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Audio-gd Compass 2 amp/DAC Impressions thread - Page 13

post #181 of 381

I have had the Compass 2 for a month or so now and wondering what the general consensus is on the best quality input.  Given the same output/settings do you prefer USB or SPDIF?

post #182 of 381

My mac uses osx 10.5.8. Will there be any issues with the usb connection or is it plug and play with the compass2 ?

post #183 of 381

hey guys, just to check,

Is compass 2 a integrated amplifier/dac? so meaning it is capable of powering up passive speakers and feeding analog signals too?

post #184 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruiselee View Post

hey guys, just to check,

Is compass 2 a integrated amplifier/dac? so meaning it is capable of powering up passive speakers and feeding analog signals too?

Nope im afraid not.

 

It is a combined DAC/Headphone amplifier and i guess a single source pre-amplifier.

post #185 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

You need to check the firmware version, or flash a known firmware with the upgrade toolkit that is provided on the website.

 

From there, once you're sure which version you have, you should install:

-1.1 for firmware #3

- 1.22 for firmware #4 & 5

- 2.0 for firmwares 7 & 8

 

The procedure is quite simple:

- Remove the old driver that might be present on your computer (go Panel Control -> Devices Manager -> Audio, video controllers -> Uninstall your "audio-gd" (firmware>3) or "SVB202" (firmware = 3) device and check "remove driver".

- Then you should delete from the VIA folder located in Program Files (x86) the following sub-folders: VIAudUsb & Setup.

- If you've got firmware #3, you should delete the HIEND folder in Program Files (x86).

- If you've got firmware >3, you should delete the folder in which you extracted the USB-32 drivers (from the rar package. If you followed Audio-GD installation procedure, it should be located in c: with a folder name that match the drivers (e.g AudiogdUSB32v2.0forwin)

 

- Extract the new drivers in c:

- Connect your DAC and power it on.

- Launch the installer and enjoy.

 

Note: the installation won't succeed if the DAC is off ;)


I got my Compass 2 working after quite a few hours trying thanks to your much clearer instruction then Audio-gd. How tough would it have been for Audio-gd to spend a little more time having someone write more detailed instructions in better english. Just think of how many customers they have that would be just as thrilled by how easy it should be to install the drivers as they are with the sound of their equipment.  Thanks for the clarification.

post #186 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by pongagt View Post


I got my Compass 2 working after quite a few hours trying thanks to your much clearer instruction then Audio-gd. How tough would it have been for Audio-gd to spend a little more time having someone write more detailed instructions in better english. Just think of how many customers they have that would be just as thrilled by how easy it should be to install the drivers as they are with the sound of their equipment.  Thanks for the clarification.

 

My pleasure.

 

I already suggested Kingwa to put a version in the name of the package that contains the firmware upgrade tool. It's always "USB32Firmware.rar". It contains all the firmwares that were released to date.

He should also make a driers version history and allow people to download older versions easily.

 

I much prefere firmware #3 over the newer ones with my NFB-27.

post #187 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

My pleasure.

 

I already suggested Kingwa to put a version in the name of the package that contains the firmware upgrade tool. It's always "USB32Firmware.rar". It contains all the firmwares that were released to date.

He should also make a driers version history and allow people to download older versions easily.

 

I much prefere firmware #3 over the newer ones with my NFB-27.


I'm very happy just to have my Compass 2 working with my computer for now. It came with the newest firmware. I have a extra chip so i guess i could have a different version of the firmware on each chip. Mine is not even broken in and i still have the Earth board to install and i want to do some recapping with Silmics wherever i can fit them. Are you switching chips to be able to ab the firmware without reflashing?

post #188 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by pongagt View Post


I'm very happy just to have my Compass 2 working with my computer for now. It came with the newest firmware. I have a extra chip so i guess i could have a different version of the firmware on each chip. Mine is not even broken in and i still have the Earth board to install and i want to do some recapping with Silmics wherever i can fit them. Are you switching chips to be able to ab the firmware without reflashing?

 

No I use the flashing tool, it's much faster and safe if you're careful enough.

In all cases, you have to uninstall and reinstall drivers, which may take some times since the computer needs to reboot 2-3 times in the process.

 

I stick with firmware #3 anyway and it also works with the Squeezebox Touch - albeit in Adaptive mode - which I rarely use these days anyway.

post #189 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

No I use the flashing tool, it's much faster and safe if you're careful enough.

In all cases, you have to uninstall and reinstall drivers, which may take some times since the computer needs to reboot 2-3 times in the process.

 

I stick with firmware #3 anyway and it also works with the Squeezebox Touch - albeit in Adaptive mode - which I rarely use these days anyway.


I use my Squeezebox Touch streaming from a NAS exclusively at home and my laptop on the road. I am probably better off leaving the firmware optimized for my Touch running the Enhanced Digital Output app.

