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Cafad

Integrated Amps: An Addicts Guide Part, The Third.

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Why not call the NZ helpline --they will put you right :D

 

W

 

NZ1.jpg

Pretty funny for a Kiwi ; )

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dont understand why the letter box is so high, no wonder Australia Post is making a loss. :D

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I feel it's time to take a step back from the more mainstream gear I've been fiddling with recently and make a move back into the Chinese market.  I have picked up a Nobsound (yes, yes, I know, several silly comments came to my mind as well) NS-02G via ebay.

 

The current listing can be seen here (while it lasts)  http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/251547958309?_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

 

As you can see the info is minimal and not helped at all in its translation to English.  It's sold on Amazon too where they list its output wattage as 10 (no wpc or ohms are mentioned, just 10).  

 

From viewing all the other Nobsound products available on Amazon I have deduced that Nobsound are another Chinese manufacturer that make a couple dozen tube amp designs as well as quite a few headphone amps, DACs, pres and some DIY kits and cases as well so while I had never heard of them prior to purchasing this amp they are not just a one product company, they have quite a range.

 

This little amp, it's half component sized, is fairly simple in its design.  It has only one input which is linked to a volume pot (so no active pre section) and then fed directly into what appears to be a very simple power amp board.  There are a few high quality parts on display, vishay, nichicon, nichicon muse (I'm assuming they are real here, if anyone has any information to the contrary please let me know) so that gives me hope that this may just be a decent design executed with good quality parts.

The casing is very solid, Burson level solid actually.  I thought the packaging was a bit flimsy when I picked up the box at the post office as the cardboard on the box was a bit thin and there was a hole knocked into the box on the bottom but once I opened it and removed the styro and bubble wrap I realized that there was really no chance of damage to the case no matter what.

 

There's no information available as to the class but from the temp of the heat sinks I'm guessing pure class A (once my infrared thermometer arrives I'll post actual temp numbers), it runs pretty hot.  Probably hot enough to keep your pie warm.

 

Of course the big question is, how does it sound?  Well I'm still running it in but preliminary listening has me very impressed.  It doesn't have the power on hand to keep a bass head happy but the top end is very pleasant and vocals are very nice indeed.  For a small desktop amp it seems pretty good.

 

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post-130663-0-65694800-1440115100_thumb.

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Oh that's very unfortunate. Nobsound.

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Yes, you could also describe fanatical supporters of the brand as being "one eyed" as well, @@Darren69.

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Oh that's very unfortunate. Nobsound.

They changed their name to nobsound. Use to be penisaudio.

Sorry Jeff.....

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They changed their name to nobsound. Use to be penisaudio.

Sorry Jeff.....

Yes, and just like that all the hard work done by their marketing department went out the window.

 

It's not a name that will do too well in Australia.  Anyone know if similar slang to ours is in use overseas?

Edited by Cafad

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Yes, and just like that all the hard work done by their marketing department went out the window.

 

It's not a name that will do too well in Australia.  Anyone know if similar slang to ours is in use overseas?

At work whilst doing a training course the trainer reccomended using their product (German) for cleaning dust from mirrors (think a very expensive windex) called "Kunstoff". 

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Maybe they're just taking a leaf from Shiit's marketing book.

 

By the why Cafad I sold the A5 so apologies we couldn't get it to your place.

Edited by legselevens

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At work whilst doing a training course the trainer reccomended using their product (German) for cleaning dust from mirrors (think a very expensive windex) called "Kunstoff". 

That is so funny because it is so wrong, or maybe so wrong because it is so funny.  Either way, that's damn funny.  

 

I wonder if it's a family name, they can be brutal.

 

When I was out in Mount Isa the MIM guys used a spray cleaner called "Muck Off" so I'm sure you can guess what letter was written on the post-it note that covered the "M".  I was never sprayed with it so I took that as a sign that I wasn't overly disliked.

 

 

Maybe they're just taking a leaf from Shiit's marketing book.

