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Which current audio-gd product has the best synergy with HD800?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

My sound card just failed recently and I switched from HD800 to my portable setup (EWS9 + half working ibasso D10) for my home listening. I'm looking desktop DAC+AMP now to better utilize the full potential of the phone,

 

I checked Audio-GD more than a year ago, and they seems to offer a wide range of products now. Please help me to shortlist a few models that have great synergy with HD800 :) Some requirements are:

 

1. DAC 32bit/192k  + preamp + headphone balance out

2. Classical music 90% others 10%

3. USB support.

 

If you have other great recommendations than Audio-GD, please PM me as I would like to keep this discussion on this brand for now.

 

Regards,

P.S: please help me to end this misery.

post #2 of 15
That will be a tough one because nobody except Kingwa owns all amps to be able to compare them and Kingwa might not own the HD800. What's your budget?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for reminding Sup, forgot about budget totally. Trying to keep below 1.4k budget. That was the initial budget for a master 7 / 8 (pure headphone amp / pre amp). As sound card fail I need to squeeze a DAC in. If I have to go for discrete components I might consider spending a little more on the headphone amp / pre-amp than the DAC, reason that pre-amp may be last longer with less changes over time. Do let me know if you think otherwise.
post #4 of 15
This seems to be within your budget: http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB27/NFB27EN.htm
I have the Odac (yeah can't really compare the two) and initially I thought with this DAC the HD800 will be sibilant but that's far from the truth. Sabre manages to be detailed without being too analytical or fatiguing.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Nice! Just the thing! Also I noticed kingwa offers es9018 (the one you recommend), as well as pcm1704 and wm7814. I assume those aredac chip from different manufactures... Would be interesting to understand more. Let me put sometime on nfb27 now...
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneSec View Post

Nice! Just the thing! Also I noticed kingwa offers es9018 (the one you recommend), as well as pcm1704 and wm7814. I assume those aredac chip from different manufactures... Would be interesting to understand more. Let me put sometime on nfb27 now...
my experience with these chips: es9018-detailed, airy(instruments and vocals are well separated from each other and not smeared together), accurate, fast. 8741-musical, brighter, dynamic. 1704UK- has body, is detailed, dark, one word that always comes to mind is "quality". All three are unique, I would like to own all three at the same time but this is from memory. I feel like the best for HD800 is 1704uk because its dark then the Sabre and then the Wolfson which is the brightest of the three. The older 8740 was also on the brighter side.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Sup View Post


my experience with these chips: es9018-detailed, airy(instruments and vocals are well separated from each other and not smeared together), accurate, fast. 8741-musical, brighter, dynamic. 1704UK- has body, is detailed, dark, one word that always comes to mind is "quality". All three are unique, I would like to own all three at the same time but this is from memory. I feel like the best for HD800 is 1704uk because its dark then the Sabre and then the Wolfson which is the brightest of the three. The older 8740 was also on the brighter side.

I think the Wolfson 8741 is least bright "most musical" followed by 1704UK brighter but nuetral and ES9018.  Haven't heard th ES9018 but for HD800 I would go Wolfson or 1704UK.  Bottom line is all three will be outstanding in the DAC/PreAmp combo boxes from $1500 to $1850.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Sup View Post


my experience with these chips: es9018-detailed, airy(instruments and vocals are well separated from each other and not smeared together), accurate, fast. 8741-musical, brighter, dynamic. 1704UK- has body, is detailed, dark, one word that always comes to mind is "quality". All three are unique, I would like to own all three at the same time but this is from memory. I feel like the best for HD800 is 1704uk because its dark then the Sabre and then the Wolfson which is the brightest of the three. The older 8740 was also on the brighter side.

 

Thanks again for the great advice, I will probably make up my mind (I hope soon) and go with es9018, although 1704UK does sound like a better fit for HD800 in general.

 

es9018 may fit my taste and classical genre better as I look for accurate sound, and HD800 doesn't sound "bright" to me as some people commented (probably violin playing dampened my higher frequency sensitivity a bit :P)

 

Forgot to mention I may plug ATH-W3000ANV time to time for vocal as well...

 

Reference 10 and NFB27 look extremely similar inside, and identical from outside, I guess build is the identical except the DAC component.

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB27/NFB273.JPG

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/Reference10/RE10.7.JPG


Edited by OneSec - 10/18/12 at 6:49am
post #9 of 15

I too have been eyeing those. I currently have REF5+ROC. From talking with Kingwa they are identical apart from the DAC chips and the changes that it includes. Not sure if it would be an upgrade though for me at least....


Edited by Poleepkwa - 10/22/12 at 2:26am
post #10 of 15

You should check out other people's opinions in the Ref 10 thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/601259/audio-gd-reference-10

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneSec View Post

 

Thanks again for the great advice, I will probably make up my mind (I hope soon) and go with es9018, although 1704UK does sound like a better fit for HD800 in general.

 

es9018 may fit my taste and classical genre better as I look for accurate sound, and HD800 doesn't sound "bright" to me as some people commented (probably violin playing dampened my higher frequency sensitivity a bit :P)

 

Forgot to mention I may plug ATH-W3000ANV time to time for vocal as well...

 

Reference 10 and NFB27 look extremely similar inside, and identical from outside, I guess build is the identical except the DAC component.

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB27/NFB273.JPG

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/Reference10/RE10.7.JPG

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceausuc View Post

You should check out other people's opinions in the Ref 10 thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/601259/audio-gd-reference-10

 

 

Yup been following that. However the NFB is relatively new and there isn't much feedback or comparison among those 2. But from the picture the reference 10 definately looks more beefed up :)

post #12 of 15
I just wanted to say that the Ref5 (1704uk) and the Crack tube amp is the perfect setup for me with HD800. What I am trying to say is that a tube amp might be best for HD800 and the Ref series DAC just have a really nice organic sound and HD800 can reproduce every bit of it. So maybe all-in-one unit might not be the best choice and if you don't like the amp you have the flexibility to sell it while keeping the dac.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Sup how much did it cost you the setup? I think Ref 10.32 is already over budget and I would imagine yours would be beyond that budget I assume.

 

Hmm DIY may not be that accessible in my area though.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneSec View Post

Sup how much did it cost you the setup? I think Ref 10.32 is already over budget and I would imagine yours would be beyond that budget I assume.

Hmm DIY may not be that accessible in my area though.
since you already have hD800, it would cost you as much as your budget is. 1.5k
The Crack was my first DIY project,
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Sup View Post

since you already have hD800, it would cost you as much as your budget is. 1.5k
The Crack was my first DIY project,

Okay 5.23 cost 909 used and ref7 is more expensive then ref10!! Looks like it will definitely get more expensive for dedicated components!
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