 

I'm finding there isn't any room for most premium caps in the Compass 2. No way can i fit Silmic II's. The top line of caps in all the major brands are all too large around. It looks like the Nichicon FG series is the best i can do for the 100uf/100V and 100uf/63V caps. About the only decent cap i can find to fit the 1500uf/35V caps are Panasonic FC or FM series. I am not sure what would be a good replacement for the 3300uf/63V power supply caps. I believe there are some Nichicon 3300 and 6800 that will fit but i haven't really concluded if they are good for the power supply. I have read audio rated caps are not good when replacing the power supply caps. I'd love to here from someone who is also replacing the Nover caps.

post #190 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by pongagt View Post


I use my Squeezebox Touch streaming from a NAS exclusively at home and my laptop on the road. I am probably better off leaving the firmware optimized for my Touch running the Enhanced Digital Output app.

 

I'm finding there isn't any room for most premium caps in the Compass 2. No way can i fit Silmic II's. The top line of caps in all the major brands are all too large around. It looks like the Nichicon FG series is the best i can do for the 100uf/100V and 100uf/63V caps. About the only decent cap i can find to fit the 1500uf/35V caps are Panasonic FC or FM series. I am not sure what would be a good replacement for the 3300uf/63V power supply caps. I believe there are some Nichicon 3300 and 6800 that will fit but i haven't really concluded if they are good for the power supply. I have read audio rated caps are not good when replacing the power supply caps. I'd love to here from someone who is also replacing the Nover caps.

 

Don't you like the Novers that come with it?

post #191 of 381
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

Don't you like the Novers that come with it?


I would prefer Elna, Nichicon, or Panasonic Audio capacitors with a track record like the Wima caps and Dale resistors used. Someone here has already confirmed improved sound quality after recapping.

post #192 of 381

I went ahead and ordered the Compass 2 8741 due to the fact that I enjoy using the NFB 15.32 on my computer more than using my Cyrus CD6S CD player with the vintage Kenwood KA-3500 int amp!  I really love the warmness that the 15.32 provided, also it makes almost all my CDs sound close to analog as possible.  I'm one of those types who willing to lose the high details in order to get the warmth/musicality.  *Cross my fingers.*  

 

Also I like that I can use the device as an amp only.  It is going to be interested to see what the Cyruss CD player will be, a CD player or a CD transport....

post #193 of 381

For the record I received the Compass 2 8741.

 

Setup:

 

Cyrus CD6S CD Player [Transport only outputting TOSLINK] > Wired World Super Nova 6 TOSLINK cable > Compass 2 8741 TOSLINK input.  

 

 

 

For the record I opened up the unit and I adjusted the digital filer on the DAC board so it does 2x oversampling, linear-phase, and soft-knee highs roll off.  I'm using the default WM8805 DIR module.  

 

The reason why I purchased this unit because I enjoyed the sound signature of the NFB-15.32.  I currently use the 15.32 on my computer setup and there were times I enjoy using the 15.32 more than my main setup.  Before the Compass 2 I was using the Cyrus CD6S with DH Labs White Lightning RCA cables to a vintage Kenwood KA-3500 amp.  With this old setup the music at times were on the bright end.  By getting rid of the Kenwood and use the Cyrus as a transport while the Compass 2 does the DAC/Amp duties. 

 

The Grado line of headphones are to me amazing.  They aren't the most detailed or has the most soundstage comparing to other headphones in the market.  But what the Grado does to my ears is making good music and making music FUN.  The Grado's needs to be hold back at times.  If you don't hold back the Grado then the sound will become bright quickly.  This is true from my experience with Grado cans + digital sources.  

 

The Compass 2 is a very musical but very warm component.  The low-end is very pleasant but not overpowering, the mid-range is fantastic but not bright, and the highs are lovely without being too overpowering.  Even the worse digital recordings sounded ok on the Compass 2.  

 

I think for the price I paid for the unit I think it is one of the best buys for an excellent high-end DAC/Amp setup.  If you are only looking for a single-end DAC/Amp setup then I really consider looking at the Compass 2.  I have no need in buying the higher end DAC/Amp setup from Audio-GD where they are using balance inputs while I only need singe-ended.  Quite frankly I found the Compass 2 8741 to be an excellent match for the Grados.

 

I will admit my review isn't the more detailed but I can pretty much say this:

If you don't mind detail loss but the music is very warm/musical then get the Compass 2 with the WM8741 DAC,

If you want netural and more details in the music then get the Compass 2 with the Sabre DAC.  

post #194 of 381

How close is sonically the NFB-15.32 to the Compass 2 (8741) ?

post #195 of 381

Sonic-wise both units area really close.  They both share the same sound signature but the Compass does have more refinement   

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