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Audio-gd Reference 7 Loaner Program (USA) - Page 17

post #241 of 370

Well,

 

I do miss the Ref. 7. Very clear and clean sound. I did this program because I hadn't really noticed a huge difference in sound at meets between today's dacs and decent older ones. The Ref. 7 is considered among the top dacs in the $2000 range. I use this price as a dividing line from decent mid fi and the beginning of hi fi. (my view of the world, just go with it) If I could live with a dac for a bit, I could determine what value that range provides. The gang at A gd should be proud of what they have accomplished with the Ref. 7 V5. It could be used for a coffee table but what a spread of components. Very nice. The electronics geek in me is impressed with the layout and quality of workmanship. When the unit got to me, the V5 board needed to be swapped. We opened it at the meet and was easily replaced. If all upgrades were so easy.........

 

Sonically, I now have a little better idea of the value of dacs. The Ref. 7 is an audio microscope of sonic clarity. It gives you everything in the material and with an ease I was surprised to hear. I was afraid a neutral SS dac would be too dry in the high end. On a tube or SS amp, the Ref. 7 just sounds right. Bass is better resolved with solid weight, the vocals are smooth yet powerful and the highs were awesome. The upper ranges with different dacs have different presentations. Some are tinny, some subdued, others too energetic. It was in this area that the Ref. 7 earned it's reputation to me. After a week of listening through all my test/favorites, I just let "random" select my music. I was listening to music I seldom do because of it's terrible sound. What I found is that while the Ref. 7 is razor sharp, it also improves bad recordings. It does this by separating each component of the music and presenting it in an open soundscape. Other dacs would present this music with the hash blended in the music. With the Ref. 7 the hash was still there but separated from the music enough to open the sound. My attention was focused on the music instead of the hash. (yeah, that's the definition of an audiophile)

 

I've had a couple days to go back to my dac and I still feel that while the sound of the Ref. 7 is better than all but a couple I've heard, it's the fever of the hobby that would move me to get one and not the big jump in sonic improvement. I think that says a lot for the pioneers of the hobby. Technology has made a lot of marketing noise and gains have been made but many wouldn't consider it worth the investment. The gear slut in me is screaming every reason why it's worth it. The one who must be obeyed balances my slutty impulses so any purchase is tempered by reality.

 

For anyone looking for a dac in this price range, you should get the chance to audition one at a meet. It is better (IMO) than the Benchmark, Buffalo, Monarchy level of dac. Mikey's Opus still carries my reference for high end performance but the Ref. 7 is half the price and gives as good. The only area that made more of an impression from the Opus kit was soundscape.

 

Thank you A gd for giving us a chance to hear this reference piece of art. Made in China carries more esteem and value due to this experience.

post #242 of 370

Very Well Said HC...... I do think you hit the nail on the head describing the (+++++'s) of this Dac...I also find your statement about, (Your words)  it's the fever of the hobby that would move me to get one and not the big jump in sonic improvement. I think that says a lot for the pioneers of the hobby. Technology has made a lot of marketing noise and gains have been made but many wouldn't consider it worth the investment.  Is very HONEST, and FACTUAL...! In my opinion the  Ref. 7 is a nice sounding dac, but if I was in the market for a new Dac it would have to be the PS Audio Perfect Wave for me......I'll 2nd your words of thanks for the chance to let us hear it...

post #243 of 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9pintube View Post

Very Well Said HC...... I do think you hit the nail on the head describing the (+++++'s) of this Dac...I also find your statement about, (Your words)  it's the fever of the hobby that would move me to get one and not the big jump in sonic improvement. I think that says a lot for the pioneers of the hobby. Technology has made a lot of marketing noise and gains have been made but many wouldn't consider it worth the investment.  Is very HONEST, and FACTUAL...! In my opinion the  Ref. 7 is a nice sounding dac, but if I was in the market for a new Dac it would have to be the PS Audio Perfect Wave for me......I'll 2nd your words of thanks for the chance to let us hear it...


