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Schiit Bifrost vs Audio-gd NFB-2 (2014)

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I'm in research for a new DAC. I'm thinking about getting Schiit Bifrost (Uber+USB) or Audio-gd NFB-2 (2014). Would be nice if someone who has some experience with either or even both could share their impressions.

I have Schiit Vali and Darkvoice 336SE as my amps. My headphones are Senn HD600 and HE400. So I'm looking for some DAC that can benefit my current set.

 

Thank you everyone in advance.


Edited by cakebreaker - 5/7/14 at 11:59am
post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebreaker View Post
 

Hi,

I'm in research for a new DAC. I'm thinking about getting Schiit Bifrost (Uber+USB) or Audio-gd NFB-2 (2014). Would be nice if someone who has some experience with either or even both could share their impressions.

I have Schiit Vali and Darkvoice 336SE as my amps. My headphones are Senn HD600 and HE400. So I'm looking for some DAC that can benefit my current set.

 

Thank you everyone in advance.

Well, I will be figuring that out on my own. Actually, not really as I just ordered the NFB-2 (2014) only. I've exchanged a few emails with both Nick (Schiit) and Kingwa (Audio-gd) and have decided to go with NFB-2. I will post my impressions so perhaps it will be helpful for someone who needs to make the same choice.


Edited by cakebreaker - 5/7/14 at 11:59am
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebreaker View Post
 

Well, I will be figuring that out on my own. Actually, not really as I just ordered the NFB-2 (2014) only. I've exchanged a few emails with both Nick (Schiit) and Kingwa (Audio-gd) and have decided to go with NFB-2. I will post my impressions so perhaps it will be helpful for someone who needs to make the same choice.

 

Hi, Possible to provide your opinions why you choose Audio-gd?

 

I also looking for a good DAC :)

Thanks.

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marc-az View Post
 

 

Hi, Possible to provide your opinions why you choose Audio-gd?

 

I also looking for a good DAC :)

Thanks.

Well, since I haven't heard any of those two I basically trusted my intuition ;) Very subjective, I know!

I'm also more intrigued by USB-32 option that comes with NFB-2 (http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/USB32/USB32EN.htm)

NFB-2 has dual WM8741 DAC chips vs one AKM4399 in Bifrost ( I guess I won't be hearing any difference anyway but it sounded better to me even though AKM4399 by some people is considered to be a better chip)

10 years support (NFB-2) vs 5 years (it probably doesn't even matter because in 2-3 years I will be looking for something new anyway ;))

Kingwa was more energetic over emails describing NFB-2, however all this info is on his website anyway.

Finally, I like the way NFB-2 looks like compare to Bifrost. 

 

Not much, I know but I had to make my choice...


Edited by cakebreaker - 5/7/14 at 12:00pm
post #5 of 27

BTW, the Schiit DAC is a Bifrost, no "g".

post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebreaker View Post
 

Well, since I haven't heard any of those two I basically trusted my intuition ;) Very subjective, I know!

I'm also more intrigued by USB-32 option that comes with NFB-2 (http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/USB32/USB32EN.htm)

NFB-2 has dual WM8741 DAC chips vs one AKM4399 in Bigfrost ( I guess I won't be hearing any difference anyway but it sounded better to me even though AKM4399 by some people is considered to be a better chip)

10 years support (NFB-2) vs 5 years (it probably doesn't even matter because in 2-3 years I will be looking for something new anyway ;))

Kingwa was more energetic over emails describing NFB-2, however all this info is on his website anyway.

Finally, I like the way NFB-2 looks like compare to Bigfrost. 

 

Not much, I know but I had to make my choice...

 

I checked their website.. found there's 2 type of DAC. not sure how i could decide...ES9018 vs WM8741.

 

May i know what let you device the 8741?

