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Not Happy with my current setup. Details inside. Need help picking a good DAC/AMP for my setup for the best listening experience.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-fi,

 

Good evening.

 

I am not happy with my current music setup for listening to music on my computer. Please see my previous thread, here. I basically need an upgrade in the DAC/AMP dept.

 

What I have setup:

 

 

* Audio Engine A5+ speakers

* SVS SB-1000 sub-woofer

*Seinheisser HD650s

*Audio Technica M-50s

 

 

Now here is where I think I'm lacking in the DAC/Amp department.

 

What I have currently in my possession:

 

* Audio Engine D1 DAC/AMP

 

This is my first DAC/AMP, I'm quite happy with the punchy bass and the overally synergy between it and my A5+ speakers, however, I noticed the sound is somewhat muddy. Also, the amp in there cannot handle my HD650s well. 

 

I upgraded to

 

 

* Audinst MX2

 

Well, this wasn't quite the upgrade I was looking for. This is a good DAC/AMP, however, I think it does not need my requirements, and I will be sending it back to the seller. The bass is very lacking in my opinion. Although it is clearer than my D1s, it still requires the volume knob to be over 50% to drive my speakers, is this normal? Same with my HD650s, it is almost on 70%.

 

Here is what I need in my setup:

 

* Crystal clear sound: lows, mids, and highs (to the best my A5+s can support)

* Optical input. USB optional, I drive my PC with optical.

* Headphone jack

* Decent form factor, I don't want something too huge, but if that's my only option I will go for it this time. This is why I shyed away from the Audio-GD NFB-15. 

* Price: At this point I'm upping my budget to $400 

 

 

Can you please help me find what I am looking for? I looked at the review section in DAC/AMPS but I can't discern which will be ideal for my setup and wants, this is why I look to the community for assistance.

 

I appreciate you helping me.

 

Thank you.

post #2 of 24
I wouldn't consider the audio gd nfb-15 to be very big being that it's an all in one with the Dac part of the amp. If you take the schitt magni and modi there comparable in size to the nfb-15 and it will do just what your looking for.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Honkytime View Post

I wouldn't consider the audio gd nfb-15 to be very big being that it's an all in one with the Dac part of the amp. If you take the schitt magni and modi there comparable in size to the nfb-15 and it will do just what your looking for.

Thank you for the quick reply. What if I upped my budget? Whaty would you recommend the Bitfrost to pair with? Which performs better Schitt products or the NFB at the same price point? I dont mind spending more on the Schitts. 

post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by exhibitO View Post
 

Thank you for the quick reply. What if I upped my budget? Whaty would you recommend the Bifrost to pair with? Which performs better Schiit products or the NFB at the same price point? I don't mind spending more on the Schiits. 

 

Audio-GD NFB-11 ($315) with TCXO upgrades ($40), $355 + shipping ($45?).

You get USB, optical & coaxial inputs.

Sabre DAC chip

I do not think Schiit can match the features at the $400 price point.

post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Audio-GD NFB-11 ($315) with TCXO upgrades ($40), $355 + shipping ($45?).

You get USB, optical & coaxial inputs.

Sabre DAC chip

I do not think Schiit can match the features at the $400 price point.

 

 Audiogd :P

post #6 of 24
Well, the Modi and Magni won't work because you need a pre-amp, right?

My progression: Xonar STX-> ODAC/O2-> ODAC & Asgard 2 -> NFB-11. Finally feel like where I need to be with the NFB-11. I would highly recommend it or the NFB-15.

Nice sub. I have one, too, in my desktop setup biggrin.gif
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by exhibitO View Post
 

* Decent form factor, I don't want something too huge, but if that's my only option I will go for it this time. This is why I shyed away from the Audio-GD NFB-15. 

* Price: At this point I'm upping my budget to $400 

 

Note that the reason why the NFB-15 is bigger is because it has a lot of connectivity options (several digital inputs, one output from the DAC and one output that goes through its preamp), plus a huge power supply. There are no DAC-Amps with the features you need and power for your headphones smaller than the AudioGDs.

