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Audio-Gd Reference 10 - Page 9

post #121 of 354

Gwarmi -

 

Thanks for your impressions. I've been thinking... I'm sure the ACSS input/ouput circuitry minimizes loss between components and the input/output parts are of very high quality in general to begin with in all Audio-gd products, but still, I'm a big believer in minimizing components in the signal path and keeping things as simple and short as possible... I've talked to Kingwa about this and his opinion is that separates are always best - and I can see his view of how having separate power supplies and better isolation between components and what not is beneficial , but still, given all things equal, I have a feeling that the Ref 10 may in some dimensions actually outperform a higher end two-box solution such as the Ref 7.1 + Phoenix or Master 8 purely by the virtue of getting rid of extra components in the signal path.

 

That said - it is interesting that you found the DAC/pre-out of the Ref 10 to be somewhat lacking. Is this in comparison with higher-end Audio-gd DACs or among a larger group of high-end DACs? My question is... were you able to also connect your external headphone amps to the Ref 7.1 as well and find that produced excellent results while the Ref 10 did not - or is it just the sound signature of Audio-gd's non-ACSS outputs that don't mate as well with other headphone amps?

 

Anyway - thanks again for your impressions!

post #122 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by doobooloo View Post

Gwarmi -

 

Thanks for your impressions. I've been thinking... I'm sure the ACSS input/ouput circuitry minimizes loss between components and the input/output parts are of very high quality in general to begin with in all Audio-gd products, but still, I'm a big believer in minimizing components in the signal path and keeping things as simple and short as possible... I've talked to Kingwa about this and his opinion is that separates are always best - and I can see his view of how having separate power supplies and better isolation between components and what not is beneficial , but still, given all things equal, I have a feeling that the Ref 10 may in some dimensions actually outperform a higher end two-box solution such as the Ref 7.1 + Phoenix or Master 8 purely by the virtue of getting rid of extra components in the signal path.

 

That said - it is interesting that you found the DAC/pre-out of the Ref 10 to be somewhat lacking. Is this in comparison with higher-end Audio-gd DACs or among a larger group of high-end DACs? My question is... were you able to also connect your external headphone amps to the Ref 7.1 as well and find that produced excellent results while the Ref 10 did not - or is it just the sound signature of Audio-gd's non-ACSS outputs that don't mate as well with other headphone amps?

 

Anyway - thanks again for your impressions!

 

Well, it saves you the cost of interconnects, but the power supply is obviously not as powerful as when you have two units.  Of course though you can put the money saved from the one-box Ref 10 toward installing a separately grounded circuit for your audio gear with a conveniently located power outlet (If you believe any of that is important - I am just rambling concerning paranoid power supply theme.)

 

As for USB/SPDIF converters - I think part of the advantage is firstly the galvanic isolation, and secondly the additional jitter reduction performed by the digital input receiver, and in the case of the Ref 10 the DSP-1's upsampling filter.

post #123 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 

 I popped in to see George just yesterday and enjoyed myself immensely with this unit -

 

Will you buy it? :)


Edited by ceausuc - 6/7/12 at 1:07am
post #124 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 

 I popped in to see George just yesterday and enjoyed myself immensely with this unit - not to sound too general but potential buyers should see the Reference 10.2

 as an excellent closed system balanced DAC and Amp - lining it out via the Pre Amp button to either the Sugden Masterclass or Ray Samuels Dark Star did not produce

 the best sound - it did sound best via the internal 4pin.


maybe it was just a bad pairing considering your ears and source (and not necissarily a less than optimal output)?

post #125 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceausuc View Post

 

Will you buy it? :)

 

 Not for me - ultimately it is for someone who is starting out and wants a reference 'closed DAC and amp system'

 as TME110 remarked - it's not bad for lining out, however when compared to other reference quality separates

 such as the Audio-gd Reference 7.1, Ray Samuels Dark Star, Violectric V181 on decent interconnects - that's

 when you notice it.

 

 As noted though, if I was to start out again and I was prepared to put all my headphones on 4pin XLR connections

 then you'd have to consider this - it is excellent for the money. Punchy, dynamic and quite forward sounding

 for an Audio-gd product. Bass in particular was stand out - it hits hard and I'd have to say this is probably

 the best combo unit for my RS1i to date - it easily eclipses let's say a Burson DS. The pace and rhythm 

 is electrifying just out of the Neutrik 1/4.

post #126 of 354

if you have not tested this extensively in balanced mode then you are missing out on the potential. My NFB10SE and Master-5 are definitely average via SE and excellent balanced- don't know why and don't care.

post #127 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post

if you have not tested this extensively in balanced mode then you are missing out on the potential. My NFB10SE and Master-5 are definitely average via SE and excellent balanced- don't know why and don't care.

