- 37 Posts. Joined 12/2011
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May I suggest the NFB-12
I just got mine and the e7/e9 pales in comparison
I am running this for my grad 325's and the soundstage has blossomed and the distinctness and clarity of all types of music has improved many fold.
My opinion though.
I am running the DAC via optical inputs and no "flavour"(colour) jumpers on it.
check it out if you can
Wow - I'm glad to have discovered this one - thanks. What an amazingly powerful amp - 10V RMS! I'm in a similar situation as the base poster (Derelict), except I was hoping to find something that could also run from batteries. I think I'll have to compromise, and get something like this NFB-12 for home use, and a small portable with much less output for mobile use, with more sensitive headphones. This NFB-12 looks like very good value for money, assuming it doesn't have any serious flaws.
There seems no doubt that they could drive them significantly louder than you'd ever conceivably want or need, but I suggest you hunt for reviews to see how they stand up subjectively.
There's one little thing about Beyer headphones, though - their own amp (the A1) has an output impedance of 100 ohms, and when I contacted Beyer about this, they said they generally test their headphones with a 120 ohm output impedance, per some standard. The NFB-12 has an output impedance of 2 ohms, so the frequency response may not be exactly the same as what the Beyer engineers aimed for. HOWEVER, if that is true (and I'm not even 100% sure it is true), you could easily fix that by adding some impedance on the output of the NFB-12. What you don't want is an amp with a high impedance, because there's nothing you can do to reduce it. Knowing that the Beyer A1 amp has an impedance of 100 ohms, I just don't think I'd ever consider it - it's optimised for their own headphones only.
Yes, the STX should also drive them as loudly as you like, but subjectively, I don't know. The Stereophile review of the STX is very positive, FWIW.
The STX has a higher output impedance (10 ohms), but I think that would only be an issue for low impedance headphones, especially some IEMs. It would not be a problem for your DT880, especially knowing that Beyer's amp has a much higher impedance anyway. Also, the NFB-12's 2 ohm impedance is still not low enough to be considered truly excellent by today's standards, it seems.
As a further comment on the NFB-12
I am unable to raise the volume beyond the 10 o'clock position for the volume level is to strong for me so,
there is plenty of clean sufficient power to drive the beyer's , the perception of the sound of course is subjective.
But for this amount of money, $200 plus shipping , I simply haven't found anything of the same quality and power for up to twice the price.
Also it has a 12db gain switch if you do need it , I don't find a use for it certainly not with the grado's.
The DAC unit is what I purchased it for and I love the choice esp, usb, coax, or optical, with optical at 192
but the amp has impressed me enough to solely use this unit now.
there is a long thread on here discussing it have a look, or better yet listen you will be surprised.
From what I've read, I'd be surprised if it didn't sound very good, and very accurate. I don't use a desktop, even at home, so it's of no use to me. I'm taking a serious look at the NFB-12.