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Audio-GD Master 9

post #1 of 516
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I apologize if this has already been covered, but I couldn't find a thread for it.

 

Has any had any experience with the Audio-GD Master 9?  How does it compare to other S/S heavy weights?

 

http://www.audio-gd.com/Master/Master-9/Master-9EN.htm

 

And most specifically, how does it pair with HD800's.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 516

Yeah, I'm keen to know how the Master 9 (or Master 8) compares with other top SS amps too. I read somewhere that the Master 8 sounded very close to the GSX mkII which is quite an accomplishment at half the price.

 

With my experience with lesser Audio-Gd amps (i.e. NFB10SE), I tend to find that they have a "dark" house sound (e.g. recessed treble) but with excellent depth and soundstage. Wondering if this is true for the Master 8/9?

 

Would be great if anyone who has heard these amps to chime in.

post #3 of 516
Thread Starter 

The GSX is exactly what I am interested in contrasting it with.  I realize that the GSX should be superior, but but what kind of margin.

 

Also, I would imagine that the darker sound of the Master 9 would favorable with HD800's.

post #4 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfatpaulie View Post
 

The GSX is exactly what I am interested in contrasting it with.  I realize that the GSX should be superior, but but what kind of margin.

 

Also, I would imagine that the darker sound of the Master 9 would favorable with HD800's.

 

No. They should be on par with each other.

 

Keep in mind with AGD products, that 'dark' does not equal 'warm'. Imagine a pitch black blackground, super revealing yet smooth, with deep bass, and extremely source dependent. Pocket the $$ difference and apply it to your dac budget.

 

-Daniel

post #5 of 516
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post
 

 

No. They should be on par with each other.

 

Keep in mind with AGD products, that 'dark' does not equal 'warm'. Imagine a pitch black blackground, super revealing yet smooth, with deep bass, and extremely source dependent. Pocket the $$ difference and apply it to your dac budget.

 

-Daniel

 

Thanks Daniel.  It's on par?  How so?  I mean to say, first, let's be realistic - it is HALF the price.  Second, the GSX MKII is one of the most highly regarded SS amps around, at any price; if the Master 9 is even 'pretty close' why isn't it talked about more?  If for no other reason than the obtainability of the unit...  Third, most (if not all) high end amps need a great source, so both would need an expensive DAC, and that's fine.   I guess what I am asking is why someone would get the HeadAmp over this unit if they are on par?  Is it just a difference is sonic characteristics? 

 

Sorry for all the questions...  It has just really peaked my interest.  And if it is as good as you say, why isn't it all over Head-Fi?

 

(I don't mean to sound smug or disrespectful.  If I am coming off that way, I apologize.  It really is just curiosity.)  

post #6 of 516

Kevin Gilmore (GSX/Dynalo etc designer) holds the Master 5/6/8/9 in extremely high regard. He said he couldn't even AFFORD to purchase the bare parts of the M8 for $1500-let alone SELL it for that. The price difference comes down to two things-being made in China, and the chassis/aesthetics of the Usa-made GSX is surely a fair cost higher. And-we don't know the exact margins-but I'd wager Kingwa, especially with his mass market approach, and huge catalog-nets an extremely small margin-surely less than Justin.

 

Sonically-they are both classified as being wire with gain, extremely neutral (I'd argue the M8 is more neutral). If that's the case (I believe it is based on impressions, and my own Master 8 experience)-then for all intents and purposes they sound pretty darn similar. Dubstep Girl recently made some of the same comparison impressions of the her own GSXII w/ the M8 she just heard at the ChiUnifi meet:http://www.head-fi.org/t/688561/chiunifi-7-5-november-2-2013#post_9945375.

 

Also, a few reasons why people go for the GSX over the Master 8/9:

 

1.) Aesthetics/bragging rights (big Headamp hype on this site-gorgeous build)

2.) Made in the USA vs. made in China (go figure-plus warranty shipping issues is a factor)

3.) Some anti-AGD lately on this site (imo)-people upset Kingwa releases a new product at least once per month etc)

4.) More GSX/Dynalo etc in the wild than M8's-by a fair margin. Snowball effect from this-magnified by above stated reasons.

 

My .02.

 

-Daniel


Edited by BournePerfect - 11/26/13 at 8:21pm
post #7 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfatpaulie View Post
 

 

Thanks Daniel.  It's on par?  How so?  I mean to say, first, let's be realistic - it is HALF the price.  Second, the GSX MKII is one of the most highly regarded SS amps around, at any price; if the Master 9 is even 'pretty close' why isn't it talked about more?  If for no other reason than the obtainability of the unit...  Third, most (if not all) high end amps need a great source, so both would need an expensive DAC, and that's fine.   I guess what I am asking is why someone would get the HeadAmp over this unit if they are on par?  Is it just a difference is sonic characteristics? 

 

Sorry for all the questions...  It has just really peaked my interest.  And if it is as good as you say, why isn't it all over Head-Fi?

 

(I don't mean to sound smug or disrespectful.  If I am coming off that way, I apologize.  It really is just curiosity.)  

 

Check out this thread for some impressions on the Master 8 vs GSX mkII on the LCD X.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/692095/ss-amp-recommendations-for-audeze-lcd-x#post_10013160

 

I suppose the GSX mkII is often spoken about on these forums because of the hype it is getting due to some prominent headfiers' enthusiastic recommendations. While I have no doubt that the GSX mkII is an excellent SS amplifier, one has to note that the GSX has not been directly compared with the Master 8/9 (often compared with the LF, Bryston, Mjolnir amps). If there were more impressions of the relatively undiscovered Master 8/9 vs the GSX mkII and the value the Master 8/9 brings to the table, I would not be surprised more people will be getting the Master 8/9 rather than the GSX mkII, which costs double the price and the year long wait.

 

Also, being a Chinese company, it is often a stereotype that "for that price it cannot possibly be good". Even before Schiit came into the picture, Audio-Gd has constantly been pushing the boundaries on price vs value with their products. Some of their products (i.e. Reference 7.1 and now the Master 7 DACs) are top notch and compete with the very best in the market today. It just needs someone bold enough to defy the common practice and get the Master 9 into their stable before understanding the true value and quality it brings.

post #8 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post
 

Kevin Gilmore (GSX/Dynalo etc designer) holds the Master 5/6/8/9 in extremely high regard. He said he couldn't even AFFORD to purchase the bare parts of the M8 for $1500-let alone SELL it for that. The price difference comes down to two things-being made in China, and the chassis/aesthetics of the Usa-made GSX is surely a fair cost higher. And-we don't know the exact margins-but I'd wager Kingwa, especially with his mass market approach, and huge catalog-nets an extremely small margin-surely less than Justin.

 

Sonically-they are both classified as being wire with gain, extremely neutral (I'd argue the M8 is more neutral). If that's the case (I believe it is based on impressions, and my own Master 8 experience)-then for all intents and purposes they sound pretty darn similar. Dubstep Girl recently made some of the same comparison impressions of the her own GSXII w/ the M8 she just heard at the ChiUnifi meet:http://www.head-fi.org/t/688561/chiunifi-7-5-november-2-2013#post_9945375.

 

Also, a few reasons why people go for the GSX over the Master 8/9:

 

1.) Aesthetics/bragging rights (big Headamp hype on this site-gorgeous build)

2.) Made in the USA vs. made in China (go figure-plus warranty shipping issues is a factor)

3.) Some anti-AGD lately on this site (imo)-people upset Kingwa releases a new product at least once per month etc)

4.) More GSX/Dynalo etc in the wild than M8's-by a fair margin. Snowball effect from this-magnified by above stated reasons.

 

My .02.

 

-Daniel

 

Great Stuff Daniel. Did not see your post before I posted mine. Fully agree with your comments here. :smile: 

post #9 of 516

Search for "Master 8" in the GSX threads. Or maybe it was the Master 9. Both were compared at a recent meet, but I forgot which one.

post #10 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfatpaulie View Post
 

The GSX is exactly what I am interested in contrasting it with.  I realize that the GSX should be superior, but but what kind of margin.

 

Also, I would imagine that the darker sound of the Master 9 would favorable with HD800's.

 

Why do you think the Master-9 would have a dark sound?

 

The only 'neutral' amp that Audio-gd ever made that could be called 'dark' was the Phoenix. Certainly none of the Master series can be considered dark. Also the Ref series DACS were also considered 'dark' sounding which when combined with the Phoenix compounded the darkness.

 

My Master-6 extends way way up, certainly not dark, yet still sounds excellent with the HD800's even with a silver/gold cable and silver ic's.


Edited by nigeljames - 11/27/13 at 4:07am
post #11 of 516
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DubstepGirl
 

[The Master 8] is like the GSX MK2, transparent, great clarity and detail, powerful, etc.... there is a clear difference though. the GSX MK2 is slightly laid back in the mids and has a really small hint of warmth. its musical. the Master 8 is more airy, bigger soundstage, more audiophile like i think. slightly leaning towards bright, but not fatiguing, just slight boost in the treble, so your recordings better be good or you might feel slight fatigue.

 

 

This is an interesting amp indeed.  

 

The reason I understood the M9 to sound dark is because DarknightDK said that Audio-GD tends to sound dark (see top of this thread).  I took that to mean that the M9 likely sounds dark.  This is contradictory to what DSG observed about it.  She seems to describe it as sound clinical (without actually saying that).  Daniel, would you agree with what she observed in you Master 7?

 

I can also certainly appreciate the build of the GSX vs the M9.  The GSX looks fantastic and nicely finished.  The M9 looks much more utilitarian.  Fair 'nuff.

 

It is just a little surprising that a piece as good as (and to some possibly better) than the GSX, for half the price isn't more popular, regardless of factors like 'it's ugly' or 'it's Chinese'.  

post #12 of 516

It helps that headamp is a sponsor here :wink_face:

post #13 of 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfatpaulie View Post


The reason I understood the M9 to sound dark is because DarknightDK said that Audio-GD tends to sound dark (see top of this thread).  I took that to mean that the M9 likely sounds dark.  This is contradictory to what DSG observed about it.

To clarify, I said that I have heard the lower end audio gd amplifiers and found that they had a 'dark' sound. Come to think of it, it may be due to the pairing with the LCD3 which some consider a 'dark' sounding headphone. Not the best match.. I have not heard the higher end audio gd amps (ie. Master series) so this may not apply to them. Given that DG has heard and compared the M8 to the GSX, I would take her word for it.

The Master 9 seems very promising indeed.
post #14 of 516

I think the "dark" description comes from the sound of current-gain amps having low distortion and usually being designed by old-school companies that make components with heavy power filtering built in. The resulting "black background" sounds dark in comparison because there's a bunch of distortion you're not hearing any more.

 

I will say that the HD-800s with the Phoenix, especially with a good aftermarket cable was very pleasant.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by thegunner100 View Post
 

It helps that headamp is a sponsor here :wink_face:

 

Both Audio-gd and Headamp are sponsors FYI.

post #15 of 516

Perhaps "dark" isn't a good word for describing the sound here. With the stock hd800, I found it to be quite bright with the nfb-10es2 as a dac and amp.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

Both Audio-gd and Headamp are sponsors FYI.


I did not know a-gd was a sponsor here... Didn't see them on the sponsors page :o


Edited by thegunner100 - 11/27/13 at 5:59am
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