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Audio GD NFB- 7 Sabre32 ES9018 DAC Opinion & Reviews - Page 3

post #31 of 72


Quote:

Originally Posted by regal View Post

And to my background that statement makes no sense or is just plain marketing, unless he is using the reconstruction filter as eq which he shouldn't be.

 

Makes complete sense to me.

 

Parts selection, topology, etc. all make a difference in sound. For example, I've recently made my cheap M-stage amp do exactly what I wanted to do (within the limitations of its design and case size) after some experimentation with parts substitution, cap bypassing, etc. Panny FM cap vs. Elna Silmic in PS sound different. Change a transistor in diamond buffer - different sound.

 

Are you saying a REF7 with ACSS to RCA doesn't sound different from diamond output of REF8? Or PMD100 sounds the same as the DSP?


Edited by purrin - 10/22/10 at 3:07pm
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post


Quote:

 

Makes complete sense to me.

 

Parts selection, topology, etc. all make a difference in sound. For example, I've recently made my cheap M-stage amp do exactly what I wanted to do (within the limitations of its design and case size) after some experimentation with parts substitution, cap bypassing, etc. Panny FM cap vs. Elna Silmic in PS sound different. Change a transistor in diamond buffer - different sound.

 

Are you saying a REF7 with ACSS to RCA doesn't sound different from diamond output of REF8? Or PMD100 sounds the same as the DSP?



No but I am saying you can't make a PMD100 sound like a DSP-1 or vice cersa,  or a Sabre sound like a PCM1704 ..

post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post





No but I am saying you can't make a PMD100 sound like a DSP-1 or vice cersa,  or a Sabre sound like a PCM1704 ..



LOL, somehow I don't think that's what Kingwa meant with the cooking analogy.

post #34 of 72

The cooking analogy was actually to say there is no "one right way" to cook something. Sometimes the cook will add more salt or spices, or cook the fish differently, and it isn't necessarily "wrong" to cook things differently, even though customers expect some level of food "consistency" when reordering the same dish.

post #35 of 72

Well I guess what I was trying say say is that Audio-gd DACs seems have a "consistent" house sound voiced by the designer (or "cook"), i.e. an ESS based NFB-7 will probably sound more similar to REF-7 than a W4S DAC1 (also ESS). And that concerns about the NFB-7 sounding like other uninvolved and analytical ESS based DACs may be exaggerated. We'll see for sure once more of the NFB-7s get into folks hands - that is if they ever do - seems to be a slow seller right now.


Edited by purrin - 10/23/10 at 10:53am
post #36 of 72


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

I think all this talk about the ESS being inferior or going backwards is nonsense. In the NFB-1 thread, Macrog (who has both REF7 and NFB7) seem to imply they are on the same level with the NFB7/ESS implementation being more detailed, dynamic, and analytical and the REF7/PCM1704UK being more musical and forgiving of bad recordings. My personal preference would be to keep the DAC as neutral and detailed as possible with the amp doing the rest (tubes for musical, SS for analytical). If you start with a "musical" DAC, it's harder to go "backwards" to analytical.


My only concern is going too far in the "analytical" direction leads to sound that is dry, clinical, and sterile, and ultimately unpleasant (see Benchmark).


I loved the DAC1 when I had it, and it served me well for a few years, but the problem with the Benchmark reference is that it sounds sterile and dry not because it is neutral, but because of its horrible power supply, op-amp used in the output stage, and cheap ASRC. With Audio GD, we avoid all of that poison.

 

Also, I agree with Purrin about going as "neutral and faithful" (Kingwa's words) when selecting the source. My tube pre-amp and amps can add flavors before and after the fact.

 

After doing extensive research about the Neko, PS Audio PerfectWave (just the DAC and bridge), W4S DAC-2, Tranquility, and endless others, I have put the NFB-7 at the top of my list.

