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post #841 of 987


Quote:

Originally Posted by gebeege1 View Post

Greetings all - I'm new here - drawn to the thread as I've narrowed down the NFB-11 as my preferred next DAC. I'm particularly keen on the Sabre chip and can't find any other product that is close to the price of the Audio-GD - mind you, they aren't taking orders and don't know if they will again frown.gif Has anyone here got any info regarding the situation with new orders - Edwin and I seem to spend a great deal of time mis-communicating...  

 

If I can't get a new one, I wonder if anyone knows of a second-hand one that's available?  I'd also consider a NFB-3, but have not been able to get a real sense as to the difference in sound between it and the NFB-11 - anyone have an opinion?  What I'm looking for is an articulate extended top-end - I lost this changing my speakers from FocalJMLabs 705s to Polks.  The Polks have better bass but loose out to the 705s in their ability to resolve ambience.  This is probably due to the 705s metal inverse-dome tweeters.

 

Another consideration is the Emotiva XDA-1 - again any opinions or other recommendations would be welcome.

 

Cheers! 

 

PS: Can anyone point me to any discussion as to the reason Kingwa is considering dropping the NFB-11?


 

I'm quite sure there will be a third batch, they just need to wait to know if this second batch won't have a high return due to fail.... as their warranty policy is very good (but may cause a big hole on their pockets), I'm sure they are waiting to see what happens.

As for my NFB-11 (less than a week) from the second batch, I'm loving it. And still can't relate any issue to it.

I would say you need to wait a little.

As for extended top end I would consider the magiDAC to be close to the NFB-11.

 

This is a quote from Lukasz FIkus (lampizator site) about highs on the Sabre32 chips

 

Quote:
5. Highs are slightly better than any one I know, with CS4397 being second best.

And indeed the Aeolus Audio magiDAC uses CS4398 (which must be very close), and has a great top end... it really impressed me.  And when it was sold, it was priced close to the nfb-11.

post #842 of 987

More update on the drop out issue.

Well some new interesting finding...

Moving nfb-11 and DI around, to a cooler place haven't solved the drop out issue, but at least the NFB-11 is working much cooler right now... I would say it's normal now regarding heat output.

 

BUT........ I found something:

 

I decided to play 2 instances from foobar at the same time, playing the same album almost at sync with the exact same preferences configuration.

Foobar nº1 -> Wasapi -> Audio-GD DI -> ZeroDAC (no drop out) -> miniWatt left channel (right playing music channel)

Foobar nº2 -> Wasapi -> Motherboard Realtek HD Digital Out (coax) -> NFB-11 (no drop out) -> miniWatt right channel (right playing music channel too)

I also tried this way NFB-11 playing my headphones while at the same time the Zero playing my speaker pair.... also no drop out.

Well.. if there's a drop out doing this, it is wayyyyyy too rare to really bother because after a couple of hours, yesterday and today, no drop out was heard....

 

Conclusion: It must be a issue related when used DI + NFB-11 together.....

 

Next step if indeed no drop out is perceived for a long time on the currently setup:

- Test again DI + NFB-11 (no resampling)

- DI (resampling to 96khz) + NFB-11

- Test DI with Aftermarket USB cable ? Unfortunitely these are too expensive to buy just to a little test.

 

Anyway, kudos to Audio-GD support that already asked me to send the unit back to repair in case I find it's necessary. The problem is..... I where is it anyway... =]

In the mean time NFB-11 just gets better and better....

 

For the guys wondering if NFB-11 is a worth upgrade over ZeroDAC.... well.... Hell Ya!! Don't be in doubt even a little about it.....

I did a blind test with 3 friends... I put them (one at a time) to hear both speakers (same speakers of course, same music, at the same time, same amplifier, worst cables to the nfb-11 speakers - zero playing the left channel, nfb-11 on the right channel)

Neither of them had any doubt when pointing which speaker was the best... their answer were the same: "This one is much much better". After that I revealed this was the NFB-11 speaker.

Interesting thing... their are not hi-fi guys and are used to hear crap headphone without any dac or amp..... so it's pretty obvious what this means when comparing the zerodac with the NFB-11....

post #843 of 987

Well guys turns out I found something that worked on the DI drop out issue......

I came to the conclusion that it wasn't a NFB-11 issue... rather most probably a DI issue when used with the NFB-11... (stock clock DI without power supply)....

 

Right now I'm using the DI set to upsampling to 192khz....... NO DROP outs! Same thing when set to 96khz.... I already e-mailed audio-gd asking if they have a clue about why this is working that way....

looks like I'll be getting a TCXO upgrade and external power supply.....

