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New ESS Sabre32 (ES9018) based DAC from Audio-gd....the NFB-1 - Page 33

post #481 of 607


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post

The PSU differences alone are significant and the reason why an amp given the same circuit (more or less) can sound different from it's larger brother (in terms of PSU complexity and quality)...the same is also true for the DAC and transport....let me be clear on this...PSU quality can often make the difference from an ordinary performer and an extraordinary one (given roughly the same amp/dac topology on the back end).

 

The old saying goes...the first 3 aspects of design and modification begin and end with power supply, power supply and (uh, yep you guessed it) power supply. That all being said any combo device IS an exercise in compromise, it all depends on the ambition of the designer , the size of the chassis and the targeted price point. I have long been a separates guy (and for good reason). I feel it is the pinnacle of performance and nuanced expression with this performance being, usually, the sole domain of the purpose (over) built single use devices. That is not to say that there can't be exceptional combo devices (there are some worthy of Class A distinction) but they usually cost almost as much (or more) than their separates brethren. Integrated amps are a good example of what I would consider an acceptable compromise if one needs to combine attributes but I will always go for separates when it comes to sources (especially so when it concerns digital) as this part of any system , I feel, it is the key to it being terrific, ordinary or awful (depending largely on the quality of power supply)...I'm a "source is king" kinda guy when it comes to a "whole system". I also believe the transducers (cans, speakers) are equally important...sort of like bookends, with a solid set of bookends and quality pieces filling out the middle the end result should be great (if you carefully match all the pieces of the puzzle). I know it's deciding how to match what puzzle pieces complement each other that is the hard part but with a little experience and a lot of digging (reading/research) it's not that difficult.

 

Peete.


Hi Peete,

 

One thing i always wondered about PSUs; i can understand their importance in an amplifier design due to large voltage swings, especially when listening at higher volumes. I can easily see why having the extra PSU reserve & headroom would be a benefit to SQ. However, when it comes to a DAC with an unamplified line out signal of only 2V, why would it matter so much to have such extensive (multiple) power supplies? My decision (in part) to draw the line at the DAC19 (compared to the DAC-3SE with 3 massive power supplies for example) is because i felt its PSU was sufficient for what the unit does (other reasons were the added connectivity options). I must be missing something?

 

Sorry for OT.

 

Thanks.


Edited by vlach - 10/25/10 at 10:32am
post #482 of 607

I don't think its much OT.

Much of the difference between the various implementation of ES9018, PCM1704 and WM8741 from Audio-GD is all about the power supplies.

 

The key issue here is: mutual influence.

All stages of a DAC (or an amp for that matter) influence each other trough the power supply. And because there are a lot of different signal shapes and timing going on in a DAC/Amp this is a complicated matter. It is a complex form of Intermodulation Distortion that is going on here.

You could be very technical about this and say that it is all about the Power Supply Rejection Ratio of every independent part of the circuit (digital & analog). But its easier to state that the more you can separate each part of the circuit with a separate (high speed / low impedance) power supply the better it is.

 

The whole difficulty of this is that its technically perfectly explainable, but very hard to provide measurable proof. At least I've not seen any proof in the years that I was active in audio design. But thats more than 10 years behind me now

post #483 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by middachten View Post

I don't think its much OT.

Much of the difference between the various implementation of ES9018, PCM1704 and WM8741 from Audio-GD is all about the power supplies.

 

The key issue here is: mutual influence.

All stages of a DAC (or an amp for that matter) influence each other trough the power supply. And because there are a lot of different signal shapes and timing going on in a DAC/Amp this is a complicated matter. It is a complex form of Intermodulation Distortion that is going on here.

You could be very technical about this and say that it is all about the Power Supply Rejection Ratio of every independent part of the circuit (digital & analog). But its easier to state that the more you can separate each part of the circuit with a separate (high speed / low impedance) power supply the better it is.

 

The whole difficulty of this is that its technically perfectly explainable, but very hard to provide measurable proof. At least I've not seen any proof in the years that I was active in audio design. But thats more than 10 years behind me now


Thank you for clarifying this point. If i understand correctly, you are basically saying there comes a point where to continue to increase the size of the one & only power supply in a DAC no longer helps because its more of a matter of separating the various circuits using multiple power supplies instead right?

