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Audio GD Reference 9

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 

Yes yet another Audio GD thread. Couldn´t find any for the Ref9.

 

Photos attached is to show the size compared to the DAC19. Sorry for the mess.

 

I must admit I wasn´t ready for the bulk of it. It weights 15 kg and it dwarf even my Yamaha RX-V663 AV receiver. The case is made of rock it feels like. Visually it´s blends well in with all my other black gear. I can´t help but thinking massive overkill for a DAC but it´s nice to see where the money goes.

 

Won´t comment to much about the sound more than it sound´really good out of the box. Dire Straits Private investigation album on the repeat for a couple of times SPL matched with the DAC19 I find the Ref9 to be a bit more easy listening and pull more interesting tricks in it´s soundstaging. A bit wider and less in your face then the DAC19. the DAC19 is so far more transparent and down to earth sounding I would say on this combo.

 

Only bummer was that I ordered it with dual coaxial inputs but it shipped with the standard BNC anyway. Hoping to find some solution to this issue with Audio GD.

 

oie_136305DaIfwiOD.jpg

 

oie_1362752ik7bKaEB.jpg

post #2 of 103

God....i just placed an order for ref9 this Monday....guess i will have a long wait......

 

Could you please give more of your listening experience for this DAC?...

 

Does it turn very hot after turning on for a period?

 

Thanks!

post #3 of 103

$2 bucks and you can get yourself a bnc to rca adapter...vise versa or any combo you want

 

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post #4 of 103

Thanks for the impression.  I would like to make sure I read you post right:

Did you say that DAC19DSP is more transparent than Ref-9 (with DSP)?

What did you mean "down to earth" sounding?

 

Many thanks to your reply since I am thinking of getting Ref-9 (or NFB-1).
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oqvist View Post

... I find the Ref9 to be a bit more easy listening and pull more interesting tricks in it´s soundstaging. A bit wider and less in your face then the DAC19. the DAC19 is so far more transparent and down to earth sounding I would say on this combo.

post #5 of 103

Give it a good week of run-in, it will make a difference.

post #6 of 103

U need at least 200 hours for this DAC to sound right. 100 there will be dynamics improvement. Then 200 it will not sound that harsh on the highs. Reference 8 owner here. Brother of Reference 9.

post #7 of 103
Thread Starter 

I will listen to it I promise smily_headphones1.gif. But it sound excellent out of the box on the LCD-2.  As for hot running it seems to run cooler then the DAC19 when touching the case. The DAC19 has larger vent holes I have noticed probably for a reason. I am sure it helps having such a large heat dissipation area as you have on the Ref9.

 

As for more down to earth the DAC19 sound a bit less coloured is what the first impressions gave me. That is not to say the Ref9 ever sound strange or anything. I will see when NTS wear out but I really like what I have heard so far on the LCD-2. Particularly the soundstaging does keep on impressing me which is one area where I have had some problems with the DAC19/GHP/LCD-2 combo.

 

As for the BNC issue? I really hope there is no problems using adapters like that? This is a reference DAC so I would hope that solution would be equal to the standard coaxial input. I don´t have any transports supporting BNC.

post #8 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by oqvist View Post

 

 

As for the BNC issue? I really hope there is no problems using adapters like that? This is a reference DAC so I would hope that solution would be equal to the standard coaxial input. I don´t have any transports supporting BNC.


None,  you chose standard coax which is a compromise you can't make it any worse by using an adapter.

post #9 of 103

I wonder how many headfiers had Ref-9.  I had a feeling that it is quite less than Ref-1/7 owner.  Would you Ref-9 owner kindly enough to share your impression?

 

I am interested in Ref-9 for my SE tube amp (CSP2+), but worry that the diamond output stage may "sweet up" the sound too much.  I am very happy with sound of Ref-1 and CSP2+, but hate to waste Ref-1's full capability (balanced ACSS to Phoenix).

 

@ Regal

 

Would you please share your comparison between Ref-1 and DAC3SE since Ref-9 is a upgrade from it?  (or point me to the post if you have done it)  Many thanks!

post #10 of 103
Thread Starter 

I am still sticking with the LCD-2 but tried the Trafomator Head One for some 8h today.  It´s not as detailed and revealing as my GHP but it has dual inputs so much easier to switch inputs fast.  

