Question Better Power Amp to Pair with NAD C 658 Streamer: New NAD C 298 or Masters M22 v2?

cheezewhiskers

Novice Member
First post here on the forums, so please be gentle. I am new to the Hi-Fi world and want to upgrade my existing AV setup for better stereo sound. I am running the Marantz SR7013 for my HT system with pre-outs to my mains, which are a pair of KEF R11 rated up to 300w at 8 ohms.

I primarily listen to music streaming via Spotify and dabbling in the higher res services like Amazon HD. The NAD C 658 BluOS Streamer seems an obvious choice for my desired setup with its DAC, rich list of features, connections, HT bypass and ease of use.

News just dropped of the new NAD C 298 power amp to be released in October for $2,000 as an "ideal pairing" for the NAD C 658 (per NAD). At the same price point, I could get a nice secondhand Masters M22 v2 unit. Hence my question, which is the better power amp for this setup?

Both are Class D amps. The new C 298 has 185w/channel vs. 250w/channel on the M22. The former has Purifi Eigentakt™ amplification technology whereas the M22 has nCore™ and Powerdrive tech. Can anyone help me to understand the difference between these technologies in terms of SQ? Anything else I should be considering between the two?

No reviews yet on the C 298 but it seems like it will have much of the improved tech of the M33 without the $5k price point.

I have also considered several other options for stereo including integrated amp/streamer combos. Naim XS3 was on my shortlist for amps, as were all-in-one options such as the NAD C388 with BluOS MDC, and the Arcam SA30. The Naim XS3 just seems to have too many overlapping features with the C 658, and I would prefer to invest in a quality power amp that will last.

I have auditioned both a Uniti Atom and a Cambridge 851n paired with a Marantz PM 8006. Neither options had the full range of functionality that I am looking for (automatic switching of inputs, Alexa voice controls, etc.). NAD seems to have it where it counts, but I am still undecided so if the community has other suggestions to consider, please do.
 

twall204

Novice Member
I too am asking the same question. I purchased a NAD C658 in anticipation for the NAD C298, but I am able to purchase an M22 V1 for a fair amount lower than the C298.

Any insight would be great.
 

Mark.Yudkin

Distinguished Member
Frankly, both would work fine and I doubt if you'd hear any A/B difference when level-balanced. Of course, visually there is a big difference, with the C 298 matching the C 658, which the M22 doesn't.

The M22 V2, as would be expected, has a technically better specification and a higher new price than the C 298, but being older, there is a second-hand market for it. There is also a lower powered M22 (V1) predecessor, which is even cheaper second hand.
 

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