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constantly updated impression : Audio-gd Reference 8!

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 

After hesitating for so long, i finally made the decision to purchase the "musical flavored" dac Audio-gd reference 8.

 

It should be here within a week or two.

 

I will draw down some impression and hopefully "long" enough to be a mini review after some listening and A/Bing with ultra micro dac+PSU( i know it's probably not fair to compare the two...)

 

I am currently using ultra micro dac+ V8p with pinkie and tubes(HP,bugle boy, siemense)+ D5000

 

However, i am palnning to upgrade my amp and headphone as well before the year end. 

 

Any suggestions on the amp? I am considering upgrading my headphone to LCD-2 balanced or LA7000.

 

For amps, maybe HR BUDA or WA22?

 

 

Anyone who purchased audio-gd ever received receipt or warranty card?

 

DAY 1 Impression:

 

 

i turned it on for around 3 hrs and the sound is much more balanced. maybe this is also due to the fact that i changed my siemense e188cc tube to HP tube. siemense e188cc tube really extends the highs and lows with bigger soundstage but also sends the mids backward.

 

if i was to describe the sound before warm up and tube switch, it was like a whole or a tunnel in the sound, i haven't heard of a tube dac or amp sound, so maybe that was it? and also it IS more DYNAMIC but bit too crowded(lots of instruments everywhere), not very smooth, hopefully burn-in will make it smoother. A lot of bass, rich bass, uncontrolled, flooded. I am using D5000.  Airy. I just hope mids can be a bit more forward and higher mids can be just a little bit thicker.

 

please do excuse me for the messy impressions as i am just drawing down my impressions along listening. actually, my D5000 sounds more like a speaker, my logitech z2300 with 6.5inch subwoofer. gee,it's making my d5000 mad!!!it's exploding,bombs throwing to me face!!!! Bass was not that thick and wide with ultra micro dac. It reminded me of those disco halls. 

 

warm sound,not bright.

 

 

I guess i will leave it on 24/7 for a whole week.

 

DAY 2 Impression:

 

I've had it on since last night which has been 24hrs.

As i listen to more songs, highs are harsh, but probably will gone after burn-in.

Soundstages are widen, i finally found the wide soundstage I listened to at BOSE outlet which i would never forget using a comfort5.

 

 

Day 4 impression:

i've left the power on since first turned on, the case is pretty hot. tried some mp3s with less than 320 rates,no good~although kingwa describes as forgiving for bad recording and file, still, it reviewed weakness of those mp3s. suggest listen with lossless, or at least 320k.

 

i found the lower mid to be muddy and forward ruining the whole thing.hope it will disappear as time goes by.... it's only day 4. 

 

Day 5 impression:

This is incredible!! turning the volume up would would bring day and night change!! more and more details kept poping up and  messy crowdy feeling when listening with relatively low volume were all gone! left with huge soundstage and great smoothness, absolutely enjoyable!  mids vocals are also more forward

 

 

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Edited by superjohny - 7/3/10 at 11:23am
post #2 of 106
Thread Starter 

--bump

post #3 of 106

Hi mee too placing order on behalf of my fren.

 

I have the chance to compare the Ref 8 vs Ref 1 feeding a cia-400 int amp.

 

as much as i understand, diamond bridge is more tube like sound yet with details and dynamics better than that.

post #4 of 106
Thread Starter 

so does this imply that it pairs better with tube amp?

post #5 of 106

Very nice, I wanted to get one too but couldn't afford it, well I could but then I would be eating old bread for the whole month :p

post #6 of 106


Since you have tested both the Reference.1 and Reference.8, which do you think is the better sounding of the two?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccschua View Post

Hi mee too placing order on behalf of my fren.

 

I have the chance to compare the Ref 8 vs Ref 1 feeding a cia-400 int amp.

 

as much as i understand, diamond bridge is more tube like sound yet with details and dynamics better than that.

post #7 of 106

Don't decide on amp yet until you got a good idea of the ref 8's sound, that way you can choose an amp based on what you want to tweak the sound to. I imagine you'd want a balanced amp, because I heard you only use half of the cicuitry of audio-gd's balanced dac's if you are outputting single-ended and to my ears that sounds about right.

post #8 of 106
Thread Starter 

just got it from the post office 6am this morning and quickly had a listen before i went off to work.

 

first impression is a bit disappointing. vocal is very laid back and i had to turn the v8p clock-wise to 12pm to hear the sound. usually 10:30 was enough with ultra micro dac.

 

also lows, mids and highs were all crammed together, undistinguishable  for some reason.

 

i will take a closer listen tonight and upload some unboxing photos.

post #9 of 106

Burn in could be the issue, but as I understand, Kingwa burns all his products in for 100 hours (or was it more?) before sending them off. Maybe some more burn in will help and buying a better amp. Maybe the DAC is showing your amps true colours haha? Doubt that though...

post #10 of 106

It needs to be warmed up for at least an hour before it will reach proper performance.  Running music through it during that time might also help speed up the process.  Only then can you truly comment on how it sounds.  Others will also tell you in needs several hundred hours of burn-in, but I never noticed any such thing.

 

If everything sounds subdued and crammed together like you say, there could be a problem with the DSP1.  I've had that problem before, but it didn't sound like just any old DAC, it sounded broken.  Phase was inverted and everything just sounded bad.  Hopefully this isn't what you are experiencing though.  But when it works, it's magical (Ref 7 and formerly Ref 1).


Edited by IPodPJ - 6/28/10 at 8:17pm
post #11 of 106
Thread Starter 

yep, i will warm it up tonight and give it a careful listen, especially it's winter here in australia, damn cold in the morning.

 

And i am also kinda regretful as kingwa updated ref8 with the USB ver. right after i purchased the non-usb ver. which was the only option back then.

post #12 of 106

At least you have a great DAC  Me on the other hand...badly need to upgrade, but keep spending money on other things. 

 

Looking forward to your impressions later on.

post #13 of 106

Johny, Switch it on and leave it on 24/7. The sound improves quite a bit after being warmed up, i've noticed this with my DAC3SE. Also, the sound out of the coax via rca cable wasnt great at first. I;ve also noticed that on day 1, the sound was too warm and dull and i had to crank it up to the 12-1 o'clock mark on my tube amp, which i've never done prior. This will improve after a week or two depending on how often you use it or do as i said earlier. Now i listen at 10-11 o'clock mark on my amp. If it still doesnt improve, open it and check the DSP settings.  Otherwise drop an email to Kingwa and ask. 

post #14 of 106

And yes, the musical dac3SE does mate better with a tube amp..

post #15 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by shogo33 View Post

Johny, Switch it on and leave it on 24/7. The sound improves quite a bit after being warmed up, i've noticed this with my DAC3SE. Also, the sound out of the coax via rca cable wasnt great at first. I;ve also noticed that on day 1, the sound was too warm and dull and i had to crank it up to the 12-1 o'clock mark on my tube amp, which i've never done prior. This will improve after a week or two depending on how often you use it or do as i said earlier. Now i listen at 10-11 o'clock mark on my amp. If it still doesnt improve, open it and check the DSP settings.  Otherwise drop an email to Kingwa and ask. 


That's hogwash.  The output voltage of the DAC does not magically get higher with burn-in.  Whatever volume you get at day one is going to be the same volume you get on day 100, unless your amp is faulty.

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