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New ESS Sabre32 (ES9018) based DAC from Audio-gd....the NFB-1 - Page 9

post #121 of 607

Until some head-to-head comparisons surface, its just too close to call in my book. I can see only one good solution, buy the ref 7 and know you have the best.

post #122 of 607

Does anyone know whether the NFB-1 upsamples all the time?

 

Answer from Kingwa: No.

 

The chip reputably has good "jitter rejection" abilities. Does anyone know what this means or how it is done?


Edited by Audio Bling - 8/27/10 at 8:05pm
post #123 of 607

Anyone finds the REF.5 slightly thin sounding?

I'm selling mine after listening to a cheap V-DAC: the Ref.5 is clearly better in detail and soundstage department, but the V-DAC has a full body sound and better timbre.

 

With classical music, especially some old recordings ('EMI Classics Great Recordings of the Century' for example) the Ref.5 sounds thin, with no body, strings clearly sound un-natural and distant from reality.

Actually I couldn't listen to one of my favourite Mahler's 5th Symphony recording (conducted by J. Barbirolli) until I replaced the Roc with a tube amp, and the Ref.5 with a V-DAC.

 

Maybe the Ref.5 is just too neutral for my ears :-)


Edited by realmassy - 8/27/10 at 1:12am
post #124 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by realmassy View Post

Anyone finds the REF.5 slightly thin sounding?

I'm selling mine after listening to a cheap V-DAC: the Ref.5 is clearly better in detail and soundstage department, but the V-DAC has a full body sound and better timbre.

 

With classical music, especially some old recordings ('EMI Classics Great Recordings of the Century' for example) the Ref.5 sounds thin, with no body, strings clearly sound un-natural and distant from reality.

Actually I couldn't listen to one of my favourite Mahler's 5th Symphony recording (conducted by J. Barbirolli) until I replaced the Roc with a tube amp, and the Ref.5 with a V-DAC.

 

Maybe the Ref.5 is just too neutral for my ears :-)


That was my 1st impression also when I replaced DacMagic with Ref 5. DacMagic has soul, maybe it was slightly coloured and to me it sounded warm while Ref5 was dead. It got better with burn in and I got used to it.

post #125 of 607

I guess we all do have very diff. ears.... I thought the DacMagic was terrible when I tried it....I love the Ref5.  :P Maybe its the synergy I have going with my LCD-2+v181+Ref5, but right now I don't have a single thought about changing anything.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by .Sup View Post




That was my 1st impression also when I replaced DacMagic with Ref 5. DacMagic has soul, maybe it was slightly coloured and to me it sounded warm while Ref5 was dead. It got better with burn in and I got used to it.


Edited by TigzStudio - 8/27/10 at 1:24am
post #126 of 607

I've been using the Ref.5 in the last 4 months, I guess it's fully burnt in... Not my ears, though :-)

BTW, Thanks for the bump in my for sale thread .Sup

post #127 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by realmassy View Post

I've been using the Ref.5 in the last 4 months, I guess it's fully burnt in... Not my ears, though :-)

BTW, Thanks for the bump in my for sale thread .Sup


You need to get some LCD-2's real, I am thinking they are the perfect cans for you....but they probably wont work well with the tube amp....but who knows.

post #128 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigzStudio View Post




You need to get some LCD-2's real, I am thinking they are the perfect cans for you....but they probably wont work well with the tube amp....but who knows.


No thanks, TigzStudio :-)

I sold the HE-5LEs because they were heavy and uncomfortable, and the LCD-2 are more than 500gr!

I'm happy with the HD650s

post #129 of 607

Listen to other gear and make sure you like the sound signature before buying.

 

I find classical and jazz to especially feel altered with sound signature changes, because I think many people including myself have/had the preconceived notion that music should always be warm and fuzzy like pop music, but real life classical and jazz are often cold, slow/controlled pacing, and without a fuzzy emotion, yet we unconsciously gauge musical enjoyment by listening for "warm" characteristics. Imo there's nothing inherently wrong with preferring a warm presentation, how you perceive music in real life can be very variable depending on your mood, and it may be seldom you listen to real life music with the objectivity and precision of very neutral gear. I believe perception is less variable with audio electronics because gear contain less sensory cues like sight to alter our mood and have sound signature quirks. For this reason it's my opinion that even neutral gear may make it more difficult to, for example, unconsciously feel like you're at a live concert and as excited as a puppy. I think if you use gear that is excessively laid-back or hyper it may become difficult to hear the neutral fine line individual gear may walk, and it would make it very obvious that your colored gear is colored, and you might as well aim for an entirely colored setup that has the synergy you like and is forgiving of every piece of equipment.

