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Review and Measurements of Audio-gd R2R11 DAC & Amp

Veri

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#41
Yeah me too. I put both R2R-11 and Khadas tone board as the best sounding DACs I've ever had. I've sold my Topping D30 and will be selling my Chord Mojo, and I'll be very happy to keep those 2 (tone board and R2R-11) as they provide me different sound flavor depending on music I play. I don't know why people get too hung up on numbers, sure these graphs don't look pretty but it doesn't sound bad at all to my ears, and I own both of the better and worse measuring dacs on amir portfolio right now.
Heresy! How do I delete someone else's post? :D Just kidding it's nice to hear you're happy with both. I hate the sound of heavy distortion myself, but I find DACs with a NOS/filterless operation quite relaxed sounding.
 

bunkbail

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#42
Heresy! How do I delete someone else's post? :D Just kidding it's nice to hear you're happy with both. I hate the sound of heavy distortion myself, but I find DACs with a NOS/filterless operation quite relaxed sounding.
Thanks. It's refreshing to read a reasonable response in a thread full of hate from the get go. It has been my experience as well with a NOS dac like the R2R-11, very relaxed sounding and I can get sucked into listening to music for hours which doesn't happen with other DACs. Yeah I know it might be placebo but I still don't get the same feeling with other DACs.
 

Veri

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#45
Thanks. It's refreshing to read a reasonable response in a thread full of hate from the get go. It has been my experience as well with a NOS dac like the R2R-11, very relaxed sounding and I can get sucked into listening to music for hours which doesn't happen with other DACs. Yeah I know it might be placebo but I still don't get the same feeling with other DACs.
On the other hand if I had only a NOS audio device and that's it, that would get boring very quickly. Not fatiguing but very obviously some detail/higher end missing. I'm not sure having your source flavor/color the sound is the best approach :)
 

bunkbail

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#46
On the other hand if I had only a NOS audio device and that's it, that would get boring very quickly. Not fatiguing but very obviously some detail/higher end missing. I'm not sure having your source flavor/color the sound is the best approach :)
Yeah R2R-11 is noticeably missing a lot of details in some tracks especially the ones with complex passages with a lot of things playing at once. But for guitar/piano/violin acoustics, and movies (+anime :p) it sounds awesome (due to its more involving and forward sounding). I believe my approach is the best for me as both complement each other for my needs. :)
 

bravomail

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#48
wow. I was also on the verge of buying audiogd. nfb11 and r2r11. but then I learned that multibit doesn't sound hot. then I learned why multibit is - ladder signal vs linear. then I found what NFB stands for. nonfeedback. Deep rejection from me for all nfb products. then I see other adiogd reviews from Amir. so I keep conservative and wait. and sure enough - this review. boooom! brain explosion!
 

Veri

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#49
wow. I was also on the verge of buying audiogd. nfb11 and r2r11. but then I learned that multibit doesn't sound hot. then I learned why multibit is - ladder signal vs linear. then I found what NFB stands for. nonfeedback. Deep rejection from me for all nfb products. then I see other adiogd reviews from Amir. so I keep conservative and wait. and sure enough - this review. boooom! brain explosion!
Note that at least one person in this thread still likes the sound of his, despite the super bad measurements. It's just not worth it full price imo, no real benefits or features.
 

David_kl

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#50
Personally I own the NFB-11.28 and definitely waiting to see its measurements one day, its not the first "audio devcie" i bought, the first was a cheap hifimeDIY ESS 9018 which I used for some time, later upgraded to a Fulla 2 when I added active monitors and wanted separate pre-amp out, the NFB later replaced the fulla 2 thanks to the simple feature of switching the outputs between Headphones and the pre-amp rca without having to take the headphones out. I really don't understand why this isn't more common. But in the end, never was the type to state how the the sound changed from device Amp/dac A to B Like many do when they swap gear, and proceed to state how it changed their headphone/speakers 360 degrees around.

Anyway, obviously didn't expect great measurements for the r2r-11. still was somewhere worse than expected. I did notice that they spec the NFB-11.28 with 1ohm output impedance on the headphone side while the r2r lists the spec as "2ohm" (which is far lower than measured), so I hope the 11.28 will do better in that regard.
As far USB - I did notice (at least my unit) is really picky when it comes to USB cables, some cables work ok, and some for 15 seconds and after that just noise. What is more funny is that the amanero USB interface in this unit isn't powered by the USB host, but from the device itself, So some people even suggest taping the +5V pin on the Type-A side (they even state it improves sq(?) ) but as far as I can tell if the cable is decent generic USB cable that confirms to USB standard, it should work ok.
 
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Jimster480

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#51
Once again a "trash" dac that sounds about the same as a well measuring one in a DBT.

