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Audio-gd NFB-12.1 DAC out same as Headphone out?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I recently bought the Audio-gd NFB-12.1 to pair with my Q701's and after using it for a couple of days, I have to say, i'm not very pleased with what i'm hearing. I'm using the Q701's as my primary set of headphones and i find the sub bass to mid bass to be pretty deep and defined but the vocals seem to be a little thin and the highs are not really clear and they too are a little thin and grainy.

 

I've been using my Q701's with a cheap CMoybb headphone amp from JDS Labs connected to the headphone out of my Xonad DX sound card and i find this combination to be cleaner and clearer with a better sound-stage as compared to the NFB (though i find the bass on the NFB to be better).

 

I tried to bypass the NFB's internal amplifier and instead connected the CMoy to the DAC out of the NFB. It turns out the DAC output sounds exactly the same as the headphone output. It seems as if the only difference between the headphone out and the DAC out is the type of connector used. I confirmed this by connecting DAC out at the rear directly to my Q701's using a 3.5 mm female to RCA converter. It sounds exactly the same as the headphone out with the same sonic characteristics that i wanted to avoid. The gain switch, the volume pot, the OS and the filters all work. Its as if I've connected my Q701's directly to the headphone output. 

 

Does this mean that the NFB-12.1 cannot be used as a standalone DAC with the internal amp interfering? I'm going to buy the Schiit Lyr in a couple of weeks and really wanted to bypass the amplifier of the NFB (i'm not happy with its sonic characteristics) and use it as just a DAC. Could someone please shed some light on whats happening here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 10

Hey mate, have you tried taking off the top cover and checking if your line output is fixed not variable? There's a slider for that option. Variable means the volume will still change the volume even if you're using a discrete amp.

 

I use my 12.1 amp section rarely and my WA2 more often - but I can definitely say both of them do not sound the same. 12.1's headphone section sounds very in-my-face forward while the WA2 is much softer to my ears.

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by farhangleo View Post

I recently bought the Audio-gd NFB-12.1 to pair with my Q701's and after using it for a couple of days, I have to say, i'm not very pleased with what i'm hearing. I'm using the Q701's as my primary set of headphones and i find the sub bass to mid bass to be pretty deep and defined but the vocals seem to be a little thin and the highs are not really clear and they too are a little thin and grainy.

 

I've been using my Q701's with a cheap CMoybb headphone amp from JDS Labs connected to the headphone out of my Xonad DX sound card and i find this combination to be cleaner and clearer with a better sound-stage as compared to the NFB (though i find the bass on the NFB to be better).

 

I tried to bypass the NFB's internal amplifier and instead connected the CMoy to the DAC out of the NFB. It turns out the DAC output sounds exactly the same as the headphone output. It seems as if the only difference between the headphone out and the DAC out is the type of connector used. I confirmed this by connecting DAC out at the rear directly to my Q701's using a 3.5 mm female to RCA converter. It sounds exactly the same as the headphone out with the same sonic characteristics that i wanted to avoid. The gain switch, the volume pot, the OS and the filters all work. Its as if I've connected my Q701's directly to the headphone output. 

 

Does this mean that the NFB-12.1 cannot be used as a standalone DAC with the internal amp interfering? I'm going to buy the Schiit Lyr in a couple of weeks and really wanted to bypass the amplifier of the NFB (i'm not happy with its sonic characteristics) and use it as just a DAC. Could someone please shed some light on whats happening here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I believe the NFB-12.1 has some internal filter settings, might want to contact Audio_GD, see if they can recommend better filter settings.

How do you have the NFB-12.1 connected to your source?

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've connected the 12.1 to my PC via the usb input at the rear. I have tried all the filter and OS combinations and have found the 8x OS and filter 2 (minimum phase apodising) to sound the best. However it still doesn't sound quite right. I did find the DAC output to be slightly cleaner but I thought it might just be a placebo. If other 12.1 owners can confirm that the DAC indeed sounds cleaner when connected to an external amp, i'll keep the NFB 12.1 and use it as a DAC connected to the lyr which i 'm going to buy in a couple of weeks, or else i will buy a dedicated dac for the lyr and sell the NFB.

 

Also, by switching the jumper from variable to fixed, is the volume pot just being bypassed or is there an actual change in the output level (different from just maxing out the volume when the jumper is on on variable)?

 

By the way , thanks for the quick response guys. Really appreciate it.


Edited by farhangleo - 12/8/12 at 8:20pm
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by farhangleo View Post

I've connected the 12.1 to my PC via the usb input at the rear. I have tried all the filter and OS combinations and have found the 8x OS and filter 2 (minimum phase apodising) to sound the best. However it still doesn't sound quite right. I did find the DAC output to be slightly cleaner but I thought it might just be a placebo. If other 12.1 owners can confirm that the DAC indeed sounds cleaner when connected to an external amp, i'll keep the NFB 12.1 and use it as a DAC connected to the lyr which i 'm going to buy in a couple of weeks, or else i will buy a dedicated dac for the lyr and sell the NFB.

 

Also, by switching the jumper from variable to fixed, is the volume pot just being bypassed or is there an actual change in the output level (different from just maxing out the volume when the jumper is on on variable)?

 

By the way , thanks for the quick response guys. Really appreciate it.

Make sure your PC audio drivers are the latest version.

But it sound like the best thing to do is to sell it, as your not happy with the audio quality.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Maybe it just doesn't have good synergy with the Q701's. The lyr +  a dedicated DAC should hopefully sound better. Besides the bass, I actually prefer the sound of the CMoybb. I think I'll go ahead and sell it then. Thanks mate.

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I believe the NFB-12.1 has some internal filter settings, might want to contact Audio_GD, see if they can recommend better filter settings.

How do you have the NFB-12.1 connected to your source?


The NFB-12.1 has the Filter settings on the front of the unilt with Two button switches, The 12.0 rev 2 was the one that had jumpers inside that you switched to change the filter settings. I wish I had  the 12.1 model so I wouldn't need to open it up and do the jumpers, so i could just push the buttons to do it.

 

Also it could be the default brickwall filter setting that he does not like the sound signature of. He could try 4x Oversampling, Minimum phase Soft knee which I tend to use as it sounds are even but with a warm sound signature. While 8x Oversampling minimum phase apodising filter is like more detailed while the bass is tighter.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

i got a chance to try out the filters and they do make a difference, albeit a subtle one.. thanks

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Oh and i got the lyr too bigsmile_face.gif... definately makes the Q701's sound warmer and more musical.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just realized i've been off head-fi for so long...need to get back in the gametongue_smile.gif

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