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post #331 of 342
Just to add; the original Ref5 is also dark but has two R-cores.
post #332 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post
 

 

With respect the thread you mentioned was done by someone who loves the 1704 sound and does not like the Sabre32 sound.

So not exactly a fair comparison, especially when my experiences are almost totally the opposite in certain areas, so should be viewed in that context.  :wink_face:

 

I think it's just a case of personal preferences. I have been asked a few times as to which is best and my answer is always "what type of sound are you looking for?"

If they want a more assertive exciting vibrant sound I always direct them to the Sabre32.

If they want a more relaxing, laid back sound I refer them to the 1704.

 

I have not heard the Ref10.32 but have heard the Ref5.32 and Ref1. IMO both are clearly/slightly dark sounding. If the Ref10.32 is tonally similar, and you feel it is neutral, then it's not surprising you feel the Sabre32 is bright. However everyone's perception of neutral is different.

 

I obviously prefer the former but would not say either is the 'best'

 

That's interesting... the way l had it understood was (in one word):

 

- Sabre34: analytical

- PCM1704: musical

 

l asked Kingwa about the differences between the NFB-28 and Ref.10. (l hope he doesn't mind that l post his summarize here):

 

"The NFB28 is emphasize on the detail and dynamic, the bass is tight and control.

The REF10.32 sound had not emphasize any side but had not miss any side, its bass is deep and control, and slightly rich than the NFB28.
Their price had around 2.5X times different, but the sound quality not had such different level."
 

By saying 'emphasize' l am inclined to think there is a deviation from the normal/target response (i.e. neutral). Now, it might just be the implementation of this particular unit, and not the chip itself what causes the 'emphasis'. 

 

In any case, everyone of us will have a different experience when listening to the very same gear. Our brain (primary auditory cortex) controls/interpret what we hear. That is why it's so difficult to achieve any type of consensus when discussing audio equipment's performance. lt reminds me of the Buddha story of the 'blind men and the elephant' (click here should you want to read it).  

post #333 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by IYAshike View Post
 

 

That's interesting... the way l had it understood was (in one word):

 

- Sabre34: analytical

- PCM1704: musical

 

l asked Kingwa about the differences between the NFB-28 and Ref.10. (l hope he doesn't mind that l post his summarize here):

 

"The NFB28 is emphasize on the detail and dynamic, the bass is tight and control.

The REF10.32 sound had not emphasize any side but had not miss any side, its bass is deep and control, and slightly rich than the NFB28.
Their price had around 2.5X times different, but the sound quality not had such different level."
 

By saying 'emphasize' l am inclined to think there is a deviation from the normal/target response (i.e. neutral). Now, it might just be the implementation of this particular unit, and not the chip itself what causes the 'emphasis'. 

 

In any case, everyone of us will have a different experience when listening to the very same gear. Our brain (primary auditory cortex) controls/interpret what we hear. That is why it's so difficult to achieve any type of consensus when discussing audio equipment's performance. lt reminds me of the Buddha story of the 'blind men and the elephant' (click here should you want to read it).  

 

The problem is, what is musical.

 

Musical is very subjective and analytical is objective.

 

It's easy to look at an component that has great clarity and detail (and preferably tonal balance) and call it analytical because clarity & detail are what's needed to analyze a recording so by definition is analytical.

However can't this also be musical, I know it is to me. I love an uncolored presentation and find it very musical.

 

I have not heard the NFB28 but I don't feel the Sabre32 emphasizes detail & dynamics they are just amongst it's strong points as well as the attributes listed below.

IMO the PCM1704 seems to have a more reserved/softer response which some people prefer.

 

I hate to use the musical or analytical definitions and prefer to focus on what attributes I value in music. The primary attributes I value are speed, detail, clarity, dynamics and bass depth impact and control. These attributes are the hallmark of the Sabre32 chip (if done correctly).

Other attributes like smooth treble, richness, warmth etc are also possible if implemented properly.

 

Like I said before if you want an exciting, upbeat, assertive sound a good Sabre32 implementation will sound very musical and typically the PCM1704 will sound more lifeless, reserved and even boring in comparison.

However if you want a more laid back, smoother(?), softer sound the Sabre32 could sound to forceful, strident and aggressive.

 

You pick your poison...all IMO and my experiences.

post #334 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post
 

 

I owned the Ref 5.32, SA-1 and SA-2 and had several occasions to listen to the Master-7, too.

