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Audio-GD Reference 5.2 (New Balanced 4x PCM1704UK DAC) - Page 14

post #196 of 283

Does Reference-5.32 take 24/88.2 signals? Also what is the XLR pinout on the device? The XLRs on my amp is american standard which is pin 2 cold and pin 3 hot. Does it have phase inversion function?

 

Currently I'm feeding 16/44.1 from Macbook pro to Marantz CD-7, want to try some hi-res DACs.


Edited by dan_can - 10/21/12 at 1:30pm
post #197 of 283

I really want to get a Ref 5.32

 

Got to sell a bunch of other stuff before I can get there, I've got too many audio products that I don't use laying around here. Like a bunch of NAD receivers.... NAD CD player..... whole buncha phono preamps... couple of Conrad-Johnson preamps I never use any more....Dual belt-drive turntable.... Dynaco FM-3 tuner... my apartment looks like the trade-in dept. of a hi-fi shop.  PLUS I've got four headphone amps I don't EVER use (in addition to the FIVE  that I DO use....)

 

 

Such a pain to list and the SHIP stuff.  But oh well got to get on with it.

post #198 of 283

Hi There!

 

 

I updated my ref 5.2 to 5.32. In fact, this upgrade means the replacement of USB interface based on Tenor 8802 chip for the new card 'usb32'.
 
I've always used this Dac through its usb and it has been amazing. But this upgrade, this new interface usb 32, exceeds expectations. There is an obvious increase of the dynamics and textures. At this low price (i think USD27,00, plus shipping), this upgrade is very worthwhile.
 
So i think the Ref5.32, in use through its usb 32, is a very good option in hi-end audio. My system is not a headphone set. It is based in Electrocompaniet amp and Kef Reference, and this type of equipment is very demanding with the sources, and this Ref 5.32, specially with its usb32, is very good indeed.
 
*I'm running this DAC through its usb 32 under MacOs Mountain Lion. Later i'll try to test this system under Win7.
 
Musicophilie regards!
post #199 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by ciphercomplete View Post

I'm not a huge fan of Audio GDs 1704UK DACS.  They are very good DACS no doubt as they are detailed but they are very laid back.  They have a darker presentation and dynamics is not their strong suit.

 

If you own a system that is decidedly not laid back or neutral on its own than the Audio GD 1704 DACS will be a revelation.  If your system is already laid back and neutral (like Audio GD amps and preamp combos) adding a Reference 7,5 or older DAC 19 varieties to the mix will likely put you to sleep.  Trust me, I tried.

 

It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Audio GD 1704 DACS are better performers in headphone systems than they are in speaker set ups.  Headphone set ups are always more forward sounding than speaker set ups no matter what cans you are using.

 

That's indeed my impression with their SA-31 headphone amp...

 

I was planning to replace my Stello U3 + Metrum Quad combo with a all-in-one (though bigger in the end) solution. The Reference 5.32 seemed to be the best fit as it features NOS DACs too and seemed to exhibit a similar natural sound as the Metrum Quad.

 

I received it last week, had it burn-in for 5 days (I was on a trip) but the first impression I had when it arrived is still there: the pairing with SA-31 definitely lacks dynamics and PRaT :(. The interesting point is that the Metrum NOS DACs are not known to have the last word in dynamics but the Reference 5 is lacking so much in comparison.

 

The NFB-6 might be a better fit for it (being neutral and balanced) but I suspect it does not quite perform in the same class as the SA-31 (though it is only $100 cheaper) or as the DAC itself. I might be wrong here.  

post #200 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

That's indeed my impression with their SA-31 headphone amp...

 

I was planning to replace my Stello U3 + Metrum Quad combo with a all-in-one (though bigger in the end) solution. The Reference 5.32 seemed to be the best fit as it features NOS DACs too and seemed to exhibit a similar natural sound as the Metrum Quad.

 

I received it last week, had it burn-in for 5 days (I was on a trip) but the first impression I had when it arrived is still there: the pairing with SA-31 definitely lacks dynamics and PRaT :(. The interesting point is that the Metrum NOS DACs are not known to have the last word in dynamics but the Reference 5 is lacking so much in comparison.

