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Audio-Gd Reference 10 - Page 10

post #136 of 358

For separates with the 1704 chips, the ref 5.2 is out now. I'm guessing the NFB-6 AMP is what you'd match it to.  It would save you a few bucks but I wonder how they'd compare with the 10.2?
 

post #137 of 358

Hi Guys,

 

Last week DHL dropped a Reference 10.2 at my doorstep and I want to share my reference experience with you.

 

A little history; this is my third DAC from Audio-GD and I have also the DI with power supply. The first one was the NFB11. Beautiful with a very good sounding DA converter but not balanced. Next was the NFB10SE used together with the DI (for sale now!). More body, power and a bigger soundstage but I missed the clean sound of the DA converter of the NFB11 so I thought the Ref 10.2 could combine both because of the 1704 DA convertors.

 

My gear; I mainly listen to music through my speaker, the active near field monitors Klein & Hummel O300. Source is a Dell Inspiron 24 inch touchscreen only used for music. Tuned for performance and as software Foobar2000 on USB with kernel streaming.

Interlink is balanced and pure silver, USB is Audioquest Forest. My room is measured with REW and I use some acoustic panels against some unwanted echoes.

 

My first thought when I opened the box with the Ref 10.2  “Sh…, this is heavy!”. The DAC is very well build with good materials and can’t be compared with my earlier DAC’s. Even the remote is heavy ;-)
I listened to it for a week now and the first few days the sound got better but I didn’t notice any difference the last 2 days so I think it’s time to say something about the sound.

 

My expectations where quite high because I had good experience with the other DAC’s from GD and second because it’s build like high end gear should be build (my opinion).
The Ref 10.2 sounds absolute impressive!  It has an extreme good 3d soundstage (without needing glasses) with lots of space between instruments. Silence is really black and when I played Patricia Barber’s Verse (24Bit recording) I got the feeling there were no speakers in the room and I could smell here breath.
Bass is tight with punch and power, highs are smooth and you can hear metal shine. It’s also so easy to hear details in the music like the squeaking of the piano chair of Diana Krall’s A Case Of You.
Electronic music like Yellow sounds very dynamic and powerful.
What’s also important to mention is that rhythm and pace are excellent which makes music more real and human, especially when you play more complex jazz pieces.
Audio-GD states that the Ref 10.2 sounds neutral and I think that’s correct. I did not measure my room again because the sound feels right. Voices, piano’s drums, it doesn’t matter, if the recording is good, it sounds good. But the opposite is also true, it’s not a magic box.
Does the ref 10.2 have a downside….? Yes, I noticed that I began playing louder and louder.  Luckily I don’t have neighbors and my girlfriend likes music!  

 

I can’t tell you if the Ref 10.2 is the best you can buy, if separated DAC’s and preamps sound better or that vinyl can’t be beaten. But what I can tell you with 100% certainty is that the Reference 10.2 is a bargain compared to other high-end gear. And that it is definitely a high-end music machine!

 

Regards,
Tini

post #138 of 358

Congrats on your purchase. I went the NFB-7 route, could not be more pleased. Enjoy.

post #139 of 358

yep, good to hear you're enjoying your new toy so much
 

post #140 of 358

I have recently upgraded my setup to a Reference 10.2 to go with my LCD-3s and I must say the combination is amazing to listen to. There is certainly plenty of juice in this amp to drive the planar magnetic cans without a sweat. Like all toys I got since age 5 I tend to pull them apart to see the inner workings of it all (...years later I'm and engineer!) and I happen to pop the top of the Ref 10.2 to have a sticky beak. 

 

Now I'm not an electrical genius or anything, far from it, but I had a look at the back of the 4 pin XLR plug and noticed that the 240Volt wires from the transformer is running right next to the rear terminals of the plug (see photo below). Hopefully someone here can have some input on this, is this a worry in terms of interference maybe?? Also it seems a little silly to me why people get huge thick shielded headphone cables connecting to the outside but when you look inside (most amps) there are tiny wires connecting it to the circuitry and this case running next to high voltage lines. 