 

The closest thing would be the NuForce HDP, but 1) it's discontinued and 2) it's smaller on the table because it uses an external power supply similar in form factor to what comes with a netbook/Chromebook. When I listened to it with my HD600, the sound was warm but it was distorting in the bass region. Bass drums for example didn't sound like a solid "THUD!" but more like a "THU-thwack!" Indicating  overexcursion on the driver, which never happened with my other amps (my best guess without testing instruments is that it could be indicative of non-linear response, ie a bump in the bass region from before the amp stage, which in turn cannot deliver enough current).

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Audio-GD NFB-11 ($315) with TCXO upgrades ($40), $355 + shipping ($45?).

You get USB, optical & coaxial inputs.

Sabre DAC chip

I do not think Schiit can match the features at the $400 price point.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post
 

 

 Audiogd :P

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Well, the Modi and Magni won't work because you need a pre-amp, right?

My progression: Xonar STX-> ODAC/O2-> ODAC & Asgard 2 -> NFB-11. Finally feel like where I need to be with the NFB-11. I would highly recommend it or the NFB-15.

Nice sub. I have one, too, in my desktop setup biggrin.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

Note that the reason why the NFB-15 is bigger is because it has a lot of connectivity options (several digital inputs, one output from the DAC and one output that goes through its preamp), plus a huge power supply. There are no DAC-Amps with the features you need and power for your headphones smaller than the AudioGDs.

 

The closest thing would be the NuForce HDP, but 1) it's discontinued and 2) it's smaller on the table because it uses an external power supply similar in form factor to what comes with a netbook/Chromebook. When I listened to it with my HD600, the sound was warm but it was distorting in the bass region. Bass drums for example didn't sound like a solid "THUD!" but more like a "THU-thwack!" Indicating  overexcursion on the driver, which never happened with my other amps (my best guess without testing instruments is that it could be indicative of non-linear response, ie a bump in the bass region from before the amp stage, which in turn cannot deliver enough current).

 

 

 

Thanks everyone. Looks like I'll give the NFB-11 a chance. Screw it. I just want to confirm a few things. I sent an email to Audi-GD for an invoice quote. However, I got a few questions.

 

I requested the following upgrades:

 

TCXO for USB chip and ES9018.
Upgrade 35W transformer.

 

 

 

I got this email, I don't know if he include the TCXO upgrade, can you confirm for me please?

 

 

 

Purchased Order List
Items Quantity Price(USD) Voltage & Power Cable Note
NFB-11(TCXO*2,35W) 1 355 120V#2

 

 

 

 

 

Also, did anyone do the 35W power upgrade? Is it worth it? 

 

@ProtegeManiac Is this really the power supply for the unit? I was expecting a brick or something? LOL

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by exhibitO View Post
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks everyone. Looks like I'll give the NFB-11 a chance. Screw it. I just want to confirm a few things. I sent an email to Audi-GD for an invoice quote. However, I got a few questions.

 

I requested the following upgrades:

 

TCXO for USB chip and ES9018.
Upgrade 35W transformer.

 

 

 

I got this email, I don't know if he include the TCXO upgrade, can you confirm for me please?

 

 

 

Purchased Order List
Items Quantity Price(USD) Voltage & Power Cable Note
NFB-11(TCXO*2,35W) 1 355 120V#2

 

 

 

 

 

Also, did anyone do the 35W power upgrade? Is it worth it? 

 

@ProtegeManiac Is this really the power supply for the unit? I was expecting a brick or something? LOL

 

It looks like the 35W upgrade is included for free?

I would think that the 2 X TCXO + 35W upgrades would have made the price $370+shipping.

post #10 of 24

,Discrete  DAC+ Headphone amplifier / Preamplifier
DSD , DXD support from USB
32bit / 384K Sabre ES9018 
32bit / 384K Asynchronous Transfer  USB-32 Chip

Price :  315 (Exclude shipping cost  )

 

 

 

 Upgrade TCXO for USB chip and ES9018.
     
There are two TCXO can for upgrade,  Cost is USD20 / per without shipping delay .This upgrade only can slightly improve on the sound transparency .