 

By the why Cafad I sold the A5 so apologies we couldn't get it to your place.

Ah well, I'm sure there'll be another time and place for an MF.  It is good to hear it sold, so many items sit in the classifieds for so very long.

Edited by Cafad

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The A5 is a popular amp so I'm not surprised it went quickly. 

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Always wondered what this brand is like. Seen quite a few of their tube amps on fleabay. Looking forward to your review Jeff.

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I was going to get into serious reviewing today but then the rain and thunder arrived so reviewing has been canceled due to rain I'm afraid.

 

I will say that this little amp with the odd name is an absolute gem.  In the terms of value for money it is easily the best buy I have ever made.  

 

For the first week I had it I would have described it as having very clear, smooth vocals with deep but slightly unfocused bass and a rolled off top end.  That doesn't cover just how enjoyable it was to listen to however, the vocals were lush, rich and breathy and the presentation was fairly laid back.  Everything was smooth in a tube-ish way, bass impact was slow and smoothed over but the depth of the bass was so good it was soul enriching.  And then, I changed cd players and realized that what I had just been listening to was about 70% Plinius CD101 and only about 30% little Nobsound amp.

 

On the Halcro there was much more detail available, still a little rolling off noticeable in the top end but not enough to be concerned about.  Instruments came more into focus and vocals, while still nice and smooth lost most of their rich, lush sound.  Bass focus improved but not by a great deal, a slower bass presentation does seem to be a feature of this amp.

 

I am absolutely confident I could pick the difference between these two cd players in a blind test (what's more with the right music I am confident I could do it within seconds), that is a pretty strange situation when you are talking about a $320 amp.

 

I am absolutely loving this little thing.  It's not perfect but it is about 5 times as good as its price would suggest it should be.  It generates an atmosphere in the room in much the same way as the Sansui 5900 does but instead of reminding me of a large wooden hall the Nobsound feels like it has increased the humidity in the room, it gives the air a slightly heavier feel.  It does "eerie" music extremely well.

 

Does it go loud enough to impress your friends?  Probably not.

Does it have enough bass for a serious bass head?  Again, probably not.

What it does do is play loud enough for 90% of people to listen to happily and if you matched it up with 90+db speakers would probably keep many people happily in music for a very long time.  I like it so much I'm thinking of buying a second one so that I can pull it apart and play with the capacitor values (BRMSlash has been infuencing me somewhat in that regard, he seems to change caps in his headphone amps almost as often as I change integrateds) just to see if I can make it sound even better.

 

Edit:  Almost forgot, my infrared thermometer arrived so I now know that the heat sink temp is about 49 degrees C after an hour of playing moderate volume background music.  The front plate was 39.  That was with the top taken off, I'll put it back on and see if that makes a difference.

Edited by Cafad

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I've always been fascinated with this amp since seeing it on ebay. Do you think a person would be better off with a little class D amp or one of these?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Have you noticed the eBay photos have a Krell badge? What's going on there?

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I've always been fascinated with this amp since seeing it on ebay. Do you think a person would be better off with a little class D amp or one of these?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I think that would depend very much upon your speakers.  If they are efficient and/or easy to drive then the little Nobsound will do a good job, if they aren't then the class D will handle them better.  

 

 

Have you noticed the eBay photos have a Krell badge? What's going on there?

I noticed that too and it certainly grabbed my attention, but I suspect that it's just for show (or maybe an advertising ploy).

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I had plans to do the little Nobsound next, then another, then the Stello and finish off with the big Xindak but as with life, plans change.  Once I heard the Xindak I had trouble moving away from it again, so, I changed plans.

