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Responding via PM so as not to derail the thread.
Yeah it doesn't happen pausing and playing, just initial playback. This seems to be a unilateral issue. Everything suffers from the initial mute, but then once the audio is working, it stays working (except the occasional track/album change in foobar).
I just noticed that audio in the games I've tried seems way quieter than in foobar. I have to crank it up much higher, past 12 o'clock.
I'd liek to know as well
Well the short version is that I didn't *dislike* the NFB-15 + HD650, I just didn't really understand why people were so hyped on the HD650. It sounded like nothing special. Then I got my Ember a day or two later and tried that and subtle changes from the tube amp translated into a really sublime experience with the HD650. I don't know what it was, but there was a great synergy there.
NFB-15 DAC + Project Ember Amp + HD650 could be an endgame setup for many people.
Tonight, I'm going to try the HD650 straight out of a Geek Out Signature Edition, which uses the Sabre DAC with an amp that's a bit less powerful than the one in the Audio-GD. (It also has some femto-unicorn-magic upgrades.) It's not really an apples to apples comparison, but it should give a better idea of how the HD650 would sound with the NFB-11 vs the NFB-15. I'll post my results.
So if the 650's sound good with NFB-15 + project ember, then it would probably sound pretty good with an NFB-15 + Bottlehead crack, right? In your project ember setup, is the DAC the only thing in use from the NFB-15, or does the solid state amp sound signature (if there is such a thing?) also work its way into the pipeline before reaching the ember amp?
Correct, the NFB-15 is just being used as a DAC in this setup and the amp stage has no influence on the sound. The Crack is supposed to sound really good with the HD650, so I doubt you could go wrong with any decent DAC.
Just some quick impressions of the HD650 with the NFB-15 vs the GO SE (Sabre DAC like the NFB-11).
The most obvious differences are that the NFB-15 is smoother and warmer with a more intimate soundstage with mids pushed forward. The Sabre is brighter with more detail resolution and a more even presentation (mids not forward nor recessed), but the treble can have a tendency to sound grainy... that's a tough one to explain but listen to it back to back with the Wolfson and you'll know what I'm talking about with grainy vs smooth.
As to which suits the HD650 better, I think that's a matter of preference. If you really like the syrupy, warm, intimate presentation, the NFB-15 is a good fit. If you wish the HD650 were just a little less veiled and more open, the NFB-11 would probably suit you better.
The HD650 is a great headphone and doesn't sound bad with either. Since I tend to the more neutral-to-bright preference, the NFB-11 is my personal choice here.
I think if I were to try them both going through the project Ember, it might be different. But I don't have the patience to deal with that tonight. Hope this helps some folks.
Thanks for the notes. If there's one thing I would want to improve on the HD650, it'd be just a bit bigger sound stage. It seems like the Sabre might do that better, or at least not bring it in smaller. I just don't want a bright amp. Which is funny because I'm coming from the Modi/Magni, which some say is a bit thin/bright. And that's one of the reasons I'm switching, I want something with a bit more "weight", whatever that really entails. So if the Sabre isn't thinner or brighter than the M&M stack, it should be ok.
On a side note, got my NFB-11 quote. The TCXO upgrades and shipping quickly take it from a $300 kit to a $400 kit.
Edit: and I wonder if an amp can have more weight while increasing sound stage at the same time?
Well I haven't heard the Magni so I can't comment on how bright it is relative to what I have. But I do want to clarify that when I say the GO is brighter, I just mean relative to the NFB-15, which is known to be on the warm side. Supposedly the Sabre DAC is more neutral than bright.
So, I just got the HD600...I will post some quick impressions in an hour.
After listening to about HD600 for about 30 minutes with NFB-11, I can definitely say that the match is better than HD650 for people with sound signature towards neutral/treble. I am not saying that NFB-11 is horrible with HD650, but it sounded a little veiled and too warm/mellow for me. That's just my case, people have different tastes and if you like smooth, laid back sound, go for the HD650...otherwise, I think HD600 is a nice match.
While I think soundstage and bass was a bit better on the HD650, but HD600 is not too much different. The biggest difference is the treble and the laidback sound of HD650, other than that I think they are pretty similar. I have very recent productions of both, so it might be different if you have much older pairs.
You won't be let down with HD600+NFB-11
If you are having trouble with wasapi in foobar2k about the mute relay, use post/pre-track silence component to set affix silence DSP (2000 milliseconds of silence before is doing well for me).
Also, I don't think anyone will disagree to the fact that HD650 has much better stock cable...I think build quality of HD650 was better...
I think from this, the NFB-11 + 650 would be good for me, as opposed to the NFB-15. I like the warmth of the HD650, but I don't think I want more warmth added.
I can't imagine how NFB-15 and 650 would sound like, too warm for sure...the amp section of NFB-11 is a bit on the warm side. The DAC itself is great, but I think the amp section is not excellent. I would have thought that nfb-11 and 600 would sound much better, but it was good enough to enjoy the music which I guess is all it matters
I haven't received my 650s or my NFB-11
but I've heard the 15 is warmer than the 11
and the 650s are warmer still than the 600s
I didnt want to double up the warmness so I went with the NFB-11
I listed to mostly electronic / hip hop and read the NFB-11 lacks some bass when compared to the NFB-15, which concerns me a little, but everybody has been raving about the 'resolution' of the 11 so I hope I made the right choice
Did the amp section not live up because of technical weaknesses or sound signature?