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

post #31 of 172
Thread Starter 

Now there's another choice in the mix :)

 

I am actually thinking of NFB-28 which has integrated amplifier. I wonder if it has the same DAC as the NFB-1 or NFB-3 or neither... 

post #32 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukeap69 View Post

Now there's another choice in the mix smily_headphones1.gif

I am actually thinking of NFB-28 which has integrated amplifier. I wonder if it has the same DAC as the NFB-1 or NFB-3 or neither... 

Yes, it uses the same ES9018 chip as the above, and is generally voiced the same as far as I can tell. However, the NFB28 is a very flexible piece of gear with headphone amp/preamp capabilities and a slightly different overall circuit design. If I had the spare coin I would have bought a NFB28 for the sake of future-proofing my system - the preamp capabilities may come in handy some day.
post #33 of 172
Thread Starter 
Now you just made me lean more on NFB-28 smily_headphones1.gif
Thanks for your input.
post #34 of 172

I've managed to tweak my room setup a bit today, starting with adjusting the speaker toe-in, the listening chair position, and temporarily erecting some acoustic treatments. This has significantly improved the acoustics of the room, to the extent that the bass has improved, the imaging is wider, and the overall reproduction is clearer and more detailed. This isn't relevant to head-fi'ers, of course, but I am astonished at the difference.

 

With this in mind, I had a good listen to the system today. I'm uber-impressed with this little DAC. Superb clarity, excellent resolving power, and the timbre and tone is sounding better now that the upper mid and treble reflections in the room have been somewhat subdued, and likewise the bass suckout has been rectified by appropriate listening chair placement.

 

Lastly, I'm taking the DAC over to Dr Darko's place for a comparison vs a Schiit Bifrost Uber and the Resonessence Labs Concero HD, and possibly some higher echelon DACs too. This should be fun!! Watch this space for further impressions later in the week.

post #35 of 172
Thread Starter 
I am definitely waiting for this comparison!

Thanks
post #36 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by petemac110 View Post
 

I've managed to tweak my room setup a bit today, starting with adjusting the speaker toe-in, the listening chair position, and temporarily erecting some acoustic treatments. This has significantly improved the acoustics of the room, to the extent that the bass has improved, the imaging is wider, and the overall reproduction is clearer and more detailed. This isn't relevant to head-fi'ers, of course, but I am astonished at the difference.

 

With this in mind, I had a good listen to the system today. I'm uber-impressed with this little DAC. Superb clarity, excellent resolving power, and the timbre and tone is sounding better now that the upper mid and treble reflections in the room have been somewhat subdued, and likewise the bass suckout has been rectified by appropriate listening chair placement.

 

Lastly, I'm taking the DAC over to Dr Darko's place for a comparison vs a Schiit Bifrost Uber and the Resonessence Labs Concero HD, and possibly some higher echelon DACs too. This should be fun!! Watch this space for further impressions later in the week.

This is exactly what I'm looking for!  Can't wait to hear the feedback.

post #37 of 172

The comparision with the concero hd will be very interesting. I can't wait to hear your results!

post #38 of 172

Well, mine should be around by the end of next week, so I'll make sure to pass along my own comments. My current DAC is an HRT MSII+, and I don't have any idea what the differences will be. I'm hoping to be impressed by the Audio Gd in comparison.

 

I've noticed all these new generation versions do not use the USB power at all (not necessary to remove or tape any pins on the USB cable, which is a welcome mod.

 

Also, I read the following Kingwa's suggestion:

 

"We recommend select "KS" or "ASIO" output model than "DS" and "WASPI" model"

 

This is a bit of a surprise for me, as I've used WASAPI with Foobar2K without any issues so far. I wonder if and why it is that these other streaming choices are better?  Thanks for any feedback.


Edited by Musica Amantem - 4/29/14 at 12:12pm
post #39 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musica Amantem View Post
 

Hi Petemac110,

 

Thanks for sharing your initial experiences with the NFB 3 (2014). I'm on the fence to get one of those over an EMO DC-1 and I'm eager to read about initial impressions from the first buyers before the promo ends. Glad to see you seem impressed with it.

 

Could you explain what the OCC wire upgrade entails? How much does it cost? I could not find that info on the Audio Gd site.

