AUDIO-GD R-8 MK2
R-8 MK2 edition: IN2 BNC input is the BNC coaxial s/pdif input .
R-8 EC edition: IN2 BNC input is an external 10MHz 75ohm input to connect a Master Clock (Supports 1-3V p-p 10Mhz sine & square wave – square wave recommended)
This MK2 version of the R-8 has undergone a long period of testing, measuring, listening and adjusting at all levels of the circuit. It uses a stabilized power supply using discrete servos for battery-like performance. The converter stage uses this stabilized power supply, where analog circuits use a pure Class A power supply.
- Discrete in-house developed 3rd generation R2R discrete ladder technology
- 4 independent hardware DSD decoders and 8 independent R2R PCM decoders
- Balanced two-channel push-pull design
- Ultra low noise Power Supply design (battery performance)
- Special „vinyl“ sound characteristic available
- USB and HDMI inputs have independent isolators and linear power supplies
- USB designed with bidirectional isolator that sends the I2S signal to the FPGA and receives the return master clock signal. (single clock approach)
- Sample rate on display of the input source
- Two Accusilicon clocks working at 90Mhz and 98MHz master clock implementation.
- DSD signals use an asynchronous clock for greater accuracy.
- A port for updating the firmware is available on the back of the device.
R8 is characterized by its coherent, transparent and neutral sound. Rich in detail; high resolution; strong authority and wide stereo image. You’ll forget that you’re listening to a digital source.
|Product type||R2R DAC|
|Inputs||1x USB (Amanero)|
1x HDMI (I2S signalling only)
1x XLR (AES/EBU)
1x BNC (S/PDIF)
1x RCA (S/PDIF)
1x Toslink (S/PDIF)
|Outputs||1x XLR (Balanced)|
1x RCA (Single-ended)
1x ACSS (Krell Cast compatible)
|Output impedance||< 5Ω (XLR, RCA)|
|Output level||RCA : 2.5V|
XLR : 5V
ACSS : 2+2mA
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz|
|Input sensitivity||Coaxial : 0.5Vp-p (75Ω)|
USB / HDMI : 3.3V
|Compatible OS||Windows, OSX, Linux, ISO|
|Supported sampling rates||USB, HDMI : PCM up to 32bit 384kHz, DSD up to DSD512|
Coaxial : PCM up to 24bit 192kHz
Optical : PCM up to 24bit 96kHz
|Supply voltage||220-240VAC 50/60Hz|
|Dimensions||430 x 445 x 80mm|
|Package||1x Audio-GD R-8 MK2|
1x Power cable
1x USB Cable
MAGNA HIFI ONLY – R2R (SILVER) UPGRADE
We, Magna Hifi, have been working for months on possible improvements for Audio-GD R2R DACs. Because we have gained a lot of experience with the Mano streamer, we had certain ideas about how things could be improved and sound better. AND IT DOES! Magna R2R Silver upgrade includes Internal board to board wiring replaced by solid core silver wiring with cotton insulation After the modification the R2R DAC sounds cleaner; and the edges will become softer better and more spacious sound image.
DIGITAL SETTINGS (OVERSAMPLING & NOS)
The R8 offers several Oversampling or NOS (Non-Oversampling) modes. If you wish to choose Oversampling, simply select the value „O“. If you want to choose the NOS then you have to choose the value „N“. You can then select one of the following modes to adapt the playback to your listening experience
THE R-2R LADDER STORY
The R-2R DAC has become popular and was originally designed long time ago by MSB, and did not include the wonderful correction design of the modern MSB technology. In the High-End of the shelf (finished products) market, the R2R design is usually much more complex when outstanding performance is offered. Some manufacturers are using shift registers design to realize ladder compensation. A less complex, unfortunately also a less performing.
A far better design switches resistors in parallel mode; an ultra-fast FPGA chip controls and corrects the R2R ladder. The parallel design mode controls every bit respectively and therefore achieve unprecedented performance. (In parallel mode only 1 clock cycle is needed to output all data; serial design mode needs at minimum 8 up to 24 clock cycles) The parallel design is particularly complex, however when it is done properly it can correct every bit of the ladder. (Photo below shows a FPGA design with R2R ladder). With incredible speed and accuracy the R-28 will correct the unavoidable imperfections of the basic R2R ladder caused by tolerance of resistors; avoid glitches at ultra-high speed to deliver unrivaled musical performance.
TOLERANCE OF RESISTORS IN LADDER
Some manufactures claim to achieve good performance becuase they use lowest tolerance ladder resistors. The following calculation example will cover this. At 16 bit the tolerance of 1/66536, 0.1% (1/1000) it is by far not enough to achieve decent performance. Even using resistors with 0.01% (1/10000) tolerance, lowest tolerance available today,cannot deliver the desired performance This is just 16 bit, imagine a 24 calculation! To process 24 bit resolution it would require resistors with a tolerance of 0.00001%. This is purely theoretical; if this tolerance would exist the discreteness of the switch logic chips will already have too much internal impedance and will shake-up such design.The tolerance of the resistor will never solve Imperfections of a ladder.
The solution lies in the correction the ladder and not only depend on the tolerance of resistors. It’s a combination of both: Ultra-low tolerance resistors controlled by a correction technology using very high speed with parallel FPGA processing.