 

The NFB-6 might be a better fit for it (being neutral and balanced) but I suspect it does not quite perform in the same class as the SA-31 (though it is only $100 cheaper) or as the DAC itself. I might be wrong here.  

Hi.

 

There is no such thing as a NOS Dac chip. NOS (Non Over Sampling) is simply a (Digital) Filterless application of a Multi-bit Dac chip. The Reference 5.2/32 employs Standard 8X Oversampling by default, although it can be used in NOS mode if desired. Personally, I find the NOS sound lacking in detail and punch and in fact Measurements reveal a considerable Roll-off in High Frequency response, as well as an increase in Distortion. This applies to the Metrum Octave too. Try and read HI-Fi News (UK) extensive review and Lab measurements of the Metrum Octave.

 

All the best,

 

Leonel


Edited by rocksteady65 - 11/8/12 at 5:36pm
post #201 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksteady65 View Post

Hi.

 

There is no such thing as a NOS Dac chip. NOS (Non Over Sampling) is simply a (Digital) Filterless application of a Multi-bit Dac chip. The Reference 5.2/32 employs Standard 8X Oversampling by default, although it can be used in NOS mode if desired. Personally, I find the NOS sound lacking in detail and punch and in fact Measurements reveal a considerable Roll-off in High Frequency response, as well as an increase in Distortion. This applies to the Metrum Octave too. Try and read HI-Fi News (UK) extensive review and Lab measurements of the Metrum Octave.

 

All the best,

 

Leonel

Thanks for correcting that, I meant R2R DACs... rolleyes.gif

 

I actually find the Metrum to have more punch and transient and that's actually my concern (regardless of it beeing a NOS DAC and the Reference 5.32 being set to I-don't-know-what resampling).

Kingwa pointed me to the Ref 5's manual in which he explains how to make it sound more detailed (by cutting out 4 caps on the ACSS modules).

 

I will first check how the oversampling is set (if it is NOS, then, as you "suggest", I might try a different setting). If I don't hear any improvement in that regard I will cut these caps.

 

Thanks ;)

post #202 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

Thanks for correcting that, I meant R2R DACs... rolleyes.gif

 

I actually find the Metrum to have more punch and transient and that's actually my concern (regardless of it beeing a NOS DAC and the Reference 5.32 being set to I-don't-know-what resampling).

Kingwa pointed me to the Ref 5's manual in which he explains how to make it sound more detailed (by cutting out 4 caps on the ACSS modules).

 

I will first check how the oversampling is set (if it is NOS, then, as you "suggest", I might try a different setting). If I don't hear any improvement in that regard I will cut these caps.

 

Thanks ;)

No problem! 

 

I find it intriguing  that you feel that the Metrum Octave possesses more transient energy and punch.  Can you elaborate a bit more? Would you say that it provides plenty of detail in the Mid and Upper ranges? My previous experience with the NOS approach has not been very impressive in that regard...

And let us know of your findings in tweaking the Audio-GD.

 

Thanks.

post #203 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

Thanks for correcting that, I meant R2R DACs... rolleyes.gif

 

I actually find the Metrum to have more punch and transient and that's actually my concern (regardless of it beeing a NOS DAC and the Reference 5.32 being set to I-don't-know-what resampling).

Kingwa pointed me to the Ref 5's manual in which he explains how to make it sound more detailed (by cutting out 4 caps on the ACSS modules).

 

I will first check how the oversampling is set (if it is NOS, then, as you "suggest", I might try a different setting). If I don't hear any improvement in that regard I will cut these caps.

 

Thanks ;)

 

That does not surprie me actually. The PCM1704 does not have the best speed,transients or dynamics.  Those are 3 of my priorites and when I asked Kingwa for advice on which he recommended out of the Ref 7.1 or NFB-7 he clearly stated that the NFB-7 would suit me better. The Sabre32 chip in the NFB-7 is know for its speed, detail and dynamics.

No doubt the PCM1704 has other strenghs but if the above are priorites then maybe you bought the wrong DAC.

post #204 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

I received it last week, had it burn-in for 5 days (I was on a trip) but the first impression I had when it arrived is still there: the pairing with SA-31 definitely lacks dynamics and PRaT :(

The PCM1704 does NOT lack PRAT at all, on the contrary it has much more than soft-sounding converters like ESS.

