Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Audio-gd Reference 7 Loaner Program (USA)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Audio-gd Reference 7 Loaner Program (USA) - Page 24

post #346 of 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post




The Berkeley uses the AD1955, which is perhaps the best overall D-S DAC out there. It certainly seems to show up in a lot of very well received DACs and CD players. The much hyped Sabre DAC doesn't seem to have done as well.

 

I don't think it is really fair to compare the 2 at this point. The ESS Sabre Reference chip was released 2 years ago, while the AD1955 has been around for over 10 years. The ESS 9018 is a very sophisticated DAC chip featuring an innovative onboard SPDIF receiver, a unique upsampling/oversampling method, and programmable digital filters. It can be used in either voltage or current output mode, and requires a very specific following output stage to achieve maximum performance. I just don't think there has been enough time for a lot of the traditional high end companies to design and release CD players or DACs based on this chip. I bet the AD1955 was in a similar position when it had been on the market for only 2 years.

 

You can find examples of each chip in both lower and higher end DACs: At around $300 you have the Audio GD NFB-11 (ES9108) and the Matrix Mini-i (dual AD1955). On the higher end of things we have the Audio GD NFB-7, Anedio D1, and Buffalo-II implementations (ES9018), and the Berkeley Alpha DAC among many others (AD1955). Clearly both chips are dependent upon other factors to determine their level of excellence, and clearly both have plenty of potential.

 


 

 

post #347 of 370
Quote:

Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

I just don't think there has been enough time for a lot of the traditional high end companies to design and release CD players or DACs based on this chip. I bet the AD1955 was in a similar position when it had been on the market for only 2 years.


Good point. Any idea what MBL uses in the 1611E/F? I'd love to hear one of those, and also the EMM DAC.

post #348 of 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post




Good point. Any idea what MBL uses in the 1611E/F? I'd love to hear one of those, and also the EMM DAC.



I've never opened my 1511E, and I probably never will for fear of messing it up. It doesn't seem like there is a ton of info out there on what chips they use but I managed to find this:

 

http://www.stereophile.com/cdplayers/1299mbl/index.html

 

Which is an older model of 1611HR from 1999. In the measurements section they mention it using a Crystal DAC, but don't specify which one. I don't know how related that older model would be to the newer ones so it might not really matter.

 

 

post #349 of 370

These reviews of the 7 make me wonder why Kingwa cancelled the Ref-8 which might add the signature that many seem to think the 7 lacks- warmth, artificial or not. I think I'll keep mine around despite the lack of ACSS. I'll be running it into a Master-1 pre with C10 amp (via ACSS).


 


Edited by tim3320070 - 4/21/11 at 6:22pm
post #350 of 370

The price of the Ref. 7 is competing with the PWD, baby Zodiac, Young, etc. If you have to have it serviced, it would be an ordeal to test the most patient and cost a small fortune to ship. Perhaps a US service depot attached to the US distributors?

post #351 of 370

Audio-gd pays for shipping both ways during the first year if there´s anything wrong with it.

 

Project86: Thanks for the great writeup! Your reviews are fantastic, as always...

post #352 of 370

Again the main disadvantage of the Sabre chips. it has firmly implemented ASRC which does not go off and it is for DACs which have the opportunity to have a quality clock a big disadvantage. Sabre reducing jitter of course but not eliminate completely because there are still running ASRC. In mid structures it is a benefit but in top solutions no.
Anedio multi stage jitter reduction looks interesting but I am not technician neither designer. Construction of the D1 looks very nice and clear but doesn't look like something special for example spdif receiver WM8xxx or power section. But it can sound great of course see great review from project and their multi stage jitter reduction probably works great as well.


AD1955 chip is complicated, not everyone can work with it! Berkley is probably one of a few which can. Another contender is Casea Cepheus mk2 looks perfectly it is dual mono AD1955 and from what I know they will release soon synchro clocks for it. It means that their DAC will running in master mode if you have soundcards which support world clock or spdif output. Jitter free solution!

And it is a big difference compared to normal dacs which running on PLL clocks!


