New Audio-gd DAC-19 [10th Anniversary Edition]
Dec 21, 2018 at 3:29 AM Post #1,936 of 1,952

desik

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I'm surprised to hear all the issue with DAC-19 firmware versions. I have the most basic DAC-19DI, that costed $400 even when it was released, and doesn't support firmware upgrades. Hooked with DI-2014. It sound wonderful. Bass is bloomy and not particularly defined in the low-end, but this is a characteristic common to all AGD DACs. It sound so good that a Gungnir MB USB-5+B series is just an incremental upgrade in terms of resolution but has a bit overly-analytical signature. Digital interface is a must however. Without it DAC-19 sounds rather tiring. I'll probably sell the Gumby and keep the DAC-19. This hobby is just absurd trial and error and a ton of money lost.
 
Dec 21, 2018 at 1:26 PM Post #1,937 of 1,952

mmmadog

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I contacted Mr Kingwa and he asked for my serial number so he could help and on my model he recommended jumpers on ATTO, ATT1, and IPSO to get the warmest sound. He also said I just might not like this dac. It's awesome of him to tell me the truth and I contacted him several times in the mourning and by the afternoon I had a response. He went out of his way to help. I tried the settings and it is better. Overall I like the sound the impact and the airyness around the music but it's still harsh to me and gets worse as I turn it up and as desik said the bass is not particularly defined and bloomy which just kills it for me. I'm going to go back to my Schiit wyrd and rca's and see if it's better.
 
Dec 21, 2018 at 2:53 PM Post #1,938 of 1,952

Zenvota

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I contacted Mr Kingwa and he asked for my serial number so he could help and on my model he recommended jumpers on ATTO, ATT1, and IPSO to get the warmest sound. He also said I just might not like this dac. It's awesome of him to tell me the truth and I contacted him several times in the mourning and by the afternoon I had a response. He went out of his way to help. I tried the settings and it is better. Overall I like the sound the impact and the airyness around the music but it's still harsh to me and gets worse as I turn it up and as desik said the bass is not particularly defined and bloomy which just kills it for me. I'm going to go back to my Schiit wyrd and rca's and see if it's better.

I find line noise isolators to work great with audio gd dacs, since theres no filtering in the power supplies. Must isolate from the source when using these, either optical spdif or high speed galvanic usb isolation.

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/top...ansformers-for-affordably-clean-power.857448/

https://www.ebay.com/itm/SCHNEIDER-...606396&hash=item489b5cdf2e:g:HpcAAOSwjkdZ-96I
 
Mar 23, 2019 at 3:39 PM Post #1,939 of 1,952

housekrl

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I recently bought a DAC 19 10th A. Edition with v.7 firmware. The first thing I noticed is the quality of the rythem section. The cymbals ring, the drums kick, and the bass is well defined. The next thing I'm noticing is the soundstage. I've always thought my HE 560 had a very narrow soundstage. Apparently it's not the headphones but is DAC dependent. The instruments are spread out. I feel like I'm on the stage with the instruments spread out around me.
I've hit a threshold. I can never go back to budget sigma delta DACs. They just sound like a wall of sound in comparison.
I wish I would have discovered Audio gd 10 years ago. I would have saved a lot of money. I'm enjoying music so much more. Maybe next I'll try one of the R2R dacs.
 
Jul 26, 2019 at 1:50 AM Post #1,940 of 1,952

peppyjoe

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Anyome compared dac 19 10th edition v7 firmware with new r8 or r7 dacs? What would be ideal upgrade. I own complete audiogd m1-m3 and like the analog sound of dac 19 and domt want to miss the lovely voices.
 
Dec 19, 2019 at 6:21 AM Post #1,942 of 1,952

exsomnis

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So I've had my DAC-19 for 3 years now and it has served me very well. I love the realistic timbre and tone and expressiveness. On the other hand, it was perfect for the first 2 years until it started behaving erratically. At times, there's a significantly noticeable channel imbalance. At other times, the bass just drops off. Sometimes midrange gets overly peaky. As it turns out, fully unplugging it and leaving it be for a few weeks fixes the behaviour. This I found out because I caved in and impulse bought a Denafrips Ares II.

The Ares II was disappointing the day I received it and plugged it in. It took a full 2 days of constant operation before it sounded decent, yet after a month of listening, it doesn't have the same realistic timbre and tone as the DAC-19. It strives for it but doesn't quite get there. Worse still is the lack of transparency. In comparison to the DAC-19, the overall presentation sounds veiled and this tends to make many tracks sound like they were recorded in the same stifled venue. The stoundstage is flat and lacks depth - instruments lack separation and distinctiion.

On its own, the Ares II is not a bad DAC. But when compared to the DAC-19, it is clearly the lesser of the two.

At this point, it seems like I need to stick with the Audio-gd house sound but this drop off in reliability is a big concern.
 
Dec 24, 2019 at 10:58 AM Post #1,943 of 1,952

Hensema

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Thanks for sharing your experience with the Denafrips Ares. I was expecting that the Ares would be an upgrade because of all the positive reviews and it’s a newer dac. The Pontus might be an upgrade then. Anyone compared the Dac 19 with de Pontus?
 
