Comparing the headphone amp section of the NFB-10.2 I had before (same as the 10SE but with TE8802 instead for USB), to the 10ES2. Using the 4-pin XLR output.
The 10ES2 has more detail and clarity, not just the treble but also bass extends more. Instantly you can tell there's better treble, but I wouldn't say the 10ES2 is brighter than the 10SE or 10.2, because the amount, weight on treble and bass is actually similar. It's just that the treble quality improvement is obvious.
This is probably the effect of ES9018, USB32 and TCXO x2 (I didn't have for the NFB-10.2), all of these three coming together at once, so I can't say which part has how much effect. All I can say is that, these three together certainly brings obvious improvements in clarity. The airy feeling is great.
Originally Posted by Ghaunty22
I'm trying to decide on the NFB-10ES2 for my KH120 monitors if anyone can give some input.
Is this DAC clean enough or HQ enough? I was original going for the NFB-2.32 as it is just a DAC & probably better over the 10.
I dont know if the 10ES would be up to the job of driving HD800's?
It will certainly drive HD800 with enough power, but it's probably not the best synergy you can get. The 10ES2 is neutral. I would say darker or bassy headphones will do better out of the headphone amp section.
It depends on how well you want to drive your HD800. Like the T1 I have, the recommended amps for the HD800 are ones like Bottle Head Crack or Woo for tube, and for solid state I recommend Violectric V181 (balanced) or V200 (single end) as they have a tubey sound. After listening with the V181, the 10ES2 headphone amp sounds a bit "packed". The details and extention is there but lacks in smoothness, although I would still say very good for a combo unit, sounds better than all the under $400 solid state amps I had.
The DAC outputs of the 10ES2 is very good, so one way you can go is that, get the 10ES2, try with HD800, if you like it then that's cool. If you want a bit more bass or smoothness, you can get other amps, just connect from the 10ES2 outputs.