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Audio-GD NFB-15.32 Delivery & Impression Thread

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Uri Cohen, Jan 27, 2013.
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  1. Uri Cohen
    I know there are some folks who want to buy the NFB-15.32 with the upgraded USB chip.  So lets talk about it here!
    It appears to be an upgrade from the NFB-15.1.  I would recommend read these threads first so you know what we are dealing with:
    Thank you to everyone on those threads.  They were quite useful for me! 
    Looking for something good for my new HP ProBook that can drive my Grados RS-2is, be a great DAC for the price, and can handle DVD/Blu Ray audio from the ProBook.  I always wanted to buy an Audio-GD product because they usually have a product that meets my needs.  This will be my first Audio-GD product so I hope this will be a good experience. 
    I went for the $20 TCXO upgrade for low jitter and most likely better performance. 
    I should be able to get it via DHL most likely by mid/late this week. 
    So far this DAC has a lot going for my personal needs.  I hope the Audio-GD drivers won't be too much of a pain in the butt to install. Also good sound won't hurt as well. :D 
  2. B M Tarr
    Thank you for starting this thread. I am in the market for one of these, having already sent the e-mail to Audio-GD and received a response with the steps I need to take to order it.
    I plan to eventually drive HiFiMan HE-500s with this sourced through my rMBP (retina macbook pro) and mostly 256 quality music from Two Steps From Hell and other similar "Epic Score" artists.
    I'll update with my impressions once I get them together.
  3. Uri Cohen
    And it is here.  Testing it now for all the wonderful features. 
  4. HeatFan12 Contributor
  5. Uri Cohen
    Thank you for inspiring me to get off my fat butt and order this thing! 
  6. HeatFan12 Contributor
  7. Uri Cohen
    Here's my first official impressions of the unit short bulletin points style.  Please note I use the Grado RS2-i. About ten hours of break in time at of this time.  Also note my unit has the TCXO upgrade. 
    *Audio GD gives you other things besides the unit and the Power/USB cable (jumpers, Firmware #3 USB chip for USB32 Driver v1.1 that you need to self install, a replacement LED light, and others).
    *With the default USB chip Firmware #4 preinstall in the unit and using USB32 Driver v1.2 the sound is neutral with a hint of warmness. 
    *Using USB32 Driver v1.1 with the Firmware #4 USB chip the sound didn't change too much.  
    *After installing Firmware #3 USB chip and sticking with the USB32 Driver v1.1 the sound has a nice warm sound that isn't too bright or too boomy, it's just right without any signs of being digital. 
    *Trying out different bit-stream methods I settled on Kernel Streaming in foobar. 
    *The filters/oversampling settings doesn't change the sound too much but there's a difference (my current setting is OS 2/Fitler 1 for the soft-knee setting. 
    *Built-In Amp is powerful enough for the Grados (via Low Gain).  
    *The LED blue light is pretty annoying.  So annoying that I ripped out the light and the light jumper from the unit out of a fit of rage!  Unit works just fine but there's no light telling you if it is on or not.  I know next Audio-GD product that I will order I would ask if they can replace the LED light with a red one. Also I'm too lazy/don't care to use the replacement LED light in the unit. 
    Will get more in detail later on. 
  8. rmcewin
    This is the first Headphone Amp I have listened to or owned so my frame of reference is extremely limited. I am running it off my laptop with KS streaming using Foobar and I only listen to FLAC or ALAC recordings. Lifes too short right? I have matched it to some Senn HD600's. The amp has heaps of power and it drives the HD600's well with the Gain on high. 12 o'clock on the AMP is LOUD! Low gain on the unit doesnt drive the cans enough with a quite soft sound even at full noise. I have found that the Filter and OS settings make no discernible difference except when I try and OS a track that is already 96Khz. Could be my ears but I cant hear any difference at all. Anyway, thanks to this forum I have ended up with a great sounding system for not stupid money. Thanks.
  9. LammerOutsider
    Recieved my 15.32 today. Is it normal that it's so hot when using? I can not hold my hand on it how hot it is ... 
  10. Uri Cohen
    It is suppose to be on the warm/hot side when using it for awhile.  It's normal.  
  11. Uri Cohen
    Well I won't go too deep into about the unit as most of my opinions about the unit is just a few posts above.  
    The best way to explain about the unit is it's just the NFB-15.1 but on the warmer end of things.  It's isn't bright or the most detailed unit out there, but it is very musical.  This is really good for a simple desktop DAC for either casual or serious listening sessions.  I left the unit on high-gain since low-gain doesn't give it enough juice to my Grados.  I enjoyed mine quite a bit.  
  12. idunno
    I just ordered a 15.32 :)

    Once I receive it and burn in for a while, I'll post a short comparison to the original Compass.
  13. Byrnie
    So here's my confusion, and pardon my ignorance with DAC chips, but is this 15.32 DAC/Amp a better unit than the 11.32 DAC/AMP?  I see the 15.32 is cheaper than the 11.32 but it also says it's a promo so i figure it might just be a discounted price given it's new or something.  
  14. idunno
    In theory they're competitive units... Just different flavor to the DAC portion. From what I've been able to gather, reading about the 11.32, the 15.1, 12.1, etc. I expect the 15.32/Wolfson DAC to be warmer, more musical. The 11.32/Sabre DAC is supposedly uber-detailed, more neutral but perhaps a little bright. I usally go for more detailed, neutral sound, but I'm getting this unit for work, where I am more concerned about flowing with the music than hyper-critical listening.
    I believe the price difference is simply in the implimentation of the DACs--I'm not sure, but I don't think there's a difference in the amp sections between the two units.
  15. idunno
    Got my 15.32 today :) Super fast shipping--it arrived from China before my Cowon D3 s/pdif cable which shipped from California 2 days before the 15.32.
    Took a few tries to install the drivers--it didn't like the USB ports on my laptop, but works fine from the powered port on my second monitor.
    Initial impressions are... positive. And then some. I was hoping this would be close in quality to the Compass, in a smaller package, but I think it's going to be more than that. Detail and spatial imaging are wonderful, already an improvement over the Compass. Sound is fluid, quite musical. Makes the Compass sound slow in comparison. Bass impact may be somewhat lesser than the Compass, but is tighter. Certain parts of vocals sound more digital than I'm used to, but I'm hoping that will ease with burn-in. If this is the less detailed dac, versus the 11.32, I think I made the right choice--more detail and I think it might become distracting from the overall flow of the music.
    My experience with the Compass tells me it will be several hundred hours before the sound solidifies... Time will tell, but I'm optimistic about this little beauty. 
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