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Audio-Gd Master 7 - Discrete Fully Balanced DAC (PCM1704) - Page 9

post #121 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

About the Octave though: I thought the soundstage wasn't as wide using it -- more deep. The M7 and Calyx produce a wider sound with the gear I own.

 

 

That's my observation too (on the lesser Quad vs Reference 5 though). The sound is closer to the listener on the Quad (which contributes to the "live" sound it produces) and makes it more in-depth. The Ref 5 portrays the music from a more distant standpoint and gives more a global view of the scene. The soundstage on the Quad, by comparison, seems to extend endlessly behind the singer, which I find very cool!

post #122 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

No. It depends on how warm the circuits are. They sound best when everything has heated up well.

 

 

OK so I'm currently in the market for a so called "high end" DAC.  On my list right now is:

 

Master 7

PWD2

DA11

Alpha DAC 2

 

 

Can you compare these?

 

I wish I could! Don't have a local shop here that has all of these in stock to try unfortunately.

post #123 of 2067

Never Mind.  Just scooped up a PWD2  Thanks anyway..biggrin.gif

post #124 of 2067
Completely agree with Currawong. That was one of the first things I posted about Audio-gd DACs ages ago. To sound their best they need to fully warm up for at least 45 to 90 minutes. Kingwa also does not recommend you leave the Ref 7.1 (and presumably the Master 7 for the same reasons) powered on for more than 8 hours a day. How many of us have that much free time to spend listening though? I surely don't.

I'm not really convinced enough to upgrade my 7.1 to the new model because the new features it employs would be virtually useless to me now. Perhaps in the future though. I've already been from the Ref 1 to the Ref 7 to the Ref 7.1 and I'm quite content with the way my system sounds. I have optimally modded my Logitech Transporter to mate perfectly with the Ref 7.1, and you really do need a superior transport with it if you want to get the most from it. I've heard the digital section in the Master 7 is a little better but I could really only justify that upgrade now if my transport wasn't as good as it is.
post #125 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post

Completely agree with Currawong. That was one of the first things I posted about Audio-gd DACs ages ago. To sound their best they need to fully warm up for at least 45 to 90 minutes. Kingwa also does not recommend you leave the Ref 7.1 (and presumably the Master 7 for the same reasons) powered on for more than 8 hours a day. How many of us have that much free time to spend listening though? I surely don't.
I'm not really convinced enough to upgrade my 7.1 to the new model because the new features it employs would be virtually useless to me now. Perhaps in the future though. I've already been from the Ref 1 to the Ref 7 to the Ref 7.1 and I'm quite content with the way my system sounds. I have optimally modded my Logitech Transporter to mate perfectly with the Ref 7.1, and you really do need a superior transport with it if you want to get the most from it. I've heard the digital section in the Master 7 is a little better but I could really only justify that upgrade now if my transport wasn't as good as it is.

 

I'm of the same thinking. But, there are other improvements aside from just the USB input I think. Otherwise, Currawong wouldn't have noticed improvements on the M7 over the Ref7.1 when using his Audiophilleo.

post #126 of 2067
Yeah I'm not saying there are no other benefits to be gained. I haven't heard it. I believe Currawong upgraded his unit to the M7 by replacing some parts, not actually getting a whole new DAC.

The biggest upgrade to my ears was when Kingwa released the V5 DSP-1. It was many times better than any previous version.

I guess you'd have to hear my system for yourself to judge though. I've had more than a few tell me it was the best system they had ever heard (and I'd hope so with as much as I've put into it).
post #127 of 2067

Yeah, that custom transporter really seems to be killer.

post #128 of 2067
Damn...M7 sounds warm but still balance and 100% dead precise at all ...
post #129 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post

Yeah I'm not saying there are no other benefits to be gained. I haven't heard it. I believe Currawong upgraded his unit to the M7 by replacing some parts, not actually getting a whole new DAC.
The biggest upgrade to my ears was when Kingwa released the V5 DSP-1. It was many times better than any previous version.
I guess you'd have to hear my system for yourself to judge though. I've had more than a few tell me it was the best system they had ever heard (and I'd hope so with as much as I've put into it).

 

Yea, I have the V5 DSP-1 in mine. The Ref7.1 is a pretty good DAC. I don't see any reason to upgrade despite this release, now that I have a good transport feeding it.

 

Even still, I'd like to know the cost and difficulty of upgrading a Ref7.1 to the M7. If it's cheap and easy enough, I might just go for it anyways.

post #130 of 2067

I have a question about the design of some of the Audio-Gd DAC's. It seems that many of the WM8741 based DAC's use two chips while the 1704 based DACS use either four or eight chips. Why such difference in the number of chips used between the different DAC's?

 

This may not be the right place to post this question but not sure where the right place would be. Thanks for any insight, Garth 

post #131 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by gakaudio View Post

I have a question about the design of some of the Audio-Gd DAC's. It seems that many of the WM8741 based DAC's use two chips while the 1704 based DACS use either four or eight chips. Why such difference in the number of chips used between the different DAC's?

