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

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by darknightdk, Sep 3, 2012.
  1. DACLadder
    It could be a number of reasons that are not obvious. And may require intimate knowledge of the design to discover. But I have soldered and debugged a lot of equipment over the years and confident in the installations of both digital board replacement attempts. So will move on.

    After my housing move is complete I do have a place for the M7S in my living room with speakers. It will be used infrequently as primary listening is to be via headphones and the S7. Head cans are going to be a totally new experience!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  2. Steph86
    Hi all, I recently got my M7 upgraded to M7S - currently running via HDMI and DI2014. The digital board has come supplied with the "smooth" firmware (no jumpers) so i've bought a USB blaster to update the firmware to "accurate". Already the detail and accuracy especially in the mids and highs are a lot more pronounced and forward in comparison to the stock M7, Huge improvement IMO.

    I'm going to change the firmware over the weekend when I have more time as my M9 is stacked on top of the M7 making the access not so easy. Will report back on how the accurate compares to the smooth, although not sure how much more accurate you can get!!
  3. DACLadder
    I’ve been out of touch but are the “smooth” and “accurate” firmware versions both relatively new? Or is “smooth” what was shipping for several months prior?

    @Steph86 It is definitely a huge improvement. The old M7 never sounded better. Interesting the R2R 7 users tend to lean toward “smooth”. But M7S users like the “accurate” firmware. Can’t wait to try myself on the S7.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  4. Currawong Contributor
    After the R2R 7 arrived, Kingwa told me about a firmware upgrade which makes the output of the DSP and FPGAs more accurate and asked if I'd try it. The stock firmware is what I'm calling the "smooth" version, as it seems to add a very low-level even-order harmonics (going by the measurement graphs of the R2R 7 that show as much at around -110dB). The "accurate" firmware seems to result in a more precise sound. I'm not a fan of the NOS modes that I've tried so far, so I suggested that if the "smooth" and "accurate" modes could be changed via jumpers, that would be better than having a NOS mode.
  5. DACLadder
    Thanks and what I thought I understood. The S7 had originally shipped with pre-NOS firmware. Next release was the NOS via S2 jumper firmware, is considered the “smooth” firmware, and also shipped with the R2R 7 and M7S upgrades. “Accurate” is the most recent.

    Selective DSP modes is desirable and without taking the top off would be cool.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  6. DACLadder
    Seems there has been four versions of firmware for the Singularity digital board if comparing checksums of the firmware files. "smooth" and the original S2 enabled NOS version appear different. The other two are the original no NOS firmware for the S7 and "accurate".

    Anyway, I finally moved my belongs and reassembled my gear. My beloved speakers and tube amp are in the closet and replaced with a headphone amp and phones. Not saying that I yet fully appreciate the experience but at least my new neighbors will be happy. And I have music, high speed internet, and TV! Damn I have suffered for about 3 weeks!

    Both my S7 and M7S had the S2 enabled NOS firmware for the past six months. With new headphone gear including tubes you can really hear the clicks at the start of tracks when starting files with original S2 NOS firmware. The basic sound is a little rough with distant vocals, luke warm bass, and not a lot of low level resolution. But with "accurate" firmware loading I have much more bass, forward vocals, separation of instruments, and crisp highs. But I cannot yet trust my playback as being good or bad. But I like the "accurate" firmware and will give it a listen over the next week or so. And will also try "smooth" at some point.

    And "accurate" seems to help greatly with the start of track clicks present with the original S2 enabled NOS firmware where a few 100 ms of new random song beginning is cutoff. That is a positive step forward. And I need to break in new gear.
  7. enigmus12
    About the firmware, I think the first was the non NOS capable, then we had the first original smooth without the bug correction related to the starting track, then smooth and accurate with the bug correction.

    I hope you will enjoy your setup and yes the accurate firmware seems to work very well with the Master 7S (at least on my setup). One side question : would you mind trying the NOS 1 jumper settings with amanero please (meaning S2, ATT0 and ATT1 jumpers only), I have trouble to get music with this configuration on my M7S with the accurate firmware using amanero. NOS 2 and 3 are working well.

