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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. FredA
    This is the cable i ordered unterminated as 2x0.5m as i did not need longer.

    However, there are two variations of acss. The one used to hook up a master series pre to a master series amp uses 4-pin xlr and is what i implemented. I am sure the ms-audio would be fantastic for the mini xlr variation but it is way too big to be implemented as such.
  2. FredA
    That said, i tried at least 7-8 wires and assembled 3-wire braid cables with them to use as mini xlr acss. The best i found was the plussound 26awg litz occ. I am sure their silver would have been even better but it went out-of-stock before i could order some. They no longer sell wire as a diy item.

    One can still get an excellent litz copper wire bulk from doublehelix last time i checked.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  3. chadnick
    FYI. There’s a newer R8 firmware than the 2 TDA firmwares. Kingwa sent it to me about 2 weeks ago. It fixes a few of the R8 issues I was having with the TDA firmwares.
  4. mivarpet
    @FredA thanks for the quick reply. I didn't realise the sold that cable unterminated & haven't seen it listed. Did you contact valab for that?

    I've heard good things about the Double Helix cable too. Maybe that's the next trial!
  5. FredA
    I contacted vintage audio lab and they created a listing for me. Took a while before getting an answer.

    I own a doublehelix acss (mini) bought as a finished product. It is a shielded cable. It seems like i prefer unshielded cables. I much prefer my plussound 26awg litz copper to it. It is crisper and more tranparent, less colored too.
  6. ItsAllInMyHead
    Here are the firmware versions I have:
    V2A, V2S
    V3A, V3S
    TDA A, TDA, S
    Combo TDA A and TDA S on same firmware

    You said you had confirmed with Kingwa that the TDA_Asy was shipped. He's usually spot on, and that is the new default firmware. So you should be good to go.

    Yes, I've switched "modes". No, I don't hear a difference when the indicator changes. If it's the correct firmware, not only should it sound the same, it does. The signal processing is identical. There are 4 potential options that I can think of in your case. There may be more.

    1. You don't have TDA_Asy installed
    2. As a new user, you may be accidentally changing another setting in addition to the mode within NOS.
    3. Placebo effect (it's more real in audio than many like to acknowledge). We expect a difference, so we hear one. I don't actually think that's a bad thing. Go with what makes your brain smile.

    A distant 4th.... Kingwa's made an error in the firmware, and there is some difference that you hear.

    Either way, my recommendation is to pick whatever sounds the best to you and run with it.

    Congrats and enjoy!
  7. DACLadder
    Yes, it is and can be very confusing. The R7’s firmware history is even more complicated,. Each major firmware release (V3 and TDA for example) can have many sub variations for sound character or I/O functionality in case of the R7.

    Kingwa headed in a new direction with the latest TDA firmware. We are still sorting it out. And I haven’t had time to even try TDA Syn!

    But you may as well learn how to upgrade the Altera firmware. You will probably need to do it anyway sooner rather than later. The R7 has had three major firmware releases in the past year’s time and keeping us busy.

    Edit: Ask Kingwa about NOS mode with the R8's TDA firmware. Mistakes can be easily made and we have caught many bugs with firmware releases. I see that there is a new R8 TDA r2 firmware that corrects issues with the recent original release.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  8. guzz46
    Thanks, I think I must have the older version, either that or there may be some sort of bug cause I can hear a difference between the NOS modes, I don't hear a difference between the OS modes though, I'm not bothered cause it sounds good.

    Thanks, I'll do some firmware home work cause I don't even know where to get them from, I've seen the instructions on how to install it, hopefully I don't brick anything in the process.
  9. ItsAllInMyHead
    Your misinformation makes it more confusing. There were the same firmwares for the R8 as the R7. How is the R7 more complicated? There were V2 and variants, V3 and variants, and TDA. I posted them. The sub-variations are the same also. How is this relevant anyway to @guzz46?

    I respectfully disagree. It is certainly not a "need" or something I'd even recommend to most casual users. That's the fun of the hobby though. We have people that are very comfortable changing firmwares and even de-soldering and soldering boards and components. We also have people that just want their unit to sound great out of the box and work with no intention of ever opening the top. I'd contend that those on this thread (or similar other forums) are a pretty small sub-set of overall buyers. I'd also contend that Kingwa's products serve both sets of people and everyone in between very well.

    I am almost sad that I posted that the sonics should be the same within the NOS modes on TDA_Asy firmware (all other things remaining equal and when set properly). If I had not, we'd have one more thrilled user loving the product, listening to glorious music, and not wondering about firmware.

    While I'm not sure what "bugs" have been caught, I fully agree.