 

It is a tough decision between the NFB-7, the REF-7, PerfectWave, and Space Tech Lab's entry DAC. There are no Canadian GD dealers, while Space Tech is a short drive from my place. Plus, I've actually heard the STL in my system, and it is the only digital source that has ever almost tempted me to part with my vinyl set-up. That is how good it is. However, its extremely limited input compatibility - only 44.1 and 48KHz - is a dead end for the future.

 

I hope that I will like the NFB-7 because plenty of people over on other forums castigate Audio GD as nothing but FotM stuff, although most of their cynical and really immature snipes were directed at lower priced Audio GD headphone amps, not DACs. On principle, there is so much to love about the NFB-7. The only thing that is it missing (and I assume that it is missing it) is an upsampling bypass switch like the PerfectWave, so that I can run the original sampling rate natively. 

post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

Well I guess what I was trying say say is that Audio-gd DACs seems have a "consistent" house sound voiced by the designer (or "cook"), i.e. an ESS based NFB-7 will probably sound more similar to REF-7 than a W4S DAC1 (also ESS). And that concerns about the NFB-7 sounding like other uninvolved and analytical ESS based DACs may be exaggerated. We'll see for sure once more of the NFB-7s get into folks hands - that is if they ever do - seems to be a slow seller right now.


Purrin,  as in pur speculationrolleyes.gif
 

post #38 of 72


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicFirst View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

I think all this talk about the ESS being inferior or going backwards is nonsense. In the NFB-1 thread, Macrog (who has both REF7 and NFB7) seem to imply they are on the same level with the NFB7/ESS implementation being more detailed, dynamic, and analytical and the REF7/PCM1704UK being more musical and forgiving of bad recordings. My personal preference would be to keep the DAC as neutral and detailed as possible with the amp doing the rest (tubes for musical, SS for analytical). If you start with a "musical" DAC, it's harder to go "backwards" to analytical.


My only concern is going too far in the "analytical" direction leads to sound that is dry, clinical, and sterile, and ultimately unpleasant (see Benchmark).


I loved the DAC1 when I had it, and it served me well for a few years, but the problem with the Benchmark reference is that it sounds sterile and dry not because it is neutral, but because of its horrible power supply, op-amp used in the output stage, and cheap ASRC. With Audio GD, we avoid all of that poison.

 

Also, I agree with Purrin about going as "neutral and faithful" (Kingwa's words) when selecting the source. My tube pre-amp and amps can add flavors before and after the fact.

 

After doing extensive research about the Neko, PS Audio PerfectWave (just the DAC and bridge), W4S DAC-2, Tranquility, and endless others, I have put the NFB-7 at the top of my list.

 

It is a tough decision between the NFB-7, the REF-7, PerfectWave, and Space Tech Lab's entry DAC. There are no Canadian GD dealers, while Space Tech is a short drive from my place. Plus, I've actually heard the STL in my system, and it is the only digital source that has ever almost tempted me to part with my vinyl set-up. That is how good it is. However, its extremely limited input compatibility - only 44.1 and 48KHz - is a dead end for the future.

 

I hope that I will like the NFB-7 because plenty of people over on other forums castigate Audio GD as nothing but FotM stuff, although most of their cynical and really immature snipes were directed at lower priced Audio GD headphone amps, not DACs. On principle, there is so much to love about the NFB-7. The only thing that is it missing (and I assume that it is missing it) is an upsampling bypass switch like the PerfectWave, so that I can run the original sampling rate natively. 



Hi, if you order the NFB-7, would you be kind enough to let me know how much you paid in duties......because, this this the DAC I wish to buy and I do not know if I should buy it from Pacific Valve or directly from Audio-GD in China...

 

Thanks

 

Denys

post #39 of 72

I'm pretty sure duties are just 12% tax. They used to be much higher.

 

Is the $1350 quoted on Audio GD current?

post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

Well I guess what I was trying say say is that Audio-gd DACs seems have a "consistent" house sound voiced by the designer (or "cook"), i.e. an ESS based NFB-7 will probably sound more similar to REF-7 than a W4S DAC1 (also ESS). And that concerns about the NFB-7 sounding like other uninvolved and analytical ESS based DACs may be exaggerated. We'll see for sure once more of the NFB-7s get into folks hands - that is if they ever do - seems to be a slow seller right now.