I'll let you guys know if the drop out problem stopped for good doing upsampling on the DI.

post #844 of 987

Hey guys, dropout huh... let me check my pockets. :)

 

I don't remember getting any drop-outs with my NFB-11 alone, I've had a few with the Digital Interface tho.

I've only been using the USB input on the DI, and using MediaMonkey for playback with either DS or Waveout.

With DS I played with smaller buffer sizes, then set it to Waveout... had maybe another dropout or two.

I then switched to 96k upsampling, plugged-in the USB and don't think I've had any drop-outs for a few days

of 24hr music playing. Waveout with default 2000ms buffer currently.

 

Win7 64bit Q6600 @3600MHz .... i have like 80 processes running in taskmanager... fat piggy... lol

 

For USB users, the USB Input port I think is a possible culprit. Just recently with both USB stick and SDram

I remember getting different transfer speeds, either Normal/Fast or Slow.. depending on "USB Insertion"

If I fiddle, plug/unplug I would get different results...testable by transfering a multiMegabyte files.

 

Another "Shocker" (to me) :)  is that SATA behaves the "sameish" I had a couple of "Iffy" SATA cables, one

was to my main storage drive, WD Green 2.0TB. Watching it transfer a large file... it started 68MBsec-ish then

quickly dropped to well under 10MBsec, but it still worked! I jiggled the SATA cable... speed went back to normal!

 

Both Protocols seem to retain transfer capabilities, even with a less than good connection

Which makes troubleshooting much more difficult, a simple go/no-go would be far easier.

 

my 2cents... :)

 

p.s. Borrego: did you do the clock-swap yourself? I wonder where my '11's HO-22c stands compared to the new TCXO?

post #845 of 987

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vpsporb View Post

Hey guys, dropout huh... let me check my pockets. :)

 

I don't remember getting any drop-outs with my NFB-11 alone, I've had a few with the Digital Interface tho.

I've only been using the USB input on the DI, and using MediaMonkey for playback with either DS or Waveout.

With DS I played with smaller buffer sizes, then set it to Waveout... had maybe another dropout or two.

I then switched to 96k upsampling, plugged-in the USB and don't think I've had any drop-outs for a few days

of 24hr music playing. Waveout with default 2000ms buffer currently.

 

Win7 64bit Q6600 @3600MHz .... i have like 80 processes running in taskmanager... fat piggy... lol

 

For USB users, the USB Input port I think is a possible culprit. Just recently with both USB stick and SDram

I remember getting different transfer speeds, either Normal/Fast or Slow.. depending on "USB Insertion"

If I fiddle, plug/unplug I would get different results...testable by transfering a multiMegabyte files.

 

Another "Shocker" (to me) :)  is that SATA behaves the "sameish" I had a couple of "Iffy" SATA cables, one

was to my main storage drive, WD Green 2.0TB. Watching it transfer a large file... it started 68MBsec-ish then

quickly dropped to well under 10MBsec, but it still worked! I jiggled the SATA cable... speed went back to normal!

 

Both Protocols seem to retain transfer capabilities, even with a less than good connection

Which makes troubleshooting much more difficult, a simple go/no-go would be far easier.

 

my 2cents... :)

 

p.s. Borrego: did you do the clock-swap yourself? I wonder where my '11's HO-22c stands compared to the new TCXO?


Very interesting, you ended up coming to the same conclusion as I did... NFB-11 alone ok, with DI drops.... Upsampling on the DI everything stays just fine....... really cool to find it's not only me...

My windows 7-64 is with only 44 process running =]

 

I agree with you on the USB port connection.... this is actually my most recent test.... I just found out by accident that my DI usb conector is walking.... like moonwalking... LoL.....

So I just stuck a piece of paper behind to hold it in place and now I'll give another try without upsampling to check if the dropout issue was caused by bad connection because of the MJ like USB connector...

 

 

 


Edited by dacavalcante - 3/29/11 at 4:11pm
post #846 of 987

Diego....Are you overclocking the computer and if so a 550W PSU is a little light for the hardware you have in your new computer IMO. The drop out may be caused by poor V regulation through the USB bus ....overclocking of the CPU and Ram may interfere with steady voltage delivery to the USB peripherals...I could be wrong about this of course...My computer has a sli/x fire approved PSU rated at 800W for an older Q6600 CPU/4 gigs of Mushkin PC8500 DDR II, Ati 3870 512 Vid, Asus Max Formula mobo (X38) and a Auzen Prelude PCI SC (used as transport). The other possible factor in your drip out issue could be cabling quality....The cable issue is a long shot however and is likely not the problem. Might as well try a brand new USB cable and swap around to various USB ports on your computer to see if that might contribute towards a solution. Is there anyone near you that has the DI PSU by any chance ? It might solve your problem but without testing it with your comp it's tough to recommend you spending the money if it does not solve your issue.