 

Now you're making me want the 3SE again! smily_headphones1.gif


Edited by vlach - 10/25/10 at 12:16pm
post #484 of 607

Did anyone receive his NFB-1 yet? Considering upgrading to it from my Yulong D100.

post #485 of 607

We want nfb-17

post #486 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlach View Post

Thank you for clarifying this point. If i understand correctly, you are basically saying there comes a point where to continue to increase the size of the one & only power supply in a DAC no longer helps because its more of a matter of separating the various circuits using multiple power supplies instead right?

 

Now you're making me want the 3SE again! smily_headphones1.gif

 

In a way, yes.

But it depends on what you regard as a 'power supply'. This could be a regulator circuit or a whole separate transformer. I always used as a 'best value option': separate transformer for digital and analog and separate regulator circuits for Left and Right channel. The NFB-1 uses two transformers and 5 regulator circuits.

 

If you're thinking 3SE then I guess you should look for the NFB-7! 3 transformers and 15 regulator circuits. Fully separated power supplies for Left and Right. I would love to listen to that unit one day. Beautifully over-engineered. And likely to be a clearly audible upgrade from the NFB-1.

post #487 of 607


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by middachten View Post



 

In a way, yes.

But it depends on what you regard as a 'power supply'. This could be a regulator circuit or a whole separate transformer. I always used as a 'best value option': separate transformer for digital and analog and separate regulator circuits for Left and Right channel. The NFB-1 uses two transformers and 5 regulator circuits.

 

If you're thinking 3SE then I guess you should look for the NFB-7! 3 transformers and 15 regulator circuits. Fully separated power supplies for Left and Right. I would love to listen to that unit one day. Beautifully over-engineered. And likely to be a clearly audible upgrade from the NFB-1.



Thanks again for the clarifications. The NFB-7 is significantly more expensive than the 3SE and i have no use for a balanced DAC...but i appreciate the suggestion none the less.


Edited by vlach - 10/25/10 at 2:22pm
post #488 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by sokolov91 View Post



Yeah, but even someone of the digital era like myself appreciates the ritual of selecting a CD and putting it in a player. When I have all my music on my computer instantly available, I find my self all too often switching tracks and not truly immersing myself in the music. But that is just me. If I had been around to get vinyl, I am sure I would love it just as much. Albums have a feel to them, random tracks don't.

 

So, I don't know how rapidly server based stuff like that will spread. plus, then you absolutely need a computer or a NAS... which aren't cheap. Solid state drives for that matter are crazy expensive too now and whether or not "no moving parts" is something to strive for is yet to be seen. :S

 

But seriously, a universal standard is in dearly in need and its rather pathetic we do not have one yet. Assuring the best quality digital output from any transport, without the need of fancy cables and precise impedances would make things a lot easier and cheaper.

 


Ah, see I hate CDs. They're too delicate and scratch too easily. The VRDS-Neo is a bit silly when EAC can make perfect reads on a $30 computer drive. I'm just someone who listens to albums rather than tracks, so physical discs vs. FLAC files makes no real difference for me other than that it's about 10 million times easier to see my music collection as folders (or a fancy cover flow style setup with some Foobar plugins) than a wall of plastic cases. Music servers can also play vinyl, albeit in digitized high-res. I suppose you could always dither that down to 16/44 and then burn it to a CD. Actually, in the cases of just really bad mastering for the CD release, that actually makes some sense.

 

Computers are pretty darned cheap, and a $250 basic Windows box with a $500 ART Legato attached running Foobar should absolutely destroy a $750 CD player. And a $1500 one. And probably a $3,000 one. That's progress. Yes SSDs are currently very expensive above the 120GB point, but that will change, and soon. Intel's 3rd gen drives and Sandforce's 2nd gen drives are coming very soon, and as usual, prices will drop, and capacity will double. I don't know how audible the improvement is for music from SS vs. platters, but no moving parts should still be a goal just for the sake of noise. No fans, no hdd whine.

