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post #826 of 1957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

The whole digital board is different. I don't notice a significant difference between my AP1/PP and the USB 32 in all honesty. The AP1/PP is slightly better, but definitely not $1k+ better, which is not its fault, but more so a reflection of the improvements in the M7's design. I'm excited at the possibility of an OR5 bringing the M7 up another level, as that is exactly what I'm after.

 

Many thanks for your AP1/2+M7 impressions. I agree that the USB32 implementation is very good. The A-gd DI-VI3 has improved my old A-gd DacOne to a whole new level. 

 

I have been considering the OR5 I2S path for my M7 as well but still not sure about the investment. I am glad that I can exclude the AP1/2 from my list because the AP1/2 investment seems unjustifiable for the M7. I will wait for more impressions with the OR5-I2S-M7 combo :)

post #827 of 1957

I'm always cautious and worried that others will not get the same result when I recommend gear like the OR5 because the changes tend to be subtle and others' results could different because of different gear synergies. I think I've mentioned that my M7 is mainly used for speaker listening. But I went back today to the USB just to make sure I wasn't crazy. The difference, at least to me, was readily apparent (like instantly upon the first sounds*)

 

Compared to the OR5 on a relative basis, this is what I heard with the USB (graded on levels of yuckiness):

 

  1. MINOR: A splashiness or brittleness in the mid-treble, yet lacking air. Perhaps an emphasis there, which should NOT be confused with nasty digital glare, typically most often heard from many, but not all ESS9018 based DACs. This behavior in the treble probably contributed to an overall sense of the middle-midrange sounding pushed back. With my speaker setup, I did not like the M7 USB's tonal balance. My preference would have been for a more prominent midrange. NOTE: Use of either coax input via CD transport or i2S input via the OR5, completely, 100%, resolved the tonal balance issue for me. It brought the midrange back.
  2. MAJOR: Shallow soundstage with poor layering and separation of instruments. Fuzzy and unstable placement of instruments and vocals. The difference was HUGE compared to the OR5 + USB cable with the +5V cut from it.
  3. MINOR: Gray sounding background. 
  4. MODERATE: Slight rounding of attacks. Slow and and less precise transients. Less fine detail and microdynamics. Less macrodynamic capability. These issues combined with the stage, layering, and separation issues resulted in a more dead and boring sound.

 

I would not have purchased the M7 with what I heard from the USB. From strictly the coax input, the M7 would be 50/50 (with the M7 being complementary to the PWD2 sound). From the OR5 i2s, the M7 would replace my old reference (PWD2/OR5 i2s), which it has.

 

* I came home from dinner, put on the stereo, and for the life of me couldn't figure out what was wrong with my system. It didn't sound right. I thought I had accidentally kicked something loose or my sub-woofer processor on was the fritz. It turned out I forgot to switch the input back to i2s from USB. So I would say that the differences are not subtle as long as we are talking about differences within the realm of DACs.


Edited by purrin - 9/30/13 at 7:59pm
post #828 of 1957

Been listening to the Master 7 with USB32 interface exclusively for the past 3 - 4 months.  A few days ago I switched back to the Audiophilleo 1 + PP and have been missing out.  The contrast was noticed immediately.  Don't get me wrong I love the Master 7 but on my system with USB32 there is some upper end glare, edginess, and silibance on vocals.  AP1 imaging is more focused as well as better rhythmic timing that is apparent in the bass.  Very slight but clearly audible differences.

 

I have to qualify my comments above in that the setup is the AP1 with Master 7 Input 1 and the DIR9001 S/PDIF chip.  There is something magical and synergistic about this combination that brings out the best in both products.  And the experience is heightened with Redbook CD format audio (44.1/16).  It really sounds out of this world good.

 

This is just my opinion from experience and have no stake in the game other than I'm a music lover.  I think the Master 7 is a wonderful DAC that I use every day and will keep for years.  The only drawback currently is the DIR9001 S/PDIF chip only supports up to 96kHz sampling rates.


Edited by DACLadder - 10/1/13 at 12:51pm
post #829 of 1957

Since we all have different systems, and if its not too much trouble, I think it would be more useful if the folks who have the ability to compare the M7's USB32 to other devices could list what music they are listening to and their impressions.  That way others can see if we can duplicate what you have heard and see if the USB32 exhibits the same character in our systems.

post #830 of 1957

The only way to maybe duplicate what I've heard is to obtain an OR5 (i2s / coax) or a sufficiently good CD transport (coax). My impressions of the M7 USB were not absolute, but relative to i2S and coax in the stated configurations. The M7 USB is not bad by any means, but oftentimes, it's not possible to hear better (and realize what you currently have is worse) unless you actually have heard some better (or have enough experience with a lot of great sounding stuff to know exactly which sonic attributes of your existing equipment can be improved to suit your specific preferences.)

