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Audio-gd Compass Broke - Replacement Suggestions?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My Audio-gd Compass just died, which is a shame because I'd been very happy with it.  I went to the Audio-gd website to order another one but the Compass is no longer listed.  

The equivalent seems to be the NFB-5.  Is that a good replacement for the Compass or is there another DAC+Amp in the $300-$500 price range that's worth considering?


Also, is the only difference between the NFB-5 and NFB-5.2 related to the USB input?  I only use the optical input so if the only difference is USB related I'd probably go for the cheaper of the two.


Thanks for any advice you can offer.

post #2 of 9
Which headphones are you using? Is optical a must? USB options are now cheaper if they are USB only. Getting DACS with optical actually seems to drive the price up.

I've never been a fan of DAC+amp combos for the reason you just posted: if one dies, they both die. Also, there is a better upgrade path with separates: you can upgrade one at a time.

Consider the Asgard ($250) as an amp and either the ODAC or HRT Music Streamer (both $150 but USB only).
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm using some Sennheiser HD595s.  I prefer optical output because I had a PC about ten years ago where moving the mouse caused noise/interference in the audio.  I think I'll get a DAC with optical input as it offers a backup in case I have problems with the USB.


While you're right about the benefits of a separate DAC and amp, I think I prefer the neatness and convenience of a combined solution.  I got about three years out of the Compass, which isn't bad.


I'll have a look around at the options, though I wish there weren't so many choices smile.gif

post #4 of 9

You can try getting in touch with Kingwa and seeing if they'll repair the Compass for you. You're out of warranty, but they might agree to do it for the cost of parts plus shipping both ways.


Otherwise, the NFB-5 is probably the closest replacement you can get. The NFB-5.2 can do 24/192 over USB with a special driver while the NFB-5 is only 24/96 over USB but is plug and play. You also get the same opamp rolling ability as the Compass, but you now have access to the Wolfson dac's oversampling filters from the front panel. You do lose the line in functionality though.


If you're willing to spend all $500, the NFB-10SE is a worthy upgrade (fully balanced version of the NFB-5 with 6 watts of output power). However, you won't notice the difference unless you have orthos or plan on going balanced.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice.  I didn't want to order the NFB-5 only to find it was inferior to the Compass, so I'm grateful for you clearing that up.  I'll give the NFB-5.2 a try and see how the USB compares to the optical connection.


The NFB-10SE would probably work out to be a little too expensive.  Once postage, 20% VAT and import duties are added it would be close to $700, which is a bit more than I wanted to pay.  Besides, I'm always a bit weary of digital volume controls as many don't have sufficient granularity, meaning you can end up in a situation where one setting is slightly too loud while the setting below slightly too quiet.


It's nice to see they've put some vents on the top for heat to escape.  I was always surprised just how hot the Compass would get and I wonder if it was the heat that eventually killed it.

post #6 of 9

My Compass just died, too.  I sent a pic of the internals to Kingwa and he told me to connect two points on the board.  I haven't done it yet as I'm not quite sure how to go about it.  I asked him if I can connect the contact points on the board together with solder, or do I need a wire to connect them higher up...hopefully I can get a reply today and see if this works.  So if yours is the same as mine it could be an easy fix and it'll save you a lot of money.



post #7 of 9

Ok I just put some solder across (clumpy unprofessional mess), but it works again!  It's ALIVE I tell you, it's ALIIIIVE!

post #8 of 9

Oh wait.  I got an email from Kingwa, he says that's just the bypass.  So there is something in there that's failed, just don't know what.... Well, at least it's running now.

post #9 of 9
Compass 2 is going to be released on October 10 th.Check Audio - gd website.
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