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http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/RE7.1/RE7.1EN.htm

 

Looking for the collective wisdom of the SNA crowd again. I'm on a journey to simplify my life and as a consequence to sell off all of the audio gear I'm not using.

 

I have a Audio-gd ref 7.1 that has been in storage for a couple of years now. It doesn't have USB but I have used with a rage of USB to SPDIF digital interfaces. The DAC scaled very well as the digital interfaces improved in quality. Most recently I was running a Singxer F-1 digital interface to very good effect.

 

This thing sold for in excess of $2,000 back in 2011. It is driven by the well loved, and increasingly scarce, PCM1704UK. It reviewed very well in its day.

 

The question is whether it is still considered to be a good DAC and whether it has any real value, or is it a boat anchor (it is a very heavy beast at 15kg)?

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ref 7.1 is a nice bit of kit, and is still a well regarded DAC.

 

It can be upgraded to a Master 7 by replacing the digital board too:

 

 

Regarding value, the last few listings on SNA back in 2016 indicated an asking price of $1200. 

 

I would hope that you could get $700-800 for this beast, although it appears that the market has been a bit flat of late.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Fly_by said:

The question is whether it is still considered to be a good DAC and whether it has any real value, or is it a boat anchor (it is a very heavy beast at 15kg)?

 

It's probably just as good as whatever the current DAC-of-the-month is. The trouble is that its value will be diminished because it is no longer the current DAC-of-the-month

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Looks like a lovely unit to me. My experience has been that the used market generally offers some incredible bargains if you're not into Hi Res playback. A well implemented DAC will sound as good with PCM as DSD anyway, it seems its primarily down to the mastering.

 

I'd stick with it unless you're looking to move onto something significantly better. So far I've looked to DAC's based on the chips of the past for more realistic presentation of sound. Named the good ol Philips TDA1540D and TDA1541 chips. To me the best I've heard. The best oversampling type I've run was the Giessler Grob which simply doesn't compare well. That said I've not heard the newer Giessler DAC's which I understand are even better again.

Edited by MattyW
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@Fly_by it's a boat anchor get rid of if :D 

 

Serious note it's a great dac with plenty of potential in it's current state it's a $1000 level detail with maybe slightly higher noise floor. But modified as audiogd nos7 it can do sample rate up to 384khz and can compete with the likes of denafrips pontus but without DSD. The modification on the hard side and you need to do a few to get it up to spec

1. HDMI I2S input

2. Nos Module

3. NOS Firmware update

4, A good modern DDC like singxer SU1

Total cost modification cost should be around $300 and you can get used SU1 for $300 But it's worth it rather than selling the DAC for $800 or less. 

 

I did document my modification in these threads

 

 

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4 hours ago, Fly_by said:

Looking for the collective wisdom of the SNA crowd again. I'm on a journey to simplify my life and as a consequence to sell off all of the audio gear I'm not using.

 

Sorry missed this part. Yeah it you want to sell at the current state $800 would be the price to try to get

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Good DAC. Those chips are awesome, geting very rare and the implementation isn't bad at all, far from it. 

 

I'd NOS it. Theoretically the chips can do 768kHz though half that is fine. Send it to a good tech for some canny mods and spending any reasonable amount of money on it will slay anything modern at the same price. Easily.

 

 

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If you really worry about DSD, there's hardware a good tech can insert for you that will convert. 

 

Or just have fun with HQplayer or similar and drive it from there. 

 

Seriously.... good DAC. If you sell it to someone with anywhere near my intentions, on hearing it after a little tweaking you'll regret it. Not a little either.

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I'd not let go of it.... On the other hand I'd find someone to go all out modding it. You'd never want for a better DAC

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25 minutes ago, MattyW said:

I'd not let go of it.... On the other hand I'd find someone to go all out modding it. You'd never want for a better DAC

 

There's some talented hands for that sort of tinkering not too far away near Sydney should the OP not want to crack out the soldering iron. Keep forgetting these things to NOS off the bat. If you wanted to keep it current slap a new USB interface on it. Rip out the DSP section entirely. New guts there, better clocks.

 

8x 1704U-K chips! Like... they're worth more than the freakin' DAC!!

 

@Fly_by if you're feeling like it's all too much, I'll give you $800 for it (I think I can hide that from my wife). Advantages:

  • I've got the parts I think I need
  • I'll love it and pat it and a bit like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPdHaNr0OAY
  • It'll live with other NOS period DACs
  • I live two states away so you're very unlikely to hear the results and face regret

 

But if you want to indulge the dark side and give that beast a second life, PM me. I'll tell you what parts to look out for s/h and who can do the job well at a reasonable rate.

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Guys, this thread has been a real eye opener.

 

As I suspected, the digital input would strongly benefit from an upgrade, and I am pleased that the DAC stages are still highly regarded.

 

If I had received these insights a few years ago I would be all over upgrading it (I still have an Amanero and iancanada FIFO here somewhere), and I would be unscrewing the lid right now. Sadly, my life has taken a few unexpected turns over the past year or two with health matters. With a great deal of trepidation I have decided that I need to sell it.

 

I love the enthusiasm in this thread.

 

 

 

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