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TOPIC: SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality

SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 2 weeks ago #52229

Hi all
I use NAD C658 as a preamp with Dirac live full to feed my active speakers ATC 40A and one B&W sub for a few months. A question is, does anyone have an experience with comparing SHD and C658 as a preamp directly - on his own ears? I am wondering whether SHD couldn't provide better sound qquality then C658 in this setup. According to many reports on the internet SHD looks a bit more professional, transparent and cleaner solution, unfortunately I don't have any possibility how to test at my home in my local area (Czech Republic).
I know SHD is not designed as a preamp, but I would like to have only one box (DAC, preamp, Dirac with XLR analog outputs)
Thank for any advice!
Last Edit: 1 month 2 weeks ago by overgrounder.
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SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 2 weeks ago #52232

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I’ve never done a comparison but I have owned a few different NAD pieces of kit. A NAD 3150, c320, c270, T550.
Don’t let looks make a difference to your choice if sound quality is what counts. I’ve always found their products sound great. I don’t expect you’ll hear much difference between the two and don’t forget NAD have been making HiFi for over 40years. Expect they’ve got what makes a pre-amp sound good nailed on.
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SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 2 weeks ago #52233

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overgrounder wrote:
Hi all
I use NAD C658 as a preamp with Dirac live full to feed my active speakers ATC 40A and one B&W sub for a few months. A question is, does anyone have an experience with comparing SHD and C658 as a preamp directly - on his own ears? I am wondering whether SHD couldn't provide better sound qquality then C658 in this setup. According to many reports on the internet SHD looks a bit more professional, transparent and cleaner solution, unfortunately I don't have any possibility how to test at my home in my local area (Czech Republic).
I know SHD is not designed as a preamp, but I would like to have only one box (DAC, preamp, Dirac with XLR analog outputs)
Thank for any advice!

ATC SCM40 actives are speakers I'd consider buying to upgrade my own system, also in combination with a subwoofer. Are you unhappy with the sound you're currently getting?

I've not heard a C658 but as you're considering a swap to an SHD I'll highlight one area where I'm certain you'd consider the change a downgrade. The BluOS streaming interface on the NAD is MUCH better than the Volumio interface on the SHD.
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SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 2 weeks ago #52238

No, I am absolutely satisfied with this 2.1 setup, SCM40A are amazing speakers even with combination with B&W 800 sub.
My "personaly problem" is only in my mind - I hope :-) Considering another or different choice with preamp powered my actives, I would like to meet other devices in one box with perfect preamp function as I write above, because there are a few issues with volume function described on web with C658. I also had one and I recieved new unit from NAD. I just try to get more tips or informations about other devices to consider to test in my system while I enjoy my current setup with NAD. In the other words, I'm looking into the future...:-)

I know BluOS is much better then Volumio - but there is also some very unpleasant issue on C658. But this is not a topic about NAD.
Last Edit: 1 month 2 weeks ago by overgrounder.
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SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 2 weeks ago #52240

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Hey, well The SHD can absolutely provide full function as a preamp. It also adds xover, and dsp functions that Im not sure your NAD has. I bought the SHD to correct a few issues in my second system, and I ended using it to replace my entire preamp. (emotiva xpa2 gen2) It had much cleaner volume control. I wouldn't use it in my primary system to replace my pre amp (Mcintosh) But, I can tell you that based on specs, the SHD has much better channel separation than your NAD.

But soundwise, based on my past experience with NAD products, they should sound similar. Build wise...I would stay with NAD. Not that shd is inferior in quality , but because bluOS system is probably a little bit more stable, and i believe your DAC also has MQA and Roon ready status. In the end they're both nice products but I would stay with which you have I don't think you'd find any different switching back-and-forth sound quality wise, and unless you have an absolute need for parametric eq and digi- crossovers, you're fine with what you have.. Enjoy!!
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SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 2 weeks ago #52242

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overgrounder wrote:
No, I am absolutely satisfied with this 2.1 setup, SCM40A are amazing speakers even with combination with B&W 800 sub.

I've heard similar positive feedback from the one other person I've come across online with the same combination.

My gut feeling here is that you're probably best saving your money and sticking with what you've got. The one area where the SHD has a technical advantage is in terms of subwoofer integration, where it allows the signal sent to the main speakers to be time-delayed to be in sync with a subwoofer placed further away. Given that the majority of subwoofer owners don't do this I think it's not as a big a limitation as it first appears, and at least for movies and concert DVDs where I also don't address this issue it doesn't sound obviously 'wrong' to me.

(I would be very interested to do a side-by-side comparison of an SHD and a C658 but I have not done so.)
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SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 1 week ago #52348

Thank you all for the comments and recomendation. I was thinking about changing sense and you are propably right, NAD have create a sufficient premap on C658. But I have an other idea :-)
I'll write that later...
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SHD vs NAD C658 - preamp sound quality 1 month 1 week ago #52388

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I was thinking the other way around; in the remote case that the SHD does not get proper Roon certification after all, this NAD might be one of the alternatives...
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