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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
    @DACLadder: I got this quote from Jos at MagnaHifi comparing the R2R HE to HE7s:

    "The HE7 Singularity is pretty similar to the R2R7HE. Pretty similar = Same regenerative power supply and similar digital board (this is before the digital signal is transported to the actual D/A conversion).
    D/A conversion is not similar PCM1704 vs. discrete ladder implementation.
    Analogue output buffers are different because they have different output levels on D/A output.

    Soundwise the HE7 Singularity comes close to the R2R7HE. If I would own a HE7 Singularity today I would not run to the shop to replace it, the HE7 Singularity is a very, very good DAC. We think the R2R7HE is slightly in advance though. (HE7 is different story; the singularity version is clearly a step forward)
    If I have nothing today I would infidelity buy the R2R7HE. It is more fluent compared to the PCM1704 and you get DSD support as bonus (but this is not important for me)

    We have been very reserved in regards to the new R2R design. We hoped for a similar PCM1704 quality but our expectations has been surpassed! Well done Audio-GD, congratulations!"
    Read more at http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/...gd-he7-t30067839-300.html#B1YRcwSyX6sfAYei.99
    Currawong, seaice and abrusc like this.
  2. DACLadder
    @FredA Thank you Fred. That is what I expected. The new digital DSP board brings the PCM1704 design to new levels surpassing the older Master 7 especially the Singularity 7 version. The R2R 7 has an small edge on liquidity and resolution over S7. The HE power supplies add further refinement to both R2R 7 and S7 standard platforms where the R2R 7HE may have the advantage by a narrowing small amount over S7 HE.

    At this point I am perfectly happy with the standard S7 and plan on using it for years. But what has piqued my interest are the HE power supplies!!
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  3. FredA
    An alternative is to buy a power conditioner, for instance the he350, to power your line level components. As for me, I got better cables and added a balanced isolation transo. I am quite happy with the results.

    The difference between the he and standard version is there, quite significant but not huge according to some French forumers (reading between the lines as i always do), I am a happy camper as it is and i am just doing some final tweaks. Next year, i might buy the he-350 or a ps audio unit. I'll see. Have to sell my M7 first.

    Reading between the lines again, it would seem the r2r 7 he is the best dac under 10 grand.

    All i can do is say thank you to Kingwa and congratulate him. He is a very gifted designer, a very fast learner. He is one of the most honest and modest guy in audio, always responsive and helpful.

    You should hear the bass control on my headphone setup. Who said the k701 lacked bass? Took the time to do some cable matching and bingo. I hit the jackpot! The r2r 7, nfb-1 amp and k701 (latest iteration run balanced) combination with the ic-3 balanced interconnect is a high-value one for 3400usd. Nothing in this setup creates emotion by itself, it's just the music freely coming through. Nothing can't beat this.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  4. windcar
    Until I see measurement from a third party I trust, I will remain skeptical.
    I wonder why there is a lack of measurement data for DAC and it has been this way for years.
  5. FredA
    We are talking small performances difference between the best. And different flavors. This also should be considered.
  6. FredA
    I was trying some power cable matches (as well as interconnect) during the last few weeks with the r2r 7. I tried three all in all. One with some some sort of red copper-coated plugs, another one with rhodium-coated plugs and finally one with gold-plated plug, all three using similar occ copper as wire material. Gold plating has the reputation of smoothing things out. I can confirm that. Got a smoother top end with it. The rhodium plating had the opposite and unwelcome effect.

    The r2r 7 is fussy with power cables, as was the m7.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
    drez likes this.
  7. FredA
    Here is yet another update on the r2r 7 that will make sound like a fan boy, again, which is fine by me: I am one and for good reasons.

    In my quest for the perfect sound, i have done a lot of interconnect and power cable swapping as mentioned already. And it paid off.

    The result is i now have obviously tighter, faster, cleaner bass than i had with the Master-7. Less abundant but really, i would say the amount is perfect. Notice this last word, you will hear it a lot in this update/review. It is not just the bass that was improved but pretty much everything.

    Where to start? In the quest of making the perfect component, in the sense of truthful, a designer must have in mind the following objectives:

    1. An inaudible noise floor because noise betrays the illusion, as any defect
    2. A dynamic range as high as possible that introduce no harshness, to provide the rythmics and the slam.
    3. Realistic tones, meaning with the same rich texture as the real instruments, not some exageration that is sometime brought by euphonic devices (as a rule, your only want some coloration to compensate for a bright room, but this does not have to come from the dac)
    4. Spatialization/imaging that makes you believe, closing your eyes, that the band is right there, in front of you with all level of depth perfectly depicted.
    5. The combination of all these attributes must be so very well integrated that you get a perfectly coherent whole, translating into a transcending musical experience.