 

One Xindak A600E (09), a beast of an amp at 53kg (57 packed).  I had high hopes for this amp and, I am happy to say, it surpassed every one of them.  It is easily the best of all the Chinese amps I have heard to date.  It beats out the Cayin S200 on power, control and detail, it leaves the Shengya 203MK in its dust as the Shengya just can't match it in the top end and its bass sounds thick and wooly in comparison to the Xindak.  I would mention the Tonewinner AD3 but since it didn't really have a top or a bottom end it's easily beaten by many amps out there.  I certainly prefer it to the Dussun V6i as well, as it has a much smoother character than the Dussun and just as much grunt, also the Dussun tended to be a bit forward where as the Xindak is very much not.  So, there you have it, my favourite Chinese amp, and by a considerable margin, none of the others come close.

 

Important details:  160Wpc into 8 Ohms and 320Wpc into 4 Ohms, so it very much an official member of the "Big Boys Club".  You get two unbalanced and one balanced input and an unbalanced power amp input for the connection of an external pre.  It uses 310 watts at idle (so at least a few of those 160 are in class A) and 550 watts max and the heat sinks sit at about 49 degrees in a 25 degree ambient room.  No closed cabinets for this puppy!  

Also, and this is more of a fun fact, every time I press the on button the lights in my flat dim.  This brings a smile to my face every time.

 

post-130663-0-78062500-1442794879_thumb.

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It also has one of the sexiest internals of any integrated I've seen.

post-130663-0-98048200-1442796036_thumb.

See what I mean?

 

Also, that's 120,000uF of capacitance per channel and that, my friends, is some serious stuff!

 

Now, down to brass tacks.

Highs:  Excellent definition and clarity, resolution and detail are high and there is not a trace of fragility to be found.  Piano is excellent as is brass (nicely raspy but very easy to listen to, not hard at all).  Triangle hits are a little bit, unique, nice to listen to but not quite like anything I have heard before, they don't really twinkle or sparkle it's more a sort of a glitter, odd but far from a deal breaker.  8.5

 

Mids:  Clarity and separation has to be heard to be believed, every instrument has its own space and none of them even come near to each other.  Vocals and strings really sing.  It is hard to believe that there can be so much detail on display and yet the performance sounds so musical.  9.0

 

Bass:  Effortless power and extremely fine definition.  I love the ability it has to differentiate between drums of different sizes and higher and lower Chello and Bass notes.  9.0

 

Vocals:  What I find very interesting here is that the vocals are not sweetened in any way, there is no extra 'breathiness' added to make songbirds sound sexier than they can manage to sound by themselves but there is a feeling of reality and clarity to them.  It certainly won't assist poor singers but it really makes you appreciate the good ones.

Female:  9.0  I really like this brand of honesty.

Male:  8.5, although I have a feeling that if I pushed the boundaries of my preferred music and listened to a broader range of male singers this may well increase to a 9.0.

 

2D Soundstaging:  Engaging and rhythmic, and somehow more fun to listen to than usual.  9.0

3D Soundstaging:  Not bad but I think it needs a larger room to really shine.  8.0

 

Overall Performance Integration:  

No preference is given to the mids, there is no rolling off of the top end or any overemphasis on the bass region, all are treated equally and the result is glorious.  The Xindak gives a dynamic performance in all three that is high on detail, grand in scale and yet also rhythmically engaging.  Probably the best amp I have heard, definitely the best amp I have heard on my speakers (with heartfelt apologies to the Plinius 9200 :( ) 

 

Ability to Emote:  Can carry you off into virtually any style of music, of note is that it performs 'eerie' songs very well, I've found that the ability of an amp to make you feel like you are lost on the misty moors (spooky woodwind type stuff) on a moonless night tends to be low if there is a high level of detail on display.  Not so here.  8.5

 

Electric Guitar Test:  Great scale and clarity but just a little too calm for a 9.0.  8.5  (needs a little more class B character to get that extra edge to its sound, but then that would muck up everything else, as it is pretty damn good)

 

80's Rock Test:  Very good but as with the EGT above, just a little too calm. 8.5

 

 

I gave the Xindak a run with both my Halcro EC800 and my Plinius CD101 and both sounded very good but it just seemed to synergize better with my old favourite Consonance CD120.  A little odd that the cheapest cd player in the room did the best job but I guess that's system synergy for you, there's just no predicting it.

