound exactly like the source. MQA indicators are both shown on the front-panel display of the BluOS Streaming DAC and in the BluOS app on your compatible Apple iOS or Android OS device.

    Online Music Services: Many popular music streaming services and internet radio apps are built right into BluOS, giving you an all-access pass to millions of songs and the freedom to listen to everything you want to hear. Using the BluOS Controller app, you can instantly discover and enjoy millions of songs from your existing music services, tune in to your favorite internet radio stations and podcasts from around the world, or access and listen to the music collections stored on your smartphone, tablet or laptop on any and Bluesound in your home. Subscription and purchase fees will apply to online music services.

    • Amazon Prime: With a Amazon Prime Music subscription, you can access over 2 million songs ad-free and on-demand, as well as curated playlists and personalized stations. Upgrade to an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription to access tens of millions of songs.
    • Spotify Connect: If you subscribe to Spotify Premium and have the Spotify App on your Apple iOS or Android smartphone, you can stream Spotify to the Bluesound system using Spotify Connect. Spotify is a digital music service that gives you on-demand access to one of the largest music libraries in the world (over 15 million tracks and counting). Spotify makes it easier than ever to discover, manage, and share music with your friends. You can browse music by artist, album, track, or most popular; and create your own music library with customized playlists.
    • TIDAL: TIDAL is a global streaming service that offers over 30 million songs in high-fidelity CD sound quality. TIDAL has two pricing tiers; either $9.99 or $19.99 a month. Both pricing levels allow you to access TIDAL's entire music library. The $19.99 tier has the added benefit of high-fidelity sound at CD-level quality
    • TuneIn: The Bluesound system includes access to more than 70,000 free internet radio streams from all corners of the globe via the TuneIn internet radio service. Just select the TuneIn logo from the main Music menu and browse among the 70,000 stations neatly organized into popular categories and select a station that appeals to your mood.
    • iHeart Radio: iHeart Radio is a free, all-in-one digital radio and music streaming service that lets you listen to thousands of live stations from across the country and allows you to create personalized custom stations featuring songs from the artist you select and similar music.
    • Napster: Napster is a streaming music subscription service (starting a $10 per month) that allows you to play the full-length songs you choose on demand from a collection of over 10 million songs, without ads and without having to purchase or download the music.
    • Slacker: Get the sound quality that you deserve with the new Slacker music library available in high-quality AAC audio on Bluesound. Listen to music streams at a bitrate of 320kbps and enjoy all your favorite Slacker stations in pristine MP3-quality.
    • Deezer: Deezer lets you explore over 53 million tracks (and counting), and discover artists and tracks you'll love with personalized recommendations from the Deezer Editors. Bluesound even supports Deezer HiFi for lossless quality ($19.99 per month).
    • Other Services: Other online music services include Qobuz, HighResAudio, Murfie, JUKE, KKBox, SoundMachine, and more.
    Note: Availability of online music services may vary by region. Not all services may be available at time of purchase. Some services may be added or discontinued from time to time based on decisions of the music service providers or others.

    Computer Audio: BluOS lets you easily connect and share your music collection from a computer or network-attached storage drive and access up to 200,000 tracks for wireless streaming. The BluOS wireless music system will pull music from an existing digital music library across the network on your Windows PC, Mac computer, or NAS drive using Windows or SMB File Sharing (SAMBA) and the BluOS Controller app for Windows (XP-up) & Mac (OS X 10.7-up). However, File Sharing is not enabled by default on Windows or Mac. You will have to manually alter these settings in your computer's menu system.

    Remote Control

    IR Remote: The included IR remote control handles the key functions of the NAD C 658, and provides basic playback function for BluOS network content and Bluetooth audio streaming. The IR remote can also be used to directly command other NAD products that respond to applicable common remote control codes. This includes NAD Stereo Receivers, Integrated Amplifiers, and Preamplifiers. It has additional controls to remotely operate NAD CD Players and AM/FM Tuners. It will operate up to a distance of 23'. The remote requires two "AA" alkaline batteries (included).

    Note: You can also program universal IR remotes to operate key functions of the NAD C 658 BluOS Streaming DAC. However, the BluOS app for Apple iOS and Android OS devices will be required for BluOS network streaming content access.

    12V Trigger In/Out: The +12V trigger output lets you turn on/off another device along with the NAD C 658. The BluOS Streaming DAC can also be turned on/off by another device using the +12V trigger input. The units' +12V trigger input and output consists of female 3.5mm jacks.

    IR In/Out: The IR input is used to control the NAD C 658 using an optional infrared repeater system (sold separately) or the IR output of another component. The C 658's IR output can be used for control of another NAD component. The units' IR input and output consists of female 3.5mm jacks.

    Auto Standby w/ Auto Sense: The NAD C658 BluOS Streaming DAC can be setup to automatically go into standby mode if there is no user interface interaction and no active source input for 20 minutes. The Auto Sense feature enables the C 658 to wake up from standby mode when triggered by a network source or active source input. Auto Standby must be set to "On" for the Auto Sense feature to work.

    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.

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    Q & A

    Customer Q&A

    Crutchfield asked  
    Why did you buy this?

    Roon ready and with Dirac live. [ George  Jan 14, 2019 ]
    Was looking for a stereo preamp with advanced DAC/streaming features. Was impressed with C658 features such as DAC with MQA support, BluOS, Dirac Live room correction and preamp specifications that exceed NAD Masters M12 at half the cost. Looks like M12 will need to be updated, in the mean time, I look forward to putting the C658 in charge of my dedicated stereo. [ Lawrence  Jan 13, 2019 ]

    1 question already asked

    Yes, volume limit is provided within the BluOS settings for each device, including the C 658. Roon also provides volume limit under device settings. [ Lawrence  Jan 26, 2019 ]
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