 

The Ref 5.32 was the darker sounding, followed by the SA-1 (which was rather smooth/warm, not dark by my words). The SA-2 was already much more neutral than I remember the Ref-5.32 (same amp: SA-31).

An A/B comparison with SA-2 / M7 showed that the latter was brighter and fuller (bass) at the same time.

 

The Master-7 is close to the NFB-7 tonality.

 

For my tastes that is good to hear (and I have heard that said a few times) because I don't find the NFB-7 bright at all.

After hearing an number of PCM1704 chipped DAC's/players the Master-7 is the only one I am currently even curious about as it seems to be a deviation from the 'normal' PCM1704 sound.

It seems that every new A-GD 1704 design is becoming more 'neutral', which is a good thing IMO.

 

Clearly won't be worse than the NFB-7 even if it is not to my taste


Edited by nigeljames - 7/27/14 at 7:34am
post #335 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post
 

 

The problem is, what is musical.

 

Musical is very subjective and analytical is objective.

 

It's easy to look at an component that has great clarity and detail (and preferably tonal balance) and call it analytical because clarity & detail are what's needed to analyze a recording so by definition is analytical.

However can't this also be musical, I know it is to me. I love an uncolored presentation and find it very musical.

 

I have not heard the NFB28 but I don't feel the Sabre32 emphasizes detail & dynamics they are just amongst it's strong points as well as the attributes listed below.

IMO the PCM1704 seems to have a more reserved/softer response which some people prefer.

 

I hate to use the musical or analytical definitions and prefer to focus on what attributes I value in music. The primary attributes I value are speed, detail, clarity, dynamics and bass depth impact and control. These attributes are the hallmark of the Sabre32 chip (if done correctly).

Other attributes like smooth treble, richness, warmth etc are also possible if implemented properly.

 

Like I said before if you want an exciting, upbeat, assertive sound a good Sabre32 implementation will sound very musical and typically the PCM1704 will sound more lifeless, reserved and even boring in comparison.

However if you want a more laid back, smoother(?), softer sound the Sabre32 could sound to forceful, strident and aggressive.

 

You pick your poison...all IMO and my experiences.

"The problem is, what is musical:beyersmile: What a nice twist! l love it! And you are simply right.

 

Now, "Musical is very subjective and analytical is objective"... Well, if it comes through your ears, l am afraid it can only be subjective. The only way to have an objective approach to audio matters is via scientific methods. And yet, results can also be interpreted! :confused_face_2:

 

l mean, let's put it this way (just as you did before): the problem is, what is objectivity. As we are all humans, the only possible 'objectivity' would be the so call 'inter-subjectivity' :wink_face: Anyway, l guess this is off topic (this starts to be a conversation for philosophers more than for audiophiles/audio-enthusiastics).

 

The way you talk about a good Sabre32 implementation makes me believe l chose the wrong DAC/amp :eek: God, l thought l was going to be happy with the Ref.10 for a few years and now "Maybe the NFB-27 is even better?"... :rolleyes: 

 

l can see you know well what you like :smile: Conversely, I have very little experience and therefore, l have a lot to discover, learn and enjoy. l still don't know which 'poison' l like the most! :beyersmile:

post #336 of 342
Quote:

Originally Posted by IYAshike View Post


Now, "Musical is very subjective and analytical is objective"... Well, if it comes through your ears, l am afraid it can only be subjective. The only way to have an objective approach to audio matters is via scientific methods. And yet, results can also be interpreted! :confused_face_2:

 

l mean, let's put it this way (just as you did before): the problem is, what is objectivity. As we are all humans, the only possible 'objectivity' would be the so call 'inter-subjectivity' :wink_face: Anyway, l guess this is off topic (this starts to be a conversation for philosophers more than for audiophiles/audio-enthusiastics).

 

The way you talk about a good Sabre32 implementation makes me believe l chose the wrong DAC/amp :eek: God, l thought l was going to be happy with the Ref.10 for a few years and now "Maybe the NFB-27 is even better?"... :rolleyes: 

 

l can see you know well what you like :smile: Conversely, I have very little experience and therefore, l have a lot to discover, learn and enjoy. l still don't know which 'poison' l like the most! :beyersmile:

 

The 'objectivity' IMO comes from the fact that for a device to be analytical it has to allow the analysis of the music. This requires very good clarity & detail. Without these qualities no device can be called analytical.

Hence the reason the warmer colored tube sound is often called musical and not analytical. You can find a number of tube amps that are said to have a more analytical sound but these tend to be voiced closer to a good SS amp than the old tube sound.

