Anyone have any experience with the new  NAD C 658 DAC / Streamer ? It has a ESS Sabre Chipset but not sure exactly which one.

Contemplating this unit new or a used Mytek Brooklyn or PS Audio PerfectWave. 

Any input greatly appreciated.


To be honest, I almost passed on the NAD due to the negative review from Audio Science Review, as well as the many complaints on AVS when this unit was released. Essentially it had a bad rollout. One of the the things that caught my eye was the argument that the software updates addressed many of the initial complaints, essentially making the unit we have today, a different unit from when it was reviewed. Don’t ask me how or what, but at the time it seemed rational which convinced me to purchase a refurbished one - because I’m cheap like that, and I have student loans and a mortgage. Plus I wasn’t fully convinced. 

Learning DIRAC is really key with this unit. Understanding the target curves and curtains, making sure you’re taking good measurements. Each of those points I just mentioned could be broken down into separate sections of tips and hints. Utilization of the UMIK-1 is helpful, too. I wouldn’t say this is a “complicated” unit, but it’s not a set it and forget unit - at least when starting off and planning on using DIRAC. 

Education really pays off. So much so, that I would say that this unit is more than just one step-up from the Node 2i, especially if you have a difficult room.

Reviving this thread to chime in with my NAD C658 experience over the last few months.  I was coming from a Denafrips Ares II R2R DAC and an Allo USBridge streamer running Volumio.  My goals were to reduce box and cable count, move on from Volumio's annoying network issues and bugginess, and improve the sound of a small and challenging room with Dirac. 

The C658 did all of that flawlessly.  The BluOS platform has been rock solid over wifi, with not a single dropout.  Dirac was an absolute game changer in terms of taming excess bass and cleaning up imaging.  The built-in phono stage is a nice "extra" that seemed comparable in sound quality to my Pro-ject Phono Box DC, which I then sold.  So lots of big wins in terms of usability, convenience, and network solidity.

Sound quality is very good, though my Denafrips Ares II had a more organic and dimensional presentation.  The NAD countered with a bit more detail and precision, but I would definitely take the Denafrips on sound quality alone.  This is a preference thing - I expect the two DACs are on similar planes of performance overall.  

While I preferred the Denafrips on sound quality all else equal, the C658's Dirac function meant all else was decidedly not equal.  Dirac's impact on bass performance especially was so positive that it far outweighed any sound quality differences between the DACs.

It looks like NAD's prices have increased, which pushes the C658 closer in price to something like the Lumin D2.  From what I've read (not heard), the Lumin probably bests the C658 on sound quality, but the C658's Dirac and Tidal Connect functions mean I wouldn't be willing to make that switch at this point.

I've seen the reports of issues with the sub-outs.  I don't use subs in this system so can't comment on that.

Overall, the simplicity, network solidity, and hugely positive impact from Dirac are going to entrench the C658 in my system for a long time, even if the sonic presentation isn't exactly to my preference.  

Hope this is helpful to anyone who's considering the NAD.


I've been running the C658 a couple of years now, and it is a wonderful product. Lots of comments on people's experience so far, but was searching for DAC info as well, I stumbled across the forum. The DAC used still remains unanswered so for completeness I'll add it. Although difficult to find, I did discover it uses the ES9028PRO. Source data can be found on NAD site their white paper, and ESS site.

Many other forums have comments that the DAC is an old generation 2 channel, and since the C658 with MDC modules can in fact enable AV features, that seemed odd to me. Hope this is helpful If the wordpress link is not reachable click on the white paper link from the NAD site.