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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. seaice
    Try disconnect/reconnect everything. I have had no issues after the upgrade.
  2. wmedrz
    Yes tried it already. I have been emailing with Kingwa. I tried different HDMI cable, different transport, different USB cable, different USB port.......... everything. HDMI is now not letting me play anything over 88.2 sampling frequency. It is cut out all the time -- the warmer the M7 become the more it cut!!! Bigg bumer
  3. mivarpet
    @wmedrz - sorry to hear your upgrade hasn't worked

    A couple of suggestions -
    1) Re-install the USB driver. The driver is located here - C:\altera\12.1\quartus\drivers\usb blaster (see http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/NOS/NOS7/NOSupdataEN.htm)
    2) Try flashing the firmware

    I'm sure Kingwa will get to the bottom of it - he's incredibly patient and methodical.

    Failing that, you now have the excuse you needed to get the Singularity upgrade :wink:
  4. DACLadder
    @wmedrz sorry to hear about your upgrade woes. It is complicated without a lot to go on. What happens if you power cycle the M7 after HDMI I2S drops out?

    As part of debug you can always program the DSP back to the original firmware version. If it works OK then you have some sort of compatibility issue.
  5. wmedrz
    Hello guys an gals.

    Thank from the bottom of my heart for your concern. I really appreciate this. During the ordeal your post has keep me calm and focused on issues! Please, give me 1 minute of your time to describe the situation henceforth.

    1) The M7 is fine!!!! It is not M7 that is the issue. Whle testing transport I did not switch HDMI module - I took everything apart (entire headphone unit including heavy d/a converter, cabinte, amplifier, pre-amplifier, other dac, another aplifier etc....) once I do this, I see the HDMI had to switch! I Set itto DI 2014 - with new update no problems! Transport is the problem - i tested it with another d/a converter - same issue. All music over certain frequency is cut out? I also trysted another d/a converter with sampling over 96kHz and same issue. I have mailed d/a converter for repair under warranty.

    2) SOUND: It is better.... It is not as "involving" of the listener. It is more clear. I cannot compare direct - it has been a few day s since the install of v7 update - but I read another reviewer say the sound is "sibilant". THI S I don't agree with. I listened to some of th most sibilant vocal available with HE1K which is sibilant headpohne (for me). It sounds better after the update! It is more smooth. I can hear more punch with music, most sound has improved "dynamic" in the bass and mid... I like the update, so... also maybe soundstage improve? I cannot tell without direct a/b comparison.

    I am listening to "Slow hand" by Eric Clapton on 1991 MFSL Gold CD and sounds.......precious with M7 v7 + HE 1K...

    3) I have ordered the DSP board from Qinghua and will get a little help from my brother over the phone to install. I am very excited. Qinghua asked me if I ause AES - I told him no but then I checked and see input 2 is AES so I said yes.

    I want to thank Scott for answered priveate message. I purchased Singxer transport and it sound good!!! It is very versatile.... many inputs and hgh rate! I am going to use transport for music - my M7 has old USB not amanero. I have been using the HdMI.
  6. DACLadder
    Excellent! I like happy endings!
  7. FredA
    You are right about the updated M7 not being sibilant. This characteristic (lack of) even goes further with the new Singularity board, judging by my R2R 7. Adjusting to the V7, i did some tuning to recover the original balance, which i liked. But clarity is much improved, soundstage as well with the V7. After all the tuning was done, i was very pleased with the new sound. Now i am a happy camper with the r2r 7, which was a gamble since i was so satisfied with the way the M7 sounded.
  8. wmedrz
    Belated Merry Christmas and happy new year to all!

    The baby has arrived :)

    Now come the hard part - installation!
    Should take me no longer than 2 months :thinking:

    Have a great new years everyone!
  9. JaMo

    Congratulations. A good way to perform the upgrade is to start by preparing with a disconnect of all cables. Arrange a good workspace with tools, good lighting and a protecting cloth/towel/blanket to do the job on:

    1. Remove the top lid (of course).
    2. Mark the separating plates/walls with tape where You write "left side - front(arrow)"...
    3. Put the M7 on the side on a protecting cloth/towel on Your flat workspace with good lighting
    4. Remove the separating plates walls.
    5. Remove the two allen screws in the front corners, holding the bottom plate to the front plate.
    6. Standing flat again, remove the four allen screws on the front sides holding the frontplate.
    7. Carefully flip/bend out the upper part of the frontplate.
    8. Disconnect the cable from the button board from the display board.
    9. Remove the display board with its cable to the M7 board.
    10. Install Your new display board and connect the button board to the display board
    11. Reinstall the frontplate with the 6 allen screws. (sides and bottom frontcorners)
    12.Take a few close up pictures on the present connections (M7board). This can guide You. (You will also have some support from a few of us on this forum)
    13. Unsolder all "signal"-connections carefully from the M7-board with a temperatureregulated solderpen (50-80 Watts) with a fine tip (~2 mm). I use ~400 grC.
    14. With the M7 motherboard signal cables unsoldered, it is time to unscrew it from the upper side.
    15. Lift up the M7 motherboard from the "input side". The M7 board is still connected to the power. I suggest You mark the longer cable on each side. This polarity is very important to adapt on Your new S7board. This must be correct!
    16. M7-board is now lose and out of the chassie. Check carefully if the high mounting nuts is correct aligned for the new S7-board. (I don't remember this). If needed flip the chassie on the sid again and move the wrong positioned nuts.
    17. With the mounting nuts in correct positions, position the cable from the displayboard under the S7-board. Strap to a mounting nut or two.
    18. Solder on the power cables with the correct polarity!
    19. Position the new S7 board and fix it with the screws. Connect the displayboard cable on the S7 board.
    20. Carefully solder on cable by cable. It can be helpful to lose some of the input connectors from the back plate to acheive more room for the soldering.
    21. Solder to the output boards is pretty spot on. "The same text on both ends of each cable". One cable at the time. Take Your time and take care to make nice and neat connections.
    22. With all solderings done and rechecked. Test it by playing music in the intended setup. If ok...
    23. Reinstall the separating walls. Put the top lid back on and enjoy.

    Good luck, and a happy new year!

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
    DACLadder and wmedrz like this.
  10. DACLadder
    Nice instructions @JaMo . On my M7 I did not have to remove and replace the display board (steps 9 - 11). I only had to replace the existing display board 28-pin chip and then re-pinout the display board cable from 7-pin to 4-pin for the Singularity digital board. But swinging the front panel down to gain better access would have been nice.

    Removing the backplate I/O I2S and USB boards is a must to gain access. Just disconnect their cables from the digital board and unscrew.

    If you use AES/EBU digital input then look for a separate Wima capacitor in the supplied kit. This is a DC blocking cap. Let us know if you need help where to connect.

    If you use the Toslink input the cable may need to be extended to stretch to the new connector on the Singularity digital board.
    JaMo likes this.
  11. wmedrz
    Hello All,

    I need some help! I was assisted with all but not sure about IN2. I put question in picture. Can you have a look and advise??

    IN2.jpg IN2 cont.jpg not sure.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  12. DACLadder
    @wmedrz The red WIMA cap is a DC blocker and should be connected in series with one of the leads from the transformer. The old M7 has this cap on the digital board. My S7 though has the external cap soldered directly to the XLR connector solder pin 3. Then connect one of the wires from the transformer to the other side of the capacitor. Polarity of the transformer does not matter as the coding is bi-phase mark and is just looking for change of state and width of the pulses to decode SPDIF.

    The other side of the transformer connects directly to XLR pin 2.

    A few ways to connect GND. On my M7S I connected XLR pin 1 (GND) to the board "IN 2 -" which measures signal/ digital ground on the Singularity DSP board. You could also connect pin 1 to the chassis ground bus that runs along the I/O backpanel. This may be preferred for long cable runs and isolating chassis/ signal grounds from boxes plugged into different AC sources. XLR pin 1 is just the cable shield. And in some cases the shield is connected on one side only to avoid ground loops. My Singularity 7 has it connected to "IN 2 -" so I used it as a guide for the M7S.

    Let us know if you need any more information....

    Edit: And the transformer wires seemed too long to me and required trimming but are very delicate. I just had to barely scrape the insulation with sharp Xacto knife to strip for soldering.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
    JaMo and wmedrz like this.
  13. wmedrz
    Hello all,

    Board done but only IN2 coaxial working :frowning2: Kingwa informed The matter is the MCU output had wrong connect.