 

This may not be the right place to post this question but not sure where the right place would be. Thanks for any insight, Garth 

 

It's because the WM8741 has a dual output per chip, whereas the PCM1704 only has a single output. You need two WM8741s for a balanced DAC, and four for a balanced PCM1704 DAC.

 

Audio-GD also parallels PCM1704s in some cases (2 per single ended channel in their current SA series, for example). This improves dynamic range of the chip and also increases the linearity of some types of current-to-voltage conversion. Kingwa appears to use a resistor-type I/V in at least some of his DACs, and you can use half the value of the resistor for the same output level if you parallel them.

post #132 of 2067

I emailed Kingwa and he gave me a pretty detailed response that I think is worth sharing here:

(Just changed a few grammar-related things here and there).

 

"Dear Shahrose,
 
The Master 7 has a different sound from the Reference 7.1. We picked up on the advance of the ES9018, the qualities of the PCM1704, and redesigned the new DSP software to process data. The M7 overall is better than the ES9018 DAC while it retains the neutral sound of the PCM1704.
 
I can't be sure if you would like the sound. It's much more transparent and dynamic than the Reference 7.1, but still has a rich (not dry or thin sound). But again, a very different sound.
 
The Master 7's upgrades over the Ref7.1 are not just limited to the USB input, but both BNC and other inputs as well. The new DSP software makes the gear more able to accurately process the data to improve all inputs. However, now the USB32 has very high performance as well, so in most cases, one won't need the extra conversion from a transport as much as the Ref7.1.
 
I feel the modification of the Ref7.1 to the M7 (if you are interested) is somewhat difficult. This is because it requires replacing a board and do some rewiring. Of concern in particular are the power wires, which, if connected the wrong way, could destroy the board in a few seconds. Maybe you can ask Currawong if it's difficult?
 
We are willing to offer the upgrade kit for users looking to improve their gear, but because we can't be sure of how well the user installs the upgrade, we can't include any resultant damages under warranty. If something goes wrong, someone less-experienced could ruin their DAC and lose their money.
 
Kingwa"
post #133 of 2067

I thought replacing the board wouldn't be difficult, but it was unexpected things that caused issues, mainly with the back plate. The M7 is assembled with the assumption that it wont be disassembled at any time, making parts of the job very frustrating. It's really a job for someone experienced in DIY, including plenty of experience with case work.

 

The M7 digital board is longer than the R7.1 digital board, so the small shield box around the power socket has to be removed. There is enough slack in the internal power cable (itself in a shielded tunnel underneath the digital board) to take off the back plate and pull it out a couple of inches. However, due to all the glue covering the solder joints, either you have to replace the power socket (preferably with one that uses nice, solid core pins) or you're in for a nasty, fiddly job of removing solder mixed with glue.  The internal power cable also has a dielectric that is far from ideal for wire that is soldered, as it melts and stretches, so in the end I put crimp terminals on them, covered with heat shrink so if ever I have to, I can remove the back plate without having to deal with soldering and de-soldering that wire.  Later on, while I was in Yodobashi Camera, I found the perfect speaker/power wire which has dual sheaths in between which is a shield. I now wish I'd replaced the internal power wire with that instead. 

 

The rest of the board replacement was fairly straight-forward, but quite fiddly, as you have to do things such as prop the digital board up while you solder the power wires on and the front and rear panels have to be worked on while half-off. I ended up using Scotch tape to hold them in place at an angle while I soldered the wires in. 

post #134 of 2067

MoonUnit, thanks a lot for the insight. I didn't know that about the different chip outputs. You lost me a bit at the end of you explination but I get the jist.

 

- Garth

post #135 of 2067

Hi,

A few months back I added a digital switchboard under the Ref 7.1 motherboard to get access to two extra inputs for using with I2S signals. It worked well but the back of dac looked a bit ugly with a flatcable hanging out beside in the gap of a creative angled Tenor 8802L-USB board...where the AES-XLR had been positioned earlier..

Well, a while ago, Kingwa let me know of the possibility to upgrade with the the new Master-7-board,  the new USB 32-board, the new backplate, and I bought the kit at once. I did the upgrade this weekend and yesterday I finished the work. Currawong cought the experience of the upgrade very well. I shorted the "shielding-box" to make it possble to refit over the power inlet, with the longer M7-board. I also replaced all the interconnect cables with high quality silver w teflonisolation. The USB32-board and a RJ45-input was added inside. When I put in the ordered I also added TCXO's on both the M7-, and the USB32-boards. I think they will repay on the sound later.

 

The sound.

I am feeding it with high resolution music through the USB32 from a Squeezebox Touch (EDO) in asynchronous mode.. and Yes, it is already very, very good. But as most of You know....It will be much better with loads of burn in/aging. The oscillators and the new electronics have settle before You really know what it can achieve. Dark Knight is so right about long time burn in on Audio-gd gears.

 

I will at least give it couple of weeks (~500h) of burn in before I give it a real verdict.

 

The upgrade is recommended for people with some experience of working with electronics.

 

/Jan


Edited by JaMo - 12/10/12 at 11:36pm
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