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post #841 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post
 

 

When will you get that AMR?

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

 

It's on the way.  I also upgraded the caps to Duelund VSF Black capacitors.  So it will take a day or so to do this as well.

post #842 of 2067
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.

 

Yah, looking forward to this! I'm still deciding between VEGA Auralic, HEX, M7 :/

post #843 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

 

 

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?  

 

I have been using the bridge on the PWD from the first week that it came into my hands. I believe I tried the USB for a day or so in the very beginning, and then took for granted that everyone knew what they were talking about when they mentioned the superiority of the bridge. I haven't tried the Audiophilleo on the PWD either, which I should, as repeatedly I found it to improve my setup, in spite of the DAC. Maybe the AP2 is just my cup of tea, as it's the purchase that I find keeps on giving.  As for you trying out the bridge, we spoke about this, and I definitely think you should. I won't say what it adds until I revisit the USB, but the PWD really is very good. While say someone like Purrin, with his resplendent ears, could pick the PWD's flaws apart with a surgical knife, I only ever found it to be lacking in one area, one zit so to speak that I cannot remove. There is a harshness or stridency somewhere in the upper-mids, a digititus that runs inverse to the very thing that makes this a great DAC: a union of liquidity and spirited dynamics. What's interesting in my system is that this doesn't produce a bright, tiresome sound, but instead takes something of the chroma or hue away from a recording. A homogeneity sets in and my interest in the music sometimes can start to grow dim. This is where I'm finding the RE7 and M7 rewarding, for it seems to enrich the music for me.

 

*I usually find that I agree with your views Darryl, so I'm a little surprised that we do not agree on the sense of weight from the M7. I don't know that it matches the electrifying dynamics and volume contrasts of the PWD, but instruments have a burly weight and presence in my system. 

 

 

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.

 

It needs to be noted that I didn't spend a lot of time with the HEX (2-3 hours) and also took the less accurate attitude of letting the music draw me in, rather than determinedly look to analyze. My hazy conclusion was that the HEX was very solid, particularly in the area of grain, where it was cleaner/blacker than the PWD by a fair amount. I also felt it may have been a little more resolving than the PWD, but this was on the order of subtle. The soundstage was also solid, but not anything you would go out of your way to talk about. With my Stax setup, the HEX was too halcyon compared to the PWD (which I feel does particularly well with the Stax). Tranquil and at rest is not what I look for in a DAC, and with the Stax at least, that's what it gave me. Also, the vocals on a certain album (Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left) were a bit closed-in compared to the PWD. I couldn't reproduce this closed-in sound consistently so I just chalked it up to a poor album match. As I was telling Darryl, to discriminate between two sources is a difficult task, and for me at least, takes time. It's usually the finer nuances that are discovered over time, and often unintentionally, which then provide an atlas for further understanding (the audio gd DAC's are the exception to the rule for me, presenting themselves different right away).
 

In short, the HEX was solid, with no glaring flaws, but a little too clean, a little humdrum, and did not provide enough variance to set it apart from the hodgepodge of DAC's in the 3k region. Again though, my time with it was short and ostensibly I kept my analysis-blade sheathed, so take that for what it's worth, which is not much. 


Edited by ericfarrell85 - 10/3/13 at 7:26am
post #844 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

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.

 

Most of use have multiple sources, that's why I was asking.  Also, alot of us have experience with great sounding gear.  I can easily compare USB32 to the M7's other inputs as I have a cd player that has a low jitter digital output.  I could also compare it setups my friends have who own high end gear.  So knowing a list of songs and your impressions of each would be beneficial.  It would also help to know what firmware you are using for the USB32 and what output method (ASIO, WASAPI etc) as I have heard major differences between firmware and small differences between output modes.    

 

My main concern, before spending $1.3K for a OR5 which I am sort of leaning towards, is diminishing returns.  I may hear the same difference between outputs as you but I might not deem it to be worth spending another $1000 or more. The only way to know if it matters to me or other people is if we can hear the same music you used across different inputs and see if our impressions match yours.  That would be powerful evidence for the OR5 being greatly superior or to the USB32.  

