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Is the Audio-gd NFB-6 the least liked Audio-gd product? - Page 2

post #16 of 29

Andolink: Anda is correct in that I have the Ref 5.32 standalone DAC.  As I mentioned in my last post, I really like this unit and think it sounds better than my old (second hand) Mark Levinson 360S DAC which was very highly regarded around 15 years ago.  Regarding the sound of the NFB-6 amp, the only other amp I can compare to is one that a friend loaned me over Christmas along with his HE-500 headphones: it was a Little Dot Mk IV SE tube amp which I drove through my Ref 5.32 and this combination sounded really good.  I did not get my NFB-6 until a few weeks after I returned the Little Dot amp so I did not have a chance to compare the 2 amps directly.  But I thought the Little Dot was a nice, warm sounding amp, very musical and a nice match with the HE-500 headphones.  And of course the tubes are really sexy!  But now running the NFB-6 through the same Ref 5.32 and HE-500 combination, I enjoy this combination at least as much as I did with the the Little Dot.  From memory, I think the NFB-6 allows the HE-500 headphones to give the same yummy richness of sound but with the bass more firmly in control and probably a bit more powerful.  But for me the big plus of the NFB-6 is that it has balanced outputs whereas the Little Dot did not, which provides a distinct improvement in sound.  I would love to do more comparisons!

 

Lorspeaker: thank you for your comment.  I looked at the website you included in your post and found it interesting.  Unfortunately it looked to me like Audirvana is for Macs while I am running a PC.  But from surfing through related websites, I am coming to the conclusion that you are absolutely correct that the software decoding the lossless music files does make a difference.  The problem is that I have a good sized iTunes library--all lossless--and PCs do not appear to have the same addons as Macs that allow iTunes to be retained as the management system while still improving the software the output sound qualtiy.  I did come across Foobar which I need to investigate further, so you have definitely given me some more homework to do.

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by haitch View Post

Andolink: Anda is correct in that I have the Ref 5.32 standalone DAC.  As I mentioned in my last post, I really like this unit and think it sounds better than my old (second hand) Mark Levinson 360S DAC which was very highly regarded around 15 years ago.  Regarding the sound of the NFB-6 amp, the only other amp I can compare to is one that a friend loaned me over Christmas along with his HE-500 headphones: it was a Little Dot Mk IV SE tube amp which I drove through my Ref 5.32 and this combination sounded really good.  I did not get my NFB-6 until a few weeks after I returned the Little Dot amp so I did not have a chance to compare the 2 amps directly.  But I thought the Little Dot was a nice, warm sounding amp, very musical and a nice match with the HE-500 headphones.  And of course the tubes are really sexy!  But now running the NFB-6 through the same Ref 5.32 and HE-500 combination, I enjoy this combination at least as much as I did with the the Little Dot.  From memory, I think the NFB-6 allows the HE-500 headphones to give the same yummy richness of sound but with the bass more firmly in control and probably a bit more powerful.  But for me the big plus of the NFB-6 is that it has balanced outputs whereas the Little Dot did not, which provides a distinct improvement in sound.  I would love to do more comparisons!

 

Thanks haitch.  Your impressions of the NFB-6 are valuable because this amp gets very scant coverage by anyone here at head-fi except for the one detailed review by Frank I which is mostly negative and which doesn't conform to my own subjective listening impressions.  And, being very new to headphone listening, and my current gear being the only components I've ever listened to, I've  had to rely entirely on others comments to find out about what works well with what, etc.  But I'm totally amazed at how good the SQ is from my Audiolab 8200CD to the NFB-6 to the HE-500 (all balanced).

post #18 of 29

Andolink, I would like to thank you for starting this link.  Like you, I am new to headphone listening although I have been obsessed about HiFi for a number of years.  I read Frank I's review of the NFB-6 and was also put off about buying an NFB-6.  But the positive comments on your link made me do more research/comparisons, and I came to the conclusion that at $450 the NFB-6 seemed like an unbelievably good bargain: pretty high output (4.5V into 30 ohms, potentially enough to drive even the HE-6), fully balanced, ACSS, build qualtiy like an Abrahms tank, ability to act as a pre-amp, and even a remote control!  So I decided to take the plunge and I have been very happy.  I know there are better amps out there but I bet I would have to spend a lot more money.  My suspicion is that while some of those more expensive amps may sound better, none of them are going to make the NFB-6 sound bad.  Thank you again for getting me to take the plunge on this!

post #19 of 29

have u tot of hooking up your dac to a balanced tube amp like littledot mk6 or mk8 ....

or have u done so...? 

