• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Audio-gd Master 7 Singularity Review (DAC)

preload

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
1,212
Likes
1,344
Location
California
Yes exactly my thinking. Hence in my initial dual setup I had two transports syncroniced going into RME and M7 for easy switching between them from the amp's remote. While it turns out I do like salt on everything I too had consern about looking myself into a singularity ;)

One interesting thing I learned from this exercise. The RME can do EQ that for sure are a more powerful tool to dial pleasant sound in a budget stereo/room. But for some reason I was not able to dial it to set and forget. Always naging back of my head 'I could do better with this track'. Given how we today consume playlists from random albums adjusting for each track get tedious and ruin the whole process of listening to music for relaxation and mental healing. Here averaging has its place and M7 do this in a subtle way I found hard to accomplish with the EQ. Others might do better here of course.

For mastering chain search for 'saturation', 'harmonic enhancers' or 'bus color box' to find products sometimes used.
This podcast on saturation the master in some way also explain why some are not chasing SINAD due to how some older analog recordings have a certain sound
In that case the question is whether the enhancements you're noticing are specific to you and your use case, or whether many people would also find the distortion introduced by the M7 to enhanced rather than degrade perceived sound quakity. Easiest way to demonstrate that is with ADC recordings and ABX comparator for others to try out. Until then, again, I would not be inclined to believe that adding M7 level and pattern of distortion improves perceived sound quality. I'm also not susceptible to FUD tricks either.
 

Geert

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
478
Likes
591
I would not be inclined to believe that adding M7 level and pattern of distortion improves perceived sound quality.
Or does HF junk being imaged into the audible band because of a disfuctional anti-aliasing filter improves sound quality? Let me think for a minute.
 

YSC

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
1,476
Likes
1,017
Or does HF junk being imaged into the audible band because of a disfuctional anti-aliasing filter improves sound quality? Let me think for a minute.
well... somehow even if those are true, in my logic it don't need that huge cost and massive components to arrive at those distortion...
 

aj625

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
118
Likes
90
Yeah, I used to poke finger at them until I learned by own experience. Although I do not subscribe to high cost and find 400$ worth of CNC on a audio device silly I can understand other appreciate that kind of aesthetic.

I've come to the conclusion SINAD doesn't really tell much about how I perceive any audio device when used as intended and the s/n are within limits. Once I let go of this idea that my hifi system should perform with precision from a laboratory but rather function like a pleasuring device in similar fashion music are produced and meant to be consumed.

Agreed 'Trust your ears' leads to misconception. 'Trusting in one selves' seems more appropriate when searching for audio pleasure. And I can now even find that in a second hand wooden vintage reciver worth 50£.
why a very good measuring system should not be pleasing to ears ? can you please the explain the mechanism behind it ?i recently bought hidizs s8, one of the best measuring dongle available with extremely low distortion. i used new hifiman he400se with it and it was a sonic nirvana. how could such a cheap combo sound so so good, with no negative trait at all. reason is simple the clean output of s8 as suggested by the measurements. so answer is simple if measurements are good it will reflect in sq. if measurements are poor, the sound impressions will be what you have been trained over the years based on subjective opinions by so called audiophiles who listen through their pocket. if it is not so then please explain the mechanism how a poor measured device can sound better than a better measuring device except through deeply engraved subjective impressions acquired by deliberately planted subjective reviews by boutique R2R dac manufactures .
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
35,348
Likes
135,472
Location
Seattle Area
I don't subscribe to Darko's colorful language or sales agenda. But still he seem to be clever enough to alter the settings which amirm wheren't able to get his head around :)
He is just repeating what he has read on top level changes you can make. I did the same. The problem is trying to sift through poor English to figure out exactly what jumper does what.
 

PO3c

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
54
Likes
113
He is just repeating what he has read on top level changes you can make. I did the same. The problem is trying to sift through poor English to figure out exactly what jumper does what.
I used the silk screen printing on the PCB to guide me. My thinking your measuring rig would give you confirmation.