Having said that, yikes these distortion measurements are now in the audible territory! As well as poorly implemented glitching and weird 25 second THD issues. Not a good showing. Imo there's no real excuse for releasing it with distortion measurements in the audible territory.
Amir did you take any XLR measurements?
Its a subjective measurement and Amir is "getting older" as he said :)

It also depends on what headphones he uses to listen to these, he only tested some tracks using his midrange headphones. If he was able to hear differences at all with more detailed tracks, this means that people with better headphones (lower distortion) or using additionally detailed tracks and/or possibly younger with better ears (please keep in mind that younger doesn't mean better ears) will be able to tell the difference more easily.

The increase in output impedance means that low impedance headphones will suffer one way or the other.

So please do not take Amir's subjective impressions under his mild testing as being more important than the objective tests that this unit UTTERLY FAILED.

Products like the DX7 and DX3Pro are available around the same price and offer awesome performance.
Nevermind that products even like the March Audio DAC, that while more expensive offer performance that is many times in excess of this product for around the same price.

For the "lower price" you could buy the ODAC or D10 or D30 + JDS Atom Amp and have performance that no Audio-GD product could touch.
 

Jimster480

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#52
Personally I own the NFB-11.28 and definitely waiting to see its measurements one day, its not the first "audio devcie" i bought, the first was a cheap hifimeDIY ESS 9018 which I used for some time, later upgraded to a Fulla 2 when I added active monitors and wanted separate pre-amp out, the NFB later replaced the fulla 2 thanks to the simple feature of switching the outputs between Headphones and the pre-amp rca without having to take the headphones out. I really don't understand why this isn't more common. But in the end, never was the type to state how the the sound changed from device Amp/dac A to B Like many do when they swap gear, and proceed to state how it changed their headphone/speakers 360 degrees around.

Anyway, obviously didn't expect great measurements for the r2r-11. still was somewhere worse than expected. I did notice that they spec the NFB-11.28 with 1ohm output impedance on the headphone side while the r2r lists the spec as "2ohm" (which is far lower than measured), so I hope the 11.28 will do better in that regard.
As far USB - I did notice (at least my unit) is really picky when it comes to USB cables, some cables work ok, and some for 15 seconds and after that just noise. What is more funny is that the amanero USB interface in this unit isn't powered by the USB host, but from the device itself, So some people even suggest taping the +5V pin on the Type-A side (they even state it improves sq(?) ) but as far as I can tell if the cable is decent generic USB cable that confirms to USB standard, it should work ok.
I wouldn't expect that the 11.28 has any better performance than the Chart bottom 28.28... they are basically the same design, just one comes with a Amp and the other doesn't.
 

Jimster480

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#53
Wow another instance where SBAF and ASR have similar overlapping experiences,

I've got an AGD NFB 10ES2 from like 5 years ago, over the years I've been impressed with it yet I've never heard any of their newer products. Though when I was ordering my product I emailed Kingwa directly and his answers were pretty conclusive. No flowery madness or anything, I guess "vintage" AGD is going to be a thing now. Heck the NFB10ES2 reviewed decently too though I can't say there are any measurements outside of AGDs

Either way I'll be getting an ADI 2 Dac here shortly so no more AGD. Maybe I'll send my "vintage" unit for measurement...
You should send it for measurement!
.....and Im apparantly expensive ! ? :) sorry

So what work can we do to try and establish audibility as that level of distortion is pretty out there. Does anyone have suggestions of musical content that is particularly revealing of such defects?
I have a whole spotify playlist of songs that I have found have either a high dynamic range or have specific artifacts in recording that are more subtle and therefore you will not hear unless the DAC/Amp has a certain resolution.
For nonlinear distortion, solo piano has generally been the most revealing in studies I've read. So any excellent, familiar recording of a solo piano piece with plenty of dynamics IMHO.
Piano and Violin, there are some great live pieces by Lang Lang that have such great recording you can hear him striking the keys. You will hear key bottoms, and people in the audience coughing from time to time.
 

David_kl

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#54
I wouldn't expect that the 11.28 has any better performance than the Chart bottom 28.28... they are basically the same design, just one comes with a Amp and the other doesn't.
Well, first I will say that I want to see the NFB-11.28 measurements more as a curiosity than anything else, It's not like if the measurements are bad I will run to sell it and buy something else, as I noted the sound is fine and I like the form factor and convenient from the PRE-AMP out and ability to switch between headphones and speakers. so for now, this unit will do. I bought it based on subjective reviews, which don't really show the full picture, but when measurements are no where to be found and you can't test it by yourself. this is what is left. sure now there are more information, but as you see there are still devices that weren't tested. so you can't always buy based on measurements alone.