Dec 25, 2019 at 1:44 PM Post #1,944 of 1,952

jasoun

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Thanks for sharing your experience with the Denafrips Ares. I was expecting that the Ares would be an upgrade because of all the positive reviews and it’s a newer dac. The Pontus might be an upgrade then. Anyone compared the Dac 19 with de Pontus?
Hello
I have the both the 2017 DAC19 and the Denafrips Ares ( original version ) , I really love my Audio gd PCM1704 dacs as they have a very special musical and realistic sound . However the newer dac 19s tend to be a bit on the bright side , and compared to the older DAC19 Mk3 are not as mellow . That said I find the Denafrips Ares dac to be an excellent dac . It has a rich sound and is very detailed , I am also able to identify each individual instrument being played . I always say the if someone was just getting one dac the Denafrips Ares would be the one to get . Which is better ? , as I said I have a soft spot for Audio gd PCM1704 dacs but I must tell you the Denafrips Ares is just as good in in some ways better than the dac19 . I know this is the opposite of what was previously stated but the Denafrips just has a more distinct and accurate sound without being bright or offensive .. That's my opinion .
 
Apr 30, 2020 at 11:19 AM Post #1,946 of 1,952

Pharmaboy

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I've never heard that amp. But I did hear my AGD DAC-19 + 5 other SS amps & 1 OTL, driving the Empyrean.

Didn't keep the Empyrean (though it's beautiful)--but did keep the DAC-19. It's a great sound, flexible & ideal for my side system.
 
May 4, 2020 at 9:26 AM Post #1,948 of 1,952

exsomnis

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So unluckily for me, my DAC-19 is in its death throes - 4 years & 1 month old. Where it used to sound great all the time, it has been a crapshoot and more often than not it sounds medicore and lacks clarity and transparency. I theorise that there might be some degraded capacitors in there somewhere. I'm hesitant to ship it all the way to Guangdong for it to make it there and for Kingwa to tell me it's working perfectly fine, because it does sound fine after a few weeks of being unplugged and not in use. Yet, if I leave it plugged in - even turning off when not in use - it exhibits this intermittent behaviour.

I'm also hesitant to get one of the R-1, R-7 or R-8s. I want to be able to believe that my gear love affairs will last for as long as I let them. That said, 4 years is still longer than what manufacturers are willing to provide a warranty for. But I think it's time to let it go.

So I'm trying my luck with an RME ADI-2 DAC FS, which I received 7 hours ago now. I started listening to it with my speaker setup (I prefer it paired with my Audio-gd Precision 1 rather than the Hegel H90) and now have it playing through my iHA-6 and LCD3. I hear a clarity and natural timbre that reminds me of how my DAC-19 used to be but taken to a new level. The built-in headphone amp is also highly competent but the iHA-6 seems to have the edge on it, for refinement and subtlety. I will soon try the Precision 1 headphone out.

We'll see how things turn out in the long term but at the moment I think I won't miss the PCM1704UK sound too much, given how much 'musicality' the ADI-2 is giving me.

Goodbye my beloved DAC-19.
 
May 4, 2020 at 9:49 AM Post #1,949 of 1,952

uelover

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I am sad to hear about the demise of your DAC-19. That is really bad, especially at such a time.

Interesting that I have quite a few pieces of gears that you have - the DAC 19, RME ADI-2 DAC, and iHA-6.

I love the DAC-19 when paired with their NFB1-Amp using the ACSS output, but I dislike the DAC19 when paired with iHA-6 and some other amps when connected using the RCA output.

I love the RME ADI-2 DAC when used as a standalone. Between the two, I will give the edge in enjoyment factor to DAC-19/NFB-1. The rest, e.g., technical prowess, blackness in background, fidelity all to RME ADI-2 DAC.

The darling of my heart was WA8 from Woo Audio. Too bad it doesn't have enough power to drive the Hifiman HE1000 with full authority (it is very very good already).
 
May 4, 2020 at 10:57 AM Post #1,950 of 1,952

exsomnis

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Ah, I do prefer my iHA-6 but in my case I have it connected via XLR and also balanced to my LCD3. There seems to be more control and refinement in this setup vs ADI-2 on its own, which in my case is comparing balanced to single ended. I've never really loved the single ended output from the iHA-6. And I have mostly been using the Precision 1 headphone section for headphone listening due to convenience - not having to switch rca cables over to the iHA-6 from the DAC-19 when I switch between speakers and headphones.

Also, I have just tried the LCD3s with ADI-2 single ended through to my Precision 1 and while it is not as clean as the iHA-6 balanced, I do prefer its more organic presentation. I will need to compare that to the ADI-2 headphone section now to see how it goes.

We'll see how it goes, in the future I might still come back to Audio-gd for DACs, once I'm able to bring my ADI-2 to the local dealer to compare to the R-7/R-8. I also might actually sell my Hegel and go for a Master 10 or 3 depending on how things turn out.
 

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