 

I have a need for a very neutral DAC, as my system tends to be somewhat on the darker (warmer) side from neutral. Would you deem the NFB 3 (2014) neutral? I also need it to be quite resolving and detail mining but without loosing musicality, if you know what I mean. Is your new DAC consistent with this?

 

I apologize for all the questions, but I'm eager to replace my current DAC and I've been investing too much time searching already, so I have to decide between these two options soon.

 

Cheers

 

The DC-1 is a bit on the warm side of things. More so than Audio-gd's Sabre DACs, from memory.

 

Now, the NFB-3 - mainly due to the use of the WM8741 chips - has been among the warmest in the line (together with the Ref-5 and SA-1).

I don't know if Kingwa tried to tune this new version with Sabre DAC to match the tone of the older NFB-3 or not, but regardless, I think it is a safer bet for you: worst case it is indeed tuned with a warm sound similar to the DC-1 / best case it is more neutral and pairs better with your darker system.

 

The DC-1 is a much better value if you account for the many -  and really well implemented - features. For these alone, I'm keeping the DC-1 even though I have better sounding DACs around.

post #40 of 172

Thanks, Clemmaster.

 

I already ordered the Audio Gd and it will be shipped on the 4th due to Labor day holidays (according to Kingwa, China customs takes more than a day off). Anyway, I hope the Audio Gd is more neutral sounding than the EMO. I know the EMO packs more bang for the buck, but after thinking it over a while, I preferred the circuit layout/componentry on the Audio Gd plus the fact that being a dedicated DAC only makes me believe it may well be better in that duty. Plus, the Sabre 9018 is much more resolving, other things being equal, and I have always wondered how these really sound. I don't think I would be wrong with either one, so we'll see how it comes out.

 

I'm still interested in learning why would Kingwa suggest Kernel Streaming or ASIO over WASAPI for the NFB 3 (2014).


Edited by Musica Amantem - 5/2/14 at 5:03am
post #41 of 172

I just want to add that Audio-gd's DACs are all on the smooth/warmish side of thing for my reference (and preference).

The degree of warmth varies but even the (relative) brightest NFB-7 is still tonally fuller and (much) smoother than, say, a Concero. You can have smooth and sparkling treble, it just takes quite a lot to get there without becoming splashy...

 

Bright should not be a bad thing per se, IMO (like people usually don't complain about elevated bass). When done right (NFB-7 I'm looking at you) it is just as awesome!

post #42 of 172
My listening comparison has been delayed until this coming Monday. I'll post my thoughts following the shoot-out! smily_headphones1.gif
post #43 of 172

I'am getting kind of impatient now, haha.

Even though its still a month away until I hopefully buy a dac. It's just that I still fear that the NFB 1 is to warm for me, I'am really not into something warm. Some say the sabre implementation here is pretty neutral, others say that Audio GD products are warm in generell. But I also have not read anything negative about their products yet.

Let's see how it compares to the other neutral dacs.

post #44 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asound View Post
 

I'am getting kind of impatient now, haha.

Even though its still a month away until I hopefully buy a dac. It's just that I still fear that the NFB 1 is to warm for me, I'am really not into something warm. Some say the sabre implementation here is pretty neutral, others say that Audio GD products are warm in generell. But I also have not read anything negative about their products yet.

Let's see how it compares to the other neutral dacs.


I have had several AGD dac's as well as other non AGD dac's to compare (with Wolfson, Sabre and 1704 dac chips). No AGD DAC is "warm" or "cold", all are quite neutral with slight variations between models. You all are reading into it too much.

 

Non fatiguing is a more accurate description.


Edited by tim3320070 - 5/5/14 at 12:56pm
post #45 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post


I have had several AGD dac's as well as other non AGD dac's to compare (with Wolfson, Sabre and 1704 dac chips). No AGD DAC is "warm" or "cold", all are quite neutral with slight variations between models. You all are reading into it too much.

Non fatiguing is a more accurate description.
the SA-1, Ref-5.32 and NFB-3.1 are all warmer than the Metrum Quad.
The SA-2 and NFB-27 are more extended in the treble and have a more neutral sound.
The Concero, Ciunas DAC, and DA8 are brighter.

Neutrality is hard to define.
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