 

Then again buying the DI PSU is a good safe purchase and may alleviate the drop out problem. My gut feeling is telling me the 550W PSU may be maxed out or near it's load max ...generally speaking you want to load a comp PSU no more than 70% of it's rated max...gives you some headroom. A cheap PSU can cause all kinds of hardware/sw issues....

 

Peete.

post #847 of 987

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post

Diego....Are you overclocking the computer and if so a 550W PSU is a little light for the hardware you have in your new computer IMO. The drop out may be caused by poor V regulation through the USB bus ....overclocking of the CPU and Ram may interfere with steady voltage delivery to the USB peripherals...I could be wrong about this of course...My computer has a sli/x fire approved PSU rated at 800W for an older Q6600 CPU/4 gigs of Mushkin PC8500 DDR II, Ati 3870 512 Vid, Asus Max Formula mobo (X38) and a Auzen Prelude PCI SC (used as transport). The other possible factor in your drip out issue could be cabling quality....The cable issue is a long shot however and is likely not the problem. Might as well try a brand new USB cable and swap around to various USB ports on your computer to see if that might contribute towards a solution. Is there anyone near you that has the DI PSU by any chance ? It might solve your problem but without testing it with your comp it's tough to recommend you spending the money if it does not solve your issue.

 

Then again buying the DI PSU is a good safe purchase and may alleviate the drop out problem. My gut feeling is telling me the 550W PSU may be maxed out or near it's load max ...generally speaking you want to load a comp PSU no more than 70% of it's rated max...gives you some headroom. A cheap PSU can cause all kinds of hardware/sw issues....

 

Peete.


Hey Peete! How are you doing ? Well... I'm actually not overclocking... I'm running it stock.... The PSU is fine (but maybe OLD, it's from early 2008 - and we always have to consider capacitor aging), I used to overclock the hell from my previous setup Q6600 @3.9 ghz DDR2 to 1200mhz and HD48701gb to where it could got in my old bad ass EP45-UD3P.... but now I'm much light person to computers, almost green... LoL... only going stock with my i5 on a mini-itx mobo with 1.35v ddr3 memo from g.skill....

 

I actually had a DI PSU and another DI myself that came along with mine, but it was from a friend from far away here in Brazil and they are already with him, he also has a Furutek USB cable... but I can't ask him to borrow it to me... because it takes too long to get to where I am using regular shipping and express shipping is very expensive just as much as from China to Brazil to send the same cable by EMS.... a little downside from living in a 3rd world country...

 

I really wish I could afford a better usb cable right now, but I just can't... usb port is not the problem.. I already tried all ports from both of my computers... it's the same issue....

 

But take a look a what my DI USB connector is doing (pics):

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Pics from the MJ usb..

DSC04961.JPGDSC04960.JPG

 

 

post #848 of 987


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vpsporb View Post


p.s. Borrego: did you do the clock-swap yourself? I wonder where my '11's HO-22c stands compared to the new TCXO?


Mine is the NFB-1. I did the TCXO upgrade myself and it involved desoldering/resoldering 12 wires between the NFB-1 digital section board / analog section board / SPDIF socket. I find the soldering task easiler for me than packing the NFB-1 and sending back to Kingwa for the upgrade. I bought the TCXO from Kingwa.

 

On my NFB-1, the stock XO would cause drop-out in the first 5 mins(the ES9018 chip loses the clock lock) if I cold start the unit in temperature under 10C degree. I actually simulated the issue by placing an ice cube over the stock XO: Drop out happened during temperature drop and rise when I placed/removed the ice cube over the stock XO.

 

Kingwa did not agree the unit being fautlty, and I actually contacted another NFB-10 user who lived in Chicago during winter time for a "cold start" experiment and his unit had no issue. So I accepted the fact that mine was an isolated case.

 

After I bought the TCXO from Kingwa, I actually didn't bother installing it because it was no longer cold enough in Hong Kong causing the drop-out issue. Then Kingwa emailed me again asking my comments for the upgrade, and said in the mail that the upgrade would improve sound quality. So I did the upgrade. Results? I did the ice cube over TCXO experiment again and the unit is much more thermo stable, and I would say it sounds a little bit smoother after the TCXO has burnt in for about 100hrs. The difference on sound quality, if you trust my memory on how the old XO sounded, was very slight, less dramatic than the Windows 7 registry tweak/SP1 upgrade. If you don't have the thermo stability issue and is not comfortable in soldering, I would say just skip the upgrade.

