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

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by darknightdk, Sep 3, 2012.
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  1. sazzz
    Is there any way to check out what firmware version is actually work in my Master7's DSP?
    i want to make update but i don't know what current version is
  2. PeterCraig
    There is no way to check, you have to just keep track of which version was installed.

    If you have the regular M7 (not the singularity version) then there was only one DSP upgrade. I believe that was offered first in Oct 2016.

    So if your M7 is older than Oct 2016 and you haven't updated your firmware, you have the old version.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  3. JaMo
    Not completely true. You can get use the "readout" checkbox and "save file" in the Altera software to back the code up. You will see the hash-code. With the hashcode You can get the version info propably from other M7-users or Audio-gd.

    Well most often it is how it perform in You setup that matters. Back the old DSP-code up and test the new. You can always roll back if its not better.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
    sazzz likes this.
  4. sazzz
    thank you! I noticed this function when I briefly read Altera software description. and I was tempted to do it but was not sure about the security of reading from DSP. Is it tested in practice and does not cause any errors or malfunctions?
    about previous DSP upgrades for old Master7 - maybe i wrong but i remember there was mentioning about upgrade in 2012 or 2013.
    I'm not first owner and don't know when it was manufactured or upgraded.
  5. JaMo
    I have done several programmings and readouts with no issues at all.
    sazzz likes this.
  6. PeterCraig
    I'm not sure if they keep records, but Audio-gd requested the serial number of the M7 prior to doing the DSP upgrade. So based on the serial number they may have a record if it was updated or not. They would know for sure, based on the serial, what version of the DSP software your unit had originally.

    So you can try emailing them.

    Since the upgrade was just last year though, the previous owner of the dac should know what you are looking for. If the owner is available to contact them would be your easiest solution.
  7. DACLadder
    Here are the checksums for old and new Master/ Singularity 7 DSP firmware. Use readback with Altera SW to determine which version is loaded in your DAC.

    Old DSP Target Altera device: EP2C8Q208
    Original old DSP firmware 0x04917EE8
    2016 old DSP firmware update 0x046259D1

    New Singularity DSP Target Altera device: EP4CE6
    Original S7 firmware (no NOS) 0x0298724E
    S2 enabled NOS firmware 0x02901FA6
    Smooth 0x0289DE70
    Accurate 0x02966D4D

    Reads with the Altera tool are benign. But don't erase and reprogram until you are sure what you are doing. Always power cycle the DAC after reading or programming the firmware.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
    sazzz likes this.
  8. sazzz
    thanks! this is comprehensive information.
    i'm waiting for my blaster to arrive and maybe will be able to add something to this list
  9. JaMo
    I have to correct myself.(Sorry) The checkbox is named "Examine", and then push "Start", after the reading process, right click on the read out file and "Save file".

    sazzz likes this.
  10. wmedrz
    Hello everybody,

    I haven't checked the forums for some time and noticed all the new upgrades and new DAC's Kingwa is offering. It seems to me that maybe Kingwa decided to go the ladder route because... there won't be more 1704UK chips left for much longer, and to meet audiophile demands (many folks have been talking about the majesties of ladders since I was foraging the forums a few years back - and far before that).

    I am thinking about 1) DSPv7 update and 2) upgrade to new TCXO board (singularity). I can do the board myslef, however as I am not long on time, I contacted Magna HiFi who quoted me 20 shy of 600 495 USD with shipping back.

    But I am very happy with M7 "regular" version and am not sure if the upgrade will be beneficial to me. I set up my headphone system based on the warmth of the M7 and generally prefer a warmer sound. I did not favor the Yggdrasil over the M7 and eventually sold it. I actually find myself preferring redbook recordings on my parasound d/ac 1600 with a warmth and smoothness that M7 lacks, at the same time retaining much of the depth of stage and clarity of voice as M7.

    So I am wondering - there are many good recommendations on the thread. I have not read all of them but saw a few thought the singularity upgrade is worth while.

