Audio-gd Reference 7 Loaner Program (USA)
Apr 29, 2011 at 5:42 PM Post #361 of 370

Pricklely Peete

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I think I know what you are referring to... The RE-1's digital board responds very favorably to polypropylene caps around DIR9001, 75Ω matched Caddock resistors and line driver chip changes... Tightening the input SPDIF signal tolerances with Audiophilleo and likes must have similar effect.



I can confirm some of this (the DSP-1 mod made for a tangible increase in overall SQ as did the MAX mod in general)....my matched set of 75R Caddocks are on the way from PCX......replacing the Solen MKP's (0.1uf 630V for K42 PIO .1uf 160V with T-1 820pf 200V Teflon bypass) should improve things even further (underneath the DSP-1 board directly). I recently replaced the Solens in the Phoenix PSU with K42/K40 PIO combination to great effect which then prodded me into getting rid of the MKP's in the RE1. Some of the glare and grain can be attributed solely to the Solen MKPs and to a much lesser degree the stock NoVer electrolytic caps. The stock NoVers are excellent baseline reasonable cost parts but they can be bettered (without costing a lot more ). The NoVers IMO impart a whitish quality to the upper mid/treble regions while they also are not quite as accurate in the bass region (in terms of tonality, texture and weight) as the excellent Mundorf M'lytic caps are ....I realize such statements will have a lot of eyes rolling around here (and likely elsewhere) but the proof is in the pudding. These DACs (and amps for that matter) have a lot of potential to tap if one is so inclined to take a chance. I also realize the MAX mods are likely way too involved for most DIY/part time tinkerers to undertake....it is a fairly major risk to follow suit (unless you are sure of your skill level).
 
To Project86....I love reading your reviews....they are well thought out, thorough and filled with very useful easy to understand information that is devoid of the usual audio speak that can be trying to comprehend from a practical standpoint. Your reviews convey straight forward info that anyone can find meaning in...that's not an easy task...thanks for the effort and your impressions. A job very well done.
beerchug.gif

 
 
 
Peete.
 
May 1, 2011 at 5:47 AM Post #363 of 370

computerparts

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Quote:
Some of the glare and grain can be attributed solely to the Solen MKPs and to a much lesser degree the stock NoVer electrolytic caps. The stock NoVers are excellent baseline reasonable cost parts but they can be bettered (without costing a lot more ). The NoVers IMO impart a whitish quality to the upper mid/treble regions while they also are not quite as accurate in the bass region (in terms of tonality, texture and weight) as the excellent Mundorf M'lytic caps are ....I realize such statements will have a lot of eyes rolling around here (and likely elsewhere) but the proof is in the pudding.
 
 
Peete.


That explains it. It's great that the glare can be circumvented by replacing caps but this isn't exactly a cheap dac. Thus mods shouldn't be necessary on a dac at this price point IMO. While we're at it, what's your position on Mundorf Supremes? I have read conflicting opinions on these caps.
 
 
May 1, 2011 at 7:55 AM Post #364 of 370

SP Wild

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I doubt the Reference 1 would have any form of digital glare to me if going by my Reference 7 is any indication.  I can't hear any digital glare even with my 48khz on board digital output of my PC.  Then again I never heard the Reference 1.
 
May 1, 2011 at 11:33 AM Post #366 of 370

SP Wild

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Well that is reassuring. And if you have an issue during the "life" of the unit? There's more to a product than the item itself, however good it sounds. The price of a Ref. 7 is more than a throw away so other factors enter the decision.


Kind of a moot point with regards to the scarcity of hi-end audio distribution chain in general within the context of an international community.  What I do not agree with is reports of Audio GD not wishing for owners to declare full value of the product when shipping for warranty.  I got to admit, dealing with Audio GD when I was purchasing was a royal PITA.  The facts are there for all to see.
 
 
 
May 1, 2011 at 3:01 PM Post #367 of 370

Pricklely Peete

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Quote:
That explains it. It's great that the glare can be circumvented by replacing caps but this isn't exactly a cheap dac. Thus mods shouldn't be necessary on a dac at this price point IMO. While we're at it, what's your position on Mundorf Supremes? I have read conflicting opinions on these caps.
 

The Mundorf Supremes are ok but hardly what I'd call the best of the best. The Mundorf M'Lytic line as well the HV Tube caps...among others in that line up are another story altogether. I somewhat agree with you that mods should not be necessary on the DAC in this price point...on the other hand the under 2K price point is hardly what I would call the beginning of the "high end" segment where cost is no limiting factor...I would argue that the under 2K bracket has to deal with the same trade offs that the just under 1K bracket brings.........if you look at the A-gd line up a level of acceptable cost parts is extensively used throughout the product line up (all electrolytic caps are supplied by NoVer for the most part). Where some corner cutting has to be taken into account a massive mod to a 1.5K-1.75K USD dac might seem overkill upon first glance but generally speaking the criteria that us DIY types follow has to do with analysis of the basic design...if the right parts are in the right spots, the overall topology being sound (HQ PSU's in place etc) the base unit becomes a good/great candidate for experimenting with....thus the MAX mods take full advantage of this and while I tend to agree with your sentiment that a unit costing 1.5 to 2K USD should not require mods I also look at it from another perspective where such a price point has to take into account some trade offs in parts quality selection to remain within that bracket.
 
The base units are great performers but turn into outstanding performers when upgraded....there is a fair amount of untapped potential waiting to be unlocked.....taking that chance is what gives me half of the fun...I love to tinker with gear no matter how much it costs.
 
Peete.
 
 
 
May 5, 2011 at 7:58 PM Post #369 of 370
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Just out of curiosity. Would this DAC be suitable for a O2/BHSE setup?


Yes. IIRC the BHSE has balanced inputs, and the Ref 7 is ideally used with the balanced outputs.
 

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