 

Am I making any sense ?

 

post #141 of 358
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sab666 View Post

I have recently upgraded my setup to a Reference 10.2 to go with my LCD-3s and I must say the combination is amazing to listen to. There is certainly plenty of juice in this amp to drive the planar magnetic cans without a sweat. Like all toys I got since age 5 I tend to pull them apart to see the inner workings of it all (...years later I'm and engineer!) and I happen to pop the top of the Ref 10.2 to have a sticky beak. 

 

Now I'm not an electrical genius or anything, far from it, but I had a look at the back of the 4 pin XLR plug and noticed that the 240Volt wires from the transformer is running right next to the rear terminals of the plug (see photo below). Hopefully someone here can have some input on this, is this a worry in terms of interference maybe?? Also it seems a little silly to me why people get huge thick shielded headphone cables connecting to the outside but when you look inside (most amps) there are tiny wires connecting it to the circuitry and this case running next to high voltage lines. 

 

Am I making any sense ?

 

 

Yes you are making sense. The thick expensive cable is a vaste of money and thats why you dont see it inside old nad products or audio-gd, but only in product where they use thick expensive cabinets and colorfull components, - and a lots of words to describe the sound.

 

But 220V should not be close to signal cables. I wouldnt personal mind though if you have at least 5mm separating the two in this example as it is not a vacum cleaner the 220 is used for and the signal cable is not for a mc pickup :) - Just enjoy the sound, a sound derived from excellent power regulation. You have one of the best value dac/preamps in history. I would be surpriced if it wasnt as good as the most expensive DACs ever. You got big sound bang for your bucks. Give some slack for details :)


Edited by krumme - 9/3/12 at 12:15pm
post #142 of 358

Oh I'm not complaining about the sound at all, it is the best I've heard to date. Yea the wires were pretty much touching but I moved it away about 5-6mm and put a piece of rubber between them, yea I'm a little fastidious I guess. I messaged Kingwa about it and he gave me some details and said it wasn't a factor, so I'll take his word for it ! 

 

Thanks for the input!

post #143 of 358

If it was a factor, I am thinking you would hear hum or some other noise. I am guessing you have a totally black background?

post #144 of 358

Well I'm still waiting on a set of cables to use the 4pin XLR out, I haven't tried it yet. At the moment I'm using only the single end output and as far as I can hear it is very silent background on the 1/4inch.

post #145 of 358

I use the XLR outputs (on K&H O300) and there is absolutly no hum or noise, it's indeed a black background.

If you are using the single output now the switch to XLR will be a great improvement.

Enjoy your Ref 10.2.

 

Regards,

Tini

post #146 of 358

Did you have any troubles with the TE8802 USB drivers? I been having constant crashing in Win 7 64bit. I am getting my unit upgraded to USB 32 receiver module tomorrow at my local dealer so I will see if its an improvement over TE8802 and hopefully it fixes the crashing!

post #147 of 358

Hi Sab666,

 

I had some little USB problems but no major.

When 24/196 FLAC files are corrupt my computer (W7 64bits Kernel streaming) crashes (bue screen) and when I start my computer sometimes it does not see the USB connection or the Ref10.

But normaly I can play all day without any problems.

 

When I read about jitter I don't think an upgrade to 32 bit will be an improvement. The jitter problem can or will be bigger I red. For the resolution or noise 32 bit will bring you no real improvement compared to 24 bit. So i'm very curious what your results will be. Please let us know if it's an improvement.

 

Regards,

Tini

post #148 of 358

Ref 10.32, NFB 27.32 or Master 8 to go with my NFB 8 WM?  That is the question.

post #149 of 358

Did the Ref 10.32.

post #150 of 358
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtntrance View Post

Did the Ref 10.32.

 

Master 8 , your DAC should be more than enough ...the other are combos AMP+DAC  you don't need it as your DAC section is allready "great" . 

 

Edit : hum too late XD .


Edited by HaVoC-28 - 10/15/12 at 3:25am
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