The One I've Been Waiting For: NAD's C 658 BluOS Streaming DAC

December 2019

Reviewers' ChoiceMy discovery of NAD’s C 658 BluOS streaming DAC ($1649 USD) marks the end of a very long search.

It began in high school, when I succumbed to addictions to music and audio gear. Ever since, I’ve looked for a device that would allow me to dispense with the ever-growing rack of audio components I’ve set up in -- so far -- 16 different homes. Early on, I had a turntable, tonearm, and cartridge, a phono preamp, a preamp, reel-to-reel and cassette tape decks, a tuner, two power amps, huge speakers, interconnects from each source to the preamp, interconnects from preamp to power amps, and speaker cables -- oh, and a record cleaner. Added to those, following the birth of what Sony was pleased to call perfect sound forever, were a CD player and DAC.

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Fancy a Fine-Sounding Soundbar? Try the Vizio SB46312-F6

November 2019

The cutting edge has its attractions, especially to someone who spends so much time sharing his opinions in print. I’m human -- I want to look cool. But when it comes to loudspeakers I’ve always been something of a traditionalist, and sometimes it takes me a while to catch up.

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iFi Audio's Pro iDSD: Streamer, DAC, Headphone Amp, Preamp -- All in One!

March 2019

SoundStage! has covered multiple products from iFi Audio. We began by looking at their earlier, value-centered products, many of which were involved with some aspect of headphone listening. In the last few years, iFi seems to have decided that the high end offers a promising marketplace as well. Their Pro iDSD ($2499 USD) now joins their Pro iCAN headphone amp ($1799) and Pro iESL electrostatic headphone amplifier ($1499) -- attempts to challenge the Mount Everest of the highest-quality audio products while maintaining at least a semblance of reasonable pricing.

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Shinola’s New Speakers Have a Not-So-Secret Super Power

December 2018

This will date me, and maybe you, too. When I see the name Shinola, the first thing to hit my brain is not an expensive watch made in Detroit, or a $1500 leather bag, or a “studio quality” speaker. My association with the term even predates the joke between actors Richard Ward and Steve Martin in The Jerk. In my youth, Shinola, in business from 1877 to 1960, was the second-ranking shoe polish in the US, after Kiwi. It was even more important as an insult: “You don’t know shit from Shinola.”

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More SoundStage! Videos

  • SoundStage! InSight: Inside the World of McIntosh Townhouse (December 2019)
  • SoundStage! Encore: Listening with Your Eyes, with David Chesky (December 2019)
  • SoundStage! Encore: Recording Drums, Part 3 - The Mix (June 2019)
  • SoundStage! Encore: Recording Drums, Part 2 - Loel Campbell on Setting Up Drums (April 2019)
  • SoundStage! Encore: Recording Drums, Part 1 - Philosophy (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Encore: Henkka Niemistö on the Role of a Mastering Engineer (December 2018)
  • SoundStage! Encore:
  • SoundStage! Encore: Vincent Bélanger and the Hornpipe Cello (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! Encore:
  • SoundStage! Expert: All About Headphones and Earphones (Episodes 1-5)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Rockport Technologies Lyra Loudspeaker (November 2019)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Sonus faber Olympica Nova at World of McIntosh Townhouse (October 2019)
  • SoundStage InSight - Rockport Technologies Past, Present, Future (September 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert: Basics of Solid-State Class-AB Amplifiers (Episodes 1-5)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -  Paradigm's Dual Voice Coils (July 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Audio Research's CD6SE and CD9SE CD Players (May 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Phono Stages - 1) Why You Need One (April 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Phono Stages - 2) Cartridge Types (April 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Phono Stages - 3) More on Cartridges (April 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Phono Stages - 4) Settings (April 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Phono Stages - 5) Internal vs. External (April 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Phono Stages - 6) External Entry Level to Extreme (April 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Record Care/Cleaning - 1) Hundreds of Thousands of Records (Mar. 2019)
  • SoundStage! Expert Record Care/Cleaning - 2) Handling Records (Mar. 2019)