 

As for music, I would be more than happy to list my test tracks (a combination of both good and marginal recordings to test specific attributes of overall sonics of gear.) But the statements I made above regarding USB generally apply to all the recordings I listen to.


Edited by purrin - 10/1/13 at 11:19am
post #831 of 1957
Just being curious, what speakers did you hear the difference in. As I have just headphones and the audio one ph with pure power . Although I hear a small difference I cannot tell as to what it is , it might be the volume being slightly off.

Al D
post #832 of 1957

I'm using cheap Fostex fe166 6" drivers into a cheap rear loaded horn box on stands for slight elevation of the horn mouth from the floor (Madisound BK-16 box). There are no crossover components between the Schiit Mjolnir and the mains. (Yes, I'm using the Mjolinr to drive the mains). The mains are augmented by Fostex T90 supertweeters for the last octave using only a single cap. The preamp outs of the Mjolnir are sent to a cheap Behringer DCX2496 acting as a subwoofer processor to cheap slightly modded HSU STF-2 sub. Sub is in a corner for SPL loading, and the mains are each at least 3' from any wall.

 

Frequency response of the speakers at the listening position (see below) were calibrated via digital PEQ to something similar (but less rolled off because my room is fairly absorbant / diffuse) to an ideal frequency response usually cited by studio engineers as a slight downward slope of 6db to 10db (6db is where it is actually at) from bottom to top of the audio band. Final adjustments were done by ear.


Edited by purrin - 10/2/13 at 5:47pm
post #833 of 1957
Thanks for relying, why are you so sarcastic in your comments?

I was asking a simple question...

When I have time I will use with infinity ref series 5 system and see if my old ears can hear it. Last question how do you know the m7 is better or worse with each setup . With no real ref to use as a standard, this is why others here are questioning your methods . But I am not dough ting what you hear, I also own the ps audio mk2 and I do agree the m7 blows it away in clarity.

AlD
post #834 of 1957
I'm actually not being sarcastic at all. I'm serious this time around. Just trying to provide as much information as possible.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALRAINBOW View Post

Last question how do you know the m7 is better or worse with each setup . With no real ref to use as a standard, this is why others here are questioning your methods . 
 
I'm not sure I understand this question about having no real reference. The speaker setup and amp does not change. I listened to the M7 using USB, then coax from OR5, then i2S from OR5, then my reference which I was most familiar with, the PWD2 via i2s from OR5. The M7 sounded best from the OR5 via i2s. This is how I know the m7, at least via OR5 i2s, sounded the best.

The same set of test tracks was used each listen where upon I took notes.

Edited by purrin - 10/2/13 at 7:21pm
post #835 of 1957
I have both the Master 7 and the Reference 7 in house at the moment. A few days back, when I first plugged the Master 7 in (using Audiophileo + Aqvox > Balancing Act > HD800) I was taken in for a bit of a whammy. I first noticed the considerably (only by audio-patter standards) widened soundstage (from the PWD MKII + bridge). I chalked this up to Amber Rubarth's wonderfully recorded binaural album (Sessions From the 17th Ward) and to speak the truth there hasn't been a DAC, amp or headphone that sounded poorly with this album. It's since become clear, however, that both the RE7 and Master 7 have an elongated left to right pan compared to my other DAC's, in addition to a superbly open, 3D soundstage.

The second aspect, and this came more as a surprise, was the great body the Master 7 showed. The PWD was the de facto champ in the body/solidity department and at first glance this was matched or exceeded by the M7. Lastly, the M7 is very resolving. It digs deeper than the RE7 and consequently is less forgiving. I'll need to return to the M7, after spending a few days with the RE7 to confirm this point and hopefully gauge the degree of this improvement. I believe it has mostly to do with leading edges; a sharper introduction of a new sound, particularly during variegated passages or on finely nuanced albums. I can say, however, without question I prefer the more rounded, bloated even, bass presentation of the RE7. For me at least, this is a welcome relief from the Delta Sigma signature I've inadvertently grown accustomed to.

