All-In-One (NAD C-658) vs NODE N130 with Separate DAC and Headphone Amp

Right now I have a NODE N130, upgraded with a linear power supply, and a SMSL M400 DAC. THE M400 doesn’t have a headphone plug, so I’m looking at a headphone amp, such as a Singxer SA-1. But, I’m wondering…how would all that sound compared to a NAD C658? Anyone make that switch?

The reason I’m asking, it that there is a convenience factor in having everything in 1 box. Right now I have to use my iPad to control the NODE, and a remote to control the volume on the DAC. Adding a headphone amp is another system.

I haven’t read rave reviews about the NAD, but it has DIRAC, which might help in my large room full of windows and hard surfaces.

I might add that I have 2 powered B&O speakers, and 2 powered subs.


I own a Node and have not auditioned the C-658. Anything that can improve your room acoustics is a plus, I think the upgrade to dirac (and a few room treatments) would be HUGE.

Agree with Kota, DIRAC would probably have a big impact, in addition to being an all-in-one, as well as having two sub outputs. Because of your circumstance and needs, I would consider the C658 to be an upgrade from the Node.

I don’t mind trying DIRAC.  Some NAD C-658 owners report they like it and some don’t.  Comments on the C-658 seem mixed.  Is the streamer the same as the NODE?  Is my SMSL M400 better than the DAC in it?  I don’t know the answers.

We are an Nad dealer the c 658 is the same streamer as the node. 


the c658 is a very nice unit however if you are looking at a radically Beter


we would suggest a432evo standard a Roon core and    Endpoint $3500.

Dave and troy

Audio Intellect NJ

US importers 432 evo music servers

Personally, I would stick with the separate components, instead of going with the all-in-one NAD.

It will allow you to improve your system, one piece at a time, especially if you want a better dac than is provided in an integrated amp.

As far as Dirac goes, I would suggest that room treatment is always the better option. instead of monkeying with the sound.

@audiotroy  Good to hear…at least the C658 streamer isn’t worse than the Node! Do you have any idea how the DAC in a C658 compares to a SMSL M400?  Do you know what kind of power supply is in the C658?

I would look at the Evo when I get the funds to make a significant upgrade.

@tony1954 Yes there is a benefit in upgrading single pieces.  But there might also be future all-in-one unit upgrades too.  Components from different manufacturers don’t seem to work together seamlessly.  Plus there’s too many wires.

On my room, I’ve added area rugs, etc., but it’s almost all glass windows and doors.  5 sets of glass patio doors, and 7 glass windows/doors up to 8ft by 8ft floor to ceiling. Whether DIRAC can improve that situation I can’t say.

OP, it seems like you have some good questions. I found the C658 thread on StereoNet to be the most informative and helpful. You may have to register as a new user since there’s a page limit if not logged in. If wanting to stay with the all-in-one route, as well as with NAD, there’s also the newly released M66 (but at more than 2X the cost). DIRAC helped my situation when I didn’t have room treatments, but I slowly stopped using the more I added diffusion and absorption. Like all things in this hobby, it depends on your situation and preferences, but it does seem like DIRAC could have a positive impact given your situation - especially if you purchase the full DIRAC Live version.

I uses DIRAC in my main system.  I like it, but the improvement is pretty limited to the sweet spot.  Since both components are made by NAD, the one with Dirac should sound better, but while I have direct experience with the Node, I don't with the all in one

@toro3  Thx I am working through the thread you mentioned. DIRAC might be an upgrade for my system.

@mahler123 I’d like to try DIRAC.  Good to know it’s just for one spot.