I have the Audio-GD R2R 7HE for a month now and it’s playing at full satisfaction. The DAC, like many Audio-GD DACs, has a variety of setup options. It’s not visible on the outside, but when the lid is opened, you’ll find some jumper options in the crowded range of components.
With these jumpers you can make settings like OverSampling (OS) or NoOverSampling (NOS), as well as four OS oversampling multipliers (1x, 2x, 4x or 8x) or NOS modes (NOS mode1, 2 or 3), each with their own signature. You can also influence things like PLL and dithering (click on the picture on the right for the settings overview).
Well, as said, there are many settings possible and just take some time , because it takes more then just a couple of minutes to test them all out. But fortunately, other people have tried the settings already. Settings I’ve seen a few times are the jumpers IPS0 and IPS1 to ON, which sets the OS to 1x (actually NOS but with filter capability). Additionally, the ATT0 and ATT1 jumpers to ON, which sets a certain filter.
In the past, I only played with OS 8x so I’am used to that flavor. The new settings indeed make a change. But is that also an improvement?
Well, for sure the sound is getting wider and less sticky on the speakers. And without loss of finesse and / or dynamics.
The sound is taking advantage with this setting, for example live recordings sound more lively. The lower end sounds nicely round and deep.
It’s a very good thing to be able to fine-tune a device that sounds very good in the default setting with a handful of jumpers.
After the jumper adventure above, I tended to screw the cover on the DAC. Sounds good, what else do you have to do with the jumpers? Well, at least to explore all the possibilities.
At the Holo Spring DAC, NOS mode was the absolute winner in de OS vs NOS race, no discussion. Also the Audio-GD NOS 7 is a great DAC, but the Holo was clearly better. So why not adjust the jumpers in the current Audio-GD R2R 7HE and listen to the “real” NOS modes?
Two types of NOS are possible in this DAC. With the S2 jumper OFF and IPS0 and 1 at ON you have 1x oversampling. So also a kind of NOS mode but with digital filtering.
In true NOS mode no digital filtering and oversampling is applied (jumper S2 ON). There are three real NOS modes, namely modes 1, 2 and 3. No filtering, but the digital signals are processed in different ways and so differs the sound.
Between the three NOS modes, mode 2 and 3 just sounds better then mode 1 to my ears. Nicely fluid with a deep stage. The amount of detail here is also bizarre and the mid and highs are very very clean. and open Also the timbre is very good! In mode 3 the mids are a tat more powerfull.
In all modes the lower end is exiting, like it should be to my taste. Deep, bright slams and beautifully layered and round.
Overall, the sound is a tad warmer, more fluidcozy and easier, but without loosing the delicate detail, on of the specialties of this DAC.
Mode 1 sounds a little duller, especially the mids are less exciting. Mode 2 sounds very open, super detailed, in the highs and a wide stage. Mode 3 is like mode 2 but with a little richer in the mids.
It is fun playing with all settings and depending on the music which setting is to prefer: OS with a wide stage and spicy with a huge resolution, or NOS, a little more laid back while maintaining detail.
I’m not sure what my “favorite” setting will be, but tends to mode 3. That’s fine and I’m starting to like this DAC more and more with of all the possibilities….
Audio-GD Master 10 intergrated amp
Audio-GD R2R 7HE DAC (default smooth firmware)
Xanadu HRS80 NEO luidsprekers
Tubulus Argentus USB V2 cable
Tubulus Argentus XLR interlink cable
Tubulus Argentus V2 speakercable