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constantly updated impression : Audio-gd Reference 8! - Page 7

post #91 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post

When running a new DAC in, do you suppose I have to have it output to a preamp or does that not matter? Could I just have music running to it without output?




It is best to have it connected at both input and output.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post

Got the Ref-8 today. Initial impressions as compared to my Ref-1 are that they are very close (Ref-1 via ACSS to Phoenix, Ref-8 via XLR to Phoenix- as preamp to my speaker rig consisting of a Emotiva XPA-2 amp and Mirage M7si speakers). My test for treble is with Cara Dillon as there is some sharp sibilance in her recordings. The Ref-1 is always smooth but compared to the Ref-8, the sharpness of her voice is very slightly more present (really small difference). Both sound spooky real with her though. There is definitely no obvious tell-tale of "warmness" vs. "clinical" between the two IMO.

I feel I need a couple of hundred hours of use before commenting further.


From what I've experienced; Emotiva amps, especially the XPA series, are on the cold and clinical side of neutral. On the other hand, they are also very transparent. They will reveal component changes but add it's own degree of sonic signature to the mix (cold/dry, a bit edgy/strident, and some over emphasized bass). I think it's a good amp for component evaluation as long as you know what it's adding to the overall sound. Not sure what you're using as a transport, but a Virtual Dynamics digital cable will greatly help with making sibilance more natural and less like added noise. It will also make the presentation more fluid. Happy listening. 

post #92 of 106

Yes, I don't feel the XPA-2 sounds as good as my FBI-500 did, just something less real sounding to it. But still sounds excellent, especially for the price.

 

It seems the Ref-1 has slightly more air to the sound, but a touch brighter, not in a bad way, nothing is ever harsh with the Ref-1 (remember this is using ACSS connection). The Ref-8 sounds slightly more intimate- a couple of rows closer as people around here say. This is a very slight difference and for me, the ability to switch inputs makes the Ref-8 better for me and far outweighs any sound difference. I would think most people would hear the difference if blindfolded but not all.

All this confirms my belief that headphones and amps make the real difference in signature of sound. Not that DAC's aren't important, that's not what I mean here (the Ref-1 is tremendously better than the V-DAC I had).

 

Caveats: I did not volume match with a meter; the switching of cable inputs takes 5-10 seconds; I used Lyle Lovett's "Road To Ensenada" as it has deep, clean bass and is well recorded with plenty of reverb in it; I use Mogami DIY XLR cables with the Ref-8 and the SPC ACSS cables from Kingwa on the Ref-1.

post #93 of 106

Any updates?   I recently sold another toy (see the gun-fi thread) and have some spare change,  this DAC is on the top of my list.   Looking at the pictures it does look like AudioGD added a board to do balanced to unblanced transform so I think unbalanced is using all 8 DAC's but I'm not sure?

post #94 of 106

I would ask Kingwa. I think it's possible all the dac chips are all used but half the output stage may not be used, or something like that.

 

I am guilty of perpetuating the idea that "half the analog circuitry" is not used with audio-gd's balanced gear when used with SE, which I am not certain about anymore after Kingwa deleted some grammar revisions on the issue I suggested recently.


Edited by haloxt - 9/3/10 at 4:23am
post #95 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post

Any updates?   I recently sold another toy (see the gun-fi thread) and have some spare change,  this DAC is on the top of my list.   Looking at the pictures it does look like AudioGD added a board to do balanced to unblanced transform so I think unbalanced is using all 8 DAC's but I'm not sure?


I am loving mine- no regrets on the sale of my Ref-1. Would love a second ACSS rig (Ref-7-Phoenix) though someday. All the detail and 3D sound I had before. I am using a Pro650 single ended from the Phoenix and I am shocked how good it sounds (I had relegated this to my 7 year old and wife but it might come back to me).

post #96 of 106


It was true for the old DAC9,  he told me it was only using half the DAC chips in unbalanced,  but this new Ref 8 has those two vertical boards on each channel.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

I would ask Kingwa. I think it's possible all the dac chips are all used but half the output stage may not be used, or something like that.