 

Important also to know that people's tastes change over time or change when they get different gear and discover new synergy and sound signatures. You may love a particular coloration now, but you may learn to like neutral/objective eventually. Not in any way saying you're wrong to want a musical setup :), I myself listen to the $300 audio-gd compass ~10 hours a week simply because I love different musical sound signatures, to me different sound signatures and degrees of detail is like looking at different facets of the same stone at different accuracy of focus, even if you already know the best facet and the right focus, worth it if you really like the stone/song.

 

Since I'm going all out waxing philosophical, I will quote Bruce Lee :p:

 

A martial artist who drills exclusively to a set pattern of combat is losing his freedom. He is actually becoming a slave to a choice pattern and feels that the pattern is the real thing. It leads to stagnation because the way of combat is never based on personal choice and fancies, but constantly changes from moment to moment, and the disappointed combatant will soon find out that his 'choice routine' lacks pliability. There must be a 'being' instead of a 'doing' in training. One must be free. Instead of complexity of form, there should be simplicity of expression.


Edited by haloxt - 8/27/10 at 6:07am
post #130 of 607

Nice post Haloxt.

Actually I'm aware that the sound of the V-DAC is clearly on the warm side, definitely warmer than the Ref.5.

And I'm not much interested in a replica of a live event, I'm not looking for high-fidelity at any cost, just the pleasure of listening and relaxing with it.

Having said that, I don't think that a neutral dac will ever sound like real music. The channel separation you hav on a balanced dac/amp for example, is light years away from the organic presentation you have in a theatre listening to a symphony.

I'm not saying this is bad, I'm just saying is nowhere similar to a live event.

post #131 of 607

realmassy: You are probably one of those people who like their music presented quite warm and soft.  You'd have probably been better suited to the older PMD100 versions of the DACs, which were much more like that.  If you can, find one of the old Assemblage DACs.  I was lucky enough to try the DAC 3.0, which is "tubey" sounding, due to the OPA627s in the output stage.  That would work very well for you I think. 

post #132 of 607

Cheers Currawong. I've placed the Assemblage DAC in my shortlist 

post #133 of 607

I've seen one of those being sold on head-fi but the seller is from Canada

post #134 of 607

In case someone is wondering about my dilemma: I chose the Reference 5 DSP version... I´m sure the NFB-1 will be a fantastic DAC too, but I just want to experience the multibit DAC sound before it´s too late. There will be more Delta-Sigma DACs in the future and the Ref5 is in a way the highlight (the "budget ref7") end point of Kingwa´s famous PCM1704UK development. Looking forward to seeing comparisons when both are out :) 

 

Oh and a small shoutout for those buying a DAC from Audio-GD right now: if you´re interested, ask about the following upgrades: Canare BNC socket (the heavy duty one on Ref7), gold IEC socket (the one on Ref7) and OCC copper wires for the signal lines. All are for a very fair price. I got mine with dual Canare BNC, no USB because I´ll be using the Digital Interface with it.

 

+ I have to praise his willingness to answer an endless amount of questions too (usually in a few hours!). He probably answered around 30 emails when I asking all kinds of questions (everything from Ref7 comparisons to measurements!). I can´t comment on the sound yet of course, but the customer support is outstanding. Highly recommended.

post #135 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

[..] ask about the following upgrades: Canare BNC socket (the heavy duty one on Ref7), gold IEC socket (the one on Ref7) and OCC copper wires for the signal lines. All are for a very fair price. [..]

 


I know it's OT but..

 

Since I am thinking about a new Audio-gd DAC, I am curious about the best way to option it. Regal mentioned the PMD-100 chip (for HDCD) which I am now considering.. If any A-gd owners have thoughts about how best to option a DAC then please share.

 

Also, responses here might take some of the pressure off Kingwa. Better more of his time is devoted to product development, IMO.
 


Edited by Audio Bling - 8/27/10 at 6:16pm
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