It can be the pairing or the lack of burn-in (most likely the pairing).

post #205 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

The PCM1704 does not have the best speed,transients or dynamics.

This is planly untrue. While audio-gd dacs are very good they dont come close to the best that employ this chip to its best. For instance, listen to a Naim CD555 and say that it doesnt have "the best speed,transients or dynamics".

 

Edit: the wolfson converters are not bad, but they are not in the same league, although much easier to interface with a banal output stage.


Edited by Telstar - 11/10/12 at 1:53pm
post #206 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telstar View Post

soft-sounding converters like ESS.

I'd like some of whatever it is you're smoking. rolleyes.gif

post #207 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by burnspbesq View Post

I'd like some of whatever it is you're smoking. rolleyes.gif

 

+100

post #208 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telstar View Post

This is planly untrue. While audio-gd dacs are very good they dont come close to the best that employ this chip to its best. For instance, listen to a Naim CD555 and say that it doesnt have "the best speed,transients or dynamics".

 

Edit: the wolfson converters are not bad, but they are not in the same league, although much easier to interface with a banal output stage.

 

Kingwa told me himself that the Audio-gd Sabre32 chipped DAC's are more dynamic,faster and livelier than the PCM1704 chipped DAC's.  I have heard a number of people descibe the various PCM1704 dacs. including a couple of Naim's, as laidback, soft or dark sounding.

As the rest of the Audio-gd Dac design are very similar (at each price point) its a safe bet the chip is responsible for this.

 

Oh yes I have heard the Naim CD555 nice but seriously overpriced, and thats from someone who used to own Naim system a few years ago. Different systems but I feel the NFB-7 has better dynamics and is at least as fast and transient.


Edited by nigeljames - 11/11/12 at 6:17am
post #209 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocksteady65 View Post

No problem! 

 

I find it intriguing  that you feel that the Metrum Octave possesses more transient energy and punch.  Can you elaborate a bit more? Would you say that it provides plenty of detail in the Mid and Upper ranges? My previous experience with the NOS approach has not been very impressive in that regard...

And let us know of your findings in tweaking the Audio-GD.

 

Thanks.

 

So, I opened the DAC and the oversampling was set on 8x by default.

I applied the cap mod as Kingwa suggested and it, indeed, improved on this particular aspect of the sound with the rest of it left untouched. The improvement is clear, I would say it is now quite close to what I get with the Metrum.

 

Again, I really hear quite similar sound (signature, performance) from those 2 units, from quick listening. I cannot really A/B since I'm using a Squeezebox with the Stello U3. The best I can do is swapping the coax cable from one unit to another but it is neither convenient, nor suited to A/B testing.

 

I will take some time with the Ref 5 to get familiar with it (my "brain's burn-in" :p) and try to catch the subtle differences between the two.

 

I wish Kingwa makes a Reference 10 SA, this would be my end game for sure!

post #210 of 283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

So, I opened the DAC and the oversampling was set on 8x by default.

I applied the cap mod as Kingwa suggested and it, indeed, improved on this particular aspect of the sound with the rest of it left untouched. The improvement is clear, I would say it is now quite close to what I get with the Metrum.

 

Again, I really hear quite similar sound (signature, performance) from those 2 units, from quick listening. I cannot really A/B since I'm using a Squeezebox with the Stello U3. The best I can do is swapping the coax cable from one unit to another but it is neither convenient, nor suited to A/B testing.

 

I will take some time with the Ref 5 to get familiar with it (my "brain's burn-in" :p) and try to catch the subtle differences between the two.

 

I wish Kingwa makes a Reference 10 SA, this would be my end game for sure!

 

Thank you for sharing your impressions, they're quite useful. Based on your experience, I too will proceed with the Cap snip mod. I had been thinking about it for some time, but I was unsure if that would be a good move. It seems that it will indeed bring further improvements to the Reference 5.2's already excellent Performance. 

By the way, which DIR module are you using? If you are using the WM8805, I strongly advise you to change it for the DIR9001. With it, the Reference 5.2 is an all together superior performer, being nore Neutral, Dynamic and Precise. Basicallly, better in all counts.

 

Thanks again. ;-)


Edited by rocksteady65 - 11/11/12 at 2:27pm
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