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post #136 of 148

Of course I read it! It was one of the reasons I decided to go with the NFB :-) And you've been helpful replying to my questions, as well as a couple of other headfiers.

The Ref.5 was good, but after a while I've realised it was too dark for me, or for the rest of my ring. The NFB is brighter, but as you said, not bright in absolute terms. The M2Tech Young was brighter and more aggressive, and I had some concerns about the NFB being similar. Not the case.

On a side note, we all know how good Audio-GD customer service is, but I want to highlight once again Kingwa's patience in replying to every single email I sent :-)

post #137 of 148

I had the exact same experience as you guys.

 

I found the Reference 5.32 to be too dark for me. As my experience afterwards showed me, I'm really "sensitive" to darkness.

Overall it might not be that dark and certainly much less than the Mad Dogs or the HE-400 (if it makes sense to compare DAC to Headphones... :D).

 

Stock, the sound lacked "bite" with my HE-500 (which are not the fastest headphones around, I reckon). I then performed the cap-mod as indicated in the manual to increase brightness.

It was still dark but overall better in the areas I found the stock version to be lacking. The thing is, I never could really focus on the sound to make a proper opinion of the sound. I was disturbed by something (not audible) that simply caused pain in my head and forced me to open my eyes.

I don't know if the unit was faulty or if, as Kingwa mentioned, the frequency response in the 1-4kHz was just not to my liking and provoked that disturbance. Honestly I didn't hear any flaw in these frequencies, the voicing was normal to my ears (no recess or anything).

 

I ended up returning the Ref5 and ask for upgrading it to another DAC.

Since I found the Ref5 to be lacking dynamics, I upgraded to the NFB-27 which should fit the bill.

 

Dynamics it indeed has! Lots of it! I never felt it was harsh sounding, definitely brighter than the Ref5 but, in my book, closer to neutral than anything else.

The detail retrieval is excellent, so are treble and bass extensions.

Yet, once again, I'm not fully relaxed when listening to it... It's nowhere near the level of the Ref5 but, still, I feel stressed.

 

My opinion now is that the bass is just too tight for me and it hard presses my small head.

I'm no cable believer but it is plugged into a cheap power strip with a cheap AC cable. The unit seems really sensitive to power noise: each time I turn the light ON/OFF, the DAC stops for few seconds!

I still need to investigate this.

 

Bottom line: if you want a Ref5 natural sound with the NFB-7 voicing, get yourself a Metrum DAC ;)

post #138 of 148

Whoa, bass is to tight!! is that even possible as long as quantity remains good. wink.gif

 

As you can guess tight bass is a priority for me which is one of the reasons I went for a Sabre32 chipped dac.

Does the NFB-27 lack bass weight? if so it may seem overly tight.

Are you using silver or copper cables? If silver try changing to copper, it may fill out and loosen the bass a bit.

 

I have had no issues with power noise with my NFB-7.

 

I did get the chance to listen to the Ref 5.1 some months ago but not in my system, it sounded good but not in the same class as the NFB-7 in the areas I expected. It certainly did not sound more natural either.

post #139 of 148

I don't know about the bass weight.

 

Compared to the Metrum or the Ref5, it has less mid-bass (or lower mids) presence. I don't know if one is lacking or the other 2 have a small bump in this range though.

I think tightness and weight (for bass) are somehow "mutually exclusive" (note the quotes, It's oversimplification). It's hard to get both.

 

When i plug the NFB-27 in my speaker setup, the bass is lacking. When I use the Metrum Quad, the mid-bass is more pronounced. Since the speakers won't go below 45Hz, I hear it as more bass presence.

If that helps...

 

I HE-500 had the stock silver cable (re-terminated to XLR). The HE-4 has copper but I didn't swap the cables and used both with their own cable. The 4s cable is single ended anyway: the NFB-27 requires balanced headphones to sound good.

 

I sold the HE-500 recently and am waiting for the 5LEs with aftermarket copper cable (XLR) to come. I will plug it in the NFB-27 to see how it goes.

post #140 of 148

I don't find bass weight and control exclusive. You just need the quality to allow all the bass through and a very good power supply to help with control.

I do think control is more an amp issue than DAC.

 

I actually find bass weight and bass speed more exclusive. A lot of metal has very fast bass but not a lot of weight or depth.

post #141 of 148
Hs anyone found that the nfb7.32 loses lock for a couple of seconds while cold ie not warmed up for 30 mins or so? I get this whike using the coax spdif input, wondering if I need to have it checked out. DAC works fine when warmed up and sounds fine, and I think I found someone had a similar issue with losing lock with a buffalo32 before the power supplies came up to temperature.
post #142 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

Hs anyone found that the nfb7.32 loses lock for a couple of seconds while cold ie not warmed up for 30 mins or so? I get this whike using the coax spdif input, wondering if I need to have it checked out. DAC works fine when warmed up and sounds fine, and I think I found someone had a similar issue with losing lock with a buffalo32 before the power supplies came up to temperature.

 

Never had that problem with my original NFB-7 so would not expect it to be 'normal' behaviour.

I don't normally listen before at least 1 hour warm up but have listened immediately enough to notice any issues if they existed.

 

How are you finding the NFB7.32 compared to your old Ref7.1?


Edited by nigeljames - 3/7/13 at 4:29am
post #143 of 148
Thanks for your input, I might get a friend of mine to have a look at the unit to see if the can suggest any obvious causes. I don't really want to send the unit back to china unless I have to. On e other hand I'm keen to make sure this isn't indicative of some further defect that is affecting performance, especially when or if I eventually decide to sell this.

NFb7.32 is much more to my current taste than the Ref7.1, it has a more agile and clean sound with better bass and treble extension, to my ears it is more transparent and recovers more fine nuance in the music.
post #144 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

Thanks for your input, I might get a friend of mine to have a look at the unit to see if the can suggest any obvious causes. I don't really want to send the unit back to china unless I have to. On e other hand I'm keen to make sure this isn't indicative of some further defect that is affecting performance, especially when or if I eventually decide to sell this.

NFb7.32 is much more to my current taste than the Ref7.1, it has a more agile and clean sound with better bass and treble extension, to my ears it is more transparent and recovers more fine nuance in the music.

 

Bingo!!

 

Still love mine as much as the day I bought it biggrin.gif

post #145 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

Bingo!!

Still love mine as much as the day I bought it biggrin.gif

Yeah it is a great DAC, especially when paired with the Master6 via ACSS. From here the only upgrades I can forsee are a $4000 DAC and a $3000 amplifier, and I can't see that happening any time soon.
post #146 of 148
I've only tested the SPDIF input for a few minutes but it was working fine. Drez, have you tried asking Kingwa? Also I'm wondering if the problem could be the transport?
post #147 of 148
The problem is intermittent ie only happens once so hard to pin down, pretty likey transport related, talked to Kingwa and he didn't seem to think it was anything to worry about, so I think I'll leave it.
Edited by drez - 3/2/13 at 11:12pm
post #148 of 148
Today I've installed the USB32 firmware that came with the NFB, I think the #4.
It doesn't sound bad at all. Actually the top end seems cleaner, easy to spot with baroque violins.
The stage is wider too, but not as focused as with the default firmware (#5 I think).

By the way I've been using the NFB7.32 for about a month now and I haven't noticed any significant change in the sound, it only opened up a bit. Still very happy with it :-)

EDIT: it looks like the firmware I've installed is #3, and by default the NFB came with #4. I had also to install specific drivers for that firmware. But I confirm I like this firmware better!
Edited by realmassy - 3/26/13 at 3:17am
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