ULTRA FAST SIGNAL PROCESSING
FPGA stands for Programmable Array Logic. Nowadays the FPGA is widely adopted in audio devices. The internal hardware design is fully controlled by complex software. A huge advantage is the fact the software in the FPGA can easily be upgraded offering new capabilities or improve the performance of the device without replacing any hardware. Versatile and future proof design.
- High performance SPDIF interface, replacing traditional less good performing SPDIF interface chips like DIR9001, WM8805 or AK411X,etc.
- Full re-clocking process with FIFO design applicable on all inputs. This way the output data keeps fully synchronized with the clock signal to reject any jitter.
- Built in 2X, 4X and 8X oversampling and digital filters and on top of this 4 different true NOS (only analog 6dB filtering) modes. To completely configure the sound according to your taste.
ANALOGUE OUTPUT STAGES
The analog output stages are as important, they have a tremendous influence on the final sound quality. After d/a conversion by the R2R D/A modules the analogue signal is transported by fully discrete matched-transistor output stages; DC-coupled design with first class through-hole components. No SMD compon ents are applied in the analogue section. The high speed unique ACSS ((Audio-gd Current Signal System) output stages are non-feedback and current driven. Unique performance because almost all other designs need to convert the signal multiple times from and to current and/or voltage, resulting in less detailed and less transparent sound-stage The output buffers are single ended FET; two stages in parallel to reach very low output impedance. All output stages are in pure class A without (negative) feedback to achieve purest and a real live sound reproduction. The 4 OPA op-amp’s are DC servos, this way no coupling-capacitors are needed and DC output is automatically biased. The listener will be presented a strikingly transparent and neutral sound.
ACSS – Current Amplification
Audio-GD has developed an advanced current-driven amplifier technique. Also known as ACSS, Audio-GD Current System Signal. This special technique ensures that the signal travels a much shorter path and that ensures a more transparent, faster and more neutral reproduction. A similar technique is used by, for example, KRELL. The Current Conveyor technology mostly components are the current mirror. The Current Conveyor technology isn’t a new technology, at 1966 , professor K.C. Smith and A.S.Sedra publish the concept “current mode analogue circuits “ .
The DAC consist of 3 tuned low noise, low flux leakage, R-cores transformers. In total 130W power to supply all digital parts and the left and right analog boards. The DC power is distributed over 19 separate power regulators. All are pure class A low noise shunts; fed by 3 groups linear power supplies. Resulting in ultra-high speed and clean power for all individual parts.
No drivers required for Linux and/or Mac OS
OSX 10.6+ and Linux with UAC2 compliant kernel
Microsoft Windows: KS/Wasapi/WDM/ASIO
Ronald (Verifizierter Besitzer) –
It is a journey of discovery in your own music library… What is striking so far is that a lot of lesser recordings now sound better, was really bad but now acceptable! And in particular spice in the percussion is something that is also starting to stand out. All in all it’s a big improvement…. Already!
Czech Buyer (Verifizierter Besitzer) –
For a long time I have read that Audio-gd R2R DACs are transparent, organic. I bought an R2R-11 direct from Audio-gd and I was surprised how great it sounds and with the build quality.
Recently I bought an R8 MKII and some other Audio-gd gear from from Jos and Rob. I was impressed with the build and sound but I wanted to live with the DAC for some months before making a declaration.
At this point, I can say I finally get it when people say these DACs are organic. I have several other midrange DACs (Oppo 205, Brooklyn DAC+, RME) to compare this one to. The R8 MKII is the only one which disappears all the time. It’s transparent, I feel the music for the first time as natural without hearing the gear at all. The RME has come close at times, but only on certain recordings. The R8 MKII just disappears and it’s the closest thing to a live performance I have heard out of my system. For the price, I am extremely satisfied with this DAC.
I had a strange problem with noise over AES, coax, and optical which did not occur via I2S nor USB. I was unable to explain it sufficiently to Kingwa at Audio-gd so I reached out to Magna Hifi and Rob quickly recreated the issue. He contacted Kingwa on my behalf and I think only a week went by before I got new firmware which resolved the issue. I cannot imagine getting this level of service from another shop or DAC manufacturer.
I have 4 Audio-gd components and I can recommend Audio-gd and Magna to any lover of music.
Audio-gd gear is quirky but to me that is part of the charm. The build is industrial, reminiscent of 60s and 70s garage-fi but on a very high level of sound quality. I noticed that the LED displays of the R8 MKII, the DI-20, and Master 19 amp are all slightly different colors! This is annoying in a darkened room but in normal daylight it was not noticeable. Other than that, the dimensions of the gear and the brushed finished on the panels match well. Clearly, the R&D and manufacturing money has been focused on sound. Tank-like builds, heavy gear, you feel the quality as well as hear it.
Jos and Rob are easy to work with, they’re friendly and responsible and run a good business.
Joerg (Verifizierter Besitzer) –
The R8 Mk2 arrived yesterday in perfect condition and my initial impression (even with burn-in just starting) is, that it is very good and that it is an improvement over my M7S (can’t wait to see where this goes to when burn-in is finished