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NFB-10ES (Non-USB)
Sabre32 ES9018 DAC chip
Fully Balanced Dedicated DAC +  Fully Balanced HP/Pre amp
BNC/Coaxial/Optical input

Dedicated DAC with RCA / XLR / ACSS output with variable and fixed line level
32Bit / 192KHz Coaxial input support
Applies ACSS


Price: USD880  (Exclude shipping cost)
Weight: Approximately 9.5kg
Dimension:  W250 X L360 X H80(MM)
Accessories: Stock power cable X1,stock optical cable X1
Not: Since 21th Feb.2011, upgrade to TCXO.

* The ES9018 had higher request of sources than other DAC . We can't guarantee it can work well at 192K (coaxial input ) and 96KHz (optical input) with all sources. It depend on the source output SPDIF waves quality.  We practised it can work well with our DI and hiface (BNC) at 192KHz.

Summarize: Fully discrete amp without any OPA , couple caps ,non- feedback analog output stage and strong power supplys .
       The NFB-10ES uses 80W high performance transformers. More than 23,000uf audio grade NOVER capacitors are used to ensure ample and smooth power feed. The NOVER capacitors are specially custom order from NOVER (U.K.) according to Audio GD's requirements. Total of 7 PSU groups are used to purify the power supply. To achieve Silent operation, the control circuit is powered with separate regulator.
       The NFB-10ES uses high grade DALE resistors (1% tolerance) and WIMA caps, which offers a very neutral sound. RCA sockets are custom ordered and 24k gold-plated, XLR output sockets and headphone output sockets are Neutrik. All transistors are exact-matched Toshiba and Hitachi.
       The NFB-10ES applies the A-D (analog to digital) type relay-based volume control to avoid channel imbalance and improve on sound quality .

Sound Characteristics:  Neutral without harsh.
      
The NFB-10ES version applies the Sabre32 ES9018 chip, it has quite high fidelity, its sound signature is absolutely revealing, neutral and faithful and very detailed. It can show how good or how bad a recording is. If you are afraid of flaws being revealed in the music files, other gears like those applying WM8741 will be better. Our gears that apply WM8741 are designed to sound neutral and revealing but with a little smoothness.
       Like the   NFB-10WM version
       The NFB-10ES is best matched with headphones which have neutral or warmer side sound characteristics.

Feedback :

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/519166/audio-gd-NFB-10ES

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What's different between Sabre chips
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Device Description Package DNR(DB) THD(DB)
ES9018 Sabre 32 Reference 32bit 8-channel audio DAC 64 LQFP 135(Mono)
129(8 channel)
-120
ES9016 Sabre 32 Reference 32bit 8-channel audio DAC 48 LQFP 128(Mono)
124(8 channel)
-110
ES9012 Sabre 32 Reference 32bit Stereo audio DAC 64 LQFP 133(Mono) -120
ES9008 Sabre Reference 8-channel audio DAC 64 LQFP 132(Mono)
128(8 channel)
-118
ES9006 Sabre Premier 8-channel audio DAC 48 LQFP 120 -102

NFB-10ESES version:

         
                             

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Illustrations on how to modify the headphone so that it can be connected to the NFB-10ES 4 pins HP amp output.
  
Click here to read:   modification

The parts of the headphone modification price is USD30, (includes one female 4 Pins plug and one male 4 Pins plug, some tapes and some WBT tin solder.)

 
 ES9018 based DAC is the third edition design:
        
A lot of customers recommended ES9018 to me one year ago, during this year I made a lot of practice, at Jul. 2009, I finished the first edition and spend lot months to test and audition. At Mar. 2010 , The second edition finished. The regular edition finished at Jul. 2010.
  Click image to enlarge.   

About ACSS:
         ACSS (Audio-gd Current Signal System) is Audio-gd's system for transmitting audio signals in the current domain. This concept, first seen in 1966, we have used for many years, and since 2006, have evolved the technology to include all audio signals in our systems from the digital source to the power amplifier. Since 2005, ACSS comp5nts have become Audio-gd's most popular products.



About NFB?

     
NFB means Non-Feedback.
       The NFB-10ES applies the newest ESS high-end Sabre32 DA chip ES9018 which can support up to 32Bit/96KHz input . Similar to other ES9018 designs, Our NFB-10ES applies Non-feedback ACSS output stage. The ES9018 feed to the ACSS output stage without any OPAs so it can achieve very neutral sound quality.
       The ACSS is a non-feedback technology made with fully discrete amplifiers. Most people know the global feedback design can offer better specs in test measurements, and non-feedback can't do well in test measurements but can offer better sound for the human's ears. Here is a conflict of the classic circuits. But the ACSS opens a new field, it can offer a least coloration sound which is more neutral with very low distortion and high linearity. So it can retain the dynamics, detail and neutral sound but not sound bright or harsh.
       The output buffers are Non-feedback. For low impedance, we applied a diamond output stage which is quite less colored than most conventional circuits.
       The DAC is without couple caps to avoid coloration.
       Real fully balanced discrete design.

       Fully
Discrete ACSS headphone amp.
 
Click image to enlarge.                       


      NFB-10ES applies the excellent DA chip ES9018 and excellent analog output stages, but these are not the only keys of the best sound. The power supply is most important. Even applying the best DA chip and the best amp, if matched to a normal power supply, the total sound may still be average or sound musical but can't be neutral and detailed. That is why it is easy to find hi-end grade gears maybe without the best chips or amp stages, but with plenteous dedicated DC supply circuits.
       The NFB-10ES uses 7 groups of high-quality  PSU with dedicated DC supply. Digital and analog voltages each have separately isolated internal power regulations.
      The analog power supply is more important for sound reproduce, in NFB-10ES, the +15V and -15V for the ACSS analog output stages are high speed Discrete PSU. They can offer pure and quick power supply for driving the headphone exactly. The high voltage power supply can drive most headphone from 15 to 600 ohms as well.

