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Audio-GD NFB-3 (2014) ES9018 DAC - Page 10

post #136 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by krumme View Post
 

I actually also thought it was nice of Kingwa to show where he copied it from, now he actually had copied it :)

 

Regarding copying the cabiniet its actually far more complicated, because it demands production competences that is relatively rare in China. You need to have excellent tool engineers, and good technicians and higly skill labor for production. It will come in years ofcource. But the sense and understanding for +/- deviation is not the same as the sense for copying. And it especially shows in audio-gd product, they are crazy unprecise and not a beauty. But who cares, its not the looks that matters, its the inside. Its hifi, not a wife.

I'm not saying he actually copied Krell in the sense that it is identical to their design.

Of course Krell does not have the rights on current-mode transmission and amplifier topology. In a sense, everybody is copying everybody since they all use similar designs with only slight variations and different component grade (both of which do make a difference in the end).

 

Kingwa probably got his early inspiration from the Krell design but he developed his own design over the year, while maintaining compatibility with Krell's design. That's what it is about: compatibility

post #137 of 172

Sv: Audio-GD NFB-3 (2014) ES9018 DAC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by krumme View Post
 

I actually also thought it was nice of Kingwa to show where he copied it from, now he actually had copied it :)

 

Regarding copying the cabiniet its actually far more complicated, because it demands production competences that is relatively rare in China. You need to have excellent tool engineers, and good technicians and higly skill labor for production. It will come in years ofcource. But the sense and understanding for +/- deviation is not the same as the sense for copying. And it especially shows in audio-gd product, they are crazy unprecise and not a beauty. But who cares, its not the looks that matters, its the inside. Its hifi, not a wife.

I'm not saying he actually copied Krell in the sense that it is identical to their design.

Of course Krell does not have the rights on current-mode transmission and amplifier topology. In a sense, everybody is copying everybody since they all use similar designs with only slight variations and different component grade (both of which do make a difference in the end).

 

Kingwa probably got his early inspiration from the Krell design but he developed his own design over the year, while maintaining compatibility with Krell's design. That's what it is about: compatibility


In many ways it just is Identical. Try to google the "bpm 7110". I can guarantee that no license is beeing paid here smily_headphones1.gif. And he then adds excellent Vishay resistors to the mix so its probably a better solution.

No eu or us company could do that because its illegal. (and damn expensive for the resistors on top of it + license cost then needs to be paid)
post #138 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaemonSire View Post
 

 

Update to my previous questions, talked with Kingwa:

#1) Windows will only show up to 192, but it will play 384 (I haven't tried this yet as I don't have any files)

 

#2) Need to do more testing with different optical/coax...It may be related to what I was testing with...will update later

 

#3) Kingwa says this is intentional for the PCM/DSD muting relay

 

 

----

Now I have a new issue/question related to video.  Kingwa is unsure of it as he hasn't tested video much and wants me to get some input from you guys.

 

Can anyone with the NFB-3 using the USB32 in Windows (preferably 7 to keep it consistent), try something out for me?  I'm having an issue playing videos and pausing/unpausing them and having the audio mute.

 

In Windows:

- If I pause the video and unpause within a few seconds, it works as normal and the sound works (no muting relay click)

- If I pause the video and wait longer (say a minute), when I unpause the video the muting relay clicks and actually mutes the sound.

- I then have to actually stop the video and restart it so the relay clicks off and on again.

 

This seems to only happen with Windows so I think it may be a driver issue.  I'm using the latest firmware and drivers from their website.  I'm using MPC-HC or VLC to play the videos in Windows.

 

If I test this in Linux, it works as expected.

 

In Linux:

- If I pause the video, a few seconds later the relay clicks

- If I unpause, the relay clicks again and sound works as normal.

 

So it looks like Windows/unit is getting confused and actually muting the sound on resume.

 

Thanks

Update to my questions above:

#2) Regarding the volume difference between USB and Coax/Optical...it was my source not the NFB-3.  False alarm.  It turns out it was the crappy Audigy 2 ZS soundcard and its Windows drivers.  If I were to boot into Linux, it was the same volume.  I have since replaced it with a different sound card and USB/Coax/Optical all seem the same now.

 

Regarding the video playback issue, someone in the NFB-28 thread confirmed what I discovered too.  So it seems inherent to the USB32 interface and the firmware/drivers.  Hopefully this will be addressed in a future update.