    Can someone please provide some more information/recommendation? Particularly if you were able to directly A/B the singularity and the regular versions of the dac's side by side. This will help instead of hearing it even 10 minutes later without possibility of direct A/B i would very much appreciate your help. I am wondering particularly in the treble, depth, and warm, smooth department? I noticed some comment stated M7S may have more treble than regular? Some say smooth but more? Some other say more but glaring? I am confused :frowning2: and cannot accept more "sparkly" than M7 currently. It is enough for me, but if treble is cleaner but not spiky, I would like.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  11. DACLadder
    @wmedrz we are waiting for @JaMo ’s new R2R 7 to break in so he can give us a comparison of both DACs.

    The DSP/ input board upgrade for the old M7 is amazing. The old M7 cranks out a lot of bass and there is plenty with the DSP upgraded M7 but tighter and better balanced. Imaging/ soundstage very good with more separation of instruments defining the space. Smoother frequency response without the bloated bass and lower treble glare that is evident on the old M7 (but better with the old M7 2016 DSP firmware upgrade). Excellent trebles and much less vocal sibilance as well. The Singularity 7 goes slightly further over an M7S with less grain and crystal clear trebles. All M7 variations are dynamic in presentation and one of the main reason I like them so much. These DACs are warm sounding while the digital DSP upgrade adds precision versus making the DACs sound clinical. And inputs appear less sensitive to source jitter with the new DSP board. Much needed and beneficial upgrade IMO.

    We are all waiting on comparison of the R2R 7 and S7 or at least a M7S. Tick tock....
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  12. wmedrz
    Thank you, that is information I am looking :) I believe this will be beneficial and will proceed.
  13. DACLadder
    And I forgot to add there is more low-level detail using the new DSP/input upgrade board. I can't think of any sound quality negatives compared to the old M7 except maybe less perceived bass. And I use or used the default DSP jumper settings on all variations of the Master 7. It has all been all positive for me (soundwise).
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    seaice likes this.
  14. seaice
    I recently received my old M7 upgraded to M7S by Magna Hifi and I strongly recommend the upgrade. All important attributes of the sound have been preserved. Plus everything is improved and more lovely than before.

    I also have the new R2R 1 DAC to taste the A-Gd R2R vs 1704 sound. It is a different and positive experience but my R2R 1 experience is too tiny (couple of hours of listening) to write more.

    I would say that I preferred the original M7 with the upgraded firmware over Yggy. After the upgrade to M7S, the preference gap is clearer and bigger.
    And I prefer the R2R 1 over Yggy as well.
    (All directly connected to my Mjolnir KGSSHV Carbon and Stax 009.)
    That's all I can say now. I will be probably selling my Yggy.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
    bballas and DACLadder like this.
  15. wmedrz
    Thank you for the help. I preferred the M7 always over Yggdrasil as well.

    I just performed the V7 update, I think. 1) Found USB blaster. 2) USB blaster USB cable did not work - took 15 minutes to figure out. Used different cable and it work. 3) Plugged USB blaster no driver update, Manager panel say driver update. 4) Could not understand Chinese links Kingwa had on update page. Downloaded Quartus again v12 from altera website - 3GB! 5) Quartus software does not recognize USB blaster show "no hardware" - everytime I check device manager see hardware is updated. Took 30 minutes. Started emailing Kingwa. Finally figured out NEW driver need update. USB blaster finally show up in Quartus hardware. 6) Tried to perform update with filters Kingwa sent me couple of days ago. Quartus informing me firmware and FPGA does not match - JTAG code incorrect. I almost cry. Email Kingwa again, he sent updated "newest" firmares. 7) Finally ordeal over, at least I think. Update was a success with the newest firmware... Add 20 minutes for removal of M7 from housing cabinet and removing cover, and another 20 minutes for putting back and replacing cover, I think total to do took me 2-3 hours.

    Now, I turn on sound. Good sound. Different. Hard for me to compare. I hear some more air maybe? More punch? Not noticing difference in stage, but while I am listening for 1+ hour all of a sudden M7 goes mute and turn back on. And again and again. Keeps cutting out. I try few things, another 30 minutes. Restart everything, check cables, etc. It is still cutting. Goes mute during song and comes back right away. So I switch selector to USB. USB no issues after 20 minute test. Switch back to HDMI..... NO issues for past 1 hour BUT I am very scared now of what I did to M7 :triportsad:

    Oh no, it's cutting out still...... I notice it happens when higher bitrate songs begin.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
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