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Amp/DACs item created by jacksonchansf, Aug 28, 2012
Pros - Resolution, sound quality, input/output options, clean design, plenty of power.
Cons - Heat (but barely)
Well I suppose the good people over at Audio gd would be quite proud. This is the first product out of their largish lineup that I've heard and well, I'm sold.
The NFB 11.32 was purchased after reading up in its appreciation thread. Even though I didn't need one, I'm still interested in mid-tier amp/DAC combos to see how they'll synergize with my gear. I have a MacBook Pro running Fidelia and 2-in-1 combos are the most logical option for my setup. The 11.32 was an excellent purchase for the following reasons.
It has a very neutral amp presentation that retrieves plenty of detail. It sent the O2/ODAC combo packing (who sent the Asgard/Bifrost combo packing). The 11.32 doesn't have any coloration to these ears. The resolution department works plenty hard also. Almost my entire library is mp3 320 as I can't hear any improvement with FLAC or hi-rez. So even though I can't comment on the DAC's abilities to melt my ears off with 32 bit nonsense, the 11.32 still pulled details that weren't noticed in the other aforementioned setups. Probably the most noticeable difference between them however, was its ability to replicate a more 3D soundstage. The O2/ODAC is a fantastic combo that performs brilliantly. However, after A/Bing with the 11.32, the Audio gd made the O2/ODAC seem very two-dimensional - not a lot of depth to the soundstage and imaging. That difference was all I needed to make my decision. Overall very impressive.
Like I mentioned before, my setup is simple compared to many as it doesn't involve gobs of hi-rez material powered with "audiophile" PSUs and $200 USB cables. However, I do appreciate the versatility the 11.32 offers with regards to input/output capabilities. It can take USB, coax, or optical in and will output to the 1/4" plug, or do a variable/fixed RCA output. So it's very easy for me to plug the T90s straight in or I can flick a switch and plug them into the Little Dot 1+ which is connected to the 11.32 RCA out to show the Beyers some tube love. Very easy and smooth operation.
While not the end-all, the way something looks certainly can work for or against it. Luckily the boys at Audio gd are privy to this. The 11.32 is cleanly designed with minimal markings, and/or extra appendages. All of the volume/gain/input/output selectors are on the front panel which is surprisingly rare this day and age. +1 for the thoughtfulness here.
Last but not least: power. Preface: My power requirements range from High-sensitivity IEMs (SM64) to orthos (ZMF T50rps). Long story short, between the two gain settings, there are no issues or wanting to be found here.
In conclusion, the 11.32 from Audio gd is an extremely capable and resolving amp/DAC combo that works for just about anything you throw at it. From it's very neutral and powerful amp section to it's incredibly versatile DAC circuit, there aren't many situations that I can imagine where the 11.32 won't get the job done quite well.