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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. DACLadder
    Congrats on the M7S. One thing your M7S has that the older M7s don’t is the updated analog output drivers. Adds a bit more clarity that you notice in the highs.

    I’ll try V3A on my M7S in the next few days. I like V2A a lot on the M7S and R2R 7. V3A may be even better.
  2. borrego
    LOL, I sucessfully resisted the upgrade itch six months ago when the M7S discontinued. At that time I was (and still am) very satisfied with my one of a kind modded Reference 5.32, and I told myself there is no need to miss the M7S as the R2R7 and its successors will only get better so I told myself I can wait.

    Then I read more and see the R2R7/R7 needs at least 1 hour warm up time to reach optimal sonic state (I think a tiny DAC chip can always reach thermo equilibrium state quicker than a much larger resistor board), and the M7S actually performed very close to the R7 with later firmware. I regretted a bit that I didn't get the M7S.

    Then I checked the audio-gd website yesterday and found the limited time offer. This time I could not resist.
  3. motberg
    I think my NOS7 is a masterpiece .... congratulations on the M7S !
  4. DACLadder
    V3A firmware OS 8x sounds really good on the M7S. Abundant clear highs and signature punchy M7 bass. Compared to the R2R 7 the M7S has a touch more bass and slightly fuller midrange which I like. The R2R 7 has more low-level resolution and more distinct highs which makes the M7S slightly warmer in comparison. Yet the R2R 7 and MS7 share many characteristics like basic tonality and dynamic sound. No big recalibration required when comparing the two. Enjoy!
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    borrego likes this.
  5. DACLadder
    And HDMI I2S is the best input on either M7S and R2R 7 driven, of course, by a low jitter source. That is the biggest advice for best sound on these two DACs.

    And don't be reluctant to try different firmware and DSP modes. The firmware versions and DSP modes help fine tune sound character for your system. For instance, V3A OS 8x sounds a little overcooked in trebles versus NOS on the R2R 7. But I like V3A OS 8x on the MS7 where NOS is warmer in a dulling way. The next user will like something different so trust your ears.

    But let the DAC run-in before making huge changes. I made that mistake with V2 firmware. Had to back out of the changes (firmware, sources, power, cables, etc) and try again at a slower pace.
    seaice likes this.
  6. seaice
    So there will be a v3 firmware for M7S and HE7S after all? This would be really a good news...
  7. DACLadder
    Hi there @seaice. The two version (V3S and V3A) will work OK now if you don't need Optical support on IN4. If Kingwa ships V3 on these new M7S builds then that platform has Toslink standard on IN4 so is a must. So hang tight for now. There are several other R2R 7 users that desire Optical as well.
  8. borrego
    So the V3A firmware makes the IN4 optical input non-functional?
  9. FredA
    It is even longer than that for the r2r 7 to play optimally It has to be turned on for nearly 24 hours IMO. I think it is due to the size of the da board. The temperature must be uniform throughout them. No such problem with a chip dac. The smaller dacs using the da-8 conversion boards get up to speed much faster, within an hour for the r2r 11. So my recommendation is to keep the r-7 on 24/7.

    As for sound comparison, both the da-7 and pcm1704k are excellent converters. As mentioned many times, the pcm1704 has a little more body but is not as accurate at the top of the range. Slightly less so. I like both about equally. The da-7 has basically no glare, which is vey rare for a converter. The pcm1704k has very little glare when fed a well clocked signal.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  10. DACLadder
    Yes, presently. The two V3 files currently support I2S on input 4 which is standard for the R7 platform.
  11. borrego
    I see. So perhaps I can ask Kingwa to make my M7S build to have the same input channel sequence of the R7 so I can enjoy subsequent R7 firmware. Thanks!
  12. FredA
    You have to have the r-7 faceplate to use the r-7 fw. The configuration is not mapped to same way to the jumper header. So the r2r-7 with the same inputs as the r-7 has a different fw version. Another reason to get the new faceplate. :)
  13. borrego
    I prefer turning my equipment off when they are not in use. It is not about the extra electric fee but for environment protection reason. Global warming is a fact and everyone can see how many hurricane/typhones we are experiencing in a year comparing to 20 years ago. I believe every little counts.
  14. borrego
    I see. I shall ask Kingwa if he is going to maintain different firmware forvthe M7S down the road and if I can get the R7 front panel for my M7S.
  15. FredA
    I don’t believe in global warming. But that’s not the place to discuss this. I think everyone should get informed on how the weather can be and is actually manipulated.
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