As far NFB-28.28 vs NFB-11.28, both are dac/amps combo but not related. the 11.28 is not balanced and should be more of a simple design compared to the 28.28.

the R2R-11 is 'supposed' to be based of the NFB-11.XX but with R2R dac instead of the ESS 9028Pro in the 11.28. tough there might be more difference than only the dac, as for example the output impedance on the headphone out on the 11.28 is 1ohm while on the R2R-11 its 2Ohm. the 11.28 will probably still measure not great because of its nfb design, still interesting what the gap will be when you remove the already full of distortion R2R DAC in favor of more conventional ESS one.
 
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garbulky

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#55
Its a subjective measurement and Amir is "getting older" as he said :)

It also depends on what headphones he uses to listen to these, he only tested some tracks using his midrange headphones. If he was able to hear differences at all with more detailed tracks, this means that people with better headphones (lower distortion) or using additionally detailed tracks and/or possibly younger with better ears (please keep in mind that younger doesn't mean better ears) will be able to tell the difference more easily.

The increase in output impedance means that low impedance headphones will suffer one way or the other.

So please do not take Amir's subjective impressions under his mild testing as being more important than the objective tests that this unit UTTERLY FAILED.

Products like the DX7 and DX3Pro are available around the same price and offer awesome performance.
Nevermind that products even like the March Audio DAC, that while more expensive offer performance that is many times in excess of this product for around the same price.

For the "lower price" you could buy the ODAC or D10 or D30 + JDS Atom Amp and have performance that no Audio-GD product could touch.
All true and as I mentioned the objective tests are in the audible realm at -65 db. So as far as transparency it is not guaranteed. But seeing as he didn't really notice anything, I'm not too concerned but I wouldn't buy it either as it's possible that it may be coloring the sound in some mild way. For me the listening test is just as important as I'm concerned about what it's like with actual use. My room, speakers, and background noise level distort things way more than very slightly audible distortion.
 

Jimster480

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#56
All true and as I mentioned the objective tests are in the audible realm at -65 db. So as far as transparency it is not guaranteed. But seeing as he didn't really notice anything, I'm not too concerned but I wouldn't buy it either as it's possible that it may be coloring the sound in some mild way. For me the listening test is just as important as I'm concerned about what it's like with actual use. My room, speakers, and background noise level distort things way more than very slightly audible distortion.
Well I just wouldn't purchase anything that has worse performance vs other devices especially while costing more.

Subjective listening is subjective, thats why we are here on an objective board.
It tests so badly that its worse than an onboard sound card from a decade ago....

Meaning that literally you could just use onboard sound from any device and plug it into an amp and be done with it.
 
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#57
Well I just wouldn't purchase anything that has worse performance vs other devices especially while costing more.

Subjective listening is subjective, thats why we are here on an objective board.
It tests so badly that its worse than an onboard sound card from a decade ago....

Meaning that literally you could just use onboard sound from any device and plug it into an amp and be done with it.
The ultimate objective is to be able to reproduce sound that is indistinguishable to the original one. Objective measurements try to correlate something measurable to the subjective perception. If there's a bunch of people that think the R2R-11 is a good sounding DAC while the measurements say it should be complete trash then I guess we're measuring the wrong thing.
 

Frank Dernie

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#58
All true and as I mentioned the objective tests are in the audible realm at -65 db. So as far as transparency it is not guaranteed. But seeing as he didn't really notice anything, I'm not too concerned but I wouldn't buy it either as it's possible that it may be coloring the sound in some mild way. For me the listening test is just as important as I'm concerned about what it's like with actual use. My room, speakers, and background noise level distort things way more than very slightly audible distortion.
I still play LPs sometimes and they sound nice enough to me and they perform much much worse than this DAC in distortion and frequency response.
 

amirm

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#59
The ultimate objective is to be able to reproduce sound that is indistinguishable to the original one. Objective measurements try to correlate something measurable to the subjective perception. If there's a bunch of people that think the R2R-11 is a good sounding DAC while the measurements say it should be complete trash then I guess we're measuring the wrong thing.
No it means those people would be happy with much cheaper products. They lack the hearing acuity to tell one way or the other.
 

Krunok

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#60
The ultimate objective is to be able to reproduce sound that is indistinguishable to the original one. Objective measurements try to correlate something measurable to the subjective perception. If there's a bunch of people that think the R2R-11 is a good sounding DAC while the measurements say it should be complete trash then I guess we're measuring the wrong thing.
Note at all. We're not measuring the wrong things, folks are simply deluding itself. Don't fall into "argumentum ad populum" trap, it's an example of a false argument, not the right one. ;)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum
 
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