Throughout our rich 45-year history, NAD Electronics has been offering high performance turntables at unbelievably stellar prices. A component that critical listeners can applaud for its musical quality, and one that almost anybody can afford, the NAD C 558 is a full-featured, belt-driven model targeted for record enthusiasts everywhere. Pre-fitted with an Ortofon OM10 phono cartridge, the C 558 features a belt drive for maximum noise isolation, as well as a precision AC motor with isolated AC power supply that has universal voltage. Complimented by a glass platter with felt pad, a MDF plinth, and a low resonance dust cover, the C 558 delivers an outstanding listening experience unlike any other.
When it comes to the C 558, we have chosen to use a sophisticated power supply that transforms the AC alternating voltage of your wall socket into a pure DC voltage. The DC voltage is then regenerated into a precise AC voltage that powers a precision clock motor to achieve nearly perfect speed consistency and smoothness. The motor itself is isolated from noise and voltage fluctuations that occur in the unfiltered AC mains that can cause instability in the motor. The motor uses a specially developed rubber belt that is flat ground for precision and drives a non-resonant sub platter that is also precisely machined for smooth rotation. This sits in a brass bearing with a hardened steel shaft. All of these parts are carefully developed to work together to provide a remarkably stable and precise rotation of the disc.
The C 558’s tonearm also offers a similar level of careful engineering and development. At 9” long it offers low tracking distortion while maintaining rigidity and low mass required to stabilize the cartridge. By allowing VTF and Azimuth adjustment we get precise tracking with low distortion and record wear.
The glass platter and massive plinth combine to extract all the energy from the disc while isolating unwanted external vibration. These details further ensure that your vinyl listening experience is truly transcendent.
Quality Parts and Materials
The plinth of the C 558 is solid MDF, as opposed to the particle board or plastic that is commonly found at this value, and is CNC machined for precision. The C 558’s dustcover, too, is heavier than most and made from a non-resonant Perspex with a counter-sprung hinge design that allows the cover to remain in almost any intermediate position from open to closed.
An Experience Like No Other
Listening to vinyl records is an immersive experience. You become as involved in the process as you do in the listening. To a much greater degree than with digital sources, vinyl playback requires solid mechanical accuracy to extract the music from the medium. A properly played record is a fantastic and rewarding experience, and the NAD C 558 has everything you need to get maximum enjoyment with minimal fuss and expense.
Behind the Design of the New C 558 Turntable
With Record Store Day this month, we sat down with NAD’s Chief Technology Officer, Greg Stidsen, to talk about NAD’s new flagship turntable, the C 558.
The NAD C 558 traces a long lineage of innovative, high performance turntables that bring records to life. While the basic operation of a turntable seems simple, extracting all the musical energy from the record grooves without exciting destructive resonances requires both science and art. Here we’ll take a closer look at each of the elements of the C 558 with an explanation of the choices we made.
1) Speed Accuracy
Having exact pitch (speed) is important. However, human hearing is much more sensitive to momentary changes in speed, which we express with the terms “Wow” and “Flutter.”
The C 558 addresses both of these problems with a specialized, high precision, synchronous clock motor that is both smooth and accurate, especially when driven from a stable AC voltage. To ensure a clean and stable AC voltage, we isolate the AC Mains by first converting it to a clean DC voltage, and then electronically generating the precise AC frequency to regulate the synchronous motor. Using a specially formulated belt to drive the platter further filters and isolates any remaining vibration. All rotating parts are machined to very tight tolerances to eliminate any eccentricity or vibration in the drive system, ensuring you get the best possible performance from your NAD turntable.
2) Tracking Geometry
Because records are round they create some interesting problems for tonearm engineers as the angle of the tonearm, and thus the tracking angle of the stylus, change as the arm moves from the outside of the record to the inside grooves. If the stylus is not perfectly aligned with the groove at all positions on the record, the result is audible distortion and increased record wear.
Thankfully, the C 558 uses a longer than usual 9” tonearm to optimize overhang and reduce the tracking angle error. To perfectly align the stylus we also include adjustments for azimuth and vertical tracking angle, and include a gauge to calibrate the alignment.
3) Built with Precision
To fully realize the micro-dynamics of music requires a tight mechanical coupling of the platter and the tonearm. This forms a triangle, as vibrations can travel from a record being played to the platter, through the shaft and bearing to the base (plinth), up the arm mount, through the arm pivot and down the arm to the cartridge and stylus. There are many separate parts in this path and some of them are required to move relative to one another through mechanical bearing interfaces. If there is any play in these mechanical interfaces, musical energy will be lost.
This is why NAD has paid special attention to precision machining, assembly, and testing that is so important in a turntable.
4) Resonance Control and Isolation
Reducing all spurious vibrations to a minimum is critical to getting the best result when playing vinyl. Since these vibrations can come from various sources, both internal and external, the materials and dimensions must all be carefully calculated so that they may reduce and balance all the resonances to prevent a buildup of energy at particular frequencies.
To isolate external vibrations from the loudspeakers or footfalls bouncing the floor, we use a massive MDF base with specially tuned vibration damping feet, along with a thick non-resonant dust cover. The choice of glass platter, felt pad, MDF base, and aluminum alloy tubular tonearm, were carefully considered to work together to limit and reduce spurious vibration
5) Detailed Engineering
They say a great chef can make delicious food from very basic ingredients, while a cook without training can make a mess of even the finest and most exotic ingredients. NAD is a five-star chef in the audio world, designing award-winning products for over 45 years now. We think the C 558 hits a sweet spot for performance and value by using very simple, high quality parts and precisely engineering them to work together in perfect harmony. We believe the result to be a feast for the ears that will last for years, and ultimately bring new life to your existing record collection while preserving it for the future.
- Nominal speed 33/45 rpm, manual speed change, (78 rpm possible with special pulley)
- Speed variance 33 rpm: < ± 0.35 %, 45 rpm: < ± 0.30 %
- Wow and flutter <0.01% (ref. 1 kHz, Audio LPF)
- Signal/Noise ratio – 70 dB
- Downforce range 0 – 30 mN, 0 – 3.0 grams
- Supplied counterweight system Counterweight for cartridges: 6 – 13 g
- Voltage Universal switch mode power supply 15 V DC/0,8 A, 100-240 V AC, 47 – 63Hz
- Power consumption 5 W max/ 0.3W standby
- Effective tonearm mass 9.5 g
- Effective tonearm length 230 mm
- Overhang 18 mm
ORTOFON 2M RED CARTRIDGE
- Frequency range 20-22.000Hz
- Channel separation 22dB/1kHz
- Output voltage 5.5 mV
- Recommended load impedance 47 kohms/Amplifier connection: MM-input
- Compliance/stylus type 20?m/mN – elliptical
- Recommended tracking force 18 mN
- Weight 7.2g
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
- Gross Dimensions (W x H X D ) 435 x 340 x 125mm
- Shipping Weight 9.2 kg