 

All in all, I'm very happy with the NFB-3.  Coming from a Music Streamer II, it is a nice step-up.  If anyone is interested, my MSII will be going up for sale soon.

post #139 of 172

I was not able to uninstall the original drivers, as I could not find the install.exe file that is supposed to provide the 'remove' option according to Kingwa's instructions. I have two iconed files with INSTALL on them, with different names, but have no clue which one to try. In fear of losing my current setup, I rather kept the original.  Any clues?

post #140 of 172

I was able to uninstall it through windows it self. In the system control of windows, there is a window that lists all installed software and let's you uninstall all of it. Look for via platform manager.

post #141 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musica Amantem View Post
 

I was not able to uninstall the original drivers, as I could not find the install.exe file that is supposed to provide the 'remove' option according to Kingwa's instructions. I have two iconed files with INSTALL on them, with different names, but have no clue which one to try. In fear of losing my current setup, I rather kept the original.  Any clues?

You can uninstall the drivers via the Device Manager. Just locate "audio-gd" in your list of devices and then right click -> Uninstall. It will most likely ask you if you'd like to remove the drivers from your system. Check this option and then click OK. After that re-install from scratch by using new software+drivers. It will fix all obsolete files as long as you use the same path.

Also, you can try to clean up your system first (prior to any new installations) with some 3rd party tools such as this one http://www.revouninstaller.com/

I hope it helps.

post #142 of 172

Thanks for the tips, guys. I'm sure either method will do the job. I was not sure drivers could be uninstalled the same way as regular applications. Sorry!

post #143 of 172

As I'm putting my NFB-3 through the paces and testing the ins-and-outs of all the functionality, I've discovered something.  I sent Kingwa a message on Sunday but waiting to hear back from him.

 

This is related to the USB32, optical input and relay click.  I've noticed that if I send an optical signal to the unit, the USB32 cannot override the sample rate.  Essentially it is locking the unit at whatever sample rate the optical is sending it.

 

I've discovered this when I had the optical out from my soundcard connected to the optical in, and using the USB32 input at the same time.  Without the optical connected, anytime I would play/stop a song, or switch songs to different sample rates (44.1kHz, 96kHz, etc.), the internal relay would click letting me know it is switching.  However, if I turn the optical source, I can hear the relay in the unit click (even though it isn't even on Optical) and then the USB32 never clicks.  I can switch between different sample rates all day and no relay click whatsoever.

 

If I shut off the optical source, the USB32 does its normal relay click as expected.

 

This is what makes me believe it gets stuck at using whatever sample rate the Optical Source is, regardless of the USB32 input.

 
As another test, I used my PS3 as the optical input as well.  As soon as I turn the PS3 on, the relay clicks (syncing it to the PS3), and then it never clicks again when using the USB32.  If I turn the PS3 off, everything is back to normal.
 
This behaviour doesn't happen over the Coax input.  Coax input functions exactly as expected.
 
Now, the sound still does come through the USB32 input fine with an optical source on, but I would rather it be playing bitperfect and not resampled.
 
Can anyone confirm/deny this behaviour?  I hope it isn't wider spread issue.
 
I will update when I hear back from Kingwa.
 
I'm going to post this in the NFB-28 thread as well since it uses the same design.
 
Thanks
post #144 of 172

As I already told I wanted to make a short reply about my experiences with the NFB-1. Especially since some persons here, secured it's spot on my shopping list. Here it is:

First of all, the unit does look very nice and build quality is good too. Also the internals do look fine. I know they put the dimensions on their site, but pictures just dont do justice.

 

I'am not really shure how to value the sound, since I have no other external dac to compare it too. My reference source is an old toshiba cd player, which I would consider as a hard contester. Soundwise they are both very similar, if not the exact same, may the cd player is just a tad more analogue sounding. Detail grade and airyness is the same, I was not able to hear any difference there.

But the toshiba player just has some more clarity, it really isn't much, yet noticeable, on some music at least. In such case it can sound better, like it takes some of the compression away. Really depends on the record, there are even pretty good classical records, where I could not make out any difference.

I'am a bit dissapointed that it didn't beat my cd player in the end, soundwise it just isn't an improvement. Nothing new to find for me in my music collection, which took some of the excitement (but could also be considered as a +). May I'am able to make out differences at a later point. When I'am more familiar with the dac.

 

In short: I still have a great sound which is to my liking and gained a new flexibility which is unbeatable. Not being bound to 80 minutes anymore is a blessing.

post #145 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asound View Post
  Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

As I already told I wanted to make a short reply about my experiences with the NFB-1. Especially since some persons here, secured it's spot on my shopping list. Here it is:

First of all, the unit does look very nice and build quality is good too. Also the internals do look fine. I know they put the dimensions on their site, but pictures just dont do justice.

 

I'am not really shure how to value the sound, since I have no other external dac to compare it too. My reference source is an old toshiba cd player, which I would consider as a hard contester. Soundwise they are both very similar, if not the exact same, may the cd player is just a tad more analogue sounding. Detail grade and airyness is the same, I was not able to hear any difference there.

