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Audio GD SA-31 head amp/ preamp . A powerfull Head Amp with Diamond Difference design . - Page 17

post #241 of 394
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2151 View Post

I sold thegrobe my SA-1 after realizing that I prefer a colder sound. Since I use no warmth jumpers with the HE-6 and prefer the thinner and faster sounding Arete with the HD 800, I replaced my SA-1/SA-31 with a Reference 8/Master 8 from the sale forums. The new stack is balanced and does the little things better (quicker transient speed and more detailed instrument separation with slightly more bass impact) but diminishing returns is very noticeable at this price point.

 

Good to see that you're enjoying the dac and have managed to get the USB32 installed. Let us know how the SA-1 stacks up against the DACmini and if you end up buying it, the SA-2.

Wow the Ref 8/Master 8 must be quite a combo! I wonder if the improvements you describe lie more in the 8 DAC chips vs. 4 chips ...or better power conditioning..or balanced output? Hmm the mystery! I think for a single ended setup, what I have is here now is pretty good. The USB-32 is a dream compared to the 8802 interface. However, I see that AGD just released a v1.2 driver for the 8802 the other day so maybe that will narrow the gap between the two. (Of course, right after I upgrade, LOL)

 

That stack is also diamond differential, right? but not "musical" series? 

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post #242 of 394

Kingwa includes the Reference 8 in his list of diamond differential products in the history section of the SA-31 page, so I figure it counts. Although the SA-1 is the first dac to carry the SA name, it looks like all diamond differential dacs fall under the musical series.

 

It's probably the balanced operation that's making most of the difference here. The Reference 8 is not much better than the SA-1 with my SRM1/MK2 and Arete, but you do get a more spacious presentation on the Master 8 vs the SA-31. 

 

On the Reference 8 product page, Kingwa mentions exactly that: "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". 

post #243 of 394
Has anyone here tried the SA-31 with the HD600s?
post #244 of 394
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJG888 View Post

Has anyone here tried the SA-31 with the HD600s?

 

It worked well enough for me with my HD 580. Results in a smooth and laid back sound with decent bass weight. Recommended if you have a preference for a warmish frequency response.. 

post #245 of 394
Have just placed my order.

Will be using it with HE-500, HD600 and ATH-A900X
post #246 of 394
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJG888 View Post

Have just placed my order.

Will be using it with HE-500, HD600 and ATH-A900X

 

SA-31 + HE500 is a stunning combo! I traded my HE500 for T1 but will get the Hifimans again as soon as I can.

post #247 of 394
Used the SA-31 with:

LCD2, HE400, HE-4 (incredibly hard to drive), HD650, K702 65th Anniversary as some notables.


All of them sounded magnificent with it.
post #248 of 394

HE-4, HE-500 and HE-5LEs for me, all with great success!

 

I can't say the HE-400 sounded good on it, because they don't sound good in general ph34r.gif

post #249 of 394
Is the front panel XLR socket intended for the AKG K1000? Does this combination work?
post #250 of 394
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJG888 View Post

Is the front panel XLR socket intended for the AKG K1000? Does this combination work?

 

I would hope so.

Probably not intended, but it should work fine.

Once again dependent on the source as well (definitely not with portable devices, most likely with PCs, laptops, etc)

 

I am just guessing here, perhaps someone can chime in

post #251 of 394

I am considering ordering some equipment from Audio-gd. It kind of appears to be a bit complicated, ordering and paying for the equipment. Can someone who has actually done this kind of give me a 'heads-up' on the procedure.

post #252 of 394
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post

I am considering ordering some equipment from Audio-gd. It kind of appears to be a bit complicated, ordering and paying for the equipment. Can someone who has actually done this kind of give me a 'heads-up' on the procedure.


Send their a mail (see "contacts us") with equipement you want specify voltage region , custom options if needed, they will get you back with some kind of bill (check that everying is correct) , and their paypal account or bank transfer , when payement is done sent reply , and they will say that they receiv your payment and will contact you when goods shiped  .

 

well at least it's what happened last time i ordered some goods from A-GD .

post #253 of 394
It's arrived and is warming up. Impressions to follow...
post #254 of 394
I've now had a chance to listen to the SA-31, albeit briefly.

First impressions were not great. The amp arrived on time and in good condition, but some of the fit and finish reminded me of British "cottage industry" hi-fi of the 80s (think Myst, early Exposure etc.). The enclosure Itself is solid and undamaged, and is clearly made from high-grade aluminum. Many of the screws, however, are not countersunk. The remote appears to be milled from a solid aluminum billet (good redface.gif), but the battery compartment cover is a thin sliver of aluminum which bows out in the middle, and the screws attaching it stand proud, to scratch whatever surface it is resting on (bad mad.gif). Also, the backplane has clearly been lifted from an NFB-6 (some of the RCA sockets are labelled "XLR" and "ACSS"). Model name and serial number are handwritten on sticky labels.

I don't want to belittle Kingwa's achievement - this is a low-volume, specialist product built by a small company, and the bulk of the money has been spent where it matters: on the inside! It's just that we have been spoilt by the quality of companies such as Opera Consonance or Matrix' casework.

Now to the important bit: the sound. I tried it with the HE-500 and HD600. Interestingly, the 300 Ohm Sennheisers need about as much power to drive them as the HE-500s (unlike the transformer-coupled tube amp I am used to). All listening was carried out on the low gain setting, and never above a volume setting of 30. The source was the Opera Consonance CD2.3, an upsampling CD player with a tube output stage producing about 2.3V.

Initial impressions were of a warm, lazy sound with little midrange detail or transparency. The HD600s were soporific, the planars just so-so. I couldn't believe that this was all the amp was capable of, so I left it running for about 3 hours on the HE-500s, and came back later. I presume this must have something to do with the capacitors needing to form, as the sound was transformed. Still not perfect, but much clearer and more transparent. Where it improves on the Cyber 20 is in the area of soundstage width (enormous) and bass extension (seemingly bottomless). Dynamics are also a major improvement over the tube amp! Where it still loses out to the Cyber 20 is in absolute midrange transparency and image depth. The SA-31 is "CinemaScope" rather than holographic.

I tried the HD600s again early this morning, before leaving for the office - still very veiled, but an absolutely black background. I have yet to try the Audio Technicas.

On balance, then, an interesting niche product with considerable potential. I do feel that it is perhaps better suited to low impedance cans (especially orthos), and that it will need MUCH more burning-in.

Am I correct in assuming that it is factory set to the least warm setting? I haven't opened it up....

When it has perhaps 100 or so hours on the clock, I will publish a full review. This amp promises to be something of a big block V8 for your ears...
post #255 of 394

I've had some of the same experiences. I came from an M-Stage to the SA-31, and was a little bit worried at first. The M-Stage is an absolute bargain, sounds great right away, and the build quality is flawless. The SA-31 looked a bit rough, and sounded odd in the beginning. My impression is that it takes quite a bit of time, definitely more than 50 hours, to get it to sound the way it's supposed to. It may have taken several hundred hours, but now I'm totally happy with it. It's fast and powerful, has the black background people often talk about with Audio GD gear, and a great sense of spaciousness. Also, the three warmth settings are very useful (even if it seems like intentional coloration of the sound, which I guess is "bad"). On the HE500 I used the default setting (no added warmth), but on the T1 I've been experimenting with the other two. I got pretty much the same output level with both phones, despite very different impedance and sensitivity (the T1 is 600 ohm).

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