Edited by not_sure - 4/22/11 at 12:14pm
post #353 of 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by not_sure View Post

Again the main disadvantage of the Sabre chips. it has firmly implemented ASRC which does not go off and it is for DACs which have the opportunity to have a quality clock a big disadvantage. Sabre reducing jitter of course but not eliminate completely because there are still running ASRC. In mid structures it is a benefit but in top solutions no.
Anedio multi stage jitter reduction looks interesting but I am not technician neither designer. Construction of the D1 looks very nice and clear but doesn't look like something special for example spdif receiver WM8xxx or power section. But it can sound great of course see great review from project and their multi stage jitter reduction probably works great as well.


 



I disagree with the oft-repeated idea that the ESS DACs are "just another sample rate converter". They have a patented process by which they handle things in a different way. See this link, towards the bottom of the page under "Jitter Reduction Stage 3" for a fairly simple explanation:

 

http://www.anedio.com/index.php/article/multi_stage_jitter_reduction

 

Basically the goal is reducing jitter without generating other digital artifacts. I think ESS has the best method for this at the present time.

 

I also think that Sabre-based DACs have a place in the high end as well, not just mid level equipment. For example, the Weiss DAC202 is considered by some to be the best DAC available at any price, period. The Anedio D1 has blown me away with its performance. And another upcoming high end DAC called the Resonessence Invicta looks very promising as well (made by a team of former ESS engineers). I'm not saying that no other DAC chips can sound great - of course they can! So don't take this the wrong way. I'm glad that there are multiple companies out there competing, which means we all win.

post #354 of 370

Great review project86. It's interesting that you didn't note a lack of leading edge, artificiality, or the mid range glare that I experienced with the Ref 7. I'm not here to argue, just to state that it's interesting how we all hear differently. My mbl 1511D used the Crystal dac chip by the way. Can't remember the exact model but they probably did the same for the E as well. Since we're on the topic of jitter and technological advancement, I have to wonder is reducing jitter the way to go? Why do most of the manufacturers seem to insist on brainwashing us that jitter is bad? No one seems to know what jitter really sounds like, yet we all have the concept ingrained into our heads that jitter is not desirable. But wait there's more. We need a brickwall filter and then we may or may not need upsampling as well.

 

A good dac should have a good filter in the analog stage to reduce unwanted noise, right? Afterall we have to filter out the leftover noise from what our digital brickwall filter couldn't filter out. So we buy dacs, chasing better specs, better filters, better this and that, but to what end? We think we are hearing more of what's on the disc. I was once of this thought as well. 130db s/n ratio? Now that's got to be a great sounding dac! We buy dacs with filtering this and filtering that and I have to ask myself with all of this filtering in place, how can we even remotely hear what's really on the disc? Regardless, a filter is a filter no matter how good it is, it's still filtering something. Just because of whatever it's filtering may have bad measurements, does that mean it sounds bad? How do we know unless we hear it for ourselves? After listening to a dac that has no filtering of any kind and no jitter reducing technology of any kind, you know what? It doesn't sound bad at all, in fact it sounds a LOT like my turntable, yet this dac supposedly measures horribly.

 

I'm going to close with the following. we should trust our ears and not what some spec sheet tells us. We need to stop getting caught up and making the ideals of others into our own just because their products may have superior specs. If a cheaper dac (used or not) sounds better than some newer dac with the latest and greatest technology, then accept it and enjoy the savings.   

post #355 of 370


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by computerparts View Post

Great review project86. It's interesting that you didn't note a lack of leading edge, artificiality, or the mid range glare that I experienced with the Ref 7. I'm not here to argue, just to state that it's interesting how we all hear differently. My mbl 1511D used the Crystal dac chip by the way. Can't remember the exact model but they probably did the same for the E as well. Since we're on the topic of jitter and technological advancement, I have to wonder is reducing jitter the way to go? Why do most of the manufacturers seem to insist on brainwashing us that jitter is bad? No one seems to know what jitter really sounds like, yet we all have the concept ingrained into our heads that jitter is not desirable. But wait there's more. We need a brickwall filter and then we may or may not need upsampling as well.

