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Audio-GD NFB-11.32 & NFB-11 (2014) (Delivery & Impression Thread)!!! - Page 128

post #1906 of 1915

Hi

I bought very recently the Audio-gd NFB-11 mainly because I wanted to use my laptop as a music server.  I also have an Airport Express (AEX) (A1264). I was hoping that using this DAC connected via USB could be a major sound improvement compared to an optical connection (Toslink) from the AEX using iTunes limited to 16bit/44Khz.

As a replacement for iTunes I decided to give JRiver MC20 a try because it seemed very complete and I liked its user interface. I installed the necessary ASIO drivers that came and setup JRiver with  ASIO output, "internal volume" and volume at max for bitperfect transfer. When you hover with your mouse over the DSP-button (right upper corner of JRiver), you can see the details of the "audio path" (signal processing ). Mine gave the following information: "No changes are being made" and "direct connection". So the transfer to my DAC should be bitperfect.

Sound seemed at first OK. However, when I was playing some music I know very well (Nick Cave, The Boatman's call) I found that it did not sound right. So I played the same record using iTunes via AEX/optical at max volume (also bitperfect). To my surprise this sounded so much better. Via Toslink the soundstage was wider, the music had more detail, was cleaner and more precise.

I spent hours making the same comparison playing the following records (Nils Forgen, Acoustic Live; Kaki King, Everybody loves you; Mick Harvey, Intoxicated man; ...) some at 16/44 others at 24/96 or 24/192; and I always came to the same conclusion. The toslink input on this DAC sounded way better than the USB input. 

This was a huge disappointment for me and I even considered selling my two weeks old "new" NFB-11 because of its seemingly substandard USB input.

Then I thought I will give Foobar a chance not really believing this could make any difference. I was at first instance discouraged by its GUI and its steep "learning curve". I set up Foobar with the appropriate ASIO plug-ins and made sure all the settings were for bitperfect transfer.

To my surprise the USB  connection sounded now similar as the Toslink via AEX. I even had the impression that somehow the background had less noise using the USB connection. The time had come to really try some higher resolution tracks (Muddy Waters, Folk Singer). And yes, now the USB connection was clearly superior to the Toslink. For me this was a great relief.

I know my experience goes against mainstream ideas (saying "bits are bits" and that each audio player that is capable of bitperfect restitution sounds the same).   I really hesitated a long time before sharing this.

I have no reasonable explanation why in my setup Foobar sounds so much better than JRiver, and I have not the technical knowledge nor the means to research this further in a more objective way.

I just felt the urge to share this and invite others to make their own investigations.  I thought the NFB-11 user thread would be an appropriate place to post my experience.  I will put a similar post in an older thread “foobar vs. jriver(a different take)”.  I am just too curious to know if someone else has had a similar experience.

Thank you for reading this long post!

post #1907 of 1915

Has the popping sound when switching to DSD decoding been fully fixed in the latest version. Or is it a less than ideal workaround (the mute switch thingy)? I'll be switching between PCM and DSD in my playlists and I know that kind of thing will wind me up.

post #1908 of 1915
I believe it has been addressed smily_headphones1.gif
post #1909 of 1915

I been searching this tread for an hour now without luck so i think i have to ask some questions before i buy one of these units.

 

 

A local dealer has the 2014(with airholes on top but without the mute disable switch on back) version of the NFB-11 in storage, but i cant find any info if its the one with the 20w or the 35w transformer.

 

I wonder how much it has to say that it has the 20w or the 35w, i might not notice at all.

 

My other option is to get it from Audio GD direct and just get the TCXO thingies at the same time, not that i know if i need those either:P

 

I plan on using optical or coax mainly, i may just play around with the USB option for kicks. I do not plan on using ASIO and i often use software EQ.

 

Should i buy a 2014version localy, i guess without TCXO and with 20w transformer) for 385USD

 

or

 

Buy from Audio GD direct and get the 2015v with TCXO and 35w transformer for 487USD (365USD+25%tax + 37USD in shipping)

 

EDIT: Do you think Audio GD would sent the package with a lower value written on it? This way i can pay alittle less tax on this sucker in case I decide to import myself.


Edited by Snurt - 6/18/15 at 11:36pm
post #1910 of 1915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snurt View Post

I been searching this tread for an hour now without luck so i think i have to ask some questions before i buy one of these units.


A local dealer has the 2014(with airholes on top but without the mute disable switch on back) version of the NFB-11 in storage, but i cant find any info if its the one with the 20w or the 35w transformer.

I wonder how much it has to say that it has the 20w or the 35w, i might not notice at all.

My other option is to get it from Audio GD direct and just get the TCXO thingies at the same time, not that i know if i need those either:P

I plan on using optical or coax mainly, i may just play around with the USB option for kicks. I do not plan on using ASIO and i often use software EQ.

Should i buy a 2014version localy, i guess without TCXO and with 20w transformer) for 385USD

or

Buy from Audio GD direct and get the 2015v with TCXO and 35w transformer for 487USD (365USD+25%tax + 37USD in shipping)

EDIT: Do you think Audio GD would sent the package with a lower value written on it? This way i can pay alittle less tax on this sucker in case I decide to import myself.
Yes smily_headphones1.gif
post #1911 of 1915

Well that settles it, just ordered and payed for a 2015 NFB-11 with both TCXO upgrades. Hope this is worth it compared to buying a un-upgraded 2014 locally for a fair sum cheaper(51usd):P

 

Some more Q's:

 

Is there any benefit to using a specific input or is it all the same?


Edited by Snurt - 6/24/15 at 2:26am
post #1912 of 1915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snurt View Post

Well that settles it, just ordered and payed for a 2015 NFB-11 with both TCXO upgrades. Hope this is worth it compared to buying a un-upgraded 2014 locally for a fair sum cheaper(51usd):P

Some more Q's:

Is there any benefit to using a specific input or is it all the same?
Gratz.
It's for you to try. They should be relatively similar sounding. I use the Toslink input on s different agd DAC on a daily basis, as well as USB and it sounds good. I also tried coax, HDMI and BNC and that sounded just as good smily_headphones1.gif
post #1913 of 1915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snurt View Post
 

Is there any benefit to using a specific input or is it all the same?

 

I believe Audio-GD recommends using USB for music.

With my NFB-15.32, I just use optical for everything.

post #1914 of 1915

So i received the unit and it works perfectly, i believe:P

 

I cant hear any difference between the NFB-11 and the Marantz receiver i used before to drive the headphones, and i cant hear any difference on the different inputs. Maybe I'm just deaf.

 

Also when i turn the volume knob all the way down i can stil hear music in the headphones.

 

I like that there was some spare parts with the unit, i also love the metal finish!

post #1915 of 1915

Is there a way to make it act as a headphone amp and a preamp at the same time?

 

Maybe i can connect the shakers to the line out if it can output on both at the same time.

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