 

Everything else is as per usual, Aurealis R1 interconnects and Redgum "Audio Pipeline" speaker cables were in use as were my Lenehan S2R speakers.  

 

And last but not least, just in case that 53kg didn't sink in up above, one of these was very useful in collecting the boxed Xindak from the neighbour that I had it delivered to.

post-130663-0-22949200-1442798079_thumb.

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Now I am intrigued, that's a nice looking amp. Where did you manage to snag it from?

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  Probably the best amp I have heard, definitely the best amp I have heard on my speakers

Another cracking review and one that, courtesy of the above line, is bound to turn a few heads, raise a few eyebrows and produce a bunch of replies that feature "YMMV"

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Now I am intrigued, that's a nice looking amp. Where did you manage to snag it from?

I sourced it from Cattylink, which is actually the same place I obtained the Cayin and the Shengya.  Don't think I'll be buying in anything in the near future though, the Auzzie dollar is just too crappy ATM.

 

 

Another cracking review and one that, courtesy of the above line, is bound to turn a few heads, raise a few eyebrows and produce a bunch of replies that feature "YMMV"

Yeah, I suppose I could throw in a few disclaimers but anyone reading a review thread should know by now that performance is subjective and every preference is personal and you really should be demo-ing any amp that is not within easy reach of your budget.  

 

Unless you're comfortable with the risk, if that's the case then there's nothing stopping you.

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Also, and this is more of a fun fact, every time I press the on button the lights in my flat dim.  This brings a smile to my face every time.

 

 

That line brought a smile to my face  :thumb:

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Also, and this is more of a fun fact, every time I press the on button the lights in my flat dim.  This brings a smile to my face every time.

 

 

That line brought a smile to my face  :thumb:

Glad you liked it.  It's not an exaggeration either, my smile is still dying down from when I turned on the amp earlier this afternoon.   :D

 

I do foresee a possible problem however.  I changed over from the Xindak to a little Sugden Mystro last weekend and just couldn't bring myself to listen to anything, there's nothing wrong with the little Sugden but it just isn't in the same league as the Xindak.  Then I swapped the Mystro for a Stello AI500, and, as good as the Stello is (and it is, I've given this one an extensive listen earlier in the month) it also was not the Xindak.  

 

So I'm back on the Xindak this weekend, and damn it's good!  Telegraph Road never sounded this good before.  

 

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend.  I'm off to occupy a comfy recliner for a few hours, cheers guys!

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This seems like it would suit me just fine and although I  cannot buy anything just now, this amplifier has been duly noted and added to  a list of future candidates.

The review had my utmost attention and from the description/s it seems to be the duck's nutz

 

Now I just need to work on that patience virtue, one which I sorely lack sometimes :)

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I want someone to review the Parasound Halo integrated. Don't want to buy one, just interested in how it performs.

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This seems like it would suit me just fine and although I  cannot buy anything just now, this amplifier has been duly noted and added to  a list of future candidates.

The review had my utmost attention and from the description/s it seems to be the duck's nutz

 

Now I just need to work on that patience virtue, one which I sorely lack sometimes :)

 

Ah yes, patience, who really has any time for it these days.  A relic of the past I say.  

Definitely check out the A600E if you have the chance Rantan, I'd go as far as to say that it's so good it is not only the duck's nutz but also the cat's pajamas.

It's my current "Amp of the Decade" at any rate.

 

 

I want someone to review the Parasound Halo integrated. Don't want to buy one, just interested in how it performs.

 

I believe @@Kamikaze has bought one just recently as mentioned in the, rather appropriately named, "Parasound Halo Integrated Anyone?" thread.  I'm waiting on him to make an observation or two.  (I thought about offering to run it in for him but that seemed like it might be a bit too forward, in a 'creepy' sort of way)

Edited by Cafad

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