 

A good dac should have a good filter in the analog stage to reduce unwanted noise, right? Afterall we have to filter out the leftover noise from what our digital brickwall filter couldn't filter out. So we buy dacs, chasing better specs, better filters, better this and that, but to what end? We think we are hearing more of what's on the disc. I was once of this thought as well. 130db s/n ratio? Now that's got to be a great sounding dac! We buy dacs with filtering this and filtering that and I have to ask myself with all of this filtering in place, how can we even remotely hear what's really on the disc? Regardless, a filter is a filter no matter how good it is, it's still filtering something. Just because of whatever it's filtering may have bad measurements, does that mean it sounds bad? How do we know unless we hear it for ourselves? After listening to a dac that has no filtering of any kind and no jitter reducing technology of any kind, you know what? It doesn't sound bad at all, in fact it sounds a LOT like my turntable, yet this dac supposedly measures horribly.

 

I'm going to close with the following. we should trust our ears and not what some spec sheet tells us. We need to stop getting caught up and making the ideals of others into our own just because their products may have superior specs. If a cheaper dac (used or not) sounds better than some newer dac with the latest and greatest technology, then accept it and enjoy the savings.   


Thanks! I enjoyed your review as well, now that I've gone back and read it (I stayed away initially so it didn't influence mine). Obviously we hear things a bit differently and there's nothing wrong with that.

 

My only thoughts on your comments are this - The goal of a digital to analog converter is just that: to convert the digital information into a usable analog signal. At the end of that process, we hope that the result is extremely close (if not identical) to the original waveform produced by an instrument before it was captured by a mic, run through an ADC, stored on in a digital format. That's one way of looking at it: The process, if done perfectly, would resemble a .zip or .flac file, in that the result would be identical to the original.

 

In my opinion, all the filtering and jitter reduction you speak of is there to hopefully assist in the accurate retrieval of the original signal. That's assuming it is handled well, which of course is not always the case. But when you talk about "hearing what is really on the disc", I think that makes it sound easier than it really is. It isn't like vinyl or reel-to-reel where there is a fairly straight forward process for recovering that analog information and turning it into a low level signal which can then be amplified and played over your speakers. EDIT: Unless we are talking about something like the NAD M2 which does some interesting things as far as directly sending the digital signal straight to the speakers through the use of pulse width modulation. 

 

That being said, I do agree with your last paragraph 100%. My Wavelength Cosine is pretty much like you described, with no filtering, oversampling or upsampling. Yet it manages to sound extremely good. So obviously there is more than one approach that can be taken to achieve good results. 

 


Edited by project86 - 4/25/11 at 4:34pm
post #356 of 370

Also interested

Thanks,

Vangregor, Cinegi Corp.

 

post #357 of 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

Audio-gd pays for shipping both ways during the first year if there´s anything wrong with it.

 

Project86: Thanks for the great writeup! Your reviews are fantastic, as always...



Well that is reassuring. And if you have an issue during the "life" of the unit? There's more to a product than the item itself, however good it sounds. The price of a Ref. 7 is more than a throw away so other factors enter the decision.

post #358 of 370
Thread Starter 

computerparts: I believe I have heard what you refer to as "glare" with my Reference 1.  An Audiophilleo Async USB to S/PDIF adaptor has rectified that for me, so it may be that Kingwa has yet to perfect the digital input stage. IMO of course. 

post #359 of 370
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

computerparts: I believe I have heard what you refer to as "glare" with my Reference 1.  An Audiophilleo Async USB to S/PDIF adaptor has rectified that for me, so it may be that Kingwa has yet to perfect the digital input stage. IMO of course. 


I think I know what you are referring to... The RE-1's digital board responds very favourably to polypropylene caps around DIR9001, 75Ω matched Caddock resistors and line driver chip changes... Tightening the input SPDIF signal tolerances with Audiophilleo and likes must have similar effect.

post #360 of 370

@ Currawong

 

I have not comprehend the "glare" that was referred to.  Have you tried Digital Interface from AG?   I just curious about what Audiophilleo may improve. 

 

Thanks!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

computerparts: I believe I have heard what you refer to as "glare" with my Reference 1.  An Audiophilleo Async USB to S/PDIF adaptor has rectified that for me, so it may be that Kingwa has yet to perfect the digital input stage. IMO of course. 



 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Audio-gd Reference 7 Loaner Program (USA)