 

I started with some Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra recording. An binaural recording made with a dummy head and supervised on an HD 580 really cool.

No real discernable difference here between the DAC19/Ref9.  

 

Tried some old Frank Sinatra album. Voices was pushed a bit more in front of you with the Ref9 and I just didn´t feel the itch to grab for the volume knob as often as on the DAC19. The Ref9 seemed to make the noises less apparent but again the differences was slim but detectable. Would still be hard to separate them doing blind tests.

 

This was consistent with other albums as well like Barbra Streisand.

Changing to the Oppo BD83SE it seem to have more in common with the Ref9 then the DAC19.

 

Next step will be bringing out the heavy artillery and focusing solely on my GHP or the Burson 160 when I get that and the Pro 900.

If it´s anything the Ref9 told me is that it´s I really preferr solid state for the LCD-2. Much more detail.

 

 

post #11 of 103

Hehe I consider it lucky for you they didn't give you two rca inputs. You can always get cables that are rca/bnc, or use a rca/rca+bnc adapter, but if you remove the bnc input you lose the ability to use the theoretically superior bnc connector. Bnc was specifically designed to be good for this type of digital transmission, unlike rca. I would put emphasis on theoretically superior, maybe it isn't going to be all that audible, but for resale value it makes sense to keep bnc.

post #12 of 103
Thread Starter 

Wasn´t buying it for resale and I don´t like adapters. Also I thought the real benefit is from bnc to bnc not rca to bnc? Honestly don´t expect any difference my ears can detect but will see. Talked to Audio GD and they will send a coaxial to bnc cable that hopefully works.  

 

post #13 of 103

Those that are considering the Ref9 should really spend the extra for the ref8.  If you look at the circuit diagrams on the webpage you can see that the ref 8 has its diamond stage transistors hand matched in order to forgo the need for an opamp servo.  When you factor in shipping the ref8 it is not that much more than the ref9 but you are getting possible the last flagship audiogd,  none others have the hand matched transistors.

 

As far as Ref1 vs 3SE ,  I prefer the Re1 as the Re1 has better Prat,  more organic.   But the 3SE is no slouch and is an excellent value,   some may prefer the 3SE as it probably is a little more tonally accurate.  Its all a matter of taste.

post #14 of 103
Thread Starter 

REF8 is 400$ more. So it´s quite a bit more in my book.

post #15 of 103

@Regal

 

Thanks a lot for your analysis .  You just push my budget back to Ref1/7/8 level and getting a balanced DAC.

 

The whole initiative of getting Ref-9 was for my beloved SE OTL tube amp (CSP2+).  To be honest, I was very happy with Ref-1 + CSP2+.  It just that I am not sure Ref-1 was used fully (balanced circuit and ACSS not used).  I read Kingwa's webpage about that it is not a waste to use RCA out of his Ref7 & 8 and got that DAC chips are used fully but not the output stage.  

 

However, a direct quote from his Ref-8 website:

 

Quote:
If the balance output is not needed and you have not plan going to balance system in near future, the Reference 9 is OK and costs $480 less.

 

So do you still think Ref-8 is justified for my SE amp?   And does the technical advantage-hand matched transistor only exist for Ref-8?  I thought the output stage of Ref-8 and 9 are similar except the SE/balanced difference.

 

Many thanks for your help!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post

Those that are considering the Ref9 should really spend the extra for the ref8.  If you look at the circuit diagrams on the webpage you can see that the ref 8 has its diamond stage transistors hand matched in order to forgo the need for an opamp servo.  When you factor in shipping the ref8 it is not that much more than the ref9 but you are getting possible the last flagship audiogd,  none others have the hand matched transistors.

 

As far as Ref1 vs 3SE ,  I prefer the Re1 as the Re1 has better Prat,  more organic.   But the 3SE is no slouch and is an excellent value,   some may prefer the 3SE as it probably is a little more tonally accurate.  Its all a matter of taste.


Edited by dukja - 10/16/10 at 10:24pm
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