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velomane View Post

BTW, the Schiit DAC is a Bifrost, no "g".
oh man, my bad... I didn't mean to upset anyone. Just my lack of attention. Sorry.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marc-az View Post
 

 

I checked their website.. found there's 2 type of DAC. not sure how i could decide...ES9018 vs WM8741.

 

May i know what let you device the 8741?

From Audio-gd website:

 

WM8741 - the newest Wolfson high-end  DA chip, which can support up to 24Bit/192KHz input 

ES9018 - the newest ESS high-end Sabre32 DA chip, which can support up to 32Bit/384KHz input

 

Obviously ES9018 is better but with my current equipment I don't think I can take advantage of it. I think I will be fine with WM8741 ;)

post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebreaker View Post
 

From Audio-gd website:

 

WM8741 - the newest Wolfson high-end  DA chip, which can support up to 24Bit/192KHz input 

ES9018 - the newest ESS high-end Sabre32 DA chip, which can support up to 32Bit/384KHz input

 

Obviously ES9018 is better but with my current equipment I don't think I can take advantage of it. I think I will be fine with WM8741 ;)

They also have some sound differences.  This is from Kingwa directly (I asked that question previously):

 

The NFB3 (2014) is built with ES9018 chip, its sound design is most neutral , detail and dynamic.
The NFB2(2014) is on the other side, it is a bit warm and smooth than the NFB3(2014).

 

 

So basically the NFB3 is more neutral while the NFB2 is more on the warm side.

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaemonSire View Post
 

They also have some sound differences.  This is from Kingwa directly (I asked that question previously):

 

The NFB3 (2014) is built with ES9018 chip, its sound design is most neutral , detail and dynamic.
The NFB2(2014) is on the other side, it is a bit warm and smooth than the NFB3(2014).

 

 

So basically the NFB3 is more neutral while the NFB2 is more on the warm side.

I like a bit warm sound ;)

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakebreaker View Post
 

I like a bit warm sound ;)

then you chose well! :beerchug:

post #12 of 27

I am currently comparing an AudioGd  (saber ESS 9018 ) with the Schiit  Bifrost uber usb, and I can tell you 1 thing the Audio Gd drivers are BS,  They have issues with setup where the Bifrost is a 10 minute process and you are playing music

 

I finally gave up on the GD drivers and bought a converter in order to listen to it.

 

 

sound wise the GD is brighter and more detailed, the Bifrost is warmer and nicely detailed.................were it not for my tube amp I would find the GD / 9018 harsh and fatiguing, 

 

I also found Schiit to be more professional, My emails to Kingwa were answered however he gave me the wrong information and then stated he misread the serial number I sent him. His responses were generally geared at all problems being cable related when actually It boiled down to his software and usb usage being substandard.

 

This is easily seen by the fact that there are several versions of the software as well as several firmware updates (good luck figuring that mess out, as stated I gave up and bought a conversion box and am now connecting via Spdif )

 

If my only concern were the final sound I hear I would likely go with the saber / tube amp as there is no denying it sounds more refined with more detail, bass seems tighter and more controlled, High end seems to have better extension Mids are more refined

 

Personally once left with a bad taste over technical issues I find it very hard to stay with a product, and then there is the issue of having usb on the GD  I cant use.  Having a feature that cannot be used is in my opinion a negative

 

(before any fans of Audio gd go getting all upset and flaming,  take the time to research the product and you will see dozens of posts referring to issues with this software, and also take a look at the Audio gd website and see the several versions of drivers and notice they are differed by ship date, then tell me ANY other audio company that approaches software in this manner)

post #13 of 27

The Muiti driver dates is listed because of the different firmware updates that work with different drivers. People tend to use a older Firmware or certain firmware since the firmware updates can change the sound signature of the usb input. The driver is linked so those can get access to those older drivers to use them with the different firmware that they are using with their units. 

