The NFB-2 and 3 use wm8741 dac chips and are single-ended, very different than NFB-1. I wonder how the $300 NFB-3 compares to the dac19... I wouldn't be surprised if it is in the same league in setups that aren't very revealing.
It seems that many of us (including myself) are being confronted with this dilemma. I feel that part of the increased cost of the ref5 can be somewhat explained by the presence of the dsp-1, acss ouput, and usb input. I personally didn't need the usb input or the acss output. As for the absence of the dsp-1 chip, I guess the ess sabre32 chips are jitter-resistent enough to not need it.
After saying all this, I feel like I could almost flip a coin to decide which product I purchase.
I personally would just go with the NFB-1 because it is discounted :). Btw NFB-1 also has acss output.
Edited by haloxt - 8/24/10 at 2:19pm