Audio GD NFB-12

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HT cOz

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Audio GD NFB-12
« on: 15 Dec 2010, 02:57 pm »
Audio GD has a special going for their NFB-12 DAC.  They are selling it for $200.  Shipping is ~$45 so you can have one of these for ~$250 which seems very chearful to me.

Here is a link to the DAC http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB12/NFB12EN.htm

Some of the notable features are:
•   Dual WM8741 Dac Chips used
•   Fully discrete output with no opamps in DAC
•   USB support to 96KHz/24bit
•   Coaxial / Optical inputs 192KHz/24bit
•   Custom Alps Volume control with headphone amp
•   WM8805 for SPDIF with low jitter 50PS
•   6 groups of internal power supplies with dedicated DC
•   Digital/Analogue have separated isolated power regulators
•   High quality parts from Vishay/Toshiba/Hitachi/Nover
•   No Feed Back design with no caps for filtering











They also have a sister DAC NFB-11 to this unit that uses a ES-9018 chip.  http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB11/NFB11EN.htm

I decided that the NFB-12 was Cheap and Cheerfull enough for me and am in for one.  :thumb:

My front end will be a SB-2 and maybe a laptop along with this DAC.  Looking forward to checking this exciting company out.

Kind Regards,
Robert

« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2010, 03:58 pm by HT cOz »

Sparky14

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #1 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:22 pm »
Got my NFB-11 shipping notice last night  :D

Looking forward to seeing how it compares to the audio-gd Compass. I like the small form factor of the NFB-11/12, as mine will go from office (headphone use) to home (dac use). The Compass was too big to haul around every few days.

HT cOz

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #2 on: 15 Dec 2010, 03:53 pm »
Got my NFB-11 shipping notice last night  :D


Yeah I'm probably crazy not to go for the NFB-11 as I had been wanting an ESS DAC for some time, but in the end I went cheap and got the NFB-12. 

For the uninitiated the NFB-12 is slightly warmer and more forgiving of imperfect recordings.  On a great recording the NFB-11 is probably the winner of the two.



wushuliu

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #3 on: 15 Dec 2010, 04:04 pm »
Must. Not. Give. In.

Their stuff just looks so well made.

HT cOz

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #4 on: 15 Dec 2010, 04:30 pm »
Must. Not. Give. In.

Their stuff just looks so well made.

Ah come on, this deal is so good its REDUNCULOUS!!! lol

Mariusz

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #5 on: 15 Dec 2010, 08:17 pm »
Looks tempting to say the least. Looking forward to your impressions.  :thumb:

LejfK

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #6 on: 15 Dec 2010, 10:58 pm »
Am I reading this right? Change one jumper and you have a combo pre-amp/dac?

Sparky14

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #7 on: 15 Dec 2010, 11:05 pm »
Right, the jumper change switches the pre output from fixed to variable. So before, it's a switchable DAC with fixed level output, and after it's a switchable DAC with volume control....as I understand it anyway.

usp1

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #8 on: 16 Dec 2010, 02:48 am »
This looks very interesting! After looking at their site though I am a bit confused about what to buy. They seem to hint that the Sabre 9018 dac NFB-11 is likely to be more analytical/dry as compared to the Wolfson Dac (NFB-12). But the Sabre Dac seems to be the hot dac that everyone is talking about. So what to buy?!

Charles Xavier

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #9 on: 16 Dec 2010, 07:44 am »
This looks very interesting! After looking at their site though I am a bit confused about what to buy. They seem to hint that the Sabre 9018 dac NFB-11 is likely to be more analytical/dry as compared to the Wolfson Dac (NFB-12). But the Sabre Dac seems to be the hot dac that everyone is talking about. So what to buy?!

no need to worry . I got an email saying they are halting preorder right now due to usb problem and demand to high.Got to wait until after January

usp1

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #10 on: 16 Dec 2010, 08:03 am »
no need to worry . I got an email saying they are halting preorder right now due to usb problem and demand to high.Got to wait until after January

Well that's a bummer. Hopefully they will take more orders soon.

HT cOz

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #11 on: 16 Dec 2010, 01:53 pm »
This looks very interesting! After looking at their site though I am a bit confused about what to buy. They seem to hint that the Sabre 9018 dac NFB-11 is likely to be more analytical/dry as compared to the Wolfson Dac (NFB-12). But the Sabre Dac seems to be the hot dac that everyone is talking about. So what to buy?!

I was in the same boat as I have been watching the ESS DACS on the Twisted Pair website for a long long time.  However, it came down to being $75 more expensive and honestly I think I prefer a warmer more musical DAC vs. more detailed analytical sound.  Certainly not an easy choice given the reputation of the ESS chip. 