    My current setup uses excellent occ litz interconnects, the r2r 7 being connected to a master-1 pre via a dhc accs cable, and the Nord One Up (wire with a gain but then with some color brought throught the use of class-a input stages) to the pre using a 26 gauge occ litz 3-wire braid (the wire coming from Plussound) and the Gallo 3.1 speakers on platforms hooked with Acoustc Zen Satori shutgun cables. As power distribution, i have a passive filtering device with no discrete compenent, the qls-hifi F1000, in additon to an ebay 500w balanced transfo for the signal levels gears, which i tweaked to tame vibrations. The r2r 7 is fed by a mac mini with both internal and external ssd (firewire). The usb chain is jitterbug-> intona -> singxer f-1 -> schiit wyrd -> rj45 i2s -> r2r 7. I use the default dac settings.

    In the past 3 month of owning the r2r 7, there has been some high highs and quite a few lows. I suspect the break-in period could even be over 1000 hours.

    I need two power cords to reach the dac in my setup, not counting the one feeding the first power distributor. By memory, i finally selected the two cables that worked best with the M7, the biggest one, an Acoustic Zen Tsunami mki, feeding the isolation transfo, the other one, an ebay Furukawa with gold-plated Oxaide imitation plugs which works well with pretty much anything, especially the M7.

    I did this match around Thursday of this week or Friday morning. I did not realized the benefits right away cause my hearing was affected by a long repetition of our company's band on Thursday night. But last night and this morning, i was very impressed by the new synergy.

    To cut to the point, all stated objectives are met. The r2r 7 can be described as having the best attributes from a turntable (liquid sound and excellent soundstaging), an r2r dac (rich textures, smoothness), and a delta sygma (dynamics and ultra low noise floor). All attributes are integrated in a seemless manner. As a result, the r2r 7 sounds real. My speaker setup is now so well optimized that i would say it is more accurate than my heaphone one, using the nfb-1amp and k701 run balanced. I think i would need a top-shelf amp and headset to catch up. The speaker set-up is both cleaner and more resolved.

    As it is, i frankly believe no dac on the planet could improve my setup. I would have to look elsewhere. It is simply awesome.

    Of course, with the electrical grid being polluted more on given days, and my aging ears, i don't expect perfection every day. I will just do something else when sh.. comes through.

    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
    D2Girls, Bombik and abrusc like this.
  8. FredA
    Listening to Brad Meldhau, Art of the Trio, vol. 5, Cry Me a River. For those who like the sound of a Steinway piano, it can't get much closer to the actual thing than what i hear now. You perceive everything precisely: attacks, decays, resonnance, echoes ... Wonderful rendition. The drum is laid back just enough, the high hat and brushed snare sound just right. And to complete the trio, you get a perfect bass sound. No bleeding over the upper part of the spectrum, just clean, tight, expressive bass. That is what i call music. The M7 was able to bring similar emotion but never with that level of realism. The r2r 7 is something else: cleaner, more fluid and resolved.

    That is saying something because the way my M7 was set up, i considered it perfect and i believe it was one of the best dacs available under 3k. Still believe it today.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  9. motberg
    I think you would be very content with a HE-350 or similar regenerator..
    no more drama concerning day vs. night or good power day vs. bad power day...
    I used to listen almost exclusively at night before I got the HE-350 (feeding a NOS7 and Master 1)
    now I sense no difference between night or day listening, even though my power amp is using the relatively economical Yulong P18.
  10. windcar
    HE-350 seems very expensive for what it does. One can get an online UPS which output perfect sine wave for $1k, which I think does a better job.
  11. bballas
    Audio gd: The output buffers are single ended FET. Two stages in parallel to reach very low output impedance.
    The 4 OPA opamp’s are functioning as DC servo, this way no coupling-capacitors are needed.

    MSB tech: The signal is attenuated with new technology that provides a constant low impedance output without any active circuitry (no transistors, buffers or op-amps).
  12. FredA
    Most likely.. With the balanced transfo, there is less difference already. Things could only be better with the he-350. It makes the voltage constant as well. There are 2 drawbacks: heat and size. For what it does, it's a bargain however.
  13. FredA
    Like what?
  14. abartels
    Have a link?
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