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Gungnir vs audio-gb nfb-1

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Looking for a DAC under 1000.

I have looked long and hard through the various forums, looks like these 2 are my finalists, possibly a music hall 25.3 to round it off.

I would run a synology nas via usd to the DAC to the amp.

Any suggestions?

Anything else in this range that just kicks it so much that it should be added to this list? I am not looking for an exhaustive list as I have seen the ones already created.

post #2 of 17

I've only heard Gungnir, and you get pretty good value for your money.  If you have a fully balanced system, you really can't go wrong with that one.  Plus, if you don't like it, you can always send it back within 15 days.


Only thing being is that I found the Gungir/Mjolnir combo to be a bit on the bright side, which can be a good thing depending on the headphones you're using.  How much of it was from Gungnir I can't really say.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am only using speakers at this point, ascend Sierra 1st.

I don't think I am running balanced, I have a little cambridge audio azur 351.

I am leaning towards the gungnir as most of the people raving about agb seem to be using the higher models.

I got some great advice on the forum about other upgrades as well - Sierra 2s and another amp - but I started with the DAC so I thought I would pull the trigger on that.

I live in Dubai so returns are not really an option, hence my looking for advice here.

post #4 of 17

I'm reviving this thread because I want to know as well :bigsmile_face: 

The audio-gb stuff seems like it could be the same type of value/performance I got from my LD MVKI+ amp. You know. China and their cheap production costs and all.

Edited by coinmaster - 3/19/15 at 7:32pm
post #5 of 17


post #6 of 17

I'd recommend the NFB-1 over Gungnir. This is according to my personal preference and subjective opinion. The Gustard X12 also seems a solid choice [which I'll receive next week].

post #7 of 17

Any particular reason? The marketing propaganda for the 2015 version seems impressive to me. Especially with their attention to the power supply. I wonder if it is technically superior to the Gungnir or if they are just different sounding.

post #8 of 17

I prefer the sound. The Gungnir is more oriented towards musicality and warmth but at the expense of details and finesse IMO. The well-implemented Sabre DACs usually convey a very impressive amount of details while keeping things reasonably musical and smooth, but not to the same degree.

It really is more of a flavor thing, but I simply missed the things the Sabre does, which the Gungnir did not do... Many opinions on this, so I am just one of many. Purrin certainly does not agree with this :D 


I wanna try the X12 because I previously owned the NFB-7. I expect some degree of variation [analog stage, components, varying circuits, etc.] but a similar degree of tonality.

Edited by conquerator2 - 3/20/15 at 3:14pm
post #9 of 17

Do you think I would be disappointed with this dac over the HD800 vs gungnir? The HD800 already lacks a soul.

post #10 of 17

That's a good question. I can approximate the answer more closely when I get the X12. It'd be a hard call with the NFB-7 as it would mercifully reveal the brightness of both the HD800 and the recording. The Gungnir will not, as it does make bad sound better, It does not make great sound excellent IMO, which the Sabre DACs can do. Amazing instrumental pieces sounded downright spectacular on the NFB-7. I'll see where the X12 is.

Edited by conquerator2 - 3/20/15 at 3:34pm
post #11 of 17

My recordings are all good. I also don't have an issue with the HD800s brightness. Just their lack of euphony.

post #12 of 17

What's your amp? :cool:

post #13 of 17

Little Dot MKVI+ with stock tubes. Don't have balanced cables yet. I'm running it from an o2+odac combo hence the search for an upgrade.

However the MKVI+ is on par with or better than the WA22. So I'm looking for similar bang for buck in my dac as I got in my amp.

Chinese stuff seems to give good performance for $ because of their production costs I've noticed.

Edited by coinmaster - 3/20/15 at 3:47pm
post #14 of 17

The lack of euphony, as in 'body', 'soul' or 'life', etc. is something the Sabre DACs don't really seem to enhance. They have a light, airy tonality that enhances detail, soundstage and resolution. They won't add much musicality to the sound. From my understanding, that's what tube gear or warm DACs/amps should add.

You already have a tube amp so you should be covered there, though. The Gungnir really is very different from the Sabre DACs I've heard [NFB-7 and Compass2, both Audio-gd]. I'll be able to comment on the X12 when I get it.

The Gungnir is a musical piece of gear, but it has its sacrifices, such as those I pointed out before [resolution, details]. It could fit very well with the HD800, albeit I have not heard it. I own the HE-560 and I preferred the Sabre pairing with them and my 'warmer' SA31SE. The Gungnir was just too musical and smooth for its own sake and IMO took away the airy qualities that make the HE-560 so believable. But people like Sonic Defender really like the Gungnir-HE-560 pairing... Lots will depend on what one is accustomed to and what one's preferences are and what he listens to :)

post #15 of 17

I do really like the Gungnir/560 combination. While I do like detail, I would likely side with a little warmth and forgiveness over detail. I have only had one experience with a Sabre DAC implementation (Audiolab 8200CD) and it was just not musical enough for my taste. When the Gungnir arrived to my ears it was quite a bit more enjoyable. But as conquerator2 said, this most likely depends on what you are used to. If your first meaningful musical impressions were formed around really strong detail retrieval you are quite likely to continue down that path in terms of preference. For myself, I think the fact that my old CD player, a Rega Apollo, had warmth to it as did some earlier gear of mine, has likely influenced what I perceive as my sound.


All of this said after two years with the Gungnir I am starting my hunt for a new DAC as I now want to try a new sound signature. I am quite tempted by the upcoming Yggy from Schiit, but the Audio GD Master 7 is also of interest. I like what I hear about the X12, but I am concerned it will be the lean Sabre sound that I sort of dread so I'm not sure about that gear. I'll wait for conquerator2 to post some impressions. I might make the move and get a very good DAC so I can stay set for 2 to 3 years again as the Gungnir has allowed me to do. I have a set of Sony Z7s coming in, and while I know they aren't reference cans, if they are at least acceptable and engaging I may consider selling my beloved 560s along with my Gungnir. Sadly if I want to climb up the sonic food chain I need to move gear. I would most likely buy a 560 again after the financial damage from my new DAC quest has been healed. The 560 is very special to my ears and it would be difficult to replace. My real dilemma is that I listen almost as often with speakers therefore a significant DAC upgrade will be more beneficial to my system. Decisions, decisions. 

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