Audio-gd Reference 7 Loaner Program (USA)
Aug 11, 2010 at 9:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 370
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After chatting to a few people about the idea, I've managed to persuade Kingwa, the owner of Audio-gd, to loan out a Reference 7 to experienced Head-fiers in the USA to compare with other high-end sources. The idea is that people who own and are experienced with high-end equipment can borrow one for a couple of weeks and compare it, then post their thoughts or a review in this thread. It's no secret that the idea that Audio-gd DACs might compare with much more expensive DACs has lifted eyebrows to put it mildly, so the idea is to find out if they can.  
 
Some requirements: The Reference 7 only works to its full potential when used with the balanced outputs (actually, ACSS has the lowest distortion, but would require the person already has other Audio-gd gear) so people with amps that have balanced inputs would be preferred.  People with high-end speaker rigs and balanced amps are strongly encouraged to apply too.  "Established" Head-fiers are preferable, that is, people with a few hundred posts who have been around a couple of years at least.  The Reference 7 packed is 33 lbs/15 kgs, so needs to be shipped appropriately for an expensive item obviously. Kingwa is going to pay for shipping to the USA (and back if required).
 
Some fine details may need to be worked out, but this is basically it.
 
So far, I have on my (preliminary) list of interested reviewers:
 
Asr
The Monkey
Jude
morphsci
digger945
Yikes
audiosceptic
Happy Camper
Uncle Erik
 
 
Please let me know if you're interested, along with any relevant information about yourself (such as your address) and your gear you feel useful. 
 
Aug 11, 2010 at 4:26 PM Post #2 of 370

The Monkey

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I applaud kingwa for this program, and curra for pursuading him to do it.  I've certainly been critical of the audio-gd fanboys in the past, so I might as well listen to the darn thing. 
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  I'll keep the SkipJack a bit longer so I can A/B with the PWD and maybe the Dodson.  And lest anyone think I am rooting against the Ref 7, just remember that there's always room in my rack for a DAC.  Looking forward to trying this out.
 
Aug 11, 2010 at 7:00 PM Post #3 of 370

digger945

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Hats off to Kingwa, and to you for arranging the loaner program. Should be interesting to see what all the fuss is about.
 
Nothing peculiar about my listening apparatus, save maybe Dynamite for amp, Halide Bridge for transport. Worthy competitors in the rack would be modded Valab and EAD DSP7000mkIII.
 
Aug 11, 2010 at 8:37 PM Post #5 of 370

n3rdling

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Hope you don't put too much emphasis on SE/Balanced as a determinant of who gets on the list.  Also, since this is a heavy item, I think it'd be a good idea to get everybody's address and arrange the listening order so that the package travels the least distance.  You'd save everybody a good amount of money if they only had to ship a few states over instead of back and forth across the U.S.
 
Aug 12, 2010 at 12:12 AM Post #7 of 370
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The Monkey: Kingwa is serious about getting good feedback on his gear. His sincere desire to make good sounding gear that people like is why I like him.
 
n3rdling: I figured I'll play it by ear.  IMO while the balanced amps are a different matter, I think one can still get a good idea of how the DACs perform even single-ended, so I'm not going to exclude anyone with a high-end SE rig, just that the (measured) performance is a little bit lower as a result of using that way.
 
Aug 12, 2010 at 12:26 AM Post #9 of 370

Uncle Erik

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I'm not balanced, but would be willing to give it a try, as well. I have more gear in my profile, including speakers. I could run it with the ProAc Response 2.5 clones and Quad ESL-63s. Perhaps even the Orion3, if I can cobble them together before it arrives.

I also think this is a great way to introduce products - more manufacturers should do it.
 
Aug 12, 2010 at 1:53 AM Post #10 of 370
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Uncle Erik: It'd be good to have your feedback on it.
 
I just need people to PM me their addresses so, as n3rdling suggested, I can work out the most effective order so that shipping distances can be minimised. Also if anyone wants to have it at a particular time for a meet, let me know.  According to Kingwa, he can send one anytime, so I figure once we have a couple more people we can have a look at how the cities spread out and go from there.
 
Also, Kingwa said he will include a USBFace with it.  When someone asked him about the Reference 7, which has USB, he replied that the USB implementation in the USBFace is better (which probably makes a USBFace + Reference 1 a more cost-effective DAC solution) but it's another thing one can experiment with if one chooses.
 
Aug 12, 2010 at 2:48 AM Post #11 of 370

not_sure

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It would be good interesting if anyone could compare it with clear renowned dacs like Emm Labs etc. and could confirm that it is in this sound quality league as some people wrote here ($8000-9000) without comparison
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Aug 12, 2010 at 3:19 AM Post #12 of 370

Shahrose

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Subscribed. Looking forward to these impressions.
 
Aug 13, 2010 at 7:48 AM Post #13 of 370

Tom W

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If this works out for Kingwa I'd be interested in a DAC-19/C2 and/or Ref-5/ROC loaner program so I could compare it to some all in one units like the Benchmark and/or Lavry units.
 
I'm not sure what the final arrangements are but shipping to the next person on the list might be more cost effective than shipping back to Kingwa each time.
 
Aug 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM Post #14 of 370

Yikes

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Quote:
If this works out for Kingwa I'd be interested in a DAC-19/C2 and/or Ref-5/ROC loaner program so I could compare it to some all in one units like the Benchmark and/or Lavry units.
 
I'm not sure what the final arrangements are but shipping to the next person on the list might be more cost effective than shipping back to Kingwa each time.



No offense, but your profile is empty, you've been a member for 5 months and you've posted 16 times; in what universe would you be considered a "experienced Head-fiers" that is a prerequisite for this and most such loaner programs?
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Such loaner programs help get more information out to a larger group and are IMO an overwhelmingly positive endevour. At some point in a year or two if you continue posting and you fill out your profile you'll be considered Experienced and possibly be able to take part in a loaner program.
 

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