 

I understand if you don't have time, as it could be time consuming.  I was about to pull the trigger on a OR5 not to long ago but I have read way too many comparisons and there is really no consensus.  Most people state that it is very good but lots of people prefer other devices.      


Edited by ciphercomplete - 10/3/13 at 10:57am
post #845 of 2067

Ah got it. It's kind of a time / effort issue to denote specifics from track to track. Also complicated by the fact that a lot of recordings I use now are remastered by LFF. I'll take a quick stab.

 

I don't know which USB revision I'm using. It should be the latest since I just got my M7 new from AGD. Using ASIO.

 


 

Taken from my handwritten scribbles: (not exactly complete,but hopefully give you some picture).

 

Stanley Black - The Magnificent Seven Theme - LSO / LFF remaster 

 

USB:

Percussion (shaker and snappy thingies) had a slight hint of splashiness or brittleness - not a major concern. Sections of the orchestra (horns, strings, percussion) were kind of a blobs instead of having pin-point location. Individual instruments could not be discerned as well - did not have good separation or layering in-depth. Everything seemed squashed together in a flat image. There was little sense of back to front space of the venue. Slight rounding of attacks with horns and drums. Crescendos of horns and percussion did not bite or impact as hard. Less low-level information. Lacking ambient cues, little noises going on in the background, ruffling of pages.

 

OR5-i2s: Image was slightly wider just beyond the speakers. Could sense the size of the concert hall. Sections of the orchestra and individual instruments more precisely placed and easily heard - great depth and front to back layering. Little bit able to pick up on the minor things going on in the background. More able to heard the distinct grains and quality of noise. (It's a noisy recording by modern standards and I know LFF does not like to use noise reduction.) Overall more energetic with more more precision, layering, and depth in stage.


Taylor Swift - Teardrops on my Guitar (ripped from original CD)

 

USB:

Sibilants of Taylor Swift's voice a bit edgy, cymbals, high hats sounded brittleness or had a hard sounding quality and lacked shimmer and air. Lower fundamentals of Taylor's vocals, and body of guitar plucks sound recessed. Taylor, guitar, banjo did not were kind of a blob instead of having pin-point location. Taylor's voice was not as stable in one place (nitpicking here). Vocals, guitar, banjo, drums all seemed squashed together in a flat image front to back. There was no sense of back to front space in the recording. Stage was between the speakers. Rounding of attacks with snares, strings, and drums. Drums did not impact as hard. Less low-level information. Lacking ambient cues, little things going on in the background in the studio, how the track was mixed, tail end of string instrument decay, clarity of individual background vocalists. Overall this track seemed slow and duller.

 

OR5-i2s:

No issues. Ah the midrange is back. Stage just beyond speakers L to R. Deeper stage, but not a recording which is that deep. Vocals moved upfront a bit more. More dynamic, clearer. Overall faster sounding. vs slow and plodding (USB) More precise transients/ bite with the strings.

 


 

I could go on and on, but it's pretty much the same story between those two inputs. The coax from the OR5 has a similar effect, but not to the extent of the i2s, but close to it, like 75%. The issue with this of course is that OR5 coax out will of course sound different from CD-Transport coax out.  A friend of mine tested 5-6 CD transport coax outs. They all sounded different. He prefers his vintage Denon coax to the OR5 i2s (at least for his PWD2.)

 

FYI, Emprical Audio has a 30 day return policy on the OR5. A home trial is probably the best approach because although one can get an idea of its sonics from others descriptions, it's impossible to discern if you will hear the same thing, and even if you do, that the differences will be worth $1.3K


Edited by purrin - 10/3/13 at 11:30am
post #846 of 2067

BTW, has anyone tried NOS (Alteera chip bypass) with the M7? Very interesting sound.

post #847 of 2067

I have not tried the NOS with the M7 but I tried it with my Reference One a long time ago. The sound was interesting but I returned to 8x oversampling and liked the oversampling mode more. I also experimented with various oversampling settings and found the 8X mode to be the best for me. But I have recently bought the NOS1704 DAC and the NOS sound is very nice with this DAC.