9Pintube did u get a chance to hear the ref7? 

post #244 of 370

I enjoyed reading your post HC.  Thanks.

post #245 of 370

It is indeed pretty honest and useful comment. Thanks.

post #246 of 370

subscribed. Haven't seen a lot of reviews of reference 7 so far

post #247 of 370

Duke,

Re-reading my comment makes me qualify that statement. I am not refering to the Ref. 7 in particular when I mention the differences between old and new dacs but rather the industry as a whole.

post #248 of 370

Enjoyed reading this, very well said. Thanks.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

Well,

 

I do miss the Ref. 7. Very clear and clean sound. I did this program because I hadn't really noticed a huge difference in sound at meets between today's dacs and decent older ones. The Ref. 7 is considered among the top dacs in the $2000 range. I use this price as a dividing line from decent mid fi and the beginning of hi fi. (my view of the world, just go with it) If I could live with a dac for a bit, I could determine what value that range provides. The gang at A gd should be proud of what they have accomplished with the Ref. 7 V5. It could be used for a coffee table but what a spread of components. Very nice. The electronics geek in me is impressed with the layout and quality of workmanship. When the unit got to me, the V5 board needed to be swapped. We opened it at the meet and was easily replaced. If all upgrades were so easy.........

 

Sonically, I now have a little better idea of the value of dacs. The Ref. 7 is an audio microscope of sonic clarity. It gives you everything in the material and with an ease I was surprised to hear. I was afraid a neutral SS dac would be too dry in the high end. On a tube or SS amp, the Ref. 7 just sounds right. Bass is better resolved with solid weight, the vocals are smooth yet powerful and the highs were awesome. The upper ranges with different dacs have different presentations. Some are tinny, some subdued, others too energetic. It was in this area that the Ref. 7 earned it's reputation to me. After a week of listening through all my test/favorites, I just let "random" select my music. I was listening to music I seldom do because of it's terrible sound. What I found is that while the Ref. 7 is razor sharp, it also improves bad recordings. It does this by separating each component of the music and presenting it in an open soundscape. Other dacs would present this music with the hash blended in the music. With the Ref. 7 the hash was still there but separated from the music enough to open the sound. My attention was focused on the music instead of the hash. (yeah, that's the definition of an audiophile)

 

I've had a couple days to go back to my dac and I still feel that while the sound of the Ref. 7 is better than all but a couple I've heard, it's the fever of the hobby that would move me to get one and not the big jump in sonic improvement. I think that says a lot for the pioneers of the hobby. Technology has made a lot of marketing noise and gains have been made but many wouldn't consider it worth the investment. The gear slut in me is screaming every reason why it's worth it. The one who must be obeyed balances my slutty impulses so any purchase is tempered by reality.

 

For anyone looking for a dac in this price range, you should get the chance to audition one at a meet. It is better (IMO) than the Benchmark, Buffalo, Monarchy level of dac. Mikey's Opus still carries my reference for high end performance but the Ref. 7 is half the price and gives as good. The only area that made more of an impression from the Opus kit was soundscape.

 

Thank you A gd for giving us a chance to hear this reference piece of art. Made in China carries more esteem and value due to this experience.

post #249 of 370

This thread is great as it seems like we now are fed Audio-GD impression from audiophiles with a broader hi-end experience. Thanks to you folks for ceeping it both informative an fun to read.

Not trying to bash anything here. But as the PWD keep popping up almost like there was an agenda in this thread I like to point out that for European customer the PS Audio is more than twice the price of the RF-7's $2.5k. To me the PWD without the Bridge seems like a waist. And as I see it we are then actually talking about two different sound systems. Not only two different DAC devices with different design approaches as in old school hi-end EE vs modern miniature computer mania. I do love all my modern gadgets when they work as intended. But as a DIY I know which one I love to take the lid off a couple of years down the road - not that I know what to do with it as it has no op-amps or coupling caps.

Personally I love SB-Server for it's open source. I have accepted a few bugs and lumps along the way as I only paid a few hundred dollar for the complete system. I'm not sure I would be as forgiving if I paid $6.2k (yeah that the cost of the PWD/B here in Scandinavian) to be a paying beta tester for PSA. As appealing the rich feature set of the PWD/Bridge is it is not an option for many of us that have seen how long it's taken other companies to develop a stable firmware/software solution in collaboration with it's community. So in the end the best PWD implementation for me might be without the Bridge after all. Just my personally thoughts on the matter after reading up on the PSA forum.

