Now this reply is about my final appreciation of the Ref 9 DAC, as an example of the "musical type" pcm1709 - dac lineup of audio-gd.
First of all, hello again, fellows, and have a happy new year!
I own my REF 9 for about two months now, and I thought it was time to give a little update.
However, I start with the questions. I had a short look on audio-gd's website, and it seems, that they change their products and their website really quickly. Most of the "Ref"-Dacs we were discussing about just about a month ago have disappeared, new ones have come...
What I notice, there is no mention anymore about the "musical" lineup (remember? the ones with a neat shining diamond in the output stage ;-) ). So what happened there...? Has the discussion about the "diamond" - type analogue stage become purely academical?
However, for me its still relevant, as far as I own one of those "diamond" - dacs. And I must say, things got quite better since my first impressions, I wrote about here. The sound got more relaxed, more natural. The most impressing things are: Detail in general, precise soundstage, good overall timing. Gives the overall impression of hearing the music from a certain distance, like from the most prestigous place for listening to omusic: From the loge.
However, for my very own personal taste, I would still prefer to listen to the music from another place, the one of the conductor... or whatever band member. That means, the sound could be more intimate, closer, more to the front, more insistent.
However, it gets pretty - or too - insistent in one particular setting, that is, listening with high volume to certain female voices or when trumpets are part of the setting. The voice becomes so "crying" that it starts to hurt the ear... certainly not how it it's supposed to sound! Now, is that a flaw of the recording? Of the DAC that reveals it without mercy? Or a flaw of the whole combination of my chain?
For an example: Dee Dee Bridgewater from her album Dear Ella, on the beautiful song "Mack The Knife". She starts with a low voice, and the DAC does a wonderful job revealing even very fine details of her voice and the instruments, even on that "only" 16bit/44khz cd rip.
Then it gets loud - and it is like Dee Dee is crying directly into your ear, harsh, almost metallic - and brings the immediate need to lower the volume, even if it would be SO nice to hear that part at full power……
Does anyone share that experience?
If anyone is interested, I might upload the flac - file of that Dee Dee 's song I mentioned… PM me, I would then send you back a link to the file by PM.
Edited by ursdiego - 1/12/11 at 8:57am