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Nuforce AVP 18 - Any Reviews, Insight?

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
Friends,

Has anyone tried\tested\listened to the new Nuforce AVP 18?

Thanks.
post #2 of 93
Thread Starter 
No one????
post #3 of 93
I have purchased the Nuforce AVP 18 and have had mixed results. My previous system included a hybrid tube preamp and separate amp, Magnepan 1.7s and a Wyred 4 Sound DAC 2. Great sound and the tube preamp was very nice. It gave music a very special quality and voices were in the room real sounding.

I was looking to simplify my system and hook directly to the NuForce AVP 18 and losing the W4S Dac2 and Hybrid Tube preamp. Even though I knew I was losing the tube sound I enjoy so much, I was hoping that the convenience of having all of my digital devices connected together - NetGear 9150 music server, PC music Server and FIOS TV - would make me not regret taking the W4S Dac 2 out of the system.

There are some operational issues I have with the unit, however, I will only go over the sound so far. As a disclaimer, I have only burned in the player for less than 30 hours. I don't know how much time NuForce claims you need, but W4S Dac2 didn't come into its own until 300-400 hours.

With the quality of the Magnepan 1.7s I have found that I have been listening to music at much lower levels than ever before. In the old systems with W4S Dac2 and hybrid tube preamp, the sound was very good but got a little congested at high volumes. However, at times it was uncannily real.

Now to the NuForce. It is very strange but at lower volume levels, I feel there is a blanket over the speakers. As you turn it up, the clarity unfolds and when you have it at reasonably high levels (when it shows 60dB on the front panel) it begins to sound like real music. I find the dynamic range of the music is compressed at lower volumes which was never the case with my previous equipment.

I do find the mid-range to be smoother than the W4S Dac2 and sounds very non fatiguing at higher levels. I played a NPR Gregorian Chant CD and was mesmerized by the clarity of the singers. I felt that it actually was better than the W4S which I was not anticipating. However, this is only the case when the unit was at least 60dB or higher in setting.

Bass is very good and very clear. I would say that this is competitive with the W4S Dac2. I find that the high end to be good to very good, as well. The problem is that it all comes across very clean and clear but not "real" like the W4S Dac2 can at times. I play a large selection of classical and acoustic music CDs and downloads and find that the W4S can make the instruments sound like they are in the room with you.

The NuForce AVP-18 never reached that pinnacle except for some music with heavy vocals. It has not yet really stood out amongst DACs at the price level of the unit which may be asking too much since it handles all the current AVR sound processing formats. To be fair, the NuForce has not been burned in for a long enough time.

If the dynamics of the music can unfold at lower volume levels, I think it could be a keeper. It has some really nice characteristics. If the veil still exists at low to normal listening levels, I will have to reevaluate its place in my system. More to come.
post #4 of 93
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the detailed response and opinion.

Have you tried the automated peq set up?
post #5 of 93
When I first tried the automatic setup, I ended the process without realizing it. There are small icons at the bottom of the screen that indicate you are to press return after the first run through of the automatic equalization process. Yesterday, I followed the procedure through to completion.

I felt that the equalization brought out the range that I would guess be in the lower treble around 2000Hz to 5000Hz. This had an effect of making violins a little steely sounding. Strangely, as bad as it made violins sound, it made some vocals sound "in the room" such as Alison Krauss and Norah Jones. The auto equalization evened out the bass hump I have in the room around 50-70Hz.

I am still in burn in stage but am having good days and bad days with the unit. I am noticing that I need to give if 15 - 20 minutes to warm up to sound better when I turn it on from standby.

I am trying not to judge the sound any more until I give the unit more time to break in. I am probably up to about 40 hours of burn in now. I will take it to 100 hours and then do some additional critical listening. At that point, I will try to improve the sound with an after market power cord replacing the stock cord on the unit. I will also use a better AC filtering to see if that has an impact.

More to come.
post #6 of 93
There's another thread where people have discussed it.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1465920/nuforce-avp-18-preamp-processor
post #7 of 93
Interesting that your unit needs 15-20 min of warmup. I will be curious to hear what your thoughts are once you've put a substantial amount of time on it. I do have a question about the P-EQ, does it have 11 bands on all 8 channels: front left, center, front right, back left, back right, side left, side right and subwoofer?
Edited by LCSeminole - 6/25/13 at 7:33pm
post #8 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSeminole View Post

Interesting that your unit needs 15-20 min of warmup. I will be curious to hear what your thoughts are once you've put a substantial amount of time on it. I do have a question about the P-EQ, does it have 11 bands on all 8 channels: front left, center, front right, back left, back right, side left, side right and subwoofer?