Where both of these DAC's are really tingling is in their tonality. This really is an area that is difficult to put your finger on, and undoubtedly is prone to inexorable points of view, but both of these DAC's coerce you to put down the book, turn off the monitor, nestle into your favorite cranny and listen...closely. It startling sometimes, and in this area I cannot say that the one (M7) is any better than the other (RE7). If the RE7 exhibited just a bit more definition in the unveiling of a new sound, just a hair more clang and emergence, I'd forget the M7 and the way it dredges details out of the muck of a recording. As it stands I need more time or an i2s input (RE7) so I can finally give Steve over at offramp the green-go.
Edited by ericfarrell85 - 10/2/13 at 7:35pm
post #836 of 1957

I haven't heard the RE7 in a while, but I do remember the edges or attacks being softened in relation to the M7. The M7 appeals to me because as you indicated, it very much has that "modern" sound. It's more "sigma-delta" than not in terms of resolution, edge, attack, etc, but yet it still maintains that cohesiveness and liquidity which reminds me of vinyl, not to mention the sense of body to instruments and vocals. The PWD2 by comparison is slightly more raspy and disjointed.

 

But yeah, I've been spending many late nights up for the express purpose of listening to this DAC. It's basically a NO DAC to me - until I find something better.

post #837 of 1957
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

I haven't heard the RE7 in a while, but I do remember the edges or attacks being softened in relation to the M7. The M7 appeals to me because as you indicated, it very much has that "modern" sound. It's more "sigma-delta" than not in terms of resolution, edge, attack, etc, but yet it still maintains that cohesiveness and liquidity which reminds me of vinyl, not to mention the sense of body to instruments and vocals. The PWD2 by comparison is slightly more raspy and disjointed.

 

But yeah, I've been spending many late nights up for the express purpose of listening to this DAC. It's basically a NO DAC to me - until I find something better.

 

If my short experience with both the Metrum Quad and the Reference 5.32 is any indication, the M7 has the same benefit over the RE7 as the Quad had over the Ref5: more snappy/dynamic and energetic sound. That's definitely good for me!

 

Now, how the HEX compares to the M7 remains an unanswered question.

Did anyone hear both?

post #838 of 1957
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericfarrell85 View Post

I have both the Master 7 and the Reference 7 in house at the moment. A few days back, when I first plugged the Master 7 in (using Audiophileo + Aqvox > Balancing Act > HD800) I was taken in for a bit of a whammy. I first noticed the considerably (only by audio-patter standards) widened soundstage (from the PWD MKII + bridge). I chalked this up to Amber Rubarth's wonderfully recorded binaural album (Sessions From the 17th Ward) and to speak the truth there hasn't been a DAC, amp or headphone that sounded poorly with this album. It's since become clear, however, that both the RE7 and Master 7 have an elongated left to right pan compared to my other DAC's, in addition to a superbly open, 3D soundstage.

The second aspect, and this came more as a surprise, was the great body the Master 7 showed. The PWD was the de facto champ in the body/solidity department and at first glance this was matched or exceeded by the M7. Lastly, the M7 is very resolving. It digs deeper than the RE7 and consequently is less forgiving. I'll need to return to the M7, after spending a few days with the RE7 to confirm this point and hopefully gauge the degree of this improvement. I believe it has mostly to do with leading edges; a sharper introduction of a new sound, particularly during variegated passages or on finely nuanced albums. I can say, however, without question I prefer the more rounded, bloated even, bass presentation of the RE7. For me at least, this is a welcome relief from the Delta Sigma signature I've inadvertently grown accustomed to.

Where both of these DAC's are really tingling is in their tonality. This really is an area that is difficult to put your finger on, and undoubtedly is prone to inexorable points of view, but both of these DAC's coerce you to put down the book, turn off the monitor, nestle into your favorite cranny and listen...closely. It startling sometimes, and in this area I cannot say that the one (M7) is any better than the other (RE7). If the RE7 exhibited just a bit more definition in the unveiling of a new sound, just a hair more clang and emergence, I'd forget the M7 and the way it dredges details out of the muck of a recording. As it stands I need more time or an i2s input (RE7) so I can finally give Steve over at offramp the green-go.

 

 

E,

 

Do you now "only" use the bridge with the PWD2?  Did it lose some of the body when compared to the USB input or when using a converter?  While i considered the Master 7 dead to nuts neutral it didn't carry the same weight the PWD2 did IMO.  But I never used the USB inputs on either.  I also want to try out the bridge on the PWD2 before it goes by by..

 

When is that Lampi 4 /4 coming in?  

post #839 of 1957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post
 

 

Now, how the HEX compares to the M7 remains an unanswered question.

Did anyone hear both?

 

 

ericfarrell85 heard both.  I think at different times though.  Didn't seem like the HEX added any improvements over what he has, just some differences.  I could be wrong so i'll let him explain.

post #840 of 1957
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

 

 

ericfarrell85 heard both.  I think at different times though.  Didn't seem like the HEX added any improvements over what he has, just some differences.  I could be wrong so i'll let him explain.

 

When will you get that AMR?

It's certainly too expensive for me, but if that's an end-game DAC, then why not...

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