post #20 of 29

Lorspeaker, funny you should ask!  After my very enjoyable week with the Little Dot Mk IV SE, the very next thing I investigated was the LD Mk 6 and 8.  They were balanced, much beefier than the Mk 4 but still looked really sexy with those tubes!  But as I looked at the various models, I came across their solid state Mk 7 which had this quote: The Little Dot MK VII+ delivers an unmatched level of transparency with unbound dynamic range, lightening quick transient response, and thunderous low frequency impact.  This is what got me thinking that a solid state amp may be better for me than a tube amp, since I really, really like my bass.  Also, I investigated the Schiit Lyr which I consider an outstanding bargain at the price given that it is built in North America, but the reviews I read of it really brought home to me the whole world of tube rolling.  Since I think I am a typical obsessive/compulsive HiFi nut, I could see myself disappearing into an expensive black hole of trying out a bazillion different tubes.  At that point I decided a solid state unit may be better for me.  And once I decided to stay solid state, an Audio-gd amp made sense if nothing else simply because of the ACSS connectivity which really intrigued me.  I would have loved to have actually auditioned these various other choices but it was not possible.  But this HeadFi site is a wonderful place to read all kinds of reviews/comments of different products and then try to figure out what I personally would think of the sound. 

 

By the way, Paul McGowan over at PS Audio runs an excellent series of posts/blogs (well worth subscribing to!), and he made an intriguing (to me) comment about how while he loved listening to tube equipment, he would never design a tube unit for his company because of the compromises and limitations inherent with tubes. 

post #21 of 29

the money u save from the bazilliontubes would get u to the Master series ....not a bad "compromise" ..lol.

after hearing your tots, guess i am gonna keep my mk4,  just in case i crave some tubediet...

goodbye mk6/8     :P

post #22 of 29

I have just borrowed the gd 6, and I',m quite imressed - using it single ended with my Signature Pro, And it has only played for 2 hours now.

My normal amp is Little Dot MKIV SE, but the sound og the GD is more like me.
 

post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mataugust View Post

I have just borrowed the gd 6, and I',m quite imressed - using it single ended with my Signature Pro, And it has only played for 2 hours now.

My normal amp is Little Dot MKIV SE, but the sound og the GD is more like me.
 

Glad your enjoying the NFB-6.  If you get a chance to hear this amp in a balanced set up or in ACSS mode with compatible equipment, you'll experience even significantly better SQ.

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anda View Post

Just for info you posted this topic twice.

 

 

This might just be the case. As I recall he was mainly criticising the singleended output. I don't know why you would buy a balanced amp for singleended use, though. Once I get the HE-500 I might buy NFB-6 to pair with my NFB-17.2. Not sure what I think about not having a volume knob. What do you think about the volume control?

I think the better question would be or should be why would audio GD put single ended inputs in a balanced design. Kingwa also told me as I was going through the review process that the amp should not be used single ended. If I did a full blown review I had to review the whole product. Also I had the very first audio gd NFB6 and Kingwa made changes based on some things I discussed with him and I never heard the other models after the change.. So that why I reviewed the single ended portion as its part of the product and I also reviewed the balanced portion and the amp I had and I was very honest in my evaluation.  I call it like I hear it. its a budget product that for the most part was disappointing single ended and a budget amp balanced. I also mentioned some positives about the amp. 


Edited by Frank I - 2/14/13 at 4:56pm
post #25 of 29

http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB6/NFB6EN.htm

so the latest version would have both the balanced inputs n 4pin XLR output from the pics in the link, ya..?

(perplexing to have single ended inputs or outputs on  a supposedly balanced dac/amp...i am a new convert to audiogd products..:P )

confused_face(1).gif

 

 

ANyway...the NFB10,32 dac+amp is the best acquisition in my sonic infrastructure so far...the sound thru my headfones went from good to more "livelike",

Of cos there r still alot of upscale gears to be had for 4digits$$$$. But for 500bucks...i am more than satisfied. wink.gif


Edited by Lorspeaker - 2/14/13 at 5:08pm
post #26 of 29

Mataugust: I would be interested in hearing further about how you find the NFB-6 compared to the Little Mk IV SE.  A friend loaned me his LD Mk IV over Christmas and I really enjoyed it.  But a few weeks later I purchased the NFB-6 and I find I really enjoy it as well.  However, I never had the two at the same time so did not have the opportunity to compare them directly, so I would very much like to hear your thoughts on a direct comparison.  At a gut level I think both were good, musical amps but--from memory--I would give the edge to the NFB-6 because of better bass and outstanding control over the music with lots of reserve muscle.  Mind you, I now own the NFB-6 so I am kind of biased!

 

Andolink: I totally agree with you.  I find ACSS superior to my (pretty good) Nordost XLRs, although I believe there is a volume difference which makes it harder to judge accurately.  But more importantly I find balanced to be a significant improvement over single ended, using my HE-500 headphones where I have the HE-6 cable that allows you to switch between the inputs.  Again I find there is a volume difference which makes it a bit harder to make a comparison, but I definitely give the edge to balanced.