I should have one here on Monday. I'll see if I can get an operational answer after that.
post #9 of 93

There is one in transit to me at the moment.  There are a few appealing features, on paper, that motivated me to get one for review.

post #10 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bioforce View Post

I should have one here on Monday. I'll see if I can get an operational answer after that.

I'd definitely appreciate an answer. I'm really wanting to do my own room equalization for all 7.1 channels with REW and avoid any Auto Room Correction software. Look forward to your thoughts on this processor as well.smile.gif
post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

There is one in transit to me at the moment.  There are a few appealing features, on paper, that motivated me to get one for review.

Looking forward to your review.
post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSeminole View Post

Looking forward to your review.

Ditto, I am interested in what freq range the different PEQ's operate, would be great if they are used defined. I don't like to use EQ above 200-300 Hz.
post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by NWCgrad View Post

Ditto, I am interested in what freq range the different PEQ's operate, would be great if they are used defined. I don't like to use EQ above 200-300 Hz.

Got it.

In interest of full disclosure, much of my exposure to the AVP-18 is because I am a NuFORCE dealer, and advise them on developing gear.
post #14 of 93
The NuForce AVP-18 has the 11 band equalizer for each of the six channels with the seventh, the woofer, looks like it has 4 or 5 bands. Each band can be adjusted in frequency and there is a setting which I believe may be how spread out the equalization will be. Given that the instructions has no information on this, it was found during a search of all of the menu functions. I used the auto equalizer then went in and played around with the various frequency equalization controls. It does provide a lot of flexibility.

Operations Update:

I have burned in the unit about 75-100 hours and still have a love / hate relationship. In the hate department, I periodically have channel imbalances which are corrected by turning the unit on and off. Sometimes their are problems with the handshaking between the various HDMI connections and I have to switch to another input then back again to get it to work correctly. Usually the video is OK it is the audio via the HDMI that has some problems. I got so frustrated with my NetGear music center playing though HDMI, I used the sound source selection for this HDMI input and now I am playing the music portion via coax cable with the video going over HDMI. Still, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being an unlivable situation, I would put these annoyances at a 2 or 3 right now.

Sound Update:
This is where it gets interesting. I have reported that the dynamics of the music seem stifled at lower volume levels and that I have found myself turning up the volume to get the visceral feel I would get at at lower volume levels with the W4S DAC2. This issue is still present at 75-100 hours of burn in but it is getting better. Music now does seem to be more dynamic at lower levels but still not approaching the W4S DAC2.

There are two other issues I have with the sound quality. The first relates to the dynamics discussed above and that is that the high frequencies, while very clear and detailed still feel like there is a thin gauze between you and the instruments playing. Initially, it sounded like a blanket was covering the high frequency portion of the speakers and the effect has lessened but not quite dissipated.

The second issue is the sibilance around S's and T's. This was never an issue with the W4S DAC2 and is a prime irritant to me. As the unit was burning in, there were times I just had to turn it off due to the excessive sibilance on less than well recorded music. I think this also leads to violins sounding steely on many recordings. This seems to be recording dependent. While the overall problem has also lessened during the burn in, the characteristic is still there.

With the W4S DAC2 about 90% of my CDs are listenable and enjoyable. The DAC2 has the characteristic like the Magnepans I have owned over time to make most music sound good but still provide incredible detail and enjoyment as other ancillary equipment is upgraded and added to the music system.

With the NuForce I would say about 60-70% of the CDs still sound good but the others are not as enjoyable. The debate I am having is the NuForce just bringing out added details of the recording process which may render many poorly recorded CDs close to unlistenable or, is the NuForce somehow over etched and highlighting recording flaws? At times I feel the sibilance is caused by overloading of the circuits or due to a weak power supply not able to keep up with peaks.

