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Some thoughts - review is pending

A Review On: Audio-gd NFB 1.32

Audio-gd NFB 1.32

Rated # 13 in DACs
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Price paid: $710.00
xtreme4099
Posted · 2299 Views · 2 Comments

 

My thoughts on its sequel, the NFB-1.32 w/USB32 and TXCO clocks from a sister thread : http://www.head-fi.org/t/625945/audio-gd-nfb-1-32/15



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Well i have it hooked up, listening through my speakers, took me all bout 2 minutes to get it going to install the usb driver, and get sound. Instantly noticed the increased depth and I do mean lots of it, details, and airyness, and a slight warmth, easily outclasses the modded soundcard. I'm gonna get to listening with more material throughout the day and will be chiming in a bit later


Will be doing comparisons between this and my vinyl setup, i have a couple vinyl records that I have digitally that ill be able to flip back and forth to compare with. Will also be hooking it up to my Lisa3 headamp in a few. More fun thoughts later.
Edited by xtreme4099 - 9/17/12 at 2:59pm

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Testing all the connections,



USB sonics are better than the toslink optical, that much was immediate when flicking between connections.

I haven't been able to coax working with the auzentech internal soundcard, foobar gives a device in use error, and none of the windows sounds appear to work either, where as the opposite is true when using toslink or usb. Setting the SPDIF to DIR mode didn't help. Coax works fine with the receiver so either the 1.32 is picky or I have driver problem and or it simply doesn't like the sound card which is more likely the case.



The coax is working fine however, i had to pull out an old dvd player with a coaxial out, and throw in a cd to test and it played fine. However since most of my music is digital i wont be able to play with it on sound card tsk tsk. I have a nice coax Oyaide DIR-510 pure silver cable that would of been nice to compare against the usb functionality. Oh well at least i know every portion of the DAC is working. I'm just musing :)

Looks like I can play 24/352k files just fine in KS mode via foobar, and I imagine i can also play 384k files once I grab some


2L has some sample 24/352k DXD files here : http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html - they're big as you can imagine, tracks range from a couple hundred megs to over a gig in size.



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Originally Posted by xing3ds

Hi xtreme,
Looks promising..
Looking forward for more review.
Have you heard any audio-gd DAC with PCM1740UK chip? Such as Reference 5?



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Not yet, I'd be curious to listen to either the 5.32 or the SA 1.32, it would be a fairer comparison to the 1.32 I have now.

In regards to a review I'll be in the process of matching it up with different gear so I get can overarching picture of the capabilities of the DAC, I have a couple friends in the area that have an assortment of sources that I'd be able to directly compare against. My immediate impressions are overwhelming positive, it's airy, detailed, and is absolutely wonderful with live recordings. Also your source music will have to be very well recorded otherwise you will be hear everything warts n all, this could be what some people attribute to some of the etchiness or hardness to some of the low bit recordings, which is not the case at all with well recorded material at any resolution above 44.1. The 352khz samples are phenomenal to listen to, even over their 192khz counterparts, I may just look at grabbing a couple of those in different genre's from an audiophile sites to wrap my head around at what is soon to become the future format of audiophilia considering hard drives are getting bigger and cheaper. The samples I've heard have either been piano or classical and 1 with vocals which sounded just about perfect to my ears. I look forward to matching it up and comparing it with other gear to give more level headed description of its capabilities, considering this is my one and only external dac at the moment, my immediate impressions may be newness bias, time will tell.

I'm also looking forward to allyl's thoughts, since he appears to have an EE minimax plus in his inventory.
Edited by xtreme4099 - 9/19/12 at 9:31am

2 Comments:

Hi, iam in the hunt of a new DAC and i already put my eyes on the NFB1.32 but i also did with Calyx DAC 24/192 for using mostly via USB input...
Any thought on this please, i am just about to make purchase and these two are my final choices
Thank you!
Miki
I've not had chance to listen to the calyx, but based on the design choices the nfb 1.32 would probably be more revealing of the two. Looking at 6 moons review for it, yes it has popular xmos usb chip, but it uses ne5532 opamps as an analog output, this is what i had in my old computer sound card, and anything was a step up, as seeing as how they're soldered on, your pretty much stuck with what you get compared to other dac solutions. The audio-gd does away with this completely, there is no opamp or capacitor in the signal path, just a discrete diamond buffer with 1 gain stage from the dac to output, and a burly r-core transformer powering the whole thing. These are probably the best type transformers to have in a dac, something sony has been using in their high end cdp's for sometime, and are often found in other uber highend products like the NWO cdp.

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/NFB1.32/NFB1.323.JPG



As far as the usb functionality goes, its been rock solid, and it appears to be using the via vt1731 chip found here : http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/audio/usb/vt1731/index.jsp http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/mediareleases/12441/via-brings-the-true-32-bit384khz-studio-sound-to/
There's hardly any information on it because of an NDA from VIA, but its definitely superior to the coax, even with my nice oyaide silver dh-510 digital cable I have i could tell the difference against the standard usb cable, others that were using prior agd products with something like an audiophileo w/external power, noted it was immediately superior.

I'd also be interested in listening to his pcm1704 implementation, even in lame lo-q youtube videos his ref 7.1 sounds good : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVJOLTI4jKA

Regarding cabling :
I also have a nice copper 6n purity monocrystal 1m usb cable coming my way from cabledyne, decently cheap at 100 bux. When i was playing with coax cables, I noticed an immediate difference between the 4 or so low end coax cable i had and the pure silver oyaide dr-510, the other cables were muffled by comparison.

I do like the sound of the high purity monocrystal copper wire; i have a alo ultrawire rca to mini, and the difference between that and even high pure silver was night and day. I had an agss kimber high purity rca to mini cable to compare it against at the time, even with that everything was much more present, had more depth and intimacy. This is what i was hearing recording after recording swapping cables back and forth. Although not a digital cable, i did hear a definite difference between materials in cables with both coax and analog cabling.

TL;DR
I looked at the build, components chosen, design decisions and compared it with other offerings in its price range and found it the better choice.
I like good materials in my cabling and aim to shoot in the sweet spot price wise, more bang for the buck.
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