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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. FredA
    Check for the old audio-gd product pages on the net. You should find them running the corresponding google search. Then compare the form, especially the back plate. I recommend running the i2s input with a very short rj45 cable with the di sitting on top of the dac.
  2. gibosi
    Thanks for the tip! It turns out that I have the older DI-V3, and as best as I can determine, while the later DI-2014 supports I2S, this older unit does not.
  3. FredA
    Get a nice coax (r2r 1) or bnc ( master-7) digital cable and you should have enjoyable sound.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
    gibosi likes this.
  4. aljordan

    I have a Reference 7 made in 2010, and a Master 7 made in 2013 (I think). I recently updated the firmware of the Master 7 and I like the results in my system. I am thinking of upgrading the firmware on my Reference 7, but have a few questions that I am hoping for feedback on.

    1) Has anyone tried updating the firmware on the Reference 7? What did you think of the results?

    2) For my Reference 7, I have both a V3 and a V5 DSP board. Does the firmware update get written to these boards? If so, I could try it on one of the boards.

    3) Is there any way, using Quartus II, to save the existing firmware to a file so that I could write it back if I don't like the changes?

    Thanks for any input,
  5. DACLadder
    I can't answer if the DSP board version on the Ref 7 is compatible with the 2016 (v7) firmware update but I successfully updated my Ref 5.32. It worked fine and even sounded better.

    Yes, I would recommend first reading back the existing firmware and saving to a file. Instead of "Erase/ Program" function you select "Examine" instead and run it ("Start"). Then on the left side of Quartus save to a file by selecting "Save File" and giving it a file name with location on your drive. That way you can restore the image if something is not compatible.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  6. seaice
    Audio-Gd remotely updated my Reference One and Master 7 firmwares during one online session. But they always asked me which DAC was connected before every single update... So I suspect that the firmware (or update procedure or something else) may be a bit different. Better to ask them directly...
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  7. BoyNamedSue
    I have both reference 7 and master 7. The firmware upgade was a clear improvement for the m7, with no apparent downside. However, the firmware upgrade made the the ref 7 sound noticeably worse, like it was broken. Can't recall exactly because it was a while ago, but I remember it lost the black background, collapsed the soundstage, and made sound more strident. I reverted back to old firmware on ref 7 and the magic came back.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  8. aljordan
    Thanks DACLadder, seaice, and BoyNamedSue. I was able to get back-ups of the original firmware off the two Reference 7 DSP units. The 2016 M7 firmware is compatible with the earlier DSP units in the Reference 7. I am going to run the latest firmware on the V3 unit, and the original on the V5 unit, and see which one sounds better.
  9. DACLadder
    You are welcome and have fun.
  10. Articnoise
    From your sig its looks like you got an AGD R2R 7. Any good?
  11. DACLadder
    Yes, it has promise. Too new (5 days ago) to give a full evaluation but right now sounds more like the M7 Singularity than any other DAC I have had in the past 5 years (Iggy, MSB Analog DAC). Not quite as dynamic as the MS7 yet does not have the upper midrange grain/ glare that was evident in the Master 7 DACs. Seems to have a little more low level resolution versus M7S. So far does not sound radically different and does not blow the M7S out of the water. It is more evolutionary than revolutionary at this point. After all R2R 7 shares the same components as the M7S except the analog output DAC/ boards.

    The get the most out of the R2R 7 really takes time to adjust system components, sources, firmware, DSP jumpers, cabling, etc. But the M7s are the same in that regard.
    seaice likes this.
  12. LarsHP
    A bit late to comment, but for the value of the thread, I got the DSP 7 firmware update when it was released done on my Ref 7.1 DAC (with stock DSP 1). My very first and short listening test showed a somewhat dull sound, but after that the improvement was quite clear. (I have no idea why the initial listening test exhibited such a different sound character.)

    It's like getting a new DAC: Better resolution and definition across the whole audio band.
  13. Whitigir
    So, a friend of mine has Loaned me his References 7.1. I will have about 1 month to have fun with this. So my plan is to enjoy it for the while, and details comparison later :D (VS R2R-7)

    It is essentially Master 7 with Upgraded singularity board , and upgraded Burson Opamps with Solid Goldplated Copper wires for output

    5161E9E7-02C6-4A61-8C56-225D3F1113A9.jpeg 10352CA3-CE86-46C2-BCC5-24DEC44E05FC.jpeg 91B1762D-7FD4-4068-ABC2-B3B4C63EC6F2.jpeg 2484576A-40C0-427B-A44D-500B69C27B62.jpeg
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
    alphanumerix1 and LarsHP like this.
  14. LarsHP
    What is "essentially Master 7 with Upgraded singularity board , and upgraded Burson Opamps with Solid Goldplated Copper wires for output"?
    I mean - the R2R-7 has a completely different DAC section (no chips; discrete build).
  15. Whitigir
    There are 2 devices in those pictures. The internal is Ref 7.1, the one in the first picture is r2r7
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