Originally Posted by gevorg
Got mine today with two TCXO upgrades
Previously used Centrance DACport and was out of head-fi scene for quite a bit. Before Dacport, I had original Audio-gd Compass. Current headphones: single-ended D5000 with markl mod.
First impressions, in comparison to Dacport:
- better PRAT, blacker background
- better separation of instruments with fast paced music, less congestion
- soundstage seems bigger, but that could easily be a placebo
- sound signature is very neutral without any signs of harshness, just like Dacport
- finally, no more channel imbalance at low volumes
- low to mid volume listening has more dynamic range, less desire to crank it up to enjoy music
- no fatigue after listening for about 4 hours straight
- the NFB-28 case gets very warm! as expected since it functions as a huge heatsink without fans
- bad recordings sound worse than before, good recordings sound better
Overall, the improvements over Dacport are noticeable and nice, but not huge. It seems the biggest improvement in my case comes from a much better amplification section. If you compare by size/performance ratio, the Dacport wins instead.
Looking back at original Compass, Audio-gd designs have matured and polished. Great to see that Kingwa pays close attention to USB/computer transport technology. IMHO, this is the weakest link of modern DACs, and this is the area that needs more research and improvement. Great DAC chip is not good enough and can easily suffer when USB interface feeds it garbage.
The NFB-28 seems to have great synergy with the Denons. Not sure whether I should re-terminate them for balanced mode, or just upgrade to T1/LCD2 level.
Previously I had HD650, K1000, D880, RS1, HE-500 with various setups, but always came back to Denons. Will see how the next two weeks go, as the electronics burn-in voodoo takes place... or not.