Now then, if the RF-7 not had the size of a coffee table (biggrin.gif nice one HP)

post #250 of 370

Quote:

Originally Posted by SilverCans View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9pintube View Post

Very Well Said HC...... I do think you hit the nail on the head describing the (+++++'s) of this Dac...I also find your statement about, (Your words)  it's the fever of the hobby that would move me to get one and not the big jump in sonic improvement. I think that says a lot for the pioneers of the hobby. Technology has made a lot of marketing noise and gains have been made but many wouldn't consider it worth the investment.  Is very HONEST, and FACTUAL...! In my opinion the  Ref. 7 is a nice sounding dac, but if I was in the market for a new Dac it would have to be the PS Audio Perfect Wave for me......I'll 2nd your words of thanks for the chance to let us hear it...


9Pintube did u get a chance to hear the ref7? 


Yes I did SliverCans, But not nearly long enough to probably really appreciate everything (The How's and why's) this New Dac is on top of the "Best Dac's List" for many new owners or droolers......I do admit, The Ref.7 for the short time that it was at our meet really did "IT'S" job in smoooothing out the digital music that we put through it.......very nice piece, Remember now, this is coming from a total VINYL DUDE.........
 

post #251 of 370

Quote:

Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

Duke,

Re-reading my comment makes me qualify that statement. I am not refering to the Ref. 7 in particular when I mention the differences between old and new dacs but rather the industry as a whole.

HC, Believe it or not, That's the kind of path/road I thought you were going down with your comment about " Industry as a Whole ".....You've always seemed to me, with our limited times talking at our meets or on the phone that YOU believe as I do and hopefully many others that "One piece" of gear doesn't sail the ship!  All must "GEL" to bring us close to our own musical Bliss.........or, happiness with our systems....I might add for the youngsters reading this that "WE", You and I and probably some others are actually old enough to have realized through the years what is meant by "INDUSTRY as a WHOLE"..... I guess I should say again that while the Ref 7 was in Your system, Bubu1 system, and even mine, at our meet, "IT" sure had my feet tapping!..................... PS, thanks again for all of your hard work putting together a great little meet......duke

 

post #252 of 370

Well, I finally made it home from the post office with this thing. I wasn't sure I was gonna be able to fit it into the back seat of me car.  I think I threw my back out a little trying to carry it in the housetongue_smile.gif. It's been plugged in for about 2 hours now and still sounds pretty loose and woolly. I will see how it sounds later today. It takes me a pretty long time to acclimate to something new sometimes.

 

At the moment I am balanced to the Dynamite and then to balanced Denon 2000s. This is what I am most familiar with, and the only change from the norm is the Ref 7, being substituted for the PCM63 equipped EAD DSP 7000mkIII. My balanced cables are Live Wire. I have modded the Denons myself to tame and clear up the lower frequencies and soundstaging. Other than the reterm, the cabling on the Denons is stock. Music is 44.1 FLAC via the latest version of Foobar. Computer is a Lenovo Thinkpad and the transport is the Halide Bridge USB to spdif converter, and is presently configured for Kernel Streaming in Foobar. The actual transfer rate on conversion is 24/44.1, as the Bridge does not output 16 bit. I will be trying the new Grooveshark player later, as I listen to it quite frequently both at home and work, and they just upgraded the player for subscribers.  I rip all my music with dbpoweramp.

 

I hope that the DSP thingy is all set to go. I was wondering on the way home, about what this DSP thingy actually does.

 

Just listening to a little Patrice Rushen("Feels So Real"[awesome bass] and of course who doesn't remember and love love love to dance to...., "Forget me Nots") and some Bob James/Fourplay while I am typing, and I'm warming up to the sound already.


Edited by digger945 - 12/4/10 at 10:30am
post #253 of 370

Nothing to do with the DSP. It was put in and left in at the meet on the 20th. There are some jumpers for different digital filtering and bypasses but nobody bothered changing them. I put it in as received.

 

Enjoy!

post #254 of 370

I own a Bryston and Reference 7 and compared them here.  I have never heard the other two dacs you mentioned.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noris83 View Post

If anyone has a Bryston BDA-1, Ayre QB9 or Berkeley Alpha I'd love to hear how the Ref7 compares.

post #255 of 370

<p>

<p>Thanks a lot for the especially detailed review. It's nice that your review was based on single ended setup with what I'm assuming were stock headphone cables. Makes for a much more objective comparison.

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