Today, I've spent few hours playing with NFB11.32 connected through USB interface, in both Windows XP and Windows 7.
The results and my findings are following :
In Windows 7, audio-gd driver control panel is able to select output bit rate. The options are 16-bit, 24-bit or 32-bit. However, 32-bit cannot be selected, there is only such option, but grayed out. Only 16-bit and 24-bit can be selected. In Foobar2k preferences Output Tab, there is a option, to select Output Data format. Here can be selected 16, 24 or 32-bit. However, 32-bit doesn't work, when you want to play a file, you'll get error message. Only 16-bit and 24-bit data format is working under Windows 7.
For me, NFB11.32 cannot play 32-bit output format files under Windows 7, and it seems like software/driver issue. However, Audio-gd control panel have option for it, so it seems, it just cannot detect Windows 7, as OS, that can handle 32-bit output format, and will not allow transmition in this format.
Under Windows XP, there is no 16/24/32-bit option in Audio-gd control panel. However, in foobar, even 32-bit output format works. I'm not sure, if it true sent in this format, but probably it is... as foobar changes it to this data format, and send it to audio-gd driver. So it seems, that Audio-gd driver doesn't have problems with 32-bit format under Windows XP.
Now to the sample rate.
Under Windows 7, there cannot be played any other sample rate, except 44,1/48 Khz. If I try to play 96 Khz file, I'll get error. Same will happen, if I try to upsample 44,1Khz file to 88,2 or 96 Khz. This is very sad, and it practicaly degrades performaces and capabilities of this device. (if there is a way, how to make it work, please reply... maybe there is needed to turn on something in Windows 7)
Under Windows XP, all sample rates are working. So, under Windows XP, also for example 96Khz/32-bit can be played. However, I don't have any 32-bit music files, I just select it in foobar as output data format. And don't know, how to confirm it, if it is really 32-bit. The best would be to have some 32-bit music file, which I don't have.
Now to the bit-perfectness:
Under Windows 7, I've managed to WASAPI work under foobar without problems. However, there is still problem, without no 32-bit output format, and no higher sample rate, than 48 Khz. So best, what you can get in Windows 7, is 48Khz/24-bit. Which is very sad, for someone, who have 96Khz files. But it is also sad, because I remember, that 44,1 Khz files, that are upsampled to 88,2 Khz by Sox resample mod, sounded better (tested on NFB12.1, which I had before, and which I've sold to get NFB11.32)
Under Windows XP, I've found no way, how to make ASIO4all work. Still no success. So, it can be played only normaly. There is question, if it is bitperfect or no, without ASIO4all. Probably no, as foobar needs to send it to ASIO4all first, to make it bitperfect. But I've read something, that in Windows XP, mixer doesn't touch it, if volume is set at maximum level. But I don't know, how to confirm it, if it is bitperfect, without ASIO4all.
So right now, there is:
Eighter bitperfect under Windows 7, but only 48Khz/24 bit
non bitperfect under Windows XP, but up to 196Khz/32 bit.
It's difficult to say, which should get better results in sound quality, for typical 44,1 Khz 16-bit files. Eighter upsample it to 48Khz/24bit by sox mod, and play it bitperfect (Windows 7), or, upsample it to 88,2/96/196/32 bit by sox mod, but play it non-bitperfect, without ASIO4all (Windows XP). As I cannot compare it directly, from hastly made testing, I cannot say, which of the two, sounded better. However, I've read, that ASIO4all is not so good as it seems (it is mentioned on the page in foobar components, when you downloading asio4all foobar plugin:
Please note that this component is meant for systems where ASIO is the only available output method. It is highly recommended to use the default output modes instead of ASIO. Contrary to popular "audiophile" claims, there are NO benefits from using ASIO as far as music playback quality is concerned, while bugs in ASIO drivers may severely degrade the performance.
According this, it should mean, that Windows XP way should be better... that means, use only default sound, but upsample it to 96Khz/196Khz + 32-bit.