 

Say like if I wanted to flash down to a older firmware release, I would have to uninstall the driver then after flashing, install the driver's that support that firmware that I flashed to.   That's the whole reason why they are all listed by dates. As different firmware releases work with drivers up to a point,If they release a new firmware or new driver either order, the new driver will either fixed something or add something that was added by the firmware release.

 

Audio-GD works closely with VIA who writes the drivers for the USB chip inside of the unit's, Audio-GD doesn't write the drivers they just report the issues to VIA, The only issues I have with the drivers is that ASIO wrapper doesn't work, That's the only issue I have. Which VIA haven't fixed. Which I wished they used or at-least give a option for Xmos or cmedia for usb transfer chips.

 

Plus you have to remember that kingwa English is not perfect and even he can misunderstand stand what was emailed to him and there is a time difference and it some time take time for him to respond. Depending on where you are in the world.


Edited by genclaymore - 5/20/14 at 7:42pm
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joespride View Post
 

I am currently comparing an AudioGd  (saber ESS 9018 ) with the Schiit  Bifrost uber usb, and I can tell you 1 thing the Audio Gd drivers are BS,  They have issues with setup where the Bifrost is a 10 minute process and you are playing music

 

I finally gave up on the GD drivers and bought a converter in order to listen to it.

 

 

sound wise the GD is brighter and more detailed, the Bifrost is warmer and nicely detailed.................were it not for my tube amp I would find the GD / 9018 harsh and fatiguing, 

 

I also found Schiit to be more professional, My emails to Kingwa were answered however he gave me the wrong information and then stated he misread the serial number I sent him. His responses were generally geared at all problems being cable related when actually It boiled down to his software and usb usage being substandard.

 

This is easily seen by the fact that there are several versions of the software as well as several firmware updates (good luck figuring that mess out, as stated I gave up and bought a conversion box and am now connecting via Spdif )

 

If my only concern were the final sound I hear I would likely go with the saber / tube amp as there is no denying it sounds more refined with more detail, bass seems tighter and more controlled, High end seems to have better extension Mids are more refined

 

Personally once left with a bad taste over technical issues I find it very hard to stay with a product, and then there is the issue of having usb on the GD  I cant use.  Having a feature that cannot be used is in my opinion a negative

 

(before any fans of Audio gd go getting all upset and flaming,  take the time to research the product and you will see dozens of posts referring to issues with this software, and also take a look at the Audio gd website and see the several versions of drivers and notice they are differed by ship date, then tell me ANY other audio company that approaches software in this manner)

Hey, I feel your frustration. My experience with the USB driver for my NFB-2 (2014) is very similar. Although, I've managed this to work (well, kind of). But you are right when talking about lack of Audio-gd support. When I've contacted them regarding the USB32 driver issues, specifically with Windows 8.1, they just told me that the problem is with my PC (see my profile for what I do for a living) or with the way I use the DAC.

Anyway, the driver issue is somewhat related to the ASIO, KS and Wasapi drivers. Basically, all of sudden, there is a clipping during playback that eventually goes into a white endless noise, however, once I stop playback and switch Foobar to the DS output to the DAC things would normalize immediately. After a minute or so of music listening over the DS I can switch it back to the Asio and things would start sound normal for a while until all this happens again. Weird, right? ;)

So, looks like direct sound output is the only stable option with the USB32 driver at least in my case.

I just bought one of those Musiland Digital Times PCI cards (by the way the drivers are even more painful) and currently testing the DAC over optical and coax inputs. So far, so good... The SQ is amazing though. Doesn't matter if it is over USB or optical. Well, you've just described it very well, I totally agree with your impressions.

What conversion box are you using for Spdif?

post #15 of 27

Hey cake,

 

Stumbled upon this thread.  Wow, folks are still having probs with the USB32?

 

Sorry, I took like a year off of head-fi and folks were having probs back then but I thought it was all ironed out.

 

What player are you guys using?

 

I have no probs whatsoever with Windows 8.1.  I have also plugged into XP, Vista, 7 and Ubuntu.  Listening right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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