Great for LCD-2. Neutral but not boring, Extremely Detailed. IMO Compares to Beta22 at half the price.

A Review On: Audio-gd NFB-10ES2 balanced desktop amp/DAC

Audio-gd NFB-10ES2 balanced desktop amp/DAC

Rated # 18 in Amp/DACs
See all 3 reviews
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
vampire5003
Posted · 4196 Views · 13 Comments

Pros: Details! It sounds 10X better than Schiit's Bifrost Uber, Neutral, but not boring, powerful, drives the LCD-2 to heaven!

Cons: Plastic Casing. Headphone(s) need to be terminated to balanced. Difference is sound between single ended and Balanced

Well not much to say here. Audio-GD kicks as(s). Seriously this amp/dac combo has details, neutral, but not boring, powerful, has a remote control, preamp functions, low and high gain, balanced output, etc, all at $580 promo price. I cannot recommend more. It sounds better than the Schiit Bifrost, and the amp in this NFB-10ES2 is better in every way than the M^3 with ADA4627 opamps. For rock music, reggae, and jazz this thing wins. Seriously I don't care if this is made in China or US, it sounds amazing. I compare this to the Beta22, my uncle had a beta22 2 channel, and it was so similar sounding. 

 

Honestly this unit should be priced at $750 maybe even $1000. Hell I'd pay $1000 for it. NFB-10ES2 is that good. 

 

The only downside is the casing is plastic, and the amp outputs more power and sounds better out of the balanced output. I went with a Charleston Cable Company LCD-2 4 pin XLR cable, but you could DIY a cable easily as well. This amp should be on anybody's list. This unit sounds good with basically everything since its neutral. I love the Sabre ES9018, and this is coming from a warm and musical music loving freak. If you want a warmer amp, then NFB-10.33 should go on your list as well, it costs the same, is balanced, but uses 2X WM8741 (warmer sounding chips). 

 

For Rock (J-Rock too), Daft Punk, Jazz etc this amp is perfect. Buy it without hesitation if you have the funds for it. I don't think I need a Beta22 anymore.

 

 

 

Conclusion:

I highly recommend Audio-GD's NGB-10ES2. Loving it with my LCD-2 Rev 1. 

13 Comments:

i am an audiogd fan....enjoy your new toy bro!!
Is this enough to really power the LCD-3's up?
They also say themselves that the balanced part gets much more amplification...
 5950MW /  50 ohm  in balanced mode....1650MW /  50 ohm in single mode.
Thanks for reading my review. If anyone has questions, leave them here and I'll reply.

Thanks,

Thomas
Could you elaborate more on the differences between SE and Balanced? I have my own ES2 coming the end of this week or early next week and I should have my balanced hd600 cable next week as well. I'd like to know what others think of it.
I noticed two major things, between SE and balanced.

1. This is probably obvious, but he amp outputs more power in balanced, so I keep the volume around 15, while in SE I keep it closer to 25 to 30.

2. In Balanced you hear more details (slightly more), I hear a tad more speed as well, and most of all, since your using less volume, you hear everything cleaner and clearer.

Trust me, if you get this amp, your going to love it, both sound great, but the balanced operation does in fact sound better. IMO its worth it!
Thanks! I'm really looking forward to getting mine. My current SE setup cost me about $800 and now the ES2 costs less than that and is probably going to sound better xD 
 Oh it will, unless your SE setup is a GS-X lol :D. Audio-gd is amazing, if I ever get the upgrade bug, my next amp would probably be one of the Audio-gd Reference products ($1800+). Honestly I don't even feel the want/need to upgrade though. It sounds great, and is a amazing value. 
Use it as a preamp and buy a high-end tube amp. Pair them with neutral headphone. It's awesome. Okey thanks, man. I will give this thing to my buying list.
@LoveKnight I may do that, my LCD-2 aren't neutral but I've been craving the HD800.  
 Just like Pokemon, gotta collect them all! That's how I feel about headphones :D
I will mention my NFB 10ES2 has a metal case :O and yea, sadly the Balanced Output sounds better than the SE :/ 
 
Still the SE beats my old Matrix M Stage, so it outperforms SE amps in the 200-$300 price range!