For another view on the difference between the two check out Lampizators wedsite.  http://www.lampizator.eu/LAMPIZATOR/REFERENCES/wolfsondac/WolfsonWM8742DAC.html

"This dac played extremely well. It has all best qualities you can ask for.
It is 99% the quality of the Sabre32 DAC, and it beats other highly capable DAC chips like CS4397, CS4398, AD1865, AD1955, BB1402, BB PCM63, etc.
I am not yet sure how it ranks against the most tweaked TDA1541.
In one area - in the BASS - The wolfson beats them all. Probably the Sabre 32 Buffalo  too. I can verify it next week. This wolfson bass is absolutely awesome. I never heard anything like that in my home.  The WM8740 bass was already superb, and the successor is even better.

I can just fantasize how this DAC would play in I2S mode which is available on board, as well as dsd and all possible formats.
All in all - this is the finest DAC money can buy - with addition of a tube stage - you will never need a better DAC. It belong in the same class as the best ones including the king of them all - Sabre 32. The distance between them is so small, that I finally decided to call them equal. Sabre costs much more, is harder to get  but also it has built in receiver chip - it is fully integrated."

I don't know if that helps and there maybe latter versions of ESS chips that are even better, but I think it is similiar to what is being said on the Audio GD website.

Robert

HT cOz

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #12 on: 16 Dec 2010, 01:59 pm »
no need to worry . I got an email saying they are halting preorder right now due to usb problem and demand to high.Got to wait until after January

I think that applies to the NFB-11 but the NFB-12 is still available to purchase. 

As far as I can tell from the website the NFB-12 has not had the USB issues.  It looks like they fixed the NFB-11 with the addition of a PLL circuit, but they are overloaded with demand.

For the unitiated, Audio GD put the NFB-11 out and it had a problem.  They paid for shipping back to China for a fix but it has taken a long time to find a solution that does not compromise sound quality.  Here is what they say on their website "The ES9018 PCM mode (I2S input) working not steady as SPDIF mode .
     Some engineer friends adviced to us, converte the USB interface from I2S to SPDIF for avoid the ES9018 working at PCM mode  but we refuse, we believe this is the first simple way but will degrade on SQ.
     Final ,We addition a high performance PLL chip ( typical jitter is 21 PS) in NFB-11/NFB-10 for improve the USB interface clock performance .
     Now we had test 40 units NFB-11 near month for confirm we had fix this issue. Benefit from the high performance PLL join in, the sound from USB is audibly improved .
     Thanks all pre-order customers , your patience reanimate us working without tire.
     We will shipping these around 20 units for users test at first . We wish other pre-order customers understanding and waiting some days, once we get feedback these 20 units through test, we will shipping other units as soon as possible."

I think the thing to keep in mind that the DAC chip has a lot less to do with the sound than all the other parts of the DAC.

It does seem this is a difference between the NFB-11 and NFB-12 as the Wolfson dac didn't seem to have this problem to begin with.

Now on ordering this unit, I accepted that it may take some patience on my part, but that is part of the deal when getting a great price.....

Cheers,
Robert
« Last Edit: 16 Dec 2010, 04:37 pm by HT cOz »

usp1

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #13 on: 22 Dec 2010, 01:47 pm »
Has anyone received their DACs yet? Any impressions about sound and build quality?

HT cOz

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #14 on: 22 Dec 2010, 02:37 pm »
I ended up changing my order to a NFB-3 which is a dedicated DAC.  I figured that since I am running an integrated amp and don't listen to headphones that I should just suck it up and pay the extra $100 for a dedicated DAC.  They did say the NFB-3 would ship next week.   :icon_lol:

I hope $300 is still C&C?

Here is a link to the NFB-3 http://audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/NFB-2/NFB2EN.htm

One advantage is that it does have the voltage outputs so if I ever choose an Audio GD Pre-Amp I could get one with the voltage input.  Otherwise I'm not sure how different these products are?  Not a whole lot of information out there.

Thanks,
Robert

Sparky14

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #15 on: 22 Dec 2010, 03:25 pm »
First NFB-11 review was just posted on Head-Fi, very positive. Still waiting on mine to arrive, it shipped on the 14th.

nocrapman

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #16 on: 22 Dec 2010, 06:16 pm »
Kingwa has put out some fantastic products in the last couple of years!

If this isnt C&C then what it!

I am in the process of ordering a NFB-12 and a NFB-3!
The 12 will be replacing a Zero amp/dac!

HT cOz

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Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #17 on: 22 Dec 2010, 06:46 pm »
That's awesome, you can let me know if I made a good choice.

This was a bit of a leap of faith for me as I will be living with this DAC for a long time.

But when you only have a couple hundred bucks to play with and you don't want OpAmps and you recognize the importance of power supplies and quality analog circuits,,, you can't even DIY into something this good with no case for 200-300.

That makes that leap easier. I just hope it is musical!!!
« Last Edit: 22 Dec 2010, 08:55 pm by HT cOz »

wushuliu

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #18 on: 26 Dec 2010, 06:55 am »
Well I've decided to try and get a nfb11. Hopefully they're still available.  Take a break from DIY...

JohnR

Re: Audio GD NFB-12
« Reply #19 on: 26 Dec 2010, 07:35 am »
I'm sure you won't be able to resist modding it :)

I'm interested in the NFB-11 too actually. Please do update with what you find out about availability.