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$200 Desktop amp and DAC

post #1 of 110
Thread Starter 

Hello, I like vocals and bass. I'm a basshead, treble head, and everything you can think of. I can enjoy my oldies or my new generation music. 

Music:

Pendulum

Lil Wayne

Katy Perry

Linkin Park

Disturbed

Bon Jovi

Mozart

ASian music(Asian pop, rock, rap etc)

 

Genres:

Rap

Hip hop

EDM

Jazz

Classical

Bass and drums

pop

rock

hard rock

Heavy Metal

 

I know quite a few $200 units, but I'm more of a poster type person than lurker. I will be using these with my headphones in my signature:

SRH440

Q701

HFI 580

XB500

PL11

MP8320

etc

 

It has to have a DAC and amp. Tube or not, doesn't matter. Has to support either USB or S/PDIF(optical) in. Desktop unit.  Everything else I leave up to you.

 

Pick my next ~$200 Unit! :)

 

I'm very interested in the low cost no iffs and or butt or snake oil units like the Bravo.


Edited by bowei006 - 5/20/12 at 1:39pm
post #2 of 110
You should check out the Audioengine D1. While not as versatile as the E17, as in no eq settings, it's just an honest dac/amp, no treble or bass settings. You can even connect speakers because it has rca connectors in it.
SQ wise I have no idea since I never tried it but there are some reviews posted here and also in Youtube aswell.
Edited by VortexBlast - 5/20/12 at 1:59pm
post #3 of 110
I personally have an Audio-GD NFB-12, which fits right into your price class.

I love this unit, and is most likely one of the best Amp/DAC combo's you can get for $200.
post #4 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VortexBlast View Post

You should check out the Audioengine D1. While not as versatile as the E17, as in no eq settings, it's just an honest dac/amp, no treble or bass settings. You can even connect speakers because it has rca connectors in it.
SQ wise I have no idea since I never tried it but there are some reviews posted here and also in Youtube aswell.

Well there is one thing on the D1 and FiiO amps and the overal was that the FiiO E10 was cleaner and the better amp and DAC compared to the D1...and the E17 trumps the E10 in all area's.

 

The TubeMagic D1 is highly recommended so I will look into that. Hopefully I can get no bias people. 

post #5 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post

I personally have an Audio-GD NFB-12, which fits right into your price class.
I love this unit, and is most likely one of the best Amp/DAC combo's you can get for $200.

Sounds great! I don't want snake oil. But of course how much experience do you have with the Maverick D1 and other head fi liked desktop amp and DAC's in the range!?

post #6 of 110

My knowledge of external desktop DAC/Amp is quite limited as I don't have one since I have an Essence STX which already has a decent DAC in it so take my suggestion with a grain of salt. Actually don't take my suggestion at all. :P

I can comment though for the Fostex HP-P1 which is a portable DAC/Amp for iDevices only but it's not what you're looking for.

post #7 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VortexBlast View Post

My knowledge of external desktop DAC/Amp is quite limited as I don't have one since I have an Essence STX which already has a decent DAC in it so take my suggestion with a grain of salt. Actually don't take my suggestion at all. :P

I can comment though for the Fostex HP-P1 which is a portable DAC/Amp for iDevices only but it's not what you're looking for.

I'm moving away form portable man! tongue.gif Thanks for helping though mon compagnon!

 

 

Now Tilpo, if I did want the NFB, how would I get one!? I live in the U.S.

post #8 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

Sounds great! I don't want snake oil. But of course how much experience do you have with the Maverick D1 and other head fi liked desktop amp and DAC's in the range!?
The NFB-12 is no snake oil, at least in my opinion. It uses a discrete Class A unit, which is slightly unconventional, but not as unconventional as what some other people do in the audio business.
I compared this unit quite a few times to the Little Dot MKIV when I still had it, and the differences very small. Too small to be able to decide which one of the two would be better. This means that the amp section is fine.

Additionally, someone has measured the unit, and the noise floor and frequency extension are very good. I can't hear any faults with the unit either, so in my opinion it's just plain 'good'.

It should also have plenty power to drive your q701's.
post #9 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

I'm moving away form portable man! tongue.gif  Thanks for helping though mon compagnon!