3, Upgrade 35W transformer.
     
Default built in 20W transformer, upgrade to 35W transformer cost is USD15 .   This upgrade just like  a same series cars , one had built in 2000CC engine another built in 3500CC engine, they had same top speed but the driver can experience the different power .
 

 

i think u need to get back to Audiogd for a confirmation of the cost...

and if u want a sports car, then do the transformer upgrade..:P

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by exhibitO View Post

 

 

Also, did anyone do the 35W power upgrade? Is it worth it? 

 

@ProtegeManiac Is this really the power supply for the unit? I was expecting a brick or something? LOL

 

I have no idea what that thing in the link is (looks more like a power capacitor for a car audio set-up, or something for a solar rechargingsystem or something). The power supply cannot be a brick either because, unlike others that use a power brick usually to skimp on money by using something that any $250 10in Acer would use, most AudioGD's have their power supply inside the chassis.

Enclosed in the red box is the power supply circuit: Blue = transformer, power capacitors to the left,  and those upright heatsinks might be for the regulators

 

 

In any case the website now says the 35w PSU upgrade is free, so what the heck. Even if it does little to help your headphones at your listening level, you won't need to spend on it.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 8/23/14 at 7:17am
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post
 

,Discrete  DAC+ Headphone amplifier / Preamplifier
DSD , DXD support from USB
32bit / 384K Sabre ES9018 
32bit / 384K Asynchronous Transfer  USB-32 Chip

Price :  315 (Exclude shipping cost  )

 

 

 

 Upgrade TCXO for USB chip and ES9018.
     
There are two TCXO can for upgrade,  Cost is USD20 / per without shipping delay .This upgrade only can slightly improve on the sound transparency .

3, Upgrade 35W transformer.
     
Default built in 20W transformer, upgrade to 35W transformer cost is USD15 .   This upgrade just like  a same series cars , one had built in 2000CC engine another built in 3500CC engine, they had same top speed but the driver can experience the different power .
 

 

i think u need to get back to Audiogd for a confirmation of the cost...

and if u want a sports car, then do the transformer upgrade..:P

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

I have no idea what that thing in the link is (looks more like a power capacitor for a car audio set-up, or something for a solar rechargingsystem or something). The power supply cannot be a brick either because, unlike others that use a power brick usually to skimp on money by using something that any $250 10in Acer would use, most AudioGD's have their power supply inside the chassis.

Enclosed in the red box is the power supply circuit: Blue = transformer, power capacitors to the left,  and those upright heatsinks might be for the regulators

 

 

In any case the website now says the 35w PSU upgrade is free, so what the heck. Even if it does little to help your headphones at your listening level, you won't need to spend on it.

 

 

 

Thank you for explanation. I'm confused by his invoice email. Are they trying to chsrge me for the 35W supply? Can you point me to where it says the upgrade is now free?

 

Also, I just want to confirm he was understood I want Upgrade TCXO for USB chip and ES9018. It is unclear in his email to me. 

post #13 of 24

http://www.audio-gd.com/En%20audio-gd.htm

 

NFB-11(2014) & NFB-15(2014)

Free upgrade the transformer to 35W now.

 

on the homepage..at the top..it says FREE UPGRADE of power


Edited by Lorspeaker - 8/23/14 at 7:40am
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post
 

http://www.audio-gd.com/En%20audio-gd.htm

 

NFB-11(2014) & NFB-15(2014)

Free upgrade the transformer to 35W now.

 

on the homepage..at the top..it says FREE UPGRADE of power

Gotcha, I want to say his Quote is correct, then. It does include free power. The Upgrade TCXO for USB chip and ES9018 is $20 per, making it $315 + $40 = $355

 

Does this make sense to you? 

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by exhibitO View Post
 

Gotcha, I want to say his Quote is correct, then. It does include free power. The Upgrade TCXO for USB chip and ES9018 is $20 per, making it $315 + $40 = $355

 

Does this make sense to you? 

 

Yep, it's $355 plus whatever the shipping charge is (my NFB-15.32 shipping charge was $43, shipped to California),

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