Some updated stories from the adventures of the Audio Gd Reference 7.
What a massively built device. Quality is the first thing that comes to mind when you see it with the cover off. Well laid out interior and fully populated. No feeling you bought a box with a pcb in it. Only thing I take issue with is the power plug being put directly under the inputs.
Initial listening impressions was that while it was very resolving, I had a difficult time with the soundstage. Nice balance and full sound with no hint of adding it's own flavor to the material. Many things just sounds right that other dacs have some level of compromise doing. For one, the dynamics is massive. You can certainly hear all that gear it has under the hood. Bass is the best I've heard from a digital source. Impactful without being loose. Piano finally sounds the way a piano should, horns are metallic and brash, drum textures are there for the hearing, the strings are resonant and soaring.
After a couple of days with it, I as able to share with some of the gang at the Cincinnati meet. The good thing about this meet is the maturity of the members and the quality level of gear. Lots of experience with all levels of gear. We were able to rotate it through several amps of both persuasions. We didn't have a bruiser SS amp like the Beta but the Ultra stack was there for the balanced HD800s. I think all who was able to give more than a minute or two to get an idea of it's performance would agree it deserves it's press.
After giving everybody a taste of it's character, we changed the DSP to the V5. We again gave it the tour and total agreement that there was an improvement and yes it was noticeable. For me, I was able to finally identify the soundstage. The sound is much smoother. All benefits to the LCD-2 being used for my listening experiences. There is no high end harshness and even hot recordings are given a fresh breath.
She is back at home and preparing for a full week of work and a heavy dose of music over Turkey festivities and football.
This machine has opened up my reference to new potential. Thank you Audio GD and Amos for giving me the chance to witness this delightful piece of art.
Let me comment on material and SQ. We had many high resolution transports and USB converters. I can say that 128k files improved drastically. I mention this for those that ripped their cds to a lossy format. Great material will always sound that way but the plain Jane material really gets a boost in SQ. Poor material don't have a chance though. Still sounds poor, just smells better.
Last, thank you Jude for giving up some of your time to let our meet happen with the Ref. 7. Gracious as always.
Edited by Happy Camper - 11/21/10 at 8:33am
Edit: The optical did work. I will be trying it later this week but it was working at the meet.