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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. michkhol
    Thanks, this is actually good to know, because Yggy tends to be more forward in reviews comparing to other R2R DACs. By exaggerated I mean bigger than life, not necessarily forward. Due to absence of natural spatial clues (room) the human brain presumes that the source is really close and when a big hall reverb is added to it, it makes the source much larger than in real life.
  2. FredA
    With the firmware update, the r2r 7 became more laid back.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
  3. FredA
    Last light, i had an oppurtunity to compare the rj45 input (wyrd->intona->f-1) to the spdif bnc input (using a bluejean coax) fed by my oppo 103. The i2s input only had a slight advantage in the bass extension department. That is comforting to know and an indication that beyond a certain transport quality, the r2r 7’s reclocking does an excellent job. It is also an indication that a good cd transport is tough to equal or beat using a computer.
  4. Chopin75

    Over the past week my R2R7 has really burned in or getting more stable (now at 1000 hr or beyond playing non-stop in past month). I have been listening to NOS modes except the beginning with OS8 with the default setting.
    NOS2 has been working really nicely in the last few days, no signs of fatigue, liquid smooth and at times organic quality with not much digital glare when fully warm up, from a great recording.
    PCM sound is now getting very close to DSD sound, though some stage/sense of realism is somewhat less impressive on digital files compared with CD transport (which remains amazing) but the details may at times be better than CD transport (to be expected given I am comparing 24/96 versus 16/44)

    Here are the few differences between the 3 different NOS modes I have observed:

    NOS 1: very wide sound stage, uncanny detail, really analogue/smooth and musical, and almost Vinyl-like, definitely having DSD-like quality, detailed layering; This would have been the best mode if not for some side effects of rather unforgiving sharp edginess or certain recordings, will tend to brighten the sound a bit too much at times, esp on poorly recorded bright recordings. Tutti passages in large ensemble/orchestral recordings can sound a bit chaotic or disorganized, like all instruments are sounding with same loudness. So despite great and even amazing spatial imaging and separation of instrument, they are not necessarily that well organized on certain recordings, may sound a bit raw and uncontrolled. Also my CD transport cannot input to R2R7 with NOS 1, as it causes electrostatic distortions. No issue with NOS 2 or 3.

    NOS 3: A most refine mode, music neatly played, most forgiving mode, no harshness at all even with more nasty recording. Probably has the most forward sound stage of the NOS modes. But may feel a bit too much cover up or warmth of the tones, like you put on some warm tubes in the gear. A bit too juicy ? Probably the mode to go to if you have some real nasty recordings that need some more conditioning (or your playback source is sub-optimal).

    NOS2: Seems to have the best of both NOS 1 and NOS 3, currently my favorite. There is no harshness/digitalis, just like the NOS 3, but also the transparency and detail, smooth analogue feel of the NOS 1 and also reasonably wide sound stage, not sure if wider than NOS3 but not as forward, probably more focused than NOS 1 and layering/instrumental placement is excellent, does not have the rawness of NOS 1 and has some of the refinement of NOS 3, even if perhaps not as refined as NOS 3.
    NOS 2 using CD transport is amazing. The more relaxed sound stage helps with reducing the hardness of the poorer more "digital" recordings; Wide natural sound stage that can approach DSD. You can tell the difference between analogue remastered recordings (very analogue and smooth, no grain, with SD DAC they often sound rough and edgy), the great recordings in the 2000s, ( ? using digital tapes) and the more dynamic and brighter recent 24 bit recordings which can sound more digital/unrealistic. Dynamic range is amazing, and can tell a gain in larger dynamics with 24 bit late recordings compared to earlier ones. I don't recall SD DACs having such distinction

    Note I did not test NOS 0 (with digital filter, with bypass off, IPS0 and IPS1 on. )

    All NOS modes are tested with PLL off. I did use NOS1 + PLL on and that solves the issue of upper freq edigness/distortion,but sound stage is narrower, it sounds more lilke NOS3, but since it cannot tolerate my CD transport I stopped listening to NOS 1 very soon.

    FW: latest smooth - V2S

    Macbook Air --> Audirvana --> idefender + ipower ---> DH lab Mirage USB ----> iGalvanic --->isilencer ---> Regen USB adapter ---> F1 internal USB board ---> R2R 7

    Sony Esoteric CD Player SA-60 ---> DH lab Toslink --->. R2R 7

    Testing done with open baffle speakers only (all tube amps, pure silver interconnects and speaker wires); not really listening to Headphone enough

    The CD source has the simplest chain and has best/amazing result

    I may return to NOS 3 again to reevaluate to see if it can become the best mode still, but for now very satisfied with NOS 2 !

    . Hope this helps those newcomers!
    alphanumerix1, motberg and FredA like this.
  5. guilders0
    Thanks for your detailed feedback.

    I assume you are using v2 firmware. Which version did you go to? smooth, accurate or smooth/accurate?
    I choosed the last one as I've been told it was the best to go to.
    I did not try Nos2. I was told Nos3 (only bypass jumper on) was the best.
    I probably should give Nos2 a try.
    Which jumper combo is it to make Nos2?
    Any other feedback from r2r users?
    If possible from r2r 7he models, as maybe the settings preferences may vary from one unit model to another.
  6. FredA
    There is a matter of personal preferences. And of synergy with your equipment. Ideally, start by trying the 3 firmwares.

    With the he, your preference may be different indeed. Also, depending if you mainly listen on headphone vs on speakers.

    I find the accurate fw more dynamic and more laid back, a bit bass-shy. It suits my speakers setup. The smooth fw is more forward and is splendid with headphones. The smooth/accurate is a blend of both.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  7. barbas
    I use my R2R7 with speakers (Gallo 3.5). In my setup Smoth/Accurate firmware works best. When only Smooth or Accurate were the options, I preferred Accurate over Smooth, more dynamic, more revealing. Once the hybrid version appeared I found a perfect balance between both previous versions. As Fred said, Accurate tend to be a little bit shy in the bass area, S/A gives me more sub bass without loosing dynamics, just perfectly balanced.

    Re NOS modes, I went back and forth with different setups, but always came back to NOS 3, which I believe is best for my ears and setup.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Chopin75
    Latest 2018 smooth. I have no ability to change FW as I don’t have the USB blaster.

    Check this site from audio-gd for jumpers:

  9. Chopin75
    Does anyone who uses or has used HQplayer know what are the best filters/noise shaping modes? There are so many choices, impossible to decide! I am using the Mac version, not very impressive. It seems even audirvana without direct mode is better for DSD. I could be using the wrong filters. Testing PCM now; PCM does sound quite good. I see the manual does give a guide regards to the filter/dither modes, but too many choices
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  10. Chopin75
    I suspect the 0S8 and NOS 3 are more forgiving and best during burn in. Likely use these if yours is not burned in yet (1000 hrs after being made, 700 hrs when u receive it, ad 300 hrs burmed in is done at the factory.

    The DAC is still quite unforgiving with the sources, quite neutral (esp that I use pure silver interconnect and speaker wires). I have no LPS for computer audio which explains why my CD transport is excellent (I think with R core as well) compared with the music downloads. The CD sound can be so gorgeous that I feel like throwing away all the music download files and just do CDs!
  11. Chopin75
    For those living in US, the new Tarrif trade war with China may mean Chinese electonics could be affected so it is possible the audio-gd shipping to US directly will be 10% more expensive. Though if one buys from Europe the tarrif may not be applied. Those thinking getting audio-gd may want to get it before the tariff kicks in.
  12. alphanumerix1
    Any r8 reviews?
  13. barbas
    Well...when I never thought this was going to happen...voilá

    Settings controlled by buttons on the front panel, and a rear port for firmware updates for R7

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  14. remoss
    I've heard that the R2R7 is "upgradable" to R7.
  15. barbas
    Should be...not so hard to change de front panel and a few cables. What I also saw is that the mini USB port on the rear for service is connected to a board prior to DSP, that could be the blaster already installed inside the unit so you only need to plug to computer trough an USB cable...I'm just guessing.

    In my case, no need for all these mods. for convenience uplifts.
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