 

I am guilty of perpetuating the idea that "half the analog circuitry" is not used with audio-gd's balanced gear when used with SE, which I am not certain about anymore after Kingwa deleted some grammar revisions on the issue I suggested recently.

post #97 of 106

 

I asked Kingwa similar questions, here was his unedited answer:

1. Would there be any sonic benefit of the Reference 8 or 7 over the Reference 9 if only plan to use only RCA output?
 
The RE7 is neutral sound flavor but I don't think its sound ligh. But RE7 and RE8 is balance design, so if applied RCA output, even though all 8PCM1704 work but the half analog output did not work for output. And the sound level, RE7 and RE8 sound a little better than RE9 at RCA output.
 
2. If I am using RCA Output, would the Reference 8 use only 4 of the 8 Dacs or would it still use all 8?
 
8 pcs all work for RCA output.
post #98 of 106


The way I read that is all 8 chips are powered on,  but 4 of them are not in the signal path with unbalanced.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orangecrush View Post

 

I asked Kingwa similar questions, here was his unedited answer:

1. Would there be any sonic benefit of the Reference 8 or 7 over the Reference 9 if only plan to use only RCA output?
 
The RE7 is neutral sound flavor but I don't think its sound ligh. But RE7 and RE8 is balance design, so if applied RCA output, even though all 8PCM1704 work but the half analog output did not work for output. And the sound level, RE7 and RE8 sound a little better than RE9 at RCA output.
 
2. If I am using RCA Output, would the Reference 8 use only 4 of the 8 Dacs or would it still use all 8?
 
8 pcs all work for RCA output.
post #99 of 106

Most likely true, but then why would the Ref 8 still sound a little better than the 9?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post


The way I read that is all 8 chips are powered on,  but 4 of them are not in the signal path with unbalanced.
 


 
post #100 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post




I am loving mine- no regrets on the sale of my Ref-1. Would love a second ACSS rig (Ref-7-Phoenix) though someday. All the detail and 3D sound I had before. I am using a Pro650 single ended from the Phoenix and I am shocked how good it sounds (I had relegated this to my 7 year old and wife but it might come back to me).


 

Can you elaborate on the major differences between your Ref 1 and Ref 8?  I've got a DAC19 DSP1 with an LCD2 and the sound isn't really realistic sounding, which was my whole aim in the first place.  Do you think getting a Ref8 would help me towards getting that realistic sound?

post #101 of 106

Read my posts earlier in this thread- they are very similar- going to the Ref-8 would sound better but I think the sound signature would be pretty similar (as in neutral). Maybe neutral sound isn't your preference. I would focus on amps and headphones for changing sound.


Edited by tim3320070 - 9/7/10 at 6:51am
post #102 of 106

Made payment for my Audio-gd ref 8 3 days ago together with the DI which is out of stock. So they said they are sending the ref 8 first within this week and the DI 15 days later.

 

I made the decision based on tim's review. Ref 8 being just a little bit warmer and a little less bright on the highs when compared to ref 1.

 

So in less than a month, hopefully, my set up will be

 

Audio: Foobar v1.0.3(PC as source) --> Audio-GD DI --> Audio-GD Reference 8 DAC with Black Sands Cable Violet Z1 1.2m + Nordost Heimdall XLR interconnect 1m --> Wyred 4 Sound STI-500 with Black Sands Cable Statement One Powercord 1.2m --> Dynaudio Contour S 3.4 Speakers with AudioArt Speaker Cable SC-5 1.8m / Tweaks: G&W TW-D1000 Power Distributor + 7* ISOPADS by Sound-quest + TAOC PTS-A Spike Plate

 

Tim. I TRUST U!!! lol

post #103 of 106

Ref-1 is not truly brighter, just a little more air which is different to me (this is using ACSS). It's hard to describe. Read the DAC-19 thread by slim.a, he describes it a lot.  Kingwa once explained that ACSS was like a glass of water and the XLR output was like a Coke (though I don't think it's that strong a difference). Same detail and depth into the music, both utterly natural sounding.


Edited by tim3320070 - 9/8/10 at 5:44am
post #104 of 106

Hi. I finally got my DI and I also got it to work with the ASIO4ALL. Sounds great now. detailed and refined without losing dynamics. Maybe with the Oyaide DB 510, it will sing further.


Edited by fengshenwee - 10/15/10 at 1:37am
post #105 of 106

hello

 

i've been siiting on the fence for a while , hesitating beetween dac 3 SE and dac 19. Could you explain me what you mean by a "more realistic prat" please

 

thanks

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post



My comparison is to the DAC19 and I find the Prat much more realistic,

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