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Firestone Audio FUBAR II USB DAC

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
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It arrived today and these are my first impressions:

First up, it looks lovely! build quality is excellent and it looks like a fine addition to the set-up.

Installation was as easy as pie - the laptop picked it up right away and defaulted it as the audio hardware. No drivers to install or anything. There are 3 LED's on the front panel - blue = power; red = not installed as soundcards; green = audio signal being processed.

As a comparison, I ripped a Kraftycuts CD to itunes at 192kps, then popped the same CD in the CDP. The first thing to note was that full volume on tha laptop volume control and itunes corresponded exactly to the lineout volume of the CDP, which was pleasing.

The CD had a very slight edge on separation, but frequency range and tonal quality seemed identical to me. The difference was slight, and only really noticeable by prolonged flicking between the two sources.

Now then, there are 3 points to note here:

1) I haven't bypassed windows kmixer, so there should be some gains to be had here

2) The unit was box-fresh and using the supplied cables, so a little more running time and it may settle down

3) The track was 192kps - not lossless - which will have some impact

All told, it was a worthy purchase. I'm pretty certain that by addressing the 3 points above I'll have it running as good as, perhaps better than, my NAD 521i.

One final thing - it is a vast, vast improvement on the lappy soundcard. Like night and day!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Glad you like it. I ordered one last week from Russ Andrews and have just recd an e mail to say it has been dispatched so with any luck it will be with me tomorrow !
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I'd be interested to hear your opinion on using lossless files with this, 192k compressed (MP3 or AAC?) is pretty hard compression.

For the DAC to keep pace with your NAD CDP is quite impressive.ÿ

The DAC is a "High-end Burr Brown DAC for USB audio conversion" using "PCM2702 inside, 16-bit 44.1Khz/48KHz sampling rates" so not upsampling like the DAC magic, but half the price. http://www.russandrews.com/product-Fubar-II-USB-DAC-4588.htm
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I'll be doing a much more detailed series of trials from Wednesday, once the rest of my new equipment arrives. It should be even more revealing than my current set-up.

Personally, I don't really like the idea of upsampling very much anyway - I don't see how one can add resolution that wasn't there in the first place...but I may be entirely misguided in my understanding of the concept! For the money, the Fubar certainly seemed to be the champ.

On that note, I got mine direct from the manufacturers website for £82.84 (inc. delivery - and didn't get tagged with import duty)...and that was at 1.766 $ to the £, so a good saving on the reseller price of £105.

I'm fortunate enough to have a friend who borrowed my entire CD collection and ripped it to lossless. As a 'thank you' I'll be getting the whole lot, complete with tags and artwork, later this week...;-)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Is there a WHF review of this and other cheap external DACs to come, I know you reviewed three this month.

I think you mentioned the ultimate guide would be covering computer audio in depth. It is out in December?ÿ
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Mine has arrived, just set it up in less than 2 mins ! I am currently using Bose companion speakers ( to be upgraded shortly) Have listened to tracks ripped at 256, i tunes plus and lossless there is definate improvement with lossless showing best results.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
OK...this thing is astonishing. Just did the flick test between lossless and CD - no discernible difference whatsoever. Had two audio junkie friends blind testing with me and none of us could say which was the CD and which was the DAC. Very happy chappy!
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,039
10
19,195
I now have mine along with the Supplier power supply unit. The Fubar has also had its opamp upgraded to the OPA2107AP from the original OPA2604 chip.



Kit. Out of the box each unit is about the same size as two packets of cigarettes one on top of the other. The DAC in particular is very light, but both units look and feel very well made. They both come with tiny on off switches on the back. The mains cable for the supplier is far more substantial than the wall wart PSU for the DAC. But the tiny cable that connects the Supplier to the DAC is, well tiny! The units have to sit one on the other or very close to each other. The USB cable (type A to mini B) for PC to DAC is unbranded, but its connectors fit very well and it has a feriite core. The phonos for the DAC to amp are also unbranded, but are substantial and fit nicely. Both are a good length.

As said before, setting up was plug in and away you go. The DAC automatically registered as a USB device on the PC and that took about 30 seconds. This is handy as there are no instructions with either unit. But as the cables are so different it is clear what goes where. It is afterall a USB DAC, nothing else will connect to it. So it is purely for PC to amp.

Sound. My comparison is with the USB DAC that comes in the X-CANV8P amp. The X-CAN has a Burr-Brown PCM 2706 USB DAC. The Fubar has a Burr-Brown PCM2702 USB DAC, so they certainly appear similar and they do sound similar. I could not be bothered to wait for the amp to warm up, so initially the Fubar did not sound as good as I had hoped. It also did not sound as good as the X-CAN from cold. There was a lack of bass and the whole thing was veiled. As the amp warmed the music gained a dynamic that was not there before. I found my foot tapping more, I was being distracted by the music more and then there was a spine tingling moment! I tried Duffy and the very sibilant and poorly recorded 'Rockferry'. The treble is brighter and clearer and the sibilance reduced. Wow! The bass and the midrange are the same as before. I am happy with that as there was little wrong with either. MF amps are not known for deep, driving hard basslines. The soundstage has taking an extra lift and clarity has improved slightly, but that is all down to the treble improvement. The detail and separation between instruments is still all there.

Musical Fidelity will hate me for saying this, but the Fubar, to me is more musical. That is down to the extra dynamic drive. That is how I prefer my music to sound. There is nothing wrong with, and a lot right with the MF approach. But for me to add a bit more oomph is just joyous. For me, with my kit, this has been very worthwhile as I feel there is a synergy now which gives me the sound I want; dynamic, clarity, detail.
 

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