- 28 Posts. Joined 1/2010
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Review of the Audio-Gd DAC-19 DF / MKIV - Page 9
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Hi, I'm also thinking of getting the dac19+c-2 combo with my K702s (currently using flac>xonar STX>k702's), what kind of difference in audio quality would it be? I'm just hesitant to buy $1k worth of gear. I'm unsure as to get either the DF+hiface, or DSP with SPIDF out from the motherboard. Trying to do this on a budget, and I'm also thinking of getting the jkenny mod, but for me it costs more than the amp and almost the price of the dac! Is transport really worth the equivalent dough? I'll be using the headphones for everything including movies, so I'm unsure about the hiface because of the audio lag. Gahhhh, I hate the pre-purchase research so much.
Edited by Greeny24 - 11/25/10 at 4:18pm
I haven't heard the new NFB-10WM or NFB-10ES, but they are also within your price range, $780 or $850. After shipping and paypal fee should be about under $1000. Wm8741 is supposed to sound a little smoother and warmer, and I would recommend it over the es9018 dac chip version if you are uncertain what kind of sound you are looking for, or you know you don't like recording flaws revealed.
Kingwa has said dac19+c2 are better than NFB-10 models with single-ended headphones, but NFB-10 models are better with balanced headphones. My experiments are limited, but imo, single-ended can give a full pleasant sound. Balanced can give more accurate detail and wider soundstage sound but may sound too serious or true to recording. I can easily imagine how dac19+c2 may sound better than NFB-10 when comparing only SE, so if you for some reason only want to use SE, or you like the sound of SE, forget about NFB-10 models.
Another option is to get the NFB-2/3, which have the wm8741 and should be a little more forgiving than the pcm1704 dac19.
Also there's audio-gd's Digital Interface if you want to reclock your computer's usb or spdif before sending it to the dac. I think it would be a worthwhile investment, but may tip you over your $1000 budget. I haven't tried the DI, but have tried the older reclocker model ref 3, and it makes the sound less fatiguing, more accurate and coherent overall. Note when purchasing from audio-gd there'll be a 3% paypal fee and also a pretty big shipping cost to Australia, $72+.
Edited by haloxt - 11/25/10 at 4:59pm
Thanks for your help. I feel like an idiot for asking but what do you mean by single-ended and balanced headphones? I'm thinking of leaning towards the NBF-2 and C-2 combination now with the 92khz version for low jitter, do you think DIR9001 receiver would nullify the gains of getting a usb spdif? The stars have started to align :D I think my system would be MOBO SPDIF>NBF-3>C-2(ACSS)>K702
The vast majority of headphones are single-ended, balanced is becoming more common for audiophiles though, and any headphone can be balanced (although sometimes messily). Scroll to the middle of the page with the four diagrams, and read the paragraphs around them for a description of single-ended and balanced.
I have too limited experience to answer your dir9001 question, but it seems to me the sparrow with dir9001 and ad1852 dac chip isn't particularly sensitive to jitter. When I connect my usb to spdif converter with reclocking to sparrow, the sound becomes a little less fatiguing, and more soundstage detail, but not as much as with my dir9001 pcm1704 dac's. But um... again, I have too limited experience to say, just my guess that the NFB-3+C2 may be forgiving enough that you may not really "NEED" a usb to spdif converter. But if you are easily fatigued, maybe add a reclocker to the NFB-3+C2.
Reclocking means jitter reduction in the digital audio signal, and mobo doesn't have it. NFB-3+C2 should sound fine without getting a reclocker, just something to think about later or if you want to save on shipping, get now. For cables, I would recommend at least 14 awg monoprice power cables, just buy 5-6 so you're set for a long time. And experiment connecting between the wall and a surge protector, if no sound degradation from connecting to surge protector then keep it, or just keep it to reduce chance of blowing up your electronics. I think headphone cable is important, but depends how thin and long your stock headphone cables are, replacing with shorter, home depot 25x3 awg or thicker cable can be important to fully utilize NFB-3+C2. But if you don't know how to solder and can't find someone to do it, forget it and don't risk killing your headphones.