But the toshiba player just has some more clarity, it really isn't much, yet noticeable, on some music at least. In such case it can sound better, like it takes some of the compression away. Really depends on the record, there are even pretty good classical records, where I could not make out any difference.

I'am a bit dissapointed that it didn't beat my cd player in the end, soundwise it just isn't an improvement. Nothing new to find for me in my music collection, which took some of the excitement (but could also be considered as a +). May I'am able to make out differences at a later point. When I'am more familiar with the dac.

 

In short: I still have a great sound which is to my liking and gained a new flexibility which is unbeatable. Not being bound to 80 minutes anymore is a blessing.

 

 

How did you do the comparisons? Which inputs did you use? Did you volume match the outputs? Using single ended or balanced outputs? I would definitely have expected the Audio-GD to sound quite a bit better. Currently have the NFB-3 (2014) on my short list as I want to move my Concero to a permanent spot in my Hi-Fi system and the feedback I have read so far here has lead me to believe that the NFB-3 (2014) would be a nice substitute.

 

I would also like to ask owners of this DAC here about the settings button on the NFB-3 (2014). From Audio-GDs website this button seems to toggle the output level to either 1.25V or 2.5V. I would just like to figure out how it works, whether its software controlled or a physical toggle switch? For example does it have a default value (low/high) and does it remember the value it was set to after you switch it off? I want to use the DAC with my Mini-X, but because of the high power output I'm cautious of the 2.5V output and damaging my headphones and would like the DAC to maintain its 1.25V setting.


Edited by daerron - 6/12/14 at 1:38am
post #146 of 172

As far as I understand it, the DAC has a fixed output voltage. In this case, the toggle switch just cuts this output to half the voltage (from 2.5 V to 1.25 V). I use it every now and then as my amp is high gain already and depending on the recorded volume, it can become really handy.

 

BTW, I also really would not expect this DAC to be underperformed by an old Toshiba CD player. It may be, but after all my research, I would not thought it possible. It has outperformed my not incompetent HRT MSII+, which had already beaten my JVC hi-fi CD player by a nice margin.


Edited by Musica Amantem - 6/12/14 at 4:46am
post #147 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

 

How did you do the comparisons? Which inputs did you use? Did you volume match the outputs? Using single ended or balanced outputs? I would definitely have expected the Audio-GD to sound quite a bit better. Currently have the NFB-3 (2014) on my short list as I want to move my Concero to a permanent spot in my Hi-Fi system and the feedback I have read so far here has lead me to believe that the NFB-3 (2014) would be a nice substitute.

 

I would also like to ask owners of this DAC here about the settings button on the NFB-3 (2014). From Audio-GDs website this button seems to toggle the output level to either 1.25V or 2.5V. I would just like to figure out how it works, whether its software controlled or a physical toggle switch? For example does it have a default value (low/high) and does it remember the value it was set to after you switch it off? I want to use the DAC with my Mini-X, but because of the high power output I'm cautious of the 2.5V output and damaging my headphones and would like the DAC to maintain its 1.25V setting.

 

It is a physical toggle switch that cuts the output.  If you leave it pushed in all the time, it will always be 1.25V.

post #148 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaemonSire View Post
 

 

It is a physical toggle switch that cuts the output.  If you leave it pushed in all the time, it will always be 1.25V.

 

Thanks a lot for the feedback! If I get the Audio-GD NFB-3 (2014) I see we will have pretty much identical headphone setups :D How do you like the Audio-GD DAC with the Emotiva Mini-X and HE-500 so far?

post #149 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

 

Thanks a lot for the feedback! If I get the Audio-GD NFB-3 (2014) I see we will have pretty much identical headphone setups :D How do you like the Audio-GD DAC with the Emotiva Mini-X and HE-500 so far?

 

I really like it.  The NFB-3 is very clear and clean which allows all the little details to come through.  I'd say it is pretty neutral which, personally, is exactly what you want from a DAC.  Let the headphones and/or amp colour the sound.

 

I'm currently using my Matrix M-Stage as a preamp to the Mini-X.  I found that even with the 1.25V, it was still a bit too much for just the Mini-X and the HE-500.  I listen at fairly low levels and the mini-x just has so much power.  What are you doing with the Concero right now and no preamp?  Just using the software volume control?

 

The nice thing with going into the M-Stage first is that I can use it with my other headphones like the Q701 and SR80 and then just turn on the Mini-X and use the same M-Stage to control the volume there too.

post #150 of 172

I should add too that if you haven't done it yet, really do the grill mod to your HE-500s.  The NFB-3 + Mini-X + HE-500 (grill mod) is a really great combo.  The grill mod makes it sound like you have speakers on your head.  Honestly I was surprised at the improvement it made.

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