The NuForce does add more color and detail to well recorded music than the DAC2. I have found that I am consistently amazed at the details coming through in parts of recordings that I have heard hundreds of times before. I am now getting a very clearly delineated sound stage that is more detailed and 3D than the DAC2. On the right recording at the right time, the NuForce really sounds terrific that cuts well above the asking price. The bass is terrific partially due to the bass management that was not available on my previous setup. I believe the NuForce's mid-range beats out the DAC2 in naturalness and clarity. Really good. I believe the high end is very good, as well, except for the feeling that it is ever so slightly muffled.

Associated Equipment:
Please note that I am still using the supplied power cord and a very cheap Coax cable from my music center to the NuForce. Once I am certain that the unit if fully burned in, I will try some cable changes to see how they will impact overall sound.

The NuForce does many things very well and if you compared it to other AVR units in sound quality, it probably bests anything near its price. Compared to straight stereo systems it does some things really well and has some quirks. The important thing for me is that I am now, after the burn in process, really enjoying music with the NuForce even given its quirks. It has certainly streamlined my system bringing together my video and music sources.
post #15 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronwils View Post

The NuForce AVP-18 has the 11 band equalizer for each of the six channels with the seventh, the woofer, looks like it has 4 or 5 bands. Each band can be adjusted in frequency and there is a setting which I believe may be how spread out the equalization will be. Given that the instructions has no information on this, it was found during a search of all of the menu functions. I used the auto equalizer then went in and played around with the various frequency equalization controls. It does provide a lot of flexibility.

The AVP-18 is a 7.1 channel pre/pro, so when you say 6 channels do you mean that the P-EQ is only on the Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left, Surround Right and the Subwoofer channel? What about the Left Back Surround and Right Back Surround? You also say the subwoofer channel has 4 or 5 bands, which is it? This at least tells us that the subwoofer does not have 11 bands, which I thought was overboard for the subwoofer channel. What is this other setting you are referring to? is it "Q"? If you could look a bit closer to the manual P-EQ and see which channels actually have P-EQ, I'd be most appreciative. I'm very interested in ordering one if indeed it does have 11 bands of P-EQ per "ALL" channels and not just the main channels. Thanks for any information you can give.smile.gif
post #16 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSeminole View Post

I'd definitely appreciate an answer. I'm really wanting to do my own room equalization for all 7.1 channels with REW and avoid any Auto Room Correction software. Look forward to your thoughts on this processor as well.smile.gif

Would you go with the Nuforce over the Emotiva if the PEQ works on all channels?

Bill
post #17 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSeminole View Post

The AVP-18 is a 7.1 channel pre/pro, so when you say 6 channels do you mean that the P-EQ is only on the Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left, Surround Right and the Subwoofer channel? What about the Left Back Surround and Right Back Surround? You also say the subwoofer channel has 4 or 5 bands, which is it? This at least tells us that the subwoofer does not have 11 bands, which I thought was overboard for the subwoofer channel.

I had a chance to take a look at this section this morning.

Equalizers are available on the L&R, C, and Side Surrounds. (no rear surrounds) As well there is a reduced band EQ for the SUB. I will look when I fire up my projector again, just how many bands (I thought it was 3)
Quote:
What is this other setting you are referring to? is it "Q"? If you could look a bit closer to the manual P-EQ and see which channels actually have P-EQ, I'd be most appreciative. I'm very interested in ordering one if indeed it does have 11 bands of P-EQ per "ALL" channels and not just the main channels. Thanks for any information you can give.smile.gif

Yes, it does have a "Q" setting.
post #18 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

There is one in transit to me at the moment.  There are a few appealing features, on paper, that motivated me to get one for review.

Could we fast-forward to you posting this review...? wink.gif
post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

Would you go with the Nuforce over the Emotiva if the PEQ works on all channels?

Bill

Yes I was all set to give the AVP-18 a 60 day trial from Crutchfield. Now that "Bioforce" has confirmed that indeed the AVP-18 is no different than the UMC-200 when it comes to the P-EQ, there would be no reason for me to try it out. Looks like I'll continue to wait on the XMC-1.
Edited by LCSeminole - 7/2/13 at 1:21pm
post #20 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bioforce View Post

I had a chance to take a look at this section this morning.

Equalizers are available on the L&R, C, and Side Surrounds. (no rear surrounds) As well there is a reduced band EQ for the SUB. I will look when I fire up my projector again, just how many bands (I thought it was 3)
Yes, it does have a "Q" setting.