Purrin,  as in pur speculationrolleyes.gif
 


LOL, just ordered a REF-7 instead of an NFB-7 from Pacific Valve after talking with Joe there. Although the REF7 was a little bit more than I wanted to spend, I didn't want to risk an unknown - after hearing so many accounts of "analytical" with ESS chip implementations. A better power supply isn't going to make that analytical sound musical.

 

@Denys: Don't know what duties would be in Canada. Ordering via the Internet from Pacific Valve in California is simply the price on the website (they ship free). BTW, they raised the price of the NFB-7. It's no longer $1350.


Edited by purrin - 11/20/10 at 10:22pm
post #41 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post


Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

 


LOL, just ordered a REF-7 instead of an NFB-7 from Pacific Valve after talking with Joe there. Although the REF7 was a little bit more than I wanted to spend, I didn't want to risk an unknown - after hearing so many accounts of "analytical" with ESS chip implementations. A better power supply isn't going to make that analytical sound musical.

 

 

No but a better analog stage might!    Just had to throw that out there to plant a seed of doubt in your decision :)   But lets face it you can always buy a ESS or similar S_D DAC if not from Audio-GD then from others,  and hell they're very easy to build.  So to me the economics just don't add up.  Might as well jump on the D1 Sabre project at Diyaudio if you have to have a Sabre why buy such a simple DAC all the way from China?.  And who wants to deal with a company (Sabre) that makes you sign a NDA before you can read their datasheet,  screw that.  You made the smart decision.

 

As far as the comments about the hatred for Audio-gd at headkase,  I think there is something odd over there.  They're recommendations are old R2R/opamp DAC's.  I have a few of them and yes they are nice,  but the opamp, the heavy NFB, and miniscule power supplies thin out the sound.  I think there is a serious "case" of closemindedness over on that site.

post #42 of 72

Regal, the oddity with THAT website is not just their seeming preference for cheap and poor op-amp designs, but most of the posters appear to be either drunk and/or 12-year-old children. They do seem to like the PerfectWave though, and I would too if it weren't $1.2K more than the Ref 7.

 

Anyway, I too have decided to get the Reference 7 because of its DAC choice, ability to bypass upsampling, and proven performance. There is still no in depth review of the NFB-7, which while I'm sure is good, I just don't want to be the guinea pig here.

post #43 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post

No but a better analog stage might!    Just had to throw that out there to plant a seed of doubt in your decision :)   

 

I would have perhaps given more consideration to an Audio-gd ESS chip implementation with their "musical" series output stage. It's odd that Audio-gd didn't have this variation available. Then again who knows, maybe it's due to come out soon. I also felt it was too early to buy into a new Audio-gd ESS DAC given the company's history of continuous improvement / old product cannibalization. Whereas the REF7 the mature fully evolved product - unfortunately about to be discontinued.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicFirst View Post

Regal, the oddity with THAT website is not just their seeming preference for cheap and poor op-amp designs, but most of the posters appear to be either drunk and/or 12-year-old children. They do seem to like the PerfectWave though, and I would too if it weren't $1.2K more than the Ref 7.

 

 

I don't see anyone having recommendations from that other forum (or any other) for good-value mid-priced DACs between $750-$2000? I've seen Assemblage and Parasound mentioned (and yes, I'd love to grab one of those with the HDCD decoding capabilities), but you can't even get them - even used anymore. Currently, in this price range outside of DIY, there are just a handful of other choices: Wyred4sound, PS Audio, LITE (another Chinese manufacturer), and of course the ubiquitous Benchmark. There's the Bryston BDA-1 at $2150; but when you inside the box, there's a LOT LESS compared to the Audio-gd TotL stuff.


Edited by purrin - 11/21/10 at 9:24am
post #44 of 72

NFB-8 is coming Sabre and Musical diamond output  L3000.gif

post #45 of 72

Seriously?

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