 

Do you like the NOS sound with your M7? (I will try it one day...)


Edited by seaice - 10/3/13 at 1:06pm
post #848 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericfarrell85 View Post
 

 

I have been using the bridge on the PWD from the first week that it came into my hands. I believe I tried the USB for a day or so in the very beginning, and then took for granted that everyone knew what they were talking about when they mentioned the superiority of the bridge. I haven't tried the Audiophilleo on the PWD either, which I should, as repeatedly I found it to improve my setup, in spite of the DAC. Maybe the AP2 is just my cup of tea, as it's the purchase that I find keeps on giving.  As for you trying out the bridge, we spoke about this, and I definitely think you should. I won't say what it adds until I revisit the USB, but the PWD really is very good. While say someone like Purrin, with his resplendent ears, could pick the PWD's flaws apart with a surgical knife, I only ever found it to be lacking in one area, one zit so to speak that I cannot remove. There is a harshness or stridency somewhere in the upper-mids, a digititus that runs inverse to the very thing that makes this a great DAC: a union of liquidity and spirited dynamics. What's interesting in my system is that this doesn't produce a bright, tiresome sound, but instead takes something of the chroma or hue away from a recording. A homogeneity sets in and my interest in the music sometimes can start to grow dim. This is where I'm finding the RE7 and M7 rewarding, for it seems to enrich the music for me.

 

*I usually find that I agree with your views Darryl, so I'm a little surprised that we do not agree on the sense of weight from the M7. I don't know that it matches the electrifying dynamics and volume contrasts of the PWD, but instruments have a burly weight and presence in my system. 

 

 

 

It needs to be noted that I didn't spend a lot of time with the HEX (2-3 hours) and also took the less accurate attitude of letting the music draw me in, rather than determinedly look to analyze. My hazy conclusion was that the HEX was very solid, particularly in the area of grain, where it was cleaner/blacker than the PWD by a fair amount. I also felt it may have been a little more resolving than the PWD, but this was on the order of subtle. The soundstage was also solid, but not anything you would go out of your way to talk about. With my Stax setup, the HEX was too halcyon compared to the PWD (which I feel does particularly well with the Stax). Tranquil and at rest is not what I look for in a DAC, and with the Stax at least, that's what it gave me. Also, the vocals on a certain album (Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left) were a bit closed-in compared to the PWD. I couldn't reproduce this closed-in sound consistently so I just chalked it up to a poor album match. As I was telling Darryl, to discriminate between two sources is a difficult task, and for me at least, takes time. It's usually the finer nuances that are discovered over time, and often unintentionally, which then provide an atlas for further understanding (the audio gd DAC's are the exception to the rule for me, presenting themselves different right away).
 

In short, the HEX was solid, with no glaring flaws, but a little too clean, a little humdrum, and did not provide enough variance to set it apart from the hodgepodge of DAC's in the 3k region. Again though, my time with it was short and ostensibly I kept my analysis-blade sheathed, so take that for what it's worth, which is not much. 

 

Awesome job eric! That why I don't write reviews, guys like you put me to shame.

post #849 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by cradon View Post
 

 

Awesome job eric! That why I don't write reviews, guys like you put me to shame.

 

Thanks pal. Your generous lending of the M7 and the Hex paved the road for a review.

 

What are you still doing on headfi? I know you found your shangri-la with the Lampi 4 + Stratus.

 

If ever you decide to come up for air and join the rest of us heavy-hearted folk, who haven't yet found their audio hunting-ground, let me know - I'd love to hear that Lampi! 

post #850 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericfarrell85 View Post
 

 

Thanks pal. Your generous lending of the M7 and the Hex paved the road for a review.

 

What are you still doing on headfi? I know you found your shangri-la with the Lampi 4 + Stratus.