 

If you search the web for the thread of the Buffalo DAC which use the same ES9018 chip, you will also find a few users encountering the same thermo stability issues with their XO. I think that is why Kingwa eventually used the TCXO as standard to avoid possible issues

 

BTW, during my communication with Kingwa on the XO, he told me the ES9018 is rated stable only between 0C and 75C. It has a narrower operating temperature range than the other DAC chip.

 

One more interesting thing I found during my soldering work on my NFB-1: All the Audio-gd ES9018 DAC has different no of signal connections between the digital and analog section: My NFB-1 has 4 wires per channel in between, the NFB-7 has 3 wires per channel in between, the NFB-10 has only 2 wires per channel. Not sure for the NFB-11. I think the differences in no of connection wires has something to do with sound tuning (i.e. shared ground or not).


Edited by borrego - 3/29/11 at 6:49pm
post #849 of 987


Ahh.. you has an NFB-1. I had thought it was a typo for NFB-11... just slumming with the 11's then? haha j/k :) 

Yowsa, 12 wires to be able to do the mod. That's some mighty fine soldering you did to upgrade your clock.. much skilled.

Thanks for the TXCO info, sounds like you were involved in a bit o' testing with clocks. I'll probably just leave my clock as is.

After looking @ dacavalcante's TXCO pic, I was looking around for mine?? until I realised mine is on the USB fix-mod "riser" board. lol

 

Hmm interesting ES9018 info between the different NFB versions, I do wonder how they differ besides just the power sections. 

Would you know why Low gain seems to have a different sound sig than High gain? Most notable is vocals, with High gain the vocals are centered...with Low gain, vocals are more diffused with slightly wider soundstage. Is the gain switch technically doing more than just gain.. or just is?

 

Windows 7 registry tweak/SP1 upgrade ?  Do tell... :)  I did do a... USB polling tweak.. I just checked, I'm not Sevicepacked yet. much difference?

Clock.jpg

Truly impressive design and precision soldering on the fix-mod by King Wa and the wizards @Audio GD :)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by borrego View Post


 


Mine is the NFB-1. I did the TCXO upgrade myself and it involved desoldering/resoldering 12 wires between the NFB-1 digital section board / analog section board / SPDIF socket. I find the soldering task easiler for me than packing the NFB-1 and sending back to Kingwa for the upgrade. I bought the TCXO from Kingwa.

 

On my NFB-1, the stock XO would cause drop-out in the first 5 mins(the ES9018 chip loses the clock lock) if I cold start the unit in temperature under 10C degree. I actually simulated the issue by placing an ice cube over the stock XO: Drop out happened during temperature drop and rise when I placed/removed the ice cube over the stock XO.

 

Kingwa did not agree the unit being fautlty, and I actually contacted another NFB-10 user who lived in Chicago during winter time for a "cold start" experiment and his unit had no issue. So I accepted the fact that mine was an isolated case.

 

After I bought the TCXO from Kingwa, I actually didn't bother installing it because it was no longer cold enough in Hong Kong causing the drop-out issue. Then Kingwa emailed me again asking my comments for the upgrade, and said in the mail that the upgrade would improve sound quality. So I did the upgrade. Results? I did the ice cube over TCXO experiment again and the unit is much more thermo stable, and I would say it sounds a little bit smoother after the TCXO has burnt in for about 100hrs. The difference on sound quality, if you trust my memory on how the old XO sounded, was very slight, less dramatic than the Windows 7 registry tweak/SP1 upgrade. If you don't have the thermo stability issue and is not comfortable in soldering, I would say just skip the upgrade.

 

If you search the web for the thread of the Buffalo DAC which use the same ES9018 chip, you will also find a few users encountering the same thermo stability issues with their XO. I think that is why Kingwa eventually used the TCXO as standard to avoid possible issues

 

BTW, during my communication with Kingwa on the XO, he told me the ES9018 is rated stable only between 0C and 75C. It has a narrower operating temperature range than the other DAC chip.

 

One more interesting thing I found during my soldering work on my NFB-1: All the Audio-gd ES9018 DAC has different no of signal connections between the digital and analog section: My NFB-1 has 4 wires per channel in between, the NFB-7 has 3 wires per channel in between, the NFB-10 has only 2 wires per channel. Not sure for the NFB-11. I think the differences in no of connection wires has something to do with sound tuning (i.e. shared ground or not).