Or does HF junk being imaged into the audible band because of a disfuctional anti-aliasing filter improves sound quality? Let me think for a minute.
The M7S specimen measured here we are not certain how was configured given amirm weren't able to set the jumpers. Different for my M7 the M7S have a dedicated NOS mode activated with jumper S2.

Now I use mine in 8x OS so I'm not really affected by this measurement. But have been thinking about this topich for a while. Are NOS and MQA a 'thing' among listener affected by bandwidth age or do we see younger people subscribe?

why a very good measuring system should not be pleasing to ears ?
I'm sure it could be given other aspects in the audio chain and room all were perfect. I've given up on speakers and my room ever beeing perfect in my lifetime. Given their big contribution to the overall sound could be affected with electronics I don't have the experience by now that high SINAD score and being true to source are the most efficient way to do so.

My thought process now shifted from trying to reproduce what were intended in the mastering studio to what please my listening experience opens up a completely new can of worms. But one I possible have better chance to have success with.

Here is the thing. Out of 3000 CD's how many mastering studios do I have to simulate? And what are the cost of the main + two and three pairs of speakers usually found in professional mastering studios? Realizing I don't have the space and surely can't afford several pairs of 7,000£ to 15,000£ speakers to have the same experience what are my options? It dawn on me I where chasing utopia.

So I decided I wanted to try create my own experience somewhat different but close to the original master by better understand the tools used in music production rather than following traditional hi-fi thought process.

What I found where that one very popular way to create great sounding recordings in popular music are to emulate the poor performance from old studio gear. Next I learned where that a lot of work goes into make the recording function on poor speakers an earbuds and later years come out as loadest from streaming services. I.e. the masters are not really optimized for my stereo anyway is it. Even the old ones had radios as target which might explain why a 50£ vintage receiver can function so well.
 

PO3c

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
54
Likes
113
In that case the question is whether the enhancements you're noticing are specific to you and your use case, or whether many people would also find the distortion introduced by the M7 to enhanced rather than degrade perceived sound quakity. Easiest way to demonstrate that is with ADC recordings and ABX comparator for others to try out. Until then, again, I would not be inclined to believe that adding M7 level and pattern of distortion improves perceived sound quality. I'm also not susceptible to FUD tricks either.
Yes, it is from personal objective experience I'm discussing. But as I'm not a disbeliever in measurements I try make understanding as to where I'm coming from. With an industry utilizing a combination of both poor and great measuring devices. Even emulating distortion to enhance the artistic my believe this thinking gives wiggle room for anyone curious to accept SINAD do not tell the whole truth when the device are intended to reproduce music for pleasure in a living room.

And to clarify. I'm talking on general terms. I'm not pushing this 10 year old M7S design here partially tested and no longer i production. But it where with a similar device M7 2015 v5 I had this experience manifest itself, hence taking part in the discussion on behalf of the dark side ;)
 

preload

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
May 19, 2020
Messages
1,212
Likes
1,344
Location
California
Yes, it is from personal objective experience I'm discussing. But as I'm not a disbeliever in measurements I try make understanding as to where I'm coming from. With an industry utilizing a combination of both poor and great measuring devices. Even emulating distortion to enhance the artistic my believe this thinking gives wiggle room for anyone curious to accept SINAD do not tell the whole truth when the device are intended to reproduce music for pleasure in a living room.

And to clarify. I'm talking on general terms. I'm not pushing this 10 year old M7S design here partially tested and no longer i production. But it where with a similar device M7 2015 v5 I had this experience manifest itself, hence taking part in the discussion on behalf of the dark side ;)
It's a very fair question from your end, I think. I would probably wonder the same if I had a similar observation.
 

Geert

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
478
Likes
591
I've given up on speakers and my room ever beeing perfect in my lifetime. Given their big contribution to the overall sound could be affected with electronics I don't have the experience by now that high SINAD score and being true to source are the most efficient way to do so.