    My specific recommendation is to ask Kingwa. If:
    1) there is in-fact is some issue of which he's now aware where the NOS modes actually do differ in your particular firmware (my distant 4th) and
    2) if the new version makes them all the same or changes any other thing that you personally care about.

    If you want all your NOS modes to sound the same and he's specifically addressed that in the firmware (or made other changes that make you think you want the firmware) then I am confident Kingwa will get you the new firmware and a simple way to update it either on your own or with assistance from their support team. No need for you do to any "homework". Just ask Kingwa. Did you get an Altera "USB Blaster" with your shipment?

    Otherwise my original recommendation stands. Just enjoy whatever setting you like best and don't fall into the all-to-common trap of wondering if there's a better setting out there or a new firmware. If it sounds good to you... it's the best one. Seriously. This is coming from a guy that LOVES to fiddle and tweak. But, if you don't, that's awesome. Just enjoy your tunes!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  10. Chopin75
    From your description, I also have similar findings on my R2R7 but I am using V2S only. Though I have not played with OLL. The NOS1 & NOS2 are more nature. NOS 1 has most realism but can be very picky on source, as it can sound too raw, so bad recordings really suck! But it is quite likely V3 has improved the NOS modes a lot that you now really like NOS1 with its negative effects eliminated. HQplayer can more forgiving so perhaps works better for NOS1. I suspect you may have V3 loaded on instead of the latest FW. Check with Kingwa or just load the TDA and see. And if the NOS is no longer different you may have the answer. You can then reload V3 and compare again. It is quite easy to tell the 3 NOS modes, at least on V2S FW.
  11. DACLadder
    @ItsAllInMyHead "Your misinformation makes it more confusing" ??

    It wasn't me but someone included the R8 in this R7 thread on HeadFi. So we have to talk about apples/ oranges and always parse our answers accordingly. Yes, the R7 firmware releases in the past year have been more complicated. The R7 (R2R 7) V2 firmware had six separate sub releases - three for sound flavor and an additional three to support Optical on IN 4 versus I2S. V3 has four firmwares for the R7 (2 sound flavors + IN 4 optical or I2S) and two for the R8 (2 sound flavors). R7 users may appreciate this information but doesn't apply to the R8 so ignore it. Is this "misinformation"?

    If you can't update firmware or refuse to learn then you will not get the best from these DACs IMO. Your choice. Every major firmware release for the R7 has increased sound quality, improved functionality, or added features.

    And take our suggestions with some measure of salt. We all have different tastes, equipment, and ears. You have to discover what works best for you.

    We have to repeat ourselves a lot on this thread. It gets old but is mainly for new users. The explanation of why R7 firmware releases have been more complicated illustrates my point. Kingwa is the ultimate authority and if something is confusing ask him.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  12. ItsAllInMyHead
    Well said! When I was pointing to misinformation - It was specifically your statement that R7 "releases" were more complicated than R8.

    I think what confuses (some) people is that we have an opportunity to check a number of "releases" that are never installed by the factory as defaults or potentially visible to even but a small subset of users. What I was listing were the commercial releases. Humblest of apologies if I came off with anything but respect.

    As always the best to all in this forum for being amazingly helpful and chiming in.
  13. DACLadder
    @ItsAllInMyHead No worries mate! We try to fill in the pieces missing in documentation. Don't ever want to be confusing but the R2R 7 to R7 firmware history has been plenty rocky.

    Looking forward the R7 and R8 hardware platforms are stable and really only four firmware sound flavors to worry about these days:

    - V3 Accurate (really good. More clarity over V3 smooth)
    - V3 Smooth (the default factory shipping firmware prior to TDA Asy. R7 that is... don't know about R8).
    - TDA Asy (current default shipping according to Kingwa a few months ago)
    - TDA Syn (never tried this firmware)
  14. jimmychan
    Now I wonder any people has tried the two in one (asyn and sync) firmware. Are they good?
  15. DACLadder
    With the hardware changes I tried the four firmwares on my R7 yesterday. Kingwa is correct to mention TDA Syn is the "smooth" version and TDA Asy "accurate". Syn was laid back and uninteresting compared to TDA Asy. I quickly moved on.

    I also tried V3 Accurate and V3 Smooth for old times sake. V3 smooth was the previous default shipping firmware before TDA Asy came along. Smooth was OK with the old hardware but is too smooth for me these days. V3 Accurate is very good with the hardware changes. Lots of detail and sparkle. V3 Accurate has other features like 3 NOS modes and PLL that TDA Asy does not.

    No right or wrong. Just simply what do you prefer!
    Currawong and Turdski like this.
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