Question NAD C368 + BluOS 2i MDC or NAD C658 + C268?

NK86

Standard Member
I'm in the market for an amplifier and streamer and had considered the NAD C368 integrated amp with BluOS 2i streaming module but I'm also also aware of the C658 Streamer/DAC/Preamp + C268 power amp. The two set ups seem to have almost identical specs with regards to performance measurements but with the latter also claims to have an upgraded DAC chipset, Bluetooth supporting the slightly newer AptX HD codec and finally Dirac. Obviously the price difference is quite large so I'm interested to know, has anyone listened to both of these and can you tell me is it worth spending the extra for the c658+C268 combo? Also whilst at I'm at it, within these price ranges is there anything else I should be looking at? Thanks
 

cheezewhiskers

Novice Member
Did you ever decide which option to go with? I am facing a similar question right now and just ordered the C 388 with BluOS. I was comparing that to pairing the C 658 with either an M22 or the new C298. $2,200 integrated system vs a $3,700 separates system but the power amp will likely serve me longer as the tech in integrated amps eventually gets old. Curious to know how it worked out for you and if you’re happy with the option you chose.
 

NK86

Standard Member
In the end I actually moved away from NAD. I loved everything about them except for the sound. The detail was absolutely superb but so far away from what I've been used to that I found it a bit too analytical. However, I did go with a Bluesound Node 2i for streaming, which should sound very similar to the C658 as its part of the same group. The C658 has Dirac which I never got to try out but should allow the listener to tailor the sound a bit more to their liking. In the end I decided on an Audiolab 8300a + 8300cd and find it to be the perfect compromise. It doesn't sound as clean as the NAD nor does it give the same level of separation but it has weight, power and detail and it plays well in my room. I'm currently using my old B&W 685s with it but am considering looking at some floorstanders to expand the scale of the sound. Having not heard the C388 it's hard for me to comment on that but I would assume the sound is very similar whilst being much better value for money. I think the more expensive solution would be better suited to someone who will take full advantage of Dirac and for someone who has the upgrade bug I wants to play about with different power amps. Please let me know how it works out for you.
 

L33 LEG

Standard Member
I've currently got the c368 + c268 power amp with my kef r700s. Very happy with the sound, my other option was the 8300 audiolab series but I never got round to testing them so will never know which sound was better for me.

Have a listen to them and see what's best for you but I can't fault the look or build quality at all from the NADs. People slate them because they look bland but I love the look of a simple black box like that, no fuss. Got the NAD cdp as well to go with them.
 

TB Rich

Active Member
I prefer the combination of Node 2i + 8300A, vs the C368 with 2i MDC having owned both setups. The only thing I miss about the C368 was the fact it was in 1 box, and now with an external DAC too I'm into 3 boxes! That said 2 are minimal and I like the overall aesthetic, it's just it's a lot cables to contend with!
To be honest even though I prefer the current combo I have from an audio perspective, the C368 still sounded more than good enough to keep, I only ditched it because the amp and MDC firmware were buggy - it's a decent value setup and if they're at the point of being stable now then it's a compelling hifi level 1 box solution.
 

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