 
                  Strong power supply.
 Click image to enlarge.           

About volume in ACSS circuits:

     For a headphone amp, the volume control is very important.
    
 NFB-10ES use ACSS technology, which is very different from conventional technology. In conventional technology the gain is fixed, like 3DB or 6DB.
      But in ACSS technology the gain changes with volume, and when you turn off the volume, the gain is -80DB or -100DB (in conventional technology it can't work lower than 0DB).
      While you are listening in normal volume, the gain may be around -50DB, or between -80 to +12DB.
      The volume control is also different from conventional technology. Conventional technology volume control is placed in the input, and attenuates the signal.
      But in ACSS, it is placed at the ACSS modules output, where the output is the current signal, not the voltage signal. The volume control is I/V conversion, and the volume depends on the current (I) conversion to the voltage (V). (Like D/A chips output I/V conversion)
      As you can see, ACSS circuits have no gain, as it is a completely different circuit.
      The sound quality benefits from I/V conversion volume control. Mark Levinson also knows that current volume control has great benefits, so in their Top End preamp NO.32 volume control, they use many components to change the signal to current signal (I), then through the R-2R network to control the volume, and then change back to voltage signal (V) again. But NFB-10ES is simply a more complete work in terms of the current signal, and technically, it is superior to conventional technology.

 About the A-D type relays based volume control:

      In NFB-10ES is applied an exact A-D (analog to digital) type relays based volume control. It has a built-in CPU to pick up the analog volume pot position, through a ADC change to digital signal for the CPU count and control two relays volume boards through changing the DALE resistors to control the volume.
      This A-D type relay-based volume control has 32 steps, and with the High/Low gain switch is just like a 64-stepe, wide-range volume pot which can suit most users requests.
      This A-D type relay-based volume control can avoid channel imbalance and sound better than normal volume pots.
      For long long life, we apply a ALPS 27 volume as the analog position volume pot.  
                      ALPS 27 analog position volume pot         
Exact volume control board  
 
Click image to enlarge.                      




                         DALE
resistors & WIMA caps             Neutrik socket
  
Click image to enlarge.                                           

 The NFB-10ES Functions:
    Front plate:
    
Power switch: Power ON/OFF the NFB-10ES.
     Balance Headphones socket
: Output for balance headphones.
    
Gain switch: Select gain between low gain (+0DB) and high gain (+12DB).

    
Volume knob: Control the volume level of the headphone and variable DAC output.
     1/4' headphone socket : For single-ended headphones.
     Preamp button: Select the NFB-10ES output between
dedicated DAC output or headphone output ,the dedicated DAC output level can be chosen between variable and fixed .
    
Selector switch: Select source between BNC, coaxial and optical.

     Rear:
     BNC socket: For BNC coaxial input.
     Opt socket: For optical input.
     Coax socket: For coaxial input.
    
Gain switch: Select gain between low gain (+0DB) and high gain (+12DB).
     Line out sockets: For dedicated DAC output.
(The DAC output level can be chosen between variable and fixed , see below).

 How to set the NFB-10ES DAC output as variable line level only?

     
The NFB-10ES has dedicated DAC output for RCA ,XLR and ACSS. In default its output level setting is at fixed. But owners can set it to output variable line level (if your amp or active speakers don't have volume control, we advise setting to variable output only). See the photos, pull off the jumper to set the DAC output to variable only.
    Please note, the ACSS output is only available at fixed level mode.
   
Setting the Fixed and variable output       

                                

  If we only use the RCA or 1/4' headphone output, is the NFB-10ES wasted or not fully utilized?

     The NFB-10ES is a real balanced output DAC and headphone amp, it has balanced (ACSS, XLR and balanced headphone output), single-ended output (RCA and 1/4' headphone output). There are 4 ACSS modules in the NFB-10ES for balanced output, and all the ACSS modules have balanced input, so even through single-ended output, the ES9018 chips will perform fully.     

 Choice of power cable appropriate for your country:

    When you place the order for NFB-10ES, please let us know the type of power cable you require.

         
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                                                                                         NFB-10ES Specs
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Improvement may result in changes in specifications and
design without notice.
S/N Ratio
118DB
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 Output Level
 Headphone output : 21V RMS  (balance)
Variable output : 12V RMS (balance, volume max)
Fixed output: 5V RMS (balance)
Fixed output: 2.5V RMS (RCA)
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Output power
Only for headphone.

 4W  /  100 ohm
700mW  /  600 ohm

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Output impedance 2 ohm /  Headphone output
2 ohm / DAC output
Input Sensitivity
0.5 Vp-p(75 Ohms, Coaxial)
19 dBm (Optical)
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Frequency Breadth
20Hz - 20KHz
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Power Requirement
1 Version  100-120V  AC 50/60 Hz
2 Version  220-240V  AC 50/60 Hz
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Power Consumption
17W
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Transformer Power
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80W
Package Weight
Approximately 9.5KG
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Accessories
AC power cord            X1
USB cable                X1
Optical cable            X1
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Operating Temperatures
+5 ขXC to +40 ขXC
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Operating Humidity
5 % to 90 % (without dew)
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