 

Frank I/Lorspeaker: I imagine that it is easy to put out single ended outputs when you have a balance amp, so why not do so.  For me, I find it useful  because I also have single-ended AKG 701 headphones which I have also enjoyed on the NFB-6, although since my HE-500 headphones have arrived my older headphones are getting very little air time!  But while I do not have the experience of someone like Frank I to compare the NFB-6 to other amps, it was designed to be used balanced and so it is kind of criminal to not take advantage of it in this mode and to be honest I find its performance as a single ended amp to be kind of irrelevant for me.  And to call the NFB-6 a budget product may be correct, since after all it only costs $450!  But like I say, I have little experience with other headphone amps, but right now I find the NFB-6 so 'right' sounding that I have little desire to go out and play with other equipment.  But now if someone wants to give me more expensive headphone amps so I can try them out, I would be more than happy to oblige! 

post #27 of 29

I think Audio GD is doing the right thing by offering single ended inputs on the NFB-6 (I honestly don't care what they decide to do in the future since I already have my NFB-6 and I am keeping it.). This adds to the flexibility of the product and while it is understood that fully balanced would sound better, many people have single ended sources that they would like to be able to use.

 

I suspect that if the NFB-6 was priced at $2000+ it would be better understood. For such a low priced pre-amp it is extremely unforgiving. It lays the source bare and if you are using a source in the same price range the result may not be a very happy one. The NFB-6 will just tell you that your source is not very good and you will be reminded of that fact every time you listen. I find that low resolution files and internet radio are completely unlistenable through the NFB-6. High res material on the other hand sounds delightful. Imagine buying a high performance car for a low price and then complaining about the performance when you use cheap low octane fuel. The car will sing when you feed it properly and so will the NFB-6.

 

To me the NFB-6 is a rare gem. It has a remote, all the inputs I need, a balanced headphone output and it is an outstanding pre-amp for 2 channel stereo. I can not imagine any headphone amp that comes anywhere near the value that the NFB-6 offers. I looked long and hard before I decided to buy a NFB-6 and to be honest most other headphone amps in the same price range are a joke when lined up against the NFB-6, usually little more than a desktop headphone amp with no remote and almost no flexibility and average to poor build quality.


Edited by Hooster - 4/7/13 at 5:16pm
post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 

It's great to hear a rave review of the NFB-6.  Thanks Hooster for your comments.  It still baffles me why all those other amp/preamps with a fraction of the features and flexibility but double the price continue to get all the attention while this Audio-gd product gets ignored or dismissed as inferior.

post #29 of 29

A little tardy in finding this thread, but after 6 months I am still loving my NFB-6 and using it daily.  I am using the NFB-6 with a Stello DA-220 DAC (balanced) fronted by a CEC TL-51XZ or a MF V-Link 192/laptop condo.  I haven't actually spent a great deal of time listening to the HP outputs, but I've enjoyed the times I've used that feature.

 

Along the same vein, I have been on a hunt to find a comparable low priced (relatively) power amp that embodies the qualities of the NFB-6, which is the stellar sound quality at an almost give-away price.  The NFB-6 matches extremely well with my $4000+ Space Tech Labs HPA-150, but I wanted something closer to the same ballpark price-wise and sound quality-wise.  A very tall order indeed....

 

Although it is still very early, I think I may have found something worthy of the NFB-6.  Following some threads on other sites about using professional amps in a home environment, I was introduced to the Crown XLS Drivecore line of class D pro amplifiers.  There are 4 models in the range (XLS1000, XLS1500, XLS2000, XLS2500) ranging from 215 wpc to a staggering 440 wpc.  In the US, the pricing ranges from $299 to a still very reasonable $599 ($649 in Canada where I live).  The general consensus is that the XLS1000 is noisier (S/N of 97db as opposed to 103) and consequently is less well suited than the other 3, which makes the 3 highest in the XLS line prime candidates for matching with the NFB-6.

 

I decided to take the plunge and purchased the 440 wpc Crown XLS2500.  I chose this amp for 2 reasons.  The first reason is that the difference from the XLS2000 to the XLS2500 is only $80 here in Canada (the extra power will always be useful), and the second reason is that I have a 30-day window to return the amp if I don't like it - no questions asked.  Plus, the amps are covered by a 3-year no fault warranty.

 

Here is a bit of info on these amps:  http://www.crownaudio.com/xls-drivecore.html

 

I have hooked the NFB-6 and the XLS2500 via the balanced output of the NFB-6.  So how is the sound?  Well, I'm on day 3 right now, and the NFB-6/XLS2500 combination is really sounding promising - loads of power with excellent detail, yet maintaining a relaxed overall feel.  Having the input sensitivity control on the XLS2500 coupled with the High/Low gain output on the NFB-6 means that matching was a breeze, and you can tailor the sound to a small degree.  I have been using my Usher CP-6311 exclusively so far, but I will be changing things up and substituting my PMC AB1 and Technics SB-7070A vintage speakers. 

 

Exciting to find an amp that might possibly be worthy of the NFB-6 at around the same price point - time will tell, and I will be updating as time goes on..  For those wishing to stay on more of a budget, the XLS1500 is priced identically to the NFB-6 @ $399, and sports 300 wpc into 8 ohms (525 into 4 ohms). 

 

Just putting this out there for those possibly looking for a power amp to match with the NFB-6.....so far I really enjoy the sound of this inexpensive combo....it is amazingly good right now!
 


Edited by kevb - 6/11/13 at 11:25am
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