Test Audio-gd NFB-1AMP
Pre-amp, headphone amplifier
Copyright 2017 © Troels Gravesen

I often have the question on a versatile, reliable and not least a very good sounding pre-amp. Not easy! I can point to my own transformer coupled WOT tube pre-amplifier, but this is serious DIY and not an option for most. I love my EAR pre-amps as well, but these are serious money.

Not only should this pre-amp sound good, it should be able to run a pair of stereo power amplifiers for bi-amping speakers, and preferably it should run in balanced mode, because some plate amps run in balanced mode, and I'll be launching more speaker systems using the phenomenal Hypex digital plate amps, eliminating the need for an additional power amp and passive crossover for the bass drivers.

The Audio-gd NFB-1AMP is such a pre-amp. The sound is the closest I've come to my tube pre-amp and is highly recommended if you want flexibility in terms of music source components, CD/DAC/phono-stage, and at the other end the ability to run one or more power amps in single ended or balanced mode. To run two power amps in balanced mode you simply buy an XLR splitter to provide double outputs. You get this for 5-6 £/ea on eBay. Same price I pay for a single XLR plug here in DK...

The NFB-1AMP also comes in a version with in-built DAC (NFB28) in case you just have a computer on the input side. Should you buy directly it's 485 USD, a complete steel for the money. There are a number of dealers in Europe and from Holland it's  599 EUR + optional remote control and additional gain. If you have a balanced power amp of 26 dB gain, 16 dB is enough. To be on the safe side, I'd pick +3 dB gain.

The NFB-1AMP has both single-ended and balanced input and outputs beside its special ACSS output meant for Audio-gd's power amplifiers. The ACSS (mini-XLR) is a current based signal and should be mated with a power amp built for such application. Find details on the Audio-gd website.

I can't tell you how this pre-amp sounds as you'll only know once you've heard it yourself, but all the usual superlatives goes with this pre-amp, smooth, detailed, transparent, firm bass, etc. Compared to my transformer coupled tube pre-amp it's only a fraction behind in overall soundstage and holographic presentation.


Check specs here: