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New Audio-gd R7 (R2R 7) & R8 Flagship Resistor Ladder DACs

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by Currawong, Jun 30, 2017.
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  1. ToroFiestaSol
    OK I'll be 100% sincere

    I love their amps, both headphone and speaker amps, I think Kingwa just nails it when it comes to analog engineering.


    I've heard Singularity 19 DAC two weeks ago and didn't post anything, because mmm well, I just wanted to take a shiit and go to bed, left me traumatized, the other forum wasn't exagerating about how BAD that thing sounds.

    Now, this new R2R 7 appears, claiming "sign magnitude, fully balanced" like Rockna and MSB, and costs 2.5k...what's the point if I can buy Soekris DAC1541, which costs less than half the price and comes with a balanced headphone amp and a digital preamp, and is also fully balanced, sign magnitude R2R with propietary DAC ladders, and made in Denmark, not China?

    I'll give them the benefit of the doubt but they owe me money for listening to the S19, what a POS.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
    D2Girls and omniweltall like this.
  2. FredA
    The point is better PSUs, output stage, input interface, signal processing, chassis, connectivity, reputation, etc... You are looking at what could be the best dac under 10k. But it is not meant to be used with cheap amplification, cheap PC setup and so on. You have to have proper cables, including power cord. If this dac is just 2% better than my Master-7 with latest firmware, i don't see what else to say: this is a no-brainer. The competition might come from Denafrips Terminator and over 10k dacs. Forget the Yggdrasil, seems it needs an update just to keep up with the latest M7 and the S7.

    We will soon find out, but i arealdy know the result.

    As for the s19, might be a defective unit or inadequate PC setup because the vast majority of the comments are positive on the dedicated thread until a bunch of individuals came in from another forum.

    Made in China does not mean bad. Depends on who builds it. Same for every country.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
    skygarden, HoloSpice and rexhu100 like this.
  3. ToroFiestaSol
    Ehhhhh, do you know how to read?

    I said: "I love their amps, both headphone and speaker amps, I think Kingwa just nails it when it comes to analog engineering."
    I'm not saying: made in China is bad, please read my post. Made in China means cheaper than made in Europe, not better made or worse. But the Soekris DAC is made in Denmark and costs less than half of the price.

    You said "reputation"...do you know who Soekris is? Soekris has far better reputation (and experience) than Audio GD when it comes to R2R DAC ladders.

    Cheap amplification or cheap PC setup? Ehhhm, my setup is Stax SR-007 MK2 (2016 version,"MK2.9", the best one), with MK1 springs, bass port mod and fron arcs bended for a perfect fit, and a KGSSHV Mini, my PC is noiseless and costed me 3k, believe me, my setup is far, far better than 95% of Head-fi setups.

    And no, the S19 was not defective, just do a search on the other forum and see what other people thinks about it.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
    D2Girls, Treeko and omniweltall like this.
  4. FredA

    Was not talking about your setup. The expression POS tends to make me a bit reactive. Happy that you get the point that "made in China" means more for your money. Soekris has a good reputation, but is far less reknown than Audio-gd as far as dacs are concerned. A dac is a whole, not just an r2r ladder or delta sigma chip. I'd be curious to audition the s19 to form my own opinion.

    It's not just the gears you've got but also synergy. It's a tough lesson to learn, took me 20 years.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
  5. ToroFiestaSol
    I'm a simple and logical man when it comes to "synergy":
    Headphone that I like > transparent, powerful amp > best source I can buy
    I don't buy the idiotic audiophile "sound tuning" thing or the even more stupid "harsh and thin is the truth" pro audio thing, I just like well made audio equipment.
  6. FredA
    Well i used to think like that but neutrality is a relative thing. Everyone has its own definition. So almost everytime i upgrade some gear, i have to do some tweaking. For instance, the M7 firmware update required that i changed opamps (discrete ones, i must precise) in my monoblocks so that the sound stayed to my likings.
  7. Currawong Contributor
    I did a bit of musical chairs with the inputs last night and brought out the DECCA recordings to really see what I could make out from both DACs. There's a bit of difference between USB input quality and I ended up comparing using S/PDIF input from the same source, an Audio-gd DI-U8. That brought both closer such that with the HE1000 V2 I would have doubts about passing a blind test. My feeling was that the Yggy is ever so slightly more nuanced and spacious with 44/16 and 24/96. However if I use Audirvana to up-sample to 352k or 384k (power of 2 up-sampling, linear phase filter) to the R2R 7, I feel there is a bit more of a sense of clarity. I think I'll be able to get a better handle on things once some other gear arrives, or I can arrange a comparison with speakers so I can get a sense of the soundstage each produces.

    I'm thinking to try rolling the DC offset op-amps in the output stage with others as that improved the NFB-1AMP significantly to my ears.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
  8. FredA
    One thing that worked for me with the M7 was to increase the number of samples used to compute the output to one million or so (advanced settings of audirvana). Made a significant differnce with clarity. The Yggdrasil has a really advanced upsampling algorithm. On the other hand, audivarna can upsample very very well using Izotope. I upsample the 44/16 contents to 48/24. Does it for me.

    And am quite sure you can better that result using a better ddc, with PLL off. I use the following chain: jitterbug->intona->schiit wyrd->singxer f-1->rj45 i2s->m7. Sounds greats. The last usb cable has to feed the power to the f-1, so i use one that has 2 separate runs of high-quality wire.

    I would really like to try an opamp swap on my M7, are they on sockets?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
  9. FredA
    That makes me think that Kingwa could improve his DACs furthermore by using better clocks (ndk or crystek) and by working on the upsampling side. Otherwise, i think the rest is very near perfection.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
  10. Currawong Contributor
    Some of it is probably a preference thing, but people have spent decades on digital filters. On the back plate of one of the older Audio-gd DACs I used to own were a couple of smallish holes which were the perfect size for toggle switches, so I put in a pair to allow easy switching of the DSP modes. It'd be interesting to try different filters with the unit in NOS mode, so I might have to see if there isn't a suitable space for one.
  11. bballas
    R2R Ultracapacitor dac:stuck_out_tongue:
    motberg and Currawong like this.
  12. gk2013
    Must be! I have a DAC19 and a Singularity 19 and I love them! I had some issues with the Singularity in beginning but this turned out to be my source, I used an old laptop (no battery); when I switched to my "good" source it was really a pleasure to listen to the SIng19.
    I posted my results on this forum while comparing them. I have been contacted by a forum member (different forum) who lives not too far from where I live and he wanted to hear the DAC19. Guess what? He ordered a Singularity 19!
    It's hard to form your own opinion now about the Singularity 19; while in a blind test I am sure many people would chose this one.
    My recommendation is: Listen to it and you will find out its a very nice DAC!

    Back to the R2R 7 now......
    Astral Abyss and FredA like this.
  13. FredA
    I examined the measurements that were published. Everyone knows that when you play a signal at -90dB, the distorsion goes up dramatically. In the case of the s19, you are left with 2-3 bits to represent the signal. Of course it will be very distorted, and with all dacs with similar resolution. Plus at some point they were comparing a dac with 2.0v output with another with a 2.5v output. They were possibly saturating the ADC. Some figures they measured made absolutely no sense. This is indicative of a bad setup.

    Plus all that have bought the S19 and satisfied are deaf idiots? No way. Again, very little respect for us on Headfi.

    I am about to order a R2R 7, just hesitating cause the canadian dollar is low.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
    rexhu100 and Astral Abyss like this.
  14. Currawong Contributor
    If anything, it goes to show why linear compensation is important in these designs.

    I hate to get into it, but it's sad that some people, because they are mates with one particular manufacturer, feel the need to hype them while trashing their competitors. It is worse when that manufacturer has the highest degree of honesty and integrity, as they end up negativing affecting that manufacturer's reputation as well as poisoning the well for everyone else.

    We are incredibly lucky to have direct access to some of the most incredibly talented engineers and they have made amazing products for us at realistic prices while a team of incredibly hard-working people are slaving away in an office in Detroit (and LA) to keep this site running without which NONE of this would have ever happened.


    My Utopias have finally arrived! I've been waiting for them to more carefully compare the R2R 7 and Yggy. However, even using the best recordings I have, I can't tell definitively which DAC is which plugged into the inputs of the Studio Six with most music. This using either USB to both (and Roon) or the DI-U8 with S/PIF and Audirvana. The latter set-up, not using the built-in USB receivers of the DACs, sounds a bit nicer to me.

    Picking as much complex music with a detailed soundstage as possible, I managed to guess correctly which DAC was which, the Yggy still sound very marginally more spacious and the R2R 7 a very tiny bit more closed-in. We're talking barely perceptible differences though. This took effort I don't want to repeat though! It might show up better on a proper speaker rig.
    FredA likes this.
  15. abartels
    I would love to read a comparison between both, using I2S input.

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