 

If ever you decide to come up for air and join the rest of us heavy-hearted folk, who haven't yet found their audio hunting-ground, let me know - I'd love to hear that Lampi! 

 

E,  I'm i the process of doing the same thing you metioned in the PM :eek:   No more goodies for us..  

 

By the way - Congrats..

:beerchug:

post #851 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaice View Post
 

I have not tried the NOS with the M7 but I tried it with my Reference One a long time ago. The sound was interesting but I returned to 8x oversampling and liked the oversampling mode more. I also experimented with various oversampling settings and found the 8X mode to be the best for me. But I have recently bought the NOS1704 DAC and the NOS sound is very nice with this DAC.

 

Do you like the NOS sound with your M7? (I will try it one day...)

 

I didn't think I would, but I actually like it. It's a good break from the hyper-detail the M7 is capable of. In other words, there still plenty to spare. Don't know how to put it, but NOS/bypass mode sounds tonally dense, very saturated, with a jet black background. Like home made ice cream with a lot of heavy whipping cream. It's good enough that I'm considering wiring up a toggle switch on the back of the chassis to go between the two modes.

post #852 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericfarrell85 View Post

I have both the Master 7 and the Reference 7 in house at the moment...

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.

 

 

Hello Eric,

 

I am very much interested in anything further you have to say about the differences between the Ref 7 and the Master 7.  I own a Ref 7 and feed it with the Berkeley Alpha USB convertor.  I wasn't blown away by the Ref 7 until I started feeding it with the Berkeley.  The combination results in beautiful sound with weight and richness, no annoyance in the upper mids, yet retains a wonderful openness and dynamic sound.

 

I have been toying with the idea of buying a Master 7, but two things I read about it keep me from doing so.  The first concern is that I repeatedly read that the Master 7 is less forgiving than the Ref 7.  The second is that people say it moves more towards a delta sigma sound.  I already have a very good delta sigma based DAC (Prism Sound Orpheus), and while it is very smooth and a great performer, I prefer the midrange weight and body of the Ref 7 / Berkeley combo.   This leads me to believe that moving to the Master 7 would be rather redundant, and may result in a sound I don't like as much as the Ref 7.

 

So if anything else comes out in your comparison of the two, please share.

 

Thanks,

Alan

post #853 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by ciphercomplete View Post


My main concern, before spending $1.3K for a OR5 which I am sort of leaning towards, is diminishing returns.  I may hear the same difference between outputs as you but I might not deem it to be worth spending another $1000 or more. The only way to know if it matters to me or other people is if we can hear the same music you used across different inputs and see if our impressions match yours.  That would be powerful evidence for the OR5 being greatly superior or to the USB32.  

I understand if you don't have time, as it could be time consuming.  I was about to pull the trigger on a OR5 not to long ago but I have read way too many comparisons and there is really no consensus.  Most people state that it is very good but lots of people prefer other devices.      

This is also my concern. It may have difference and improvement (if not, nobody would mentioned it to M7), but if these changes worth another $1K. I doubt.
post #854 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by aljordan View Post
 

 

Hello Eric,

 

I am very much interested in anything further you have to say about the differences between the Ref 7 and the Master 7.  I own a Ref 7 and feed it with the Berkeley Alpha USB convertor.  I wasn't blown away by the Ref 7 until I started feeding it with the Berkeley.  The combination results in beautiful sound with weight and richness, no annoyance in the upper mids, yet retains a wonderful openness and dynamic sound.

 

I have been toying with the idea of buying a Master 7, but two things I read about it keep me from doing so.  The first concern is that I repeatedly read that the Master 7 is less forgiving than the Ref 7.  The second is that people say it moves more towards a delta sigma sound.  I already have a very good delta sigma based DAC (Prism Sound Orpheus), and while it is very smooth and a great performer, I prefer the midrange weight and body of the Ref 7 / Berkeley combo.   This leads me to believe that moving to the Master 7 would be rather redundant, and may result in a sound I don't like as much as the Ref 7.