To the ASIO4all issue, it seems, that this is software/driver issue, where eighter Audio-gd drivers doesn't support ASIO4all, or ASIO4all driver cannot handle USB-32 interface, or maybe Sabre chip? Maybe, as it is pretty new. Anyway, it should be great, when ASIO4all would start to work with Audio-gd 32-bit interface, but what can be done in this issue, to push things forward? Contact ASIO4all? I don't know. Or, if it is Audio-gd driver problem, who to contact? Who is making this drivers?
Last, what are the other issues around NFB11.32, with Windows XP..
There is message, that this device is meant for HiSpeed USB, but it is plugged into Normal SPeed USB port. But it's not true, as I have it connected in HiSpeed USB port... NFB12.1 for example didn't have this kind of message. So it seems, like problem of driver, or what... or maybe Windows XP doesn't detect it well?
Now, when you are trying to play file, with ASIO4all, sound just lags, playing is freezed, etc... after it, you cannot get sound even from normal playing method, and Windows is very unstable. It can freeze, it cannot be shutted-down (nothing happens).. I need to restart it manualy. But after restart, there are more problems... my mouse driver, would not get loaded at all, and it also doesn't load Audio-gd driver. So another restart needs to be done... then it is working again. So for me, do not even try to play files by ASIO4all, or you get your Windows XP unstable. It just not work, and it's buggy.
Another problem, I've noticed, after start of computer, my BIOS is checking USB devices... and here, it will hold sometimes even for 10 seconds. When I don't have NFB11.32 connected, this is not happening, and this step of checking USB devices is always very quick.
So for me, it seems, drivers for this NFB11.32 are not very well made, or maybe firmware. Simply, this device doesn't communicate good with Windows, it seems pretty unstable and buggy. So you can except some kind of problems... which is very disapointing. To be honest, I am not happy yet with NFB11.32, as NFB12.1 with Tenor7022 worked flawlesly, without any bugs. Right now, I am very disapointed with NFB11.32 driver support. And it is very sad, because, the sound of this device is excelent, I am hearing, it is better, than NFB12.1, but what if it cannot be used properly???
I would be happy for any further findings, how to solve any of the issues, I've mentioned, and I would be even more happy, if this device would work without problems, stable, and also, support ASIO4all. Right now, I am sorry for changing NFB12.1 to NFB11.32. It was bad move, not worth the money differance, and I'm disapointed. I've expected, that NFB11.32 will work same, without problems, which is not the case. The potential increase of sound quality of NFB11.32 over NFB12.1, is totaly wasted, by bad driver support, no-bitperfect option in Windows XP, and no 32-bit format, or higher sample rates, under Windows 7, not to mention several detection problems with USB connections, that will make you feeling bad and not sure about this device.
The situation with coaxial connection may be better thought, but USB connection I see very risky right now. And that's sad, because strong point of USB.32 device should be USB.
Now, I've got longer listening periods under Windows XP, and there is even new problem... from time to time, the sound just freeze. It happens from time to time, when tracks are changing. But right now, it happens in middle of track. First time, restarting of foobar helped, and it worked. But now, when it froze in middle of track, no track can be played... it's just frozen right after playing a song. I this case, I have feeling, that only restarting of computer will help, to make sound work again. The bad thing is, that under these conditions, device is unlistenable. You are listening music for 20 minutes, and suddenly... it freezes. In middle of musical. OH, it's like to be bashed by club on head. No way... for today, I am switching back to onboard audio. For now, it seems, NFB11.32 + Windows XP = no way. :-(
Tommorow, I will try, if this happens also in coaxial mode... but my coaxial output on motherboard quite sucks... I would say, it will have worse quality, that bitperfect USB transmition on NFB12.1. So basicaly, if I don't solve this issue, I've paid 120$ and waited 2 months, to get worse quality, than I had... I should go to hiface instead, silly me.
In this case, I would be forced to sell this device, and just thinking of it makes me burning inside... so I'm still hoping, I will get it somehow to work. :-(((((((((
Edited by Warrax - 10/30/12 at 7:10pm