 

Nevertheless, I agree that if the big high-end companies could all get in a room together and shake hands over an I2S spec, the smaller guys would probably pick it up. What's likely to actually happen though are just more DACs and transports using a menagerie of connectors that are all incompatible.

post #489 of 607

I´ve actually went from PC to CD´s. Why?

 

(1) CD´s are getting very cheap these days, look nice and sometimes even have the lyrics. Thank piracy for bringing CD prices down :P No need to worry about file backups.

(2) The experience is better when you have something to physically insert into the drive, selecting the music has more meaning. I also tend to listen the full album then, which is great since otherwise I´d skip many less than popular songs.

(3) Fighting WASAPI/KS/different operating systerms can be a pain

(4) Sure a 250 dollar windows box works fine, but it´s also noisy. If you want a completely silent PC it won´t be that cheap anymore.

 

That said, I´ve ordered an Audio-gd NFB-11 I´ll be using with my PC, and will buy some colored "fun" headphones to use for gaming etc smily_headphones1.gif

post #490 of 607

1) What's to stop you from buying a cheap cd and ripping it to a pc as well? smily_headphones1.gif Also, even if you're only using a cd player it's a good idea to have a backup of your cd's, you never know what might happen to a cd.

2)Personal preference, I play both cd's and mp3's basically the same personally speaking...

3) Dunno about the fighting, for me it's mostly been as easy as installing foobar, selecting WASAP/KS and hitting play

4) $250? How about a completely silent frontend with a touch screen for $50 more? http://www.logitech.com/en-us/speakers-audio/wireless-music-systems/devices/5745

Quote:


Originally Posted by vrln View Post

I´ve actually went from PC to CD´s. Why?

 

(1) CD´s are getting very cheap these days, look nice and sometimes even have the lyrics. Thank piracy for bringing CD prices down :P No need to worry about file backups.

(2) The experience is better when you have something to physically insert into the drive, selecting the music has more meaning. I also tend to listen the full album then, which is great since otherwise I´d skip many less than popular songs.

(3) Fighting WASAPI/KS/different operating systerms can be a pain

(4) Sure a 250 dollar windows box works fine, but it´s also noisy. If you want a completely silent PC it won´t be that cheap anymore.

 

That said, I´ve ordered an Audio-gd NFB-11 I´ll be using with my PC, and will buy some colored "fun" headphones to use for gaming etc smily_headphones1.gif

post #491 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebby View Post

4) $250? How about a completely silent frontend with a touch screen for $50 more? http://www.logitech.com/en-us/speakers-audio/wireless-music-systems/devices/5745

 

Totally agree on that!

I stopped using a PC (a mac actually) as transport, but no way I'll be spinning CDs again: I'm currently using a Sonos Zone Player (but if you want hi-res the Touch is fine), and all my music is on a nas in the cupboard...no noise, no configurations, no drivers, just music :-)
 

post #492 of 607

I actually have both a sonos and a squeezebox music system. They're both nice but slightly different smily_headphones1.gif

post #493 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebby View Post

I actually have both a sonos and a squeezebox music system. They're both nice but slightly different smily_headphones1.gif

 

I know this is OT, but what is the difference?

I use a Philips NP-2900 for streaming right now, but doubt if the output is bit-accurate. In fact I'm sure its not. I've been looking for another solution. Where the two you mention are currently on my shortlist.

BTW the NP-2900 sounds great as a stand-alone unit. 
 

post #494 of 607

I can't speak of the Touch, but I used to own the Duet: the Sonos is easier (IMHO) to setup, and it just needs a shared folder in the network, while the Duet need a server software installed somewhere (not all NAS are compatible).

Basically the squeezebox server 'pushes' the music to the Duet (and I think the Touch too) receiver, while the Sonos Zone Player 'pulls' it from the shared folder.

 

They both support FLAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3 etc etc, stream from internet radio, have Last.fm integration. With the latest release Sonos works with Spotify.

 

I slightly prefer the Sonos controller and the Ipod/Iphone app, over the Duet's and IPeng app.

 

The Touch supports hi-res file (up to 24/96), the Sonos only 16/44.1.

 

Both output bit-perfect, as long as the the volume is 'fixed'

 

Probably the Touch has a better (less jittery) digital output.

post #495 of 607

Thanks for the input!

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