 

So if anything else comes out in your comparison of the two, please share.

 

Thanks,

Alan

 

Sure thing Alan, but I'll need some time. The RE7 is presently in my system and if I can keep the M7 a little longer I'll plug it in over the weekend and report back. As for the M7 and redundancy, noting that I haven't heard the Prism, I have not heard a DAC that can be called redundant to either the M7 or RE7. While it moves towards a delta sigma signature, it doesn't appear to sacrifice much of what made the Reference series so rewarding. I'll know more after the weekend...

post #855 of 2067
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

Ah got it. It's kind of a time / effort issue to denote specifics from track to track. Also complicated by the fact that a lot of recordings I use now are remastered by LFF. I'll take a quick stab.

 

I don't know which USB revision I'm using. It should be the latest since I just got my M7 new from AGD. Using ASIO.

 


 

Taken from my handwritten scribbles: (not exactly complete,but hopefully give you some picture).

 

Stanley Black - The Magnificent Seven Theme - LSO / LFF remaster 

 

USB:

Percussion (shaker and snappy thingies) had a slight hint of splashiness or brittleness - not a major concern. Sections of the orchestra (horns, strings, percussion) were kind of a blobs instead of having pin-point location. Individual instruments could not be discerned as well - did not have good separation or layering in-depth. Everything seemed squashed together in a flat image. There was little sense of back to front space of the venue. Slight rounding of attacks with horns and drums. Crescendos of horns and percussion did not bite or impact as hard. Less low-level information. Lacking ambient cues, little noises going on in the background, ruffling of pages.

 

OR5-i2s: Image was slightly wider just beyond the speakers. Could sense the size of the concert hall. Sections of the orchestra and individual instruments more precisely placed and easily heard - great depth and front to back layering. Little bit able to pick up on the minor things going on in the background. More able to heard the distinct grains and quality of noise. (It's a noisy recording by modern standards and I know LFF does not like to use noise reduction.) Overall more energetic with more more precision, layering, and depth in stage.


Taylor Swift - Teardrops on my Guitar (ripped from original CD)

 

USB:

Sibilants of Taylor Swift's voice a bit edgy, cymbals, high hats sounded brittleness or had a hard sounding quality and lacked shimmer and air. Lower fundamentals of Taylor's vocals, and body of guitar plucks sound recessed. Taylor, guitar, banjo did not were kind of a blob instead of having pin-point location. Taylor's voice was not as stable in one place (nitpicking here). Vocals, guitar, banjo, drums all seemed squashed together in a flat image front to back. There was no sense of back to front space in the recording. Stage was between the speakers. Rounding of attacks with snares, strings, and drums. Drums did not impact as hard. Less low-level information. Lacking ambient cues, little things going on in the background in the studio, how the track was mixed, tail end of string instrument decay, clarity of individual background vocalists. Overall this track seemed slow and duller.

 

OR5-i2s:

No issues. Ah the midrange is back. Stage just beyond speakers L to R. Deeper stage, but not a recording which is that deep. Vocals moved upfront a bit more. More dynamic, clearer. Overall faster sounding. vs slow and plodding (USB) More precise transients/ bite with the strings.

 


 

I could go on and on, but it's pretty much the same story between those two inputs. The coax from the OR5 has a similar effect, but not to the extent of the i2s, but close to it, like 75%. The issue with this of course is that OR5 coax out will of course sound different from CD-Transport coax out.  A friend of mine tested 5-6 CD transport coax outs. They all sounded different. He prefers his vintage Denon coax to the OR5 i2s (at least for his PWD2.)

 

FYI, Emprical Audio has a 30 day return policy on the OR5. A home trial is probably the best approach because although one can get an idea of its sonics from others descriptions, it's impossible to discern if you will hear the same thing, and even if you do, that the differences will be worth $1.3K

 

Thanks a ton man.  I really appreciate it.  I didn't realize Empirical had a 30 trial period.  I think I will definitely try one out now. 


Edited by ciphercomplete - 10/4/13 at 7:03am
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