 

Only you can tell if you have chosen the wrong DAC although I am sure you can't go wrong with either the NFB-27 or Ref 10.

When I bought my NFB-7 everyone was raving about the Ref7 and Audio-gd's brilliant PCM1704 implementations.

However I did my own research as to what I wanted.

Neither the Ref7 or NFB-7 was the better DAC, just catering for different tastes and that is what it all comes down to.

The NFB-7 bests the Ref 7 in the areas I valued the most and I don't regret my decision in the slightest.

 

May I ask what attributes you value and what music you listen to?

post #337 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post
 

 

The 'objectivity' IMO comes from the fact that for a device to be analytical it has to allow the analysis of the music. This requires very good clarity & detail. Without these qualities no device can be called analytical.

Hence the reason the warmer colored tube sound is often called musical and not analytical. You can find a number of tube amps that are said to have a more analytical sound but these tend to be voiced closer to a good SS amp than the old tube sound.

 

Only you can tell if you have chosen the wrong DAC although I am sure you can't go wrong with either the NFB-27 or Ref 10.

When I bought my NFB-7 everyone was raving about the Ref7 and Audio-gd's brilliant PCM1704 implementations.

However I did my own research as to what I wanted.

Neither the Ref7 or NFB-7 was the better DAC, just catering for different tastes and that is what it all comes down to.

The NFB-7 bests the Ref 7 in the areas I valued the most and I don't regret my decision in the slightest.

 

May I ask what attributes you value and what music you listen to?

Yes sure, it's my pleasure to answer:

 

l value refined, smooth, rich, detailed, dynamic sound, with a little touch of warmth. Let me elaborate on it a little bit, if you don't mind.

 

When l bought the Ref.10, in my short experience in the 'audio realm' (around 2 years now), l had it understood that the PCM1704 chip was very 'musical' (meaning to me 'engaging', non fatiguing sound). l knew l was more into the warm than the bright side of sound reproduction (but that perhaps a neutral DAC would allow me to 'colour the music' using different HPs). l had never listened to a neutral DAC. 

 

l also knew l valued a neither recessed nor forward mid-range, as natural as possible (e.g. hate metallic/robotic voices); and that l enjoyed tight, rich bass that do not interfere with the other frequencies. The moment l start to hear too much "psss, psss" (treble like sound ;))... it starts to bother me a bit (have in mind many UB-40 songs that sounds too bright to me).

 

To be honest, until l got the Ref.10, l didn't know what smooth, refined, black background meant... l had read it thousands of times but l hadn't heard it. Same goes for a good separation, imagery or articulation... All qualities l also value now...

 

About my musical preferences, you can read it in my profile but: heavy (AC/DC, Iron Maiden), classical (l have a particular predilection for organ music), reggae, bit of pop... bit of everything... 

 

Sorry if l extended my answer too much.


Edited by IYAshike - 7/27/14 at 9:52am
post #338 of 342

Wow that's some chip-set discussion. I hope I have not interrupted anyone on this debate. Back on the HP recommendation...

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by IYAshike View Post
 

Hello PiNa.cz,

 

Thank you for your HP recommendation :smile: To be honest, l asked Kingwa to recommend me a pair of HPs, and he suggested the same one (if l like neutral sound, he said). l definitely have the HD800s in mind. However, l might firstly go for a very good, close-back design (having in mind the XC), but for that l might have to wait for a while... unless l convince my wife that l absolutely need them for Christmas :dt880smile:  

 

l am still into buying HPs for the sake of trying them instead of pairing them with my DAC/amp. For example, l am interested in the JVC-DX1000 (if l go to Japan next year, l will surely come back with a pair). Also, the Fostex TH-600 are in my radar :rolleyes: and obviously, the LCD-2s... Too many HPs for just one budget!! Good thing is l am planning to live still a few more years so... l hope l have time to try them all ;)

 

In any case, l am really loving the HE-400 now. With my other DAC/amp l didn't enjoy them that much, but now l am certainly enjoying them. 

 

According to what l have read, the ESS9018 seems to be a bright, detail oriented chip. l haven't listen to it, so this is just mere speculation from my side. The only quality that would appeal to me is it's dynamics (if they're indeed superior to those of the 1704uk). l dislike bright sound, l am on the 'neutral-warm' side of it. 

 

Have a good day!