Thank you for filling in the blanks on the P-EQ for me. I had truly hoped it would have a full compliment of 8 channels of P-EQ. The UMC-200, which I have right now, has exactly what the AVP-18 has for P-EQ, which is still quite impressive. Now that I'm starting to become more proficient in REW, I wanted the back surrounds to be measured and P-EQ'ed per the room curve. I will be interested to hear what your impressions are sound-wise. Thanks again.smile.gif
post #21 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyDeg View Post


Could we fast-forward to you posting this review...? wink.gif

Why would I do that?

post #22 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by bioforce View Post

I had a chance to take a look at this section this morning.

Equalizers are available on the L&R, C, and Side Surrounds. (no rear surrounds) As well there is a reduced band EQ for the SUB. I will look when I fire up my projector again, just how many bands (I thought it was 3)
Yes, it does have a "Q" setting.

It seems that the AVP 18 could be very similar to the Emotiva UMC-200. I wonder if anyone that has the AVP 18 has also had the UMC-200 in their system as well.

Bill
post #23 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

There is one in transit to me at the moment.  There are a few appealing features, on paper, that motivated me to get one for review.

At least, can you share what feature (even though on the paper) "motivated" you?? smile.gif
post #24 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Why would I do that?

It was a joke cause I was anxious to read it smile.gif
post #25 of 93
Like many others, I've been waiting to get some feedback from professional reviewers on the AVP 18; since many others have noticed similarities between it and the UMC 200, (look at the menus, the front display, the tech specs, and the back of each unit and you'll understand). Has anyone looked at the capabilities and performance (digital only) of these two units side by side? The PE-Q seems identical. I've taken a look at the AVP 18 user manual as well, and it seems substantially thin - there needs to be much more detail about the PE-Q and room correction process, and how it can be tweaked. Take a look at page 10 and you'll understand.

I am aware that an analog only unit is also forthcoming from Nuforce. I am very curious to know if the sonic differences between the Emotiva and Nuforce (digital inputs only) justify the substantial additional cost; I am assuming the core internal guts (ie processor/DAC) are the same, but peripheral internal components would be different/better if there is a substantial difference in sound between the two units.

I have a Nuforce AVP 17 paired with a MCH-300SE-C7, and have been very happy with the combo thus far.
post #26 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpansare View Post

Like many others, I've been waiting to get some feedback from professional reviewers on the AVP 18; since many others have noticed similarities between it and the UMC 200, (look at the menus, the front display, the tech specs, and the back of each unit and you'll understand). Has anyone looked at the capabilities and performance (digital only) of these two units side by side? The PE-Q seems identical. I've taken a look at the AVP 18 user manual as well, and it seems substantially thin - there needs to be much more detail about the PE-Q and room correction process, and how it can be tweaked. Take a look at page 10 and you'll understand.

I am aware that an analog only unit is also forthcoming from Nuforce. I am very curious to know if the sonic differences between the Emotiva and Nuforce (digital inputs only) justify the substantial additional cost; I am assuming the core internal guts (ie processor/DAC) are the same, but peripheral internal components would be different/better if there is a substantial difference in sound between the two units.

I have a Nuforce AVP 17 paired with a MCH-300SE-C7, and have been very happy with the combo thus far.

I agree with your approach very much. Some very good questions that I'm also interested in as well. Initially I was very interested in the AVP 18 but to me it looks very similar to the UMC-200 at a much higher price.

Bill
post #27 of 93
Guys, the XMC-1 is available, it is called a sherbourn.
post #28 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyDeg View Post


It was a joke cause I was anxious to read it smile.gif

I was tongue-in-cheek, too, but forgot the implied smiley.

post #29 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by asangamnerkar View Post


At least, can you share what feature (even though on the paper) "motivated" you?? smile.gif

1. Appearance.

2. Elimination of unnecessary legacy connections.

3. PEQ

 

Not necessarily in that order.

post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

Guys, the XMC-1 is available, it is called a sherbourn.

Which Sherbourn processor has Dirac room correction, full support for multichannel DSD and has the ability to do firmware updates via USB? These are just a few features that the XMC-1 is supposed to have which I doubt any Sherbourn processor has.

Bill
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