 

 Yes this was balanced out of the Ref 10.2 via Van Den Hull 'The Rock' XLR's to the RSA Dark Star.

post #128 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 

 Yes this was balanced out of the Ref 10.2 via Van Den Hull 'The Rock' XLR's to the RSA Dark Star.

I think Tim was talking about the balanced 4 pin headphone out.

 

If your signature is up to date then you have a similarly priced headphone system (rega+v200). Could you compare Ref to your own system?

post #129 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceausuc View Post

I think Tim was talking about the balanced 4 pin headphone out.

 

If your signature is up to date then you have a similarly priced headphone system (rega+v200). Could you compare Ref to your own system?

 

 The Reference 10.2 is certainly more forward and punchy than my system and yet it retains a lovely centre image and sound stage is more spacious

  - however, this is according to my taste - I enjoy a thrilling (read: fatiguing listen) with the Ref 10.2 and my Grados - with the LCD3's, their natural

 laid back presentation balances things out and it is more relaxed and less 'in your face' than the RS1i - but as I said - the RS1i's still do it for me

 when it comes to any hard rock or metal :-)

 

 Now for the big cliche - as noted above, some would prefer my rig (Rega and V200) to the Reference 10.2 - now considering I am the owner of

 said rig, there is definitely a lot to love on the Reference 10.2 - if I was starting out all over again, I really do think this would be one of my final

 choices - now I don't want to go out on a cliche but ol' Kingwa deserves some credit on this so here goes...

 

 'Best DAC / Headphone Amplifier' Combo Unit *Ever*

post #130 of 354
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 'Best DAC / Headphone Amplifier' Combo Unit *Ever*

 

Well, that's high praise indeed. Thanks for the impression.

post #131 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by milosz View Post

 

Well, that's high praise indeed. Thanks for the impression.

 

 Totally cliched on my part I know Milosz and a little simplistic perhaps but I had to consider the material at hand - ultimately for anyone who is seeking

 a sealed combo unit (let's leave the lining out via XLR and RCA out of the equation for a second) who puts pace, rhythm and timing along with imaging

 at the top of the criteria list - then this unit is in my opinion for a Dac and amp combo - waaaay out in front.

 

 The material at hand was a range of AC DC and Metallica classics - they have never sounded so good to my ears, headphones in question were

 the LCD-3 (March 2012 production) and Grado RS1i's - compared to my rig as mentioned, the Reference 10.2 has a forward urge to it that will

 either please or disappoint - my combination of separates is a little more relaxed - so I'd give it the nod for laid back jazz and classical works

 (again, just my own subjective preference - anyone else could very well still prefer the Ref 10.2)

 

 Lastly - the tone - it still has that typical Audio-gd essence of neutrality - to my ears it is neutral across the board with the exception of

 the lower bass register perhaps - but boy does it sound good - bass hits really hard on this unit, very much controlled across impact and

 onto decay with each drum beat.

post #132 of 354

 For anyone out there considering this as a 'one shot combo end game rig' - then I strongly propose the following if
 you happen to have $3500-$4000 itching to leave your wallet - I cannot imagine too many regrets here :-

 

 Audio-gd Reference 10.2 (Price as listed)

 

 Ref 10.2.jpg

 

 +

 

Shunyata King Cobra Power (Shop around they pop up for about $800 sometimes) plugged into this puppy

 

 Shunyata Cobra.jpg

 

 +

 

 Audiophilleo 2 SPDIF to USB converter ($599 new, second hand for less) (the new TE8802 receiver is good but it's not quite reference master clocking either)

 

 audiophilleo.jpeg


Edited by Gwarmi - 6/8/12 at 2:17pm
post #133 of 354
Well for what it is worth and this is my first reply to a post I spent 90 mInutes auditioning this yesterday at A2A and have to say that with the LCD3 I am sold, I did not like the Hd800 and constantly reached to turn the volume down.

Overall a great sound and I will be placing an order soon

Cheers
post #134 of 354

What's the gain on the headphone out section of this thing?

post #135 of 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by milosz View Post

The Fostex and Jade DACs might be comparable to the Audio-Gd Ref 10 in terms of price, but I will bet you they don't come anywhere near it in terms of engineering and build quality.

 

Compare their build:

 

Audio-Gd Reference 10

RE10.10.JPG

 

Fostex HP-A8

  

I see some SWTICHING supplies in there, and loads of IC's. Linear supplies and discrete analog circuits are often thought to offer superior sound.

     untitled1.png

 

 

 

That's definitely not the Fostex HP-A8 in that picture.

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