 

I second Pina.cz recommendation on HD800 if you are heavy classical listener on orchestra, chamber music, and less to vocal :p  I used to be in the same shoe, and after having a HD800, I was content on classical, and went for another close back design to listen to other genre. I went with ATH-3000ANV, it was a good companion to HD800, and served the purpose.

 

However as time goes, I'm getting lazy, and how HD800 has my 100% head time, what happen to ANV3000? A friend permanently borrowed her from me lol.

 

I would get the best phone possible for my primary music first, before considering those other "fun" options. But again, that's just me. I know there are people who swap phones out there, and they may be the majority :).

 

Cheers,

 

Welcome, and sorry for your wallet.

 

P.S. I'm more than 2 years into HD800, and no upgrade bug has bitten me since then... so...

P.S2. I got the wrong impression classical is your main listening, if heavy is your thing, then I'm not sure if HD800 is for you as I don't listen to heavy myself.


Edited by OneSec - 7/28/14 at 2:15am
post #339 of 342

Hello OneSec,

 

When it comes to me, you did not interrupt any discussion. In fact, IMO it wasn't a discussion, it was more sharing our experiences. l have very little experience with different DACs as to discuss anything...

 

Going back to the HD800, the only thing that concerns me is that l continuously read or hear (e.g. innerfidelity) that these cans tend to be a bit on the bright side and, more importantly, that they seem to be fatiguing ("too analytical, little musical"... Sorry Nigeljames! ;)). Is that true? Perhaps paired with the Ref.10 the former is not true? 

 

l listen to many different music genres, classical being one of the highest regarded (l particularly love organ music). Problem is l have the impression people seem to think that you don't need good lows for classical music (just an impression from what l read... and l know l am generalizing)... l do require a HP with a good low end for classical music (needless to say for organ music).

 

Why am l looking -mainly- for a closed pair? Because l want to have a silent background. Where l currently live tends to be a bit noisy. Besides... l love to isolate myself for my 'listening sessions' :darthsmile: Just me and the music...

 

However, it seems that l will (sooner or later) have to get a pair of HD800. Also, l have a 'special bond' with that HP... but that's another story! :wink_face:

 

Thanks for your recommendations!

post #340 of 342

IYashike,

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IYAshike View Post
 

Hello OneSec,

 

When it comes to me, you did not interrupt any discussion. In fact, IMO it wasn't a discussion, it was more sharing our experiences. l have very little experience with different DACs as to discuss anything...

 

Going back to the HD800, the only thing that concerns me is that l continuously read or hear (e.g. innerfidelity) that these cans tend to be a bit on the bright side and, more importantly, that they seem to be fatiguing ("too analytical, little musical"... Sorry Nigeljames! ;)). Is that true? Perhaps paired with the Ref.10 the former is not true? 

 

l listen to many different music genres, classical being one of the highest regarded (l particularly love organ music). Problem is l have the impression people seem to think that you don't need good lows for classical music (just an impression from what l read... and l know l am generalizing)... l do require a HP with a good low end for classical music (needless to say for organ music).

 

Why am l looking -mainly- for a closed pair? Because l want to have a silent background. Where l currently live tends to be a bit noisy. Besides... l love to isolate myself for my 'listening sessions' :darthsmile: Just me and the music...

 

However, it seems that l will (sooner or later) have to get a pair of HD800. Also, l have a 'special bond' with that HP... but that's another story! :wink_face:

 

Thanks for your recommendations!

 

I will reply you on PM, as we can discuss HD800 more. But on a quick reply, HD800 has great quality bass, quantity is just right for classical, but not sufficient if you are a basshead :) Bottom line is to test the combination for yourself :)

post #341 of 342

Sounds great :smile: (no, l am no basshead, left that 'short period' behind ;)).

post #342 of 342

Hi, for those who want a state of the art audio-gd Reference-Line PCM1704 DAC for less money:

My Audio-gd Reference 9 / Re9 is on second hand sale - just click HERE.

With asynchronous USB input up to 192khz / 24bit (good with PC, Mac or Linux, Squeezebox Touch and similar)

Sounds awesome. I only sell because I changed to another 4x pcm1704 DAC from Resolution Audio.

Fully Reference-line quality from Audio-Gd with the well known top quality fully discrete signal path. However, it has no balanced output. No issue for me, as RCA sounds better (I have both now and I still use RCA).

Please don't blame me for posting this link her, it may be of interest not only for me but for some more users too who look for a pcm1704 dac from audio-gd. Cheers!

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