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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
    Just check audio-gd's webpage. Kingwa has produced what seems to be an excellent design, using an optimal layout. I will be one of the first to order the regenerated version. It's not released yet, nor the regular version.
    BreadMaster likes this.
  2. DACLadder
    BreadMaster likes this.
  3. DACLadder
    Requires some experience and skill. I've reworked 3 DACs with Accusilicons and the most straight forward way is to take the screws out securing the digital board and pivot the board up on the i/O connector side while leaving the power connections intact (other end). Use a stick or prop to hold the I/O end of the board up to gain access to the XOs and board bottom side. Removing the two chassis dividers from their place will allow more access (between digital and analog boards). Remove USB and I2S adapters, unsolder the I/O connection, disconnect faceplate, and also usoldering (if needed) the four digital board connections (I2S) to the analog boards.

    Once the digital board is propped up desolder the old XOs, install new ones, and reverse steps.

    There are pictures somewhere on the R7 thread in the April/ May 2019 timeframe.
  4. borrego
    I finally got myself doing the Accusilicon XOs upgrade to my M7S this morning, it is 7 months after I bought the XOs from audio-gd. :ksc75smile:

    1. Wiggle out the stock XOs from the circuit board, destroying them during the process (this is the most scary part, I would not do it if I haven't done XO upgrade to my audio-gd NFB-1 9 years ago and knew audio-gd soldering is stronger than the pin joint of the XOs)
    2. Heat the pin remains with soldering iron and pull them out from the holes.
    3. Vacuum clean any debris left on the board.
    4. Dismantle a DIP8 IC socket.and salvage 8 pin sockets from it.
    5. Solder the 8 pin sockets to the board from above with proper alignment (have to tin the pin sockets with solder first, and make sure enough/not excessive solder flow through the holes)
    6. Seat the new Accusilicon XOs to the pin sockets.

    This is the least difficult way I can think of replacing the XOs without dismantling the digital board and de-soldering digital input wire. I believe with the XOs sitting high on socket may cause additional interference but the result is good so far: The imaging tighten up a bit (with V3A firmware).

    20191108_1024040001.JPG 20191108_1029130001.JPG 20191108_1141080001.JPG 20191108_1146400001.JPG 20191108_1231260001.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    motberg and FredA like this.
  5. JaMo
    Congrats to finally get it done. The method was rather "odd" though. Well the result is everything. And You let us see what's inside the previous used XO's. Give the Accu's two weeks of burn in. The sounds nice from start but the sound open up after about two weeks
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  6. DACLadder
    @borrego Nice job. Glad to know the XOs have caps inside the cans. Makes sense! Let the Accusilicons run in and load on some new firmware. You will be in for a treat!
  7. borrego
    How would you compare the latest DSDCLK firmware to the V3A? Does it lose dynamic like the earlier TDA firmware when being used on the M7S?
  8. DACLadder
    @borrego DSDCLK is wonderful in the M7S! Very dynamic, good tight bass, and crystal clear highs. Imaging is very good. It is my favorite firmware of all time in my 3 Singularity DACs - R7, M7S, and S7.

    And I like DSDCLK best of these TDA type firmwares. OS 8x hasn't sounded this good since V3A. NOS (one mode) is great as well.

    But give the Accusilicons some time to open up. It is kind of neat listening for changes as time progresses with familiar firmware. Let us know what you think!
  9. borrego
    @DACLadder Thanks for the advice! I shall keep it as is for a month or so and then load the DSDCLK firmware. BTW, do you jave Dither on or off? I have been having Dither on since day one with my M7S.
  10. DACLadder
    @borrego No problem! I have Dither = Off. I haven’t tried in a while as I couldn’t tell much difference on my system.
  11. borrego
    I see. I serve as sound controller in my church every other week so I am quite particular on imaging and proportion of instrument sound, so I set Dither On since day one with my M7S. I found Dither Off makes some instruments sounding larger than they should be.

    BTW, I change all my XLR cables to Sommer Epilogue EMC cables (https://www.amazon.de/EPILOGUE-Neutrik-Spezial-Phonokabel-EPB1-0100-Gelb/dp/B00CQ2EI2Q/ref=sr_1_9?__mk_de_DE=ÅMÅŽÕÑ&crid=32806RBHE74BW&keywords=sommer+epilogue+xlr&qid=1573261001&sprefix=Sommer+epil,aps,365&sr=8-9) a few months back and is super amazed. The "proper" sound stage and imaging these cables brought to my system is just amazing. I think much of the credit goes to Neutrik EMC XLR plugs used on these cables. I am buying additional Neutrik EMC XLR plugs building headphone extension cords myself. These Neutrik EMC XLR plugsare also easier to work on comparing to normal XLR plugs, just requiring soldering to the +/- wires and the cable shield is to be crimped:

    I use the Sommer Epilogue EMC cables between the M7S and Phasemation EPA-007X, and the Master 1 preamp to the electrocompaniet AW180 clone power amp.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
    DACLadder likes this.
  12. borrego
    I upgrade the firmware of my M7S to Asy_P2_dsdclk today, with Dithering ON, 8xOS setting.

    Comparing to the previous V3A (also with Dithering ON, 8xOS), the sound is more relax. With the bass pushed back to the rear of the sound stage. It is more natural. There are also more micro details. It is with my speaker setup.

    The V3A sounded very up front, pushing everything to the front of the stage with the Accusilicon XOs. The V3A was sounding right before the Accusilicon XOs upgrade, but sounds a bit too aggressive with the Accusilicon XOs. I think the Accusilicon XOs upgrade is like putting a sharper lens to a camera, one can reduce the amount of sharpening in post processing.

    Shall stay with this Asy_P2_dsdclk firmware for now. Will listen with my newly acquired RAD-0 headphones over the weekend with the SA31SE amp.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019 at 6:39 PM
    comzee and FredA like this.
  13. wmedrz
    Hi all, I have the M7 original upgraded to singularity. Have there been any new firmwares since 2017?
  14. FredA
  15. DACLadder
    You missed out on a lot of stuff since 2017! There has been many firmware versions and a huge hardware change to swap out the Singularity board oscillators. Even the Amanero board got an oscillator upgrade if you use it. .
    With your current setup try V3A firmware and work your way up or down. The oscillator changes are highly recommended especially with the latest firmware but nothing wrong with giving them a try. The DSP jumper mapping and functions change on these later firmware releases but there is a guide.
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