    I am not sure what it references.

    Can anyone assist? New board connected to IN 1,2,3,4 etc via 3.3 V on IN boards.

    Kingwa also mention display board to check all wires and ground? Board not working so have someone look. Any info provided would be appreciated!
  14. DACLadder
    Verify the new MCU chip is plugged in correctly and all its pins seated in their respective pin sockets. Also verify cable is pinned out correctly. Marking first pin (GND) on both ends of the cable helped me orientate the cable connectors. Using the pictures below verify the cable is connected properly on both ends. Do you get the input number display on the front panel when pressing the selection buttons on the front?

    On my M7 retrofit I reused the old 7-pin control cable and just cut the last three wires off and then connected a new 4-pin header to attach to the new board. See the last picture. But make sure pins GND,1,2,3 are connected properly on both ends. Also if you removed any other cables from the display board make sure they are securely refastened correctly.

    Digit_Board.jpg Display_Board.jpg
    Control Cable.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
    wmedrz likes this.
  15. wmedrz
    Hello all,

    The board is done! All inputs work except optical and USB. I think USB has short in solder, computer will not recognize. USB in is first version of the not very good USB 32 I never use. I will upgrade maybe XMOS USB. These available cheaply. For optical Kingwa said new board use 3.3 v but old optical module from M7 use 5 v. Is it correct? but again no matter. Never use optical.

    Process all turn fine. There were some bump in the road 1) Some sort of black gum covering the optical? 2) very hard to unsolder some parts without burning component next to it 3) cable from display was too short to board! This time need real time advice. Looked for longer ribbon cable but ended taking unit to someone local who can help. We solder this ribbon wire from bottom of board to fit and did also two input. We try at his shop and M7 did not work :fearful: He said leave with him and he will ask Kingwa.

    Kingwa very understanding and response through whole process, very patient... even talking with Jeff who he does not know and is not customer. We measure all inputs with meters, they were fine. He say leave unit with him he will check. Two day later I get call and email where Kingwa says I don't know what the matter is return the board to me.... :cry: Jeff/Kingwa could not figure out so I took unit home - took out dip chip in display board and put back. Unit work perfectly :unamused::face_palm: All to do now is find more jumper tomorrow and enjoy full customization and experience!


    Kingwa sent the firwares and I have had some time today to try.

    Sound is changed from old board! I first start with smooth full oversample. Listen to around 2 days. Starting few hour ago I am in full NOS mode with accurate, I like this sound! I thought it would be more.... compressed sounding, grainy. But it turn out the opposite, sound is very smooth particularly with CD type file. With high bit depth file I think OS has edge but it is just different sound. Apple and orange. To sound cliche NOS seem more like "analog" - OS is more precise, more bass, tighter. NOS airier, musical.

    What surprise me most is the transport difference now! Previous transport with M7was the Transient from CI Audio that experience a problem. I had to send for warranty. Meantime bought Singxer SU 1. A few weeks back CI Audio sent me a brand new transport!!! Very good company!!! Great service for 4 year old owner. I did not take out until tonight....

    At first I was using Singxer with the NOS mode and decided to try Transient. Wow, It sound better than Singxer. Maybe I'm imagining... but some testing back and fourth and it really is better to me... not only smoother but more of the same I mention above. Something like Just in Time from Santana has very clear image to instrument, That's all Right from Stewart with his voice on higher notes there is less grain, less "shrill" if you dare call it this, and Peri Scope from Evans, drum piano and bass sound more dynamic! brushes light and bass pop. I think problem with singxer for me is power. Power for Transient coming from good linear source Bakoon and isolated USB card. Very clean power. Power for singxer is coming from wall outlet! I have order the 5 v power conversion for Singxer and think of getting something like UltraCap LPS? maybe something from Teradak or using bakoon. Problem with Transient is 24/192. I was really starting to enjoy higher sampling rates with the Singxer. Have been eyeing Holo Spring for the speakers, think it is almost time to buy :) I read singxer sound very good with this converter using I2S.

    My apologies for such long rambling :wink: But I really love new board.

    I do not know what to say to people who are "on the fence" . If you have M7 without itch you can't scratch, love M7. If you are person who has to scratch the itch! You will smile when hearing new board/S7.
    JaMo likes this.
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