 

post #850 of 987

Quote:
Originally Posted by vpsporb View Post

Hmm interesting ES9018 info between the different NFB versions, I do wonder how they differ besides just the power sections.

Would you know why Low gain seems to have a different sound sig than High gain? Most notable is vocals, with High gain the vocals are centered...with Low gain, vocals are more diffused with slightly wider soundstage. Is the gain switch technically doing more than just gain.. or just is?

I also wish to know that...
 

 

Quote:

I did do a... USB polling tweak.. 

Can you tell me how to do that, please ?

 

 

Quote:

Truly impressive design and precision soldering on the fix-mod by King Wa and the wizards @Audio GD :)

LoL... really is... he must have a medical surgeon  hand control... =]

 

 

 

post #851 of 987

dacavalcante: I might have missed it, but what coax cable are you using between the DI and NFB-11?  This might be a useless question as usually you'd have more problems with a bad cable and 192k if I understand correctly.

post #852 of 987

Windows 7 WASAPI Registry Tweak: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/500369/audio-gd-digital-interface/1425#post_7268395

 

For WIndows 7 Service Pack 1, it got a new USB Audio driver. My experience is it gives better depth to the sound stage, a little bit more dynamic.

 

That is the 1st picture of the NFB-11 riser board. It looks like a PLL circuit is added. Also it is likely no londer USB-I2S but change to USB-SPDIF.


Edited by borrego - 3/30/11 at 5:52am
post #853 of 987

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

dacavalcante: I might have missed it, but what coax cable are you using between the DI and NFB-11?  This might be a useless question as usually you'd have more problems with a bad cable and 192k if I understand correctly.


Well, I'm actually using a DI cable.... I used a KMP RGC-59 (I guess it's a national brand) 75 ohms - 60% shielding  (celular coaxial cable) with an amphenol conector.

http://www.bmconectividade.com.br/site/produtos_interna.asp?idCategoria=1&idproduto=62 (cable link)

 

Yes, 192k would give cable a hard time, but in fact 96khz and 192khz work just right when upsampling with the DI. 

Anyway, I'll order a BNC cable from blue jeans which I think must be a much better cable/standard....

 

I'm talking to Kingwa... 

As I could infer from his first e-mail he is recommending me to use the DI upsampling, because this is the way it works in the asynchronous mode and also has a much lower jitter compared to when not upsampling... so it's the man word, let's give it a try.... I just have to lose my prejudice against upsampling... but indeed... none dropout with upsampling....

 

post #854 of 987

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by borrego View Post

Windows 7 WASAPI Registry Tweak: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/500369/audio-gd-digital-interface/1425#post_7268395

 

For WIndows 7 Service Pack 1, it got a new USB Audio driver. My experience is it gives better depth to the sound stage, a little bit more dynamic.

 

That is the 1st picture of the NFB-11 riser board. It looks like a PLL circuit is added. Also it is likely no londer USB-I2S but change to USB-SPDIF.



Thanks, I already did that when you posted the first time... I was thinking it was something else.... =]

post #855 of 987
Quote:
Originally Posted by borrego View Post

Windows 7 WASAPI Registry Tweak: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/500369/audio-gd-digital-interface/1425#post_7268395

 

For WIndows 7 Service Pack 1, it got a new USB Audio driver. My experience is it gives better depth to the sound stage, a little bit more dynamic.

 

That is the 1st picture of the NFB-11 riser board. It looks like a PLL circuit is added. Also it is likely no londer USB-I2S but change to USB-SPDIF.


I just installed ServicePack1... and the USB audio driver is newer 11/19/2010. Is it better? I can't be sure.. but I'm being continually re-blown-away from the 

sheer Awesomeness of the sound created by my DI-NFB11-MiniMax stack. :)

 

Yeah it's just a poor cropped/rotated pic of my 11's clock section, I wanted to be able to compare differences to a ver.2 NFB-11 like from dacavalcante's pic.

Like: I didn't know the power section was slightly changed... makes sense tho... since USB was deleted. Learning small things like that... do entertain me.. lol

Hmm I don't know if/about the I2S to SPDIF change in NFB-11?  It be like the Gamma Lite(I2S) Gamma Full(SPDIF) minimal differences?

King Wa did say the USB mod sounds better than the stock USB implementation... DI is most likely best tho, so is somewhat moot... but Interesting!

 

@dacavalcante:

This is the link to USB polling tweak, don't know if it makes positive differences... but it's easy to enable/disable... so it can provide some entertainment. :)

http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=pcaudio&m=78994     
 

 

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