I posted this in the Compass thread, maybe some will find it helpful:
FYI, I've been contemplating whether to go with the Compass2 or NFB28 and I've discussed this with Kingwa to a great length (much kudos to him). I've come to the following conclusions:
- In single-ended use they're very similar
- The NFB28 has the benefit of a balanced design, enabling one to use balanced inputs (RCA vs XLR related differences) and balanced output (which in theory should make the headphone sound a bit better and more controlled + the balanced design of the amp, which should make the amp section a bit better)
- The balanced output is basically the one thing that makes the NFB28 better (single ended vs balanced termination)
- NFB28 uses digital relay controls and digital volume control, which he says is better even sonically, I personally like ALPS analogue volume pots just as much and not really sure about sonic merits
- NFB28 uses an R-core transformer while the C2 uses a smaller 'high quality' 45W transformer. No idea if that makes a difference
- DAC section is identical
C2 has a line in through an op-amp, NFB28 has a direct input.
- With the stock op-amp, difference should be small if any (my guess)
- C2 can roll DACs and op-amps for line in, NFB28 cannot
- Both have plenty of power to drive everything short of the HE-6
In the end because I went with the Compass because going balanced would mean further investments (cables or even sources or converters) and without using the balanced output the difference is 'slight' since the DAC and single-ended amp sections are ialmost dentical. (C2 is slightly more powerful even).
In conclusion if you are ready for balanced get the NFB28 (or upper models), if you roll single-ended (I only utilize the USB in and line in and a SE output is more viable for me cause most headphones come like that... Retermunatiom or balanced cables = money over budget...) spring for the C2.
Both amazing units for the price
Do u mean plenty of power for everything short of the he6 in single ended use? Or balanced as well?
Though one is on its way I remember reading somewhere that a similarly specified agd amp didn't power the he6 enough. They didn't mention if they used it balanced or not.