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Magni/Modi vs. O2/ODAC vs. Audio-gd?
There's only one short thread on Head-fi discussing this, on which I have already commented.
In it 'Mad Lust Envy' recommends the Audio-gd products over the M&M and the O&O.
There are a couple of problems I have with this recommendation:
Following the thread, Mad Lust Envy has owned the Compass 2 and SA31, both of which are twice the price of the Schiit and the Objective combos. Since the SA31 was sold, we're down to the Compass 2, but the problem remains, the aforementioned combos are not in the same price bracket, hence are incomparable.
That aside, the recommendation made has no explanation nor commentary, without which it is rendered useless, at least in my eyes.
So to rephrase the question, Magni/Modi vs. O2/ODAC vs. Audio-gd NFB-15?
If there's anyone that has had experience with all three, their input would be golden.
I guess I'll start off the comparison with the information I have gathered so far.
Since I know next to nothing in this area, and specs are like Chinese to me, I tried to rule out options judging by the options they present, optical input in particular. Why? because optical input, as opposed to USB should essentially nullify jitter. With that said, here are the conclusions that I've reached:
ODAC does not have optical in, and is powered by USB; NwAvGuy says the following "ODAC, despite being USB powered, managed to come very close to the “Holy Grail” datasheet specs." (goo.gl/61joZe).
Modi can have either USB or optical, and following this goo.gl/9Zrmz0, it can be risky to go with optical, while going with USB could potentially mean not a completely black background.
That leaves us with the NFB-15, which has both the optical and the USB options. It also has the most impressive internals out of the three, and disregarding everything else, it is the only one that looks like it's worth the money. On the other hand, it weighs a whopping 2 kg, which would cost almost $50 to ship. Still cheaper than the O&O with the 1/4" jack and RCA option, besides, since it's coming from China, I believe you can ask them to under-declare to avoid import taxes.
Aside from that there's channel imbalance, but it seems to be present in all three of the options. What's worth mentioning though, is that Audio-gd oficially addresses this issue by using a "custom order ALPS 27 volume pot for reducing channel imbalance" (goo.gl/rf6T6V).
Spec wise, NFB-15 seems to take the gold for SNR, which I'm assuming is the most important criterion for DACs, measuring at 118 db. I'm not sure about whether that's a measurement of the whole unit or just the DAC chip alone though, NwAvGuy talked about this under "DIRTY LIES" in the link above.
I was just joking around about "Googling" it, but thank you for this comparison...
I had a Schiit Magni/Modi stack and enjoyed it quite a bit. Since then I've switched to the NFB-15. The added functionality and all-in-one layout have been welcome additions as I use a smaller desk and also have powered monitors. The nfb-15 doubles as a volume control and switch between the two. Build quality is excellent as well as support. Looking forward to seeing how it pairs with the K7XX. I'd definitely recommend it to others. It's an amazing bang-for-your-buck AMP/DAC. Arrived from China in 4 days. Others have had it arrive in 2 days.
May I ask what prompted you to get the NFB-15, after already having the M&M?