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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. jimmychan
    I found U16 has a better performance than SU-6 with R7 and Reference 1.
    motberg and PeterCraig like this.
  2. PeterCraig
    Yes I have heard that from other reliable head fi members also. The U16 has been described as tubelike, liquid and warm. Possibly the SU-6 is more neutral.

    I know that using a different USB cable can change the sound so I guess a DDC can also. But I would love to know how this is possible, one would think two DDCs of this class would sound the same, but just at slightly different levels. If anybody has any thoughts on the science here I would love to hear it.

    The U16 is something I am going to try, but I understand there are some issues with high res file playback at this point so I'm not going there yet. The price is reasonable on this unit too (except when you factor in the C16).

    When the SU-6 was burning in strangely enough there was times it was warm and tubelike too but neutral took over once it settled in. Once again the science is baffling.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  3. DACLadder
    Yes, I have used the R7, S7, and M7S (fully upgraded XOs) with all DDCs I have including Off Ramp 5, U16, SU-1/6, and F1. In this thread (maybe R7 as well) around April/ May 2019 I commented regularly about R7, S7, and M7S and how they compare. The short stroke of it all the R7 has better highs, more detail, and supports DSD. The PCM1704 DACs are warmer in comparison, the highs more vague, and less resolution. But I enjoy the old DACs and they sound better than ever with Accusilicon XOs and firmware changes. But you can only go far with these DACs as they are not as transparent as the R7. I am impressed though with the R7 as it is a firm and solid technology upgrade over PCM1704 DACs..

    If a DDC sounds better with the R7 it sounds better with the older DACs. HDMI I2S in all cases. Haven't found anything contradictory in my use. Kind of makes a little sense as the DACs digital boards are the same running the same firmware

    Rumor has it that Kingwa sold his U16 and is designing a DDC that is suppose to be better than all previous boxes - a U16 'slayer'. 10Mhz external clocking as well (maybe higher end model). So waiting on news from that effort.

    And another rumor is that Kingwa is designing an R7 that uses 10Mhz external clocking. And also newer firmware is around the corner after testing. This all rumor BTW....
  4. PeterCraig
    Well there is a an endorsement of the U16 if I ever heard it. Kingwa designing a "U16 'slayer'".

    I wonder if it will be liquid and warm too as Audio-gd gear typically has a mostly neutral sound. I love the sound of the SU-6 but liquid, warm and tube like is definitely appealing when it also comes with all the solid state qualities.

    These Accusilicon upgrades are for M7S and higher models only? They can't be adopted by the M7?
  5. DACLadder
    @PeterCraig The Accusilicon upgrades are for the newer Singularity digital boards. Not compatible with the old M7.

    it’s interesting that different DDC clocks make that much difference in sound not only in AGD DACs but others as well. After studying phase noise it makes sense but we are talking about minute differences of jitter that is on the cutting edge of technology and affordability. The amazing part is that my old, tired ears notice the differences in femto jitter clocks.
  6. PeterCraig
    Thanks to the SU-6 I'm not needing a DAC upgrade just yet. Thank goodness.

    My headphones are 7 years old, have been sat on twice (bent like a pretzel but nothing snapped), and the earpad and headband padding changed 4 or 5 times. But are still rocking.

    My cables are solid enough.

    I was curious about the Master 9 sound signature so I "downgraded" to the Audio-gd NFB1 amp and was surprised that it was actually an upgrade from my previous amp.

    As soon as I recover from buying the Singxer I will search out a Master 9 and that will be it for awhile.

    Unfortunately if the U16 is upgraded and starts to work flawlessly I'll have to go for it first to compare. And if Audio-gd "slays" it with their new DDC that will be hard to resist.

    I am pretty sure that if Kingwa sets out to do that he will succeed. Maybe he will be using the ESS chip. Maybe a super capacitor power supply and constant temperature clock like the SU-6. Pretty exciting stuff.
  7. aljordan
    I've already upgraded the firmware in my old 2013 Master 7. Can the Accusilicon XOs be installed in the old M7?

  8. DACLadder
    @aljordan The old M7 board uses a single oscillator while the newer, Singularity type digital board employs two oscillators of different frequency. Not compatible.
  9. DACLadder
    Kingwa's newest asynchronous parallel processing firmware is the best yet for the Singularity version of the Master 7. Makes the R7 and now the S7 w. Accuslilicon XOs sing like never before. OS 8x hasn't sounded this good since V3A. NOS (one mode) is great as well. This firmware supports optical input on IN4.

    You can find the latest firmware (R7tda_Asy_P2_dsdclk.jic) here... https://onedrive.live.com/?id=636DC4E8060D66A1!415&cid=636DC4E8060D66A1

    For Singularity S7s or M7Ss Not compatible with the older M7 DSP. Same DSP jumpers as Asy3 firmware. See the .htm and .jpg for new DSP jumper guide that applies when loading this firmware..
  10. borrego
    Wow! Good to know the new parallel processing firmware is compatible with the M7S. LOL, I haven yet got time installing the Accusilicon XOs to my M7S.
  11. DACLadder
    Today loaded this latest parallel async firmware on my 7 year old M7 converted to Singularity digital board four years ago (M7S). Driven by the Gustard U16 DDC I2S the sound quality is just amazing. I have always liked the M7 and stuck with it through years of growing pains. But each upgrade makes this old M7 sound better and better. Amazing Kingwa supports the older products but you should take advantage while you can. The Accusilicon XOs take all my DACs (S7, M7S, S7) to other levels of performance not capable before. The new firmware add clarity, sparkle, and huge soundstage. Vocals never sounded better on my AGD DACs.

    I keep saying I need to sell the old M7 as I also have a factory version of the same hardware (S7). Maybe I will this time (but probably not).
  12. JaMo
    Don't sell it Scott. Keep it if You not have to sell it...For its charm and as backup. The 1704's sounds very nice.Save it as a gift for some understanding relative....Should be kept in the family ; )
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  13. tumpux
    is it hard to replace the clock with the accusilicon ones?
  14. mivarpet
    You might be lucky like me and have sockets on your digital board, so it's a simple unplug / plug process. However, quite a few of the others (seemed like a majority) had their crystals soldered in.

    I suggest you have a look in the R2R7 / R7 thread as there is good discussion about how to swap soldered crystals. Some were steady handed enough to do it without removing the digital board. If that was me, I probably would remove the digital board to do the job.

    If you take the lid off you will quickly see what you need to do.

    That said, it is definitely worth the effort to get the Accusilicon crystals in.
  15. BreadMaster
    Any update?
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