    Thanks !
  8. FredA
    When trying the amanero usb in, i heard no click or almost no click with the corrected firmware. It is due to the Singxer f-1, i conclude.
  9. JaMo

    I thought I should share my experiences with firmware testing on my Master-7 Singularity. My present listening setup are based on "a bit dry", english Quad ESL63's for treble and mids and with the Finnish companys, Gradient SW-63's for the low freq. Filter used is Gradient's Hi-end at 110Hz.

    I like the low distorted ESL's because they "tells whats feeding them" in other words: -You can spot how the amping, cables and sources sounds. Peter Walker, the founder of the Quad Company stated once in an interview that: "-All amplifiers sound the same". I personally admire P Walker for many things except for that amp-phrase. Well, I find my speaker setup pretty neutral. Amping is Audio-gd's Master3 for treble-mid and their Master-2's for LF. My Master-7 Sing. has Opa2140's as servos. NFB-28.38 is used as pre for the test. The 28.38 is also used as an anchor for the testing. I also have had the R2R-11 connected to compare with.

    Short on the testing.
    I was very pleased with the firmware the Singularity-board came with. I upgraded it to the "Time corrected fw". Later on I got the "smooth" and the "accurate" fw's. I started out by test the accurate and it was not better in my setup in any way. it was just compressed and clean... not much realism at all was left. I then tested with the smooth fw. This one was better in comparison, I got my soundscape back (less compressed), but that one felt a bit muffled....So I am back on the "Time Corrected Firwmare" because it sounds best to my ears and preferences

    Best regards
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2017
  10. DACLadder
    @JaMo, @enigmus12 Thanks for your input. I must be missing the “time corrected” firmware prior to “smooth” and “accurate”? When did this come out - mid summer? And what version was released with the R2R 7 - the first NOS firmware enabled with S2 and no time correction?
  11. JaMo
    @ DACLadder:

    I got the time corrected firmware flashed in late august (27/8). The smooth and the accurate in the beginning 9-10'th of october~ish.

  12. DACLadder
    My house sell and move has occupied my time for the past 4 months. And I have been behind and can't keep up with Kingwa's accelerated design cycles! But I did find firmware "NoClick_M7S.jic" with a Sep 9, 2017 date. I loaded it up and sounds good, I do though hear a mild click at the beginning of random tracks. But is much better than the earlier firmware.

    "accurate" is indeed louder and over enhanced. Gave me a headache after a few hours of headphone listening. "smooth" didn't move me much after a brief listen. But will try them again after I get used to headphones. Thanks for you help.
  13. DACLadder
    My "no click" firmware file has the same checksum as the original S2 enable NOS firmware. Must be why I am still hearing clicks.

    So Email sent to Kingwa for the correct "no click" file from Aug 2017....
  14. DACLadder
    Kingwa told me that he has released only three versions of firmware with NOS - default, smooth, and accurate.

    According to Kingwa the default NOS firmware has the time corrected feature.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  15. NCSUZoSo
    Where is the best place to purchase one of these and what sort of adapter do I need to give my Sabre32 ES9038Pro from this HDMI output? Is there more than one option for the outputs? What is this thing worth in November of 2017 for American buyers? I have seen between $300-$330 so far, is that a fair price still?

    This is the exact same DAC I have built to show you my options. I am also running a customized 2016 version of the Amanero with 3x "Golden" TCXO's & 150uF/15V Vishay caps.

    Is there a better option out there after reading of driver issues with this card and using ASIO or KS? (or DS) WASAPI being the only dedicated stream high res option. Basically curious about getting the best compatibility with I2S output using a PCI-E slot. Would be nice if they had a ribbon cable coming from the card that could be plugged directly into some DACs or plugged into an I2S 2 way switch of buffer. I would be most interested in a customizable solution where oscillators can easily be upgraded.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017

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