Now Tilpo, if I did want the NFB, how would I get one!? I live in the U.S.
I ordered one directly from their website. Shipping is from China, but the price was not that bad.

I'll look if there are any US importers which may have it for a lower price shipped to the US.
post #10 of 110
The NFB-12 shipped to the states would be $233.50, and customs might go on top of that.
You can also get the 12.1, which includes the possibility to change filter settings without opening the unit. I haven't tried this, and I doubt the differences between the filters are very large, but if it's worth $15 to you, then go for it.
post #11 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post

The NFB-12 shipped to the states would be $233.50, and customs might go on top of that.
You can also get the 12.1, which includes the possibility to change filter settings without opening the unit. I haven't tried this, and I doubt the differences between the filters are very large, but if it's worth $15 to you, then go for it.

I'm thinking of the NFB 12.1 really :)

 

But 

http://www.headfonia.com/no-music-audio-gd-nfb-12/

 

Doesn't like it :/ I don't know. I know not to trust fully reviews and Mike is a bit different at times but it is a mark. 

post #12 of 110

Pacific Valve (http://www.pacificvalve.us/) used to be the main US importer, but they stopped carrying Audio GD gear several months ago. Even when they did, it was still better to buy direct from Audio GD since Kingwa likes to make lots of tweaks to his products and buying direct ensures you'll get the newest versions. You can email audio-gd@126.com for a quote and they'll send you a paypal invoice for the payment.

 

Their warranty service is great (3 years and they pay for shipping both ways during year 1). I had to send back my NFB-10SE last month for an overheating issue and a damaged USB converter, and they were willing to put in the new TE8022 and remote options at the normal upgrade price even though they'd have to redo the motherboard to install the remote. Only catch is that you're looking at a 3 week turnaround time.

post #13 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

I'm thinking of the NFB 12.1 really smily_headphones1.gif

But 
http://www.headfonia.com/no-music-audio-gd-nfb-12/

Doesn't like it :/ I don't know. I know not to trust fully reviews and Mike is a bit different at times but it is a mark. 
I stopped reading headfonia a long time ago. Their reviews are too subjective, and seem to influenced more by mood than actual sound quality.

Honestly, I'm of the opinion that most amps/DAC's are already overkill. Differences will be very small and not above the level where they couldn't be accurately discerned from bias effects. My experience with amps confirms this, and with DAC's it should make an even smaller difference.
post #14 of 110
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post


I stopped reading headfonia a long time ago. Their reviews are too subjective, and seem to influenced more by mood than actual sound quality.
Honestly, I'm of the opinion that most amps/DAC's are already overkill. Differences will be very small and not above the level where they couldn't be accurately discerned from bias effects. My experience with amps confirms this, and with DAC's it should make an even smaller difference.

I also get a vibe from Head-fonia which is why I didn't pay too much attention to it. His reviews are great but are personalized and I respect that. He won't let hype get to it and based on his ears and tastes will like a product or not. That's special right there. Him not liking the NFB12 actually gave me more respect for him as he doesn't pull with the wave.

 

The NFB12 is looking great :) $230 total for NFB12 new and shipped seems to be it :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2151 View Post

Pacific Valve (http://www.pacificvalve.us/) used to be the main US importer, but they stopped carrying Audio GD gear several months ago. Even when they did, it was still better to buy direct from Audio GD since Kingwa likes to make lots of tweaks to his products and buying direct ensures you'll get the newest versions. You can email audio-gd@126.com for a quote and they'll send you a paypal invoice for the payment.

 

Their warranty service is great (3 years and they pay for shipping both ways during year 1). I had to send back my NFB-10SE last month for an overheating issue and a damaged USB converter, and they were willing to put in the new TE8022 and remote options at the normal upgrade price even though they'd have to redo the motherboard to install the remote. Only catch is that you're looking at a 3 week turnaround time.

Thanks, I am sometimes worried about Chinese service, but from the looks of it audio gd looks legit!

post #15 of 110
Kingwa is very helpful and enthusiastic about his products.

Ordering from him may take some time since his English is not that good, but nothing a little bit of patience can't handle in my experience.

Have fun with you're unit, I know you're going to love it as much as I do. biggrin.gif
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