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Audio-gd Reference 1 DAC (56 K warning) - Page 8

post #106 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Just curious Zanth, why would you order the Compass when you're already expecting the Ref 1?
Compass = work system
Ref 1 = home system


I am at work or at school about 12-16 hours a day, particularly while I am at work, I like to listen to music with the Westone ES3X's. Presently, my situation is horrid. Straight out of the Macbook Pro I have horrible hiss, straight out of my iPod and I omit my massive FLAC collection. Compass means I get to have my cake and eat it too.

Ref 1 is a no brainer for home use
post #107 of 2431
Some more impressions:

I tend to think of audio in reverse to normal. People describe better gear as having more, but I look at it as imposing less on the music. I'm sure many people can recall the first time one goes from cheap headphones to hearing one's favourite music through a high-end system, the music suddenly not being all mashed together, but the players and instruments appearing separately. Likewise, the first listen with electrostatic headphones after using even good dynamic ones goes a step further, as many of the limitations dynamic headphones have simply don't exist with electrostats.

With the Reference 1, it was the same again, but this time, the limitations of the digital to analogue conversion and the interference from the imperfections of the incoming power supplying the circuits have been removed. Suddenly then, the DAC disappears, and there is only the music. It is as if I have reached the point of truly being able to listen to the music, and not feel I'm listening to the equipment.

If one can recall a time listening to live music in a smallish venue, it's easy to remember how the sound of the venue contributes to the music, with the sound bouncing all around. I remember visiting my local hi-fi store years ago, when bi-polar speakers were all the rage. They fire the music backwards as well as forwards to create the kind of effect you hear with live music, as instruments send the sound in all directions, not just foward. The effect of this was magical, the sound filling the room, convincingly giving the illusion of being there.

Listening through my rig now what I'm hearing, on so little as a single note from a piano, saxaphone, trumpet, guitar or anything else is not just of that note, but how it resonates then reflects off the surrounding walls and harmonises or distorts as other notes and instruments are played. With a Lavry DA-10 or Benchmark DAC1, I could hear, on a piano, how the vibrations of the strings affected each other as the notes decayed. With the Reference 1, I'm also hearing how they reflect off the piano itself.

With low-end gear, we're used to the sound being all mushed together in a blob. With live music, such as at concerts, we expect to be overwhelmed with a wall of sound -- it's part of the experience. Some headphones, such as the closed Denons, create a similar effect with their cups, overwhelming us, though less so, with bass, giving us (IMO) a similar feeling of enjoyment, if somewhat at the expense of tonal accuracy when the music has a lot of bass.

When listening to certain tracks, I noticed a similar wall of sound, which I couldn't understand the source of until I listened again with the Ref 1. It was the sound of the notes reflecting off the walls of the studio. As the reflections now had definition, I could identify them. This now allows me to appreciate the genuine intimiacy, or space of the music, caused not by flaws in my rig, but due to the very nature of the surroundings when the music was recorded.
post #108 of 2431
Thanks for more impressions Curra How does the Ref 1 sound vs your northstar?
post #109 of 2431
Very nice impressions Curra, Thanks..
I think last time you said how digital the Northstar sound in compared to Ref1.. correct me if i am wrong (I didn't check back at what you wrote last time..)
post #110 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by insyte View Post
Thanks for more impressions Curra How does the Ref 1 sound vs your northstar?
You could probably apply my comments about the Benchmark and Lavry to the Northstar, as it's not a lot more detailed, just smoother and in serious need of a good power cable to sound good. It is only slightly less digital-sounding than the other two. The Chopin I'm listening to is prompting this analogy, but if the Northstar is a modern digital piano, then the Ref 1 is a grand piano.
post #111 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
You could probably apply my comments about the Benchmark and Lavry to the Northstar, as it's not a lot more detailed, just smoother and in serious need of a good power cable to sound good. It is only slightly less digital-sounding than the other two. The Chopin I'm listening to is prompting this analogy, but if the Northstar is a modern digital piano, then the Ref 1 is a grand piano.
Nice analogy

Im really wishing I can afford the Ref 1 now
post #112 of 2431
How much is the damn thing?
post #113 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post
How much is the damn thing?
Price list.
post #114 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post
How much is the damn thing?
Currently 1390 USD + shipping

edit : got beaten with the link
post #115 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by insyte View Post
Nice analogy

Im really wishing I can afford the Ref 1 now
I apologize if this sounds all schoolmastery, but it might just be better that you can't at the moment. You should do upgrades one at the time and take your time with each of them to fully appreciate what you have gained. That person wanting to upgrade from his Prelude sound card to a Reference One makes me want to scream: "No, don't!" It's too big a step and you won't have a true appreciation of the road travelled.

Okay, everyone should just do as they like, these are just my feelings on the matter.
post #116 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drosera View Post
I apologize if this sounds all schoolmastery, but it might just be better that you can't at the moment. You should do upgrades one at the time and take your time with each of them to fully appreciate what you have gained. That person wanting to upgrade from his Prelude sound card to a Reference One makes me want to scream: "No, don't!" It's too big a step and you won't have a true appreciation of the road travelled.

Okay, everyone should just do as they like, these are just my feelings on the matter.
Haha don't worry, I'm still going to enjoy my Stello DA-100 + Audio-GD C-2C journey for at least a year or maybe 2, before I can upgrade one of the components

One of the local head-fiers here is going to lend me an AT-W1000 and Denon D5000 to compare, probably 2 weeks from now. Im already really excited to listen to them with the C-2C
post #117 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by insyte View Post
Haha don't worry, I'm still going to enjoy my Stello DA-100 + Audio-GD C-2C journey for at least a year or maybe 2, before I can upgrade one of the components
I guess I'm just giving a reflection of my own mood at the moment. Listening to the Reference One makes me a bit sad, because it makes me realize that I will probably never experience an upgrade of similar magnitude again. (How's that for a first impression! )
post #118 of 2431
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post
How long does it take to get the Ref 1 from the time one places an order?
I think it takes 3 weeks give or take a few days which includes 150 hours of burn in before shipment.

Kingwa will be able to give you a more accurate estimate I'm sure

Peete.

PS: Drosera did you receive and setup your RE1 yet ? Whoops yes you did.......don't forget you still have the BNC and CAST options to exploit for that last ounce of improvement
post #119 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post
PS: Drosera did you receive and setup your RE1 yet ? Whoops yes you did.......don't forget you still have the BNC and CAST options to exploit for that last ounce of improvement
Oh dear, is this the pain medication talking, or just generally tiredness?

It's true, I'm listening to the Reference One in the most basic configuration possible at the moment. With RCA output and fed by a simple dvd-player (RCA -> BNC). Actually, according to Kingwa, especially the XLR or CAST options should be more than a 'last ounce' and more like an additional ton.

But even going more basic still and listening to my very modest speaker setup, it's amazing how much of the quality of the Reference One still manages to come through.

No, I'm not worried about a lack of upgrade paths anyways, like a more transparent amp, as the Phoenix promises to be or going into electrostats which will happen at some point too. But I still can't imagine any of that being a bigger step than the one I've taken just now.
post #120 of 2431
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post
I've just spent the worst week since 2002 barely dodging major surgery and this is the content I've managed to pull myself out of bed for ? The last 3 pages have little or no bearing on the RE1....no more OT posts.

Peete.
Peete, I wish you good health and swift recovery.. I hope you know by now that we need you..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drosera View Post
On a more interesting and on-topic note: My Reference One has managed to find my house. (Went a lot quicker than last time too.) More on that later.
How did I miss this one !! Congratulations Drosera - I hope you understand that now you have responsibility of sharing your impressions....happy for you Man
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