Audio-Gd Master 7 - Discrete Fully Balanced DAC (PCM1704)
Apr 7, 2014 at 10:04 PM Post #1,636 of 4,442
Ok thank you, but what about the performance? Did you ever use jriver?


I'm using MQn-Player since two weeks. Although there is nearly no comfortable GUI the sound compensates any inconvenience. The MQn player is imho the end of any digital harshness - sounding extremely "analogue". The following ranking might give an orientation (of course regarding my subjective experiences in my setup):

1. MQn player
2. JPlay mini (DualPC setup)
3. JPlay with foobar 0.8.3 (DualPC setup)
4. JPlay with foobar 1.3.x (DualPC setup)
5. JPlay with JRiver (DualPC setup)
6. VLC player
7. foobar 0.8.3
8. foobar 1.3.x / JRiver (both equal)

All players running on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Audiophile Optimizer (PCs with Intel CPU i5). Same differences also audible in Windows 8.1 (but Windows Server 2012 R2 with AO sounds far better). My setup:

Funny thing though is a different person eg myself might list these in the exact opposite order.
Apr 8, 2014 at 10:53 AM Post #1,637 of 4,442
I wonder what KingWa's next statement DAC is going to be? The M7 really does seem to have been almost perfectly received, I wonder where he can go from there? 

It will be a balanced sigma-delta DAC that supports a wide range of inputs and higher sampling/bit rates.  That's about all it can be until some breakthrough technology comes along.  When the Master 7s sell out they will be worth their weight in gold - at least for a while.  There will be a window where you will be able to get close to your Master 7 investment back on the used market.  I don't think you can say that about a PSA PWD or some other higher priced DAC right now.   So heck... buy the Master 7 and if not for you sell it down the road for about as much as you paid. 
Apr 13, 2014 at 8:52 AM Post #1,639 of 4,442
You don't need DSD versions of files with a good R2R DAC. The reason people are raving about DSD nowadays is because when all the companies abandoned the nice R2R DACs in favour of the worse-sounding Sigma Delta DACs just to be able to play back high-res files, they also abandoned their pleasant sound. DSD brings that back, but leaves the question of whether it really is good or not.
Apr 13, 2014 at 1:06 PM Post #1,641 of 4,442
  If DSD brings back the pleasant sound how could it be not good ?

It is not good in that the regular PCM files - in theory, but practice shows it is confirmed more often than not - sound worst on sigma-delta DACs than their R2R counterpart.
They release a technology that needed DSD format to perform at their best, which wasn't available back then. It was a cost-saving move at the expense of perceived quality in the final DACs. It didn't bring only bad things, of course (the price/performance is well in favor of S-D DACs).
Apr 18, 2014 at 9:38 PM Post #1,643 of 4,442
  I cut the +5V.  I'm not sure if I'm imagining things xD but the soundstage seems deeper.

That's good news!  I'm still waiting for my Short Block from Empirical Audio.  Been waiting 6 weeks. 
   Wonder if customers are still waiting for their Off Ramp 5s ordered in recent weeks?
Apr 19, 2014 at 9:05 PM Post #1,645 of 4,442
So, I recently purchased a Master-7 and have yet to burn it in adequately, though I've been through pretty much every post in this and the DAC comparison threads, and am having some real trouble resolving the fact that the OR5, at pretty much the cost (or more) of the Master-7 is truly worth the gains yielded.  I recall a post from Purrin where he said that w/o the OR5, one is roughly getting 40% of the performance on the Master-7 with USB32 alone.
Now, having said this, I have an Empirical Audio modified Benchmark 1, an Offramp to I2S, and a Revelation Audio cable on my home rig, so I don't doubt that Steve does good work, but I guess I am having trouble that at 1.5-2.5x the cost of the Master-7 the OR5 will yield that great of a result, especially when someone like Currawong has said that he is happy with the USB32 input on several occasions.
I feel like the most vocal people are the ones with the OR5, but I'd like to hear from the people who use only the USB32 interface, especially those who have had the Master-7 for an adequate burn-in period.  I'm reluctant to make the jump at this point, because I don't truly know what the Master-7 sounds like, but it is easy to get upgrade-itis.
Apr 20, 2014 at 2:59 AM Post #1,648 of 4,442
Tried the latest USB-32 firmware on the SA-2 recently, albeit in my desktop setup. For the first time I got headache listening with these speakers :D. Wasn't that great.

I'm really enjoying the SA-2 + SA-31 combo recently with the HE-5LE. I have a EF-6 / HE-6 combo slipping in my closet...
It's kind of hard to go back to the DA8 after the SA-2: treble and bass are more natural with the Audio-gd. The Yulong is a very fine DAC with big soundstage and good focus/imaging, but the other one is just more believable.

My offramp is coming next week. Let's see if it can bring the performance closer to the M7.
Apr 20, 2014 at 8:30 AM Post #1,649 of 4,442
  The Master-7 comes with 300 hr burn in already, it won't change much.

I wasn't implying that a burn in would make a difference, but there are numerous people in this thread (search for 'burn') who seem to think it makes a difference.  Subjective, yes?  But everything about audio is subjective.
Anyhow, my point bigger point was, I've almost got myself convinced that I need another piece of hardware and haven't even had the chance to get comfortable with the piece I have.

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