Am looking to get a roon ready streamer/preamp that supports all the usual stuff + has HDMI/arc connection for TV integrations and so that volume and input switching can be controlled from my LG TV remote.
It would replace a Naim uniti qute 2 (which I have connected to Naim NAP 200 power amp and dynaudio evoke 10 speakers). The NAD c658 looks like the most reasonable option in the UK that does all the necessary stuff at a sensible price (in any case the Naim 272 doesn’t support Roon or qobuz directly and is expensive).
I get the impression from comments elsewhere that the 658 does work with Roon, but isn’t certified, at least yet. Would appreciate any comments on whether this upgrade is sensible and of course don’t want to be in a situation where it sounds worse than what I have already.
I have owned a NAD C 658 for a few months. It replaced a Cambridge Audio Azur 851C. The 851C had issues playing anything greater than redbook (16/44).
The reasons I bought the NAD were built in Dirac, multiple analog inputs, MQA and the ability to stream ROON via WiFi from an hard wired server (MacBook Pro).
I cannot comment on the sound quality of the NAD vs. your Naim. I can say that the combination of hardwired (ethernet) streaming to the NAD sounds better to me than the Cambridge with MacBook via USB.
To me, built in Dirac is the most valuable feature on the NAD. I have used Dirac for years and consider it essential.
I find that the NAD has quirks that are frustrating, but not deal killers:
– ROON loses connection between the NAD occasionally, requiring reloading on ROON to “find” the NAD once again.
– The NAD fixed vs. variable volume sometimes changes the setting- for axample from -20 dB to 0dB- seeming on its own. This can be startling and perhaps even dangerous for speakers. I notice this only when running Dirac calibration and have learned to double check before performing the first measurement.
I also make certain that I am not an “early adopter” when firmware/software updates are available for either NAD or ROON. Sometimes unexpected issues will arise- something I would rather read about than experience.
Bottom line- I am overall well pleased with the C 658 with the above caveats.
Hi just to clarify a few things. Does the C658 support RAAT? Has anyone used it in a multiroom config? How is its timming I read somewhere that bluos devices had issues with timming and integration with other RAAT enabled devices. Does MQA work via roon? Basically is it a roon ready device without the certification at this stage (quirks accepted).I have a pair of old Arcam alpha 10 power amps and was looking for a pre amp with ht bypass to integrate into my avr and this seems to tick the boxes but im confused by reviews and comments about it can be used with roon but its not certified or even roon tested. Sorry for all the questions
Thanks, just the kind of feedback I was looking for! The problems you mentioned sound like things I have from time to time with my current set up. I don’t think streaming tech as a whole is totally bullet proof yet, so those issues don’t sound too off putting…
I understood from researching this a bit that it is currently a fully functional Roon endpoint, just not certified. Be interesting to know why it isn’t yet certified, maybe some friction or something… There is a thread about MQA support here and it suggests that whilst there have been some problems it works, for most people, on latest firmware update. As to multiroom, that is really a Roon thing (unless you are using blue os multiroom instead) so it is hard to see how the 658 would work differently in that respect
Generally, if you look at the problems people report on any product it is very hard to tell whether what they are experiencing is a general problem, an individual fault or just a setup/user error. So I tend to reject anomalous complaints if the balance of responses are positive.
It is a very usable end point in my many months with it. Sounds and looks great. Dirac Live so much easier to use than virtual cable dance I was doing with standalone version. Phono and headphone functions are of good quality.
Nagging issues have slowly improved over time. MQA was broken for a while and now fixed. Random clicks with some changes in network state and/or sample rate seem to be fixed. Occasional disconnects from network becoming less frequent. to non existent. Complaints in other forums about defective sub outs or sub levels being too low are not happening in my experience. Cannot comment on problems with analog pass through others have reported - but trying to combine 2 channel and surround systems seems to me a fraught idea to begin with.
It is a complicated piece that really has no competition considering ALL of its features and price. Don’t expect perfection, and be patient with software changes - and it will serve must people very well.
My newer M10 has been a bit more finicky - but I’m confident it will get where it needs to be with updates. Still very usable and enjoyable in the day to day.
I should add that in cases where Roon has lost touch with the unit, I sometimes just use the Bluesound app and reboot whatever needs attention later. I stream via Tidal almost exclusively, so the Bluesound app essentially functions as Roon lite for me. On iOS I actually prefer the Bluesound app controls to Roon. The response is snappier and grouping is more streamlined.
I use it multi room all the time. Sync is usually dead on. There were early issues, reportedly on Bluesound’s end - but all is good now.