So aparently Audio-gd Is coming out with yet another new Balanced DAC. basically this looks like a NFB-17 on steroids with 4x PCM1704UK instead of dual WM8741.
Considering how well regarded the Ref7.1 (8xPCM1704) and DAC19 (2XPCM1704) are i am willing to bet that this thing is gonna be awesome. Balanced and 4XPCM1704 for only $900? not bad if you ask me, considering the PCM1704's alone cost $200.
here is king-wa's description:
Copy but Upgrade from Reference 5 :
1, 5 groups input .
2, Refer to Reference 7.1 fully balanced design, even connect RCA output , all PCM1704UK working for RCA output , had more neutral sounding .
3, 192K/24 Bit support by USB, coaxial inputs . ( The SPDIF input module can be replace , default install WM8805 for 192KHz support , USB always support up to 192KHz )
4, High / Low output level select .
Fully balanced design built by discrete analog stages without any OPA and couple caps in the signal channels.
Non- feedback ACSS analog output stage .
Uses R-core transformer .
More than 20,000uf audio grade NOVER capacitors are used to ensure ample and smooth power feed.
A total of 4 groups class A PSU and 4 groups linear PSU are used to purify the power supply. To achieve high S/N, the control circuit is powered with separate regulator.
Uses most Hi-end grade parts and exact match transistors.
5 groups digital input : coaxial *2 / Optical *2 / USB
Preamp / DAC output : XLR / RCA / ACSS
USB Audio Class 2 High-speed Input from PC/MAC
Supports full speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode
Resolutions support 16 / 24-Bit with sampling rate support 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, 192kHz ( USB model)
Supports up to 24Bit/192KHz (coaxial / USB )
The DSP-1(V5) digital processor can supports NOS, 2X, 4X and 8X oversampling customers setting.
Memorizes all settings and it could resume the last settings when power on.
What's different between NFB-17.2 and Reference 5.2:
TI want to discontinued PCM1704 but there are still a lot hi-end fans love the real sound of the PCM1704UK.
The Reference 5.2 built in 4 pcs PCM1704UK which is cost USD 48 /pc from TI and USD70 / pc from market , cause the Reference 5.2 price costly than NFB-17.2 , and we can't confirm when it will discontinued .
The NFB-17.2 sound : "Neutral but smoothness sounding ,it doesn't sound skeletal or digital (or metallic). There's meat aplenty on them bones . It's a sigma-delta DAC chip implementation without the dryness, neutrality without the emotional disconnection" - John Darko
The Reference 5.2 sound dead neutral and monitor .