At Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF), currently underway in Denver, CO, NAD Electronics is showing off three new AV products: the C658 BluOS streaming DAC, D 3045 hybrid digital DAC/amplifier, and the C 588 belt-drive turntable.
Combining a quality preamplifier, DAC, and BluOS streamer, the C 658 includes BluOS, Bluetooth aptX HD, Dirac Live Room Correction, and Modular Design Construction.
BluOS-enabled, it offers native support for high-res streaming services, and indexing of over 250,000 tracks from local network sources. Effectively, it can serve as node in the BluOS ecosystem, allowing hi-res network streaming to 64 zones and control options for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS phones, tablets and desktop devices.
The C 658 features two-way wireless Bluetooth capability powered by aptX HD. Users can easily stream music from smartphones, tablets and laptops or can also use its integrated two-way Bluetooth feature and stream music that is playing on the amp to any Bluetooth-enabled headphones.
Dirac Live Room Correction software delivers optimized sound quality for a home theatre. The built-in Lite version of the software, with the option to upgrade to a full-featured version for US$99, measures the acoustic performance of the system within the listening room and optimizes playback performance to provide transparent music reproduction. Setup is automated and simple, allowing you to build the perfect listening environment that corrects for both the timing and colourations in sound using the supplied microphone and powerful software.
The C 658 incorporates Modular Design Construction, a feature exclusive to NAD that includes digital audio and video circuits placed on replaceable modules. With MDC, all major digital circuits can be upgraded and replaced to keep the unit current. You can then easily upgrade a component to include future digital formats. (It's recommended to have this done by an authorized NAD dealer.) The C 658 comes with two MDC slots for future expansion.
There's also a high-quality phono stage, analog inputs, balanced preamp output and stereo subwoofer outputs, and a dedicated high current headphone amplifier with a ¼" jack on the front panel. For the custom integrator community, there's an RS-232 serial port with certification and chassis drivers forthcoming for Control4, Crestron, RTI, URC, and ELAN.
"The C 658 combines the best of all worlds in that it is a high-performance preamplifier and streaming DAC with the most compelling digital technologies such as BluOS, MQA, Bluetooth aptX HD and Dirac Live," says Greg Stidsen, NAD's Chief Technology Officer. "The extraordinary performance and advanced technologies of the C 658 make it the ideal choice for someone who demands state-of-the-art performance with the most desirable features yet appreciates a single chassis with ease of operation. MDC then helps protect their investment for years to come."
The NAD C 658 will be available in Canada in December for an MSRP of US$1,999.
Designed to appeal to ardent hi-res digital and vinyl enthusiasts, the D 3045 hybrid digital DAC/amplifier offers HybridDigital 60W per channel amplifier, Asynchronous USB 24/192 Input, support for MQA and DSD, two-way Bluetooth powered by aptX HD, and a high quality moving magnet phono stage.
Able to be positioned vertically or horizontally, the compact unit (US$999) can stream music from mobile devices, or can use the two-way Bluetooth to stream music that is playing on the amp to any pair of Bluetooth-enabled headphones. The phono stage features accurate RIAA equalization, ultra-low noise, and an infrasonic warp filter.
The D 3045 accommodates inputs for the computer along with other digital and analog sources, including the newly-added MM phono input. Coaxial and optical inputs allow many different digital sources to be connected, from CD and DVD disc players, to set-top boxes like Apple TV or satellite and cable receivers. There are also analog inputs for iPods and older non-digital audio components such as FM tuners.
Also included in the D 3045 is a full-range preamp output as well as a subwoofer output for added connection flexibility. NAD also includes a premium quality headphone jack on the front panel that is connected to a dedicated, high current, low impedance headphone amplifier.
In addition to being compact in size, the D 3045 is also environmentally sensitive and runs cool: standby power consumption is <0.5W. It ships with an IR remote.
"Several years ago, NAD launched a revolutionary Digital Series that featured cutting edge technology with an integrated amplifier, a DAC and networking amplifier," says Stidsen. "Based on their success, what the market then asked us for was an affordable DAC/Amplifier that utilized our best digital technology with even more power yet retained the compact footprint and versatility. The answer is the D 3045 which checks all the boxes and is destined to become one of NAD's most popular products."
Finally, NAD is showcasing its new C 588 belt-drive turntable (November; $1,099), which offers several upgraded features, including Belt Drive with Electronic Speed Control, an AC Motor with isolated power supply, and a custom-designed Carbon fiber tonearm. Pre-fitted with a high quality Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge, it also includes a glass platter with felt pad, MDF plinth (base), and a low resonance dust cover.
Engineers have addresses the issues of wow (a slow cyclical speed variation) and flutter (very fast and small variations, usually generated by the motor) with a specialized, high precision, synchronous clock motor that is both smooth and accurate, especially when driven from a stable AC voltage. To ensure a clean and stable AC voltage, NAD isolates the AC Mains by first converting it to a clean DC voltage, and then electronically generating the precise AC frequency to regulate the synchronous motor. Using a specially formulated belt to drive the platter further filters and isolates any remaining vibration, says the company. All rotating parts are made from aluminum alloy machined to very tight tolerances to eliminate any eccentricity or vibration in the drive system.
The C 588 is pre-fitted with a high quality Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet phono cartridge in a 9" carbon fiber tonearm that offers vertical tracking angle and azimuth adjustment. The tonearm length was chosen to optimize overhang and reduce tracking angle error. To perfectly align the stylus, NAD provides adjustments for azimuth and vertical tracking angle; and includes a gauge to calibrate the alignment.
To isolate external vibrations from the loudspeakers or footfalls bouncing the floor, NAD uses a massive MDF base with specially tuned vibration damping feet, along with a thick non-resonant dust cover. The choice of glass platter, felt pad, MDF base, and carbon fiber tonearm, were carefully considered to work together to limit and reduce spurious vibration.
Adds Stidsen: "NAD continues to be at the leading edge of the high-res digital revolution, however, we also recognize that there is an equally enthusiastic and growing market for vinyl playback. Staying true to the company's roots, NAD's formative years always revolved around quality vinyl playback as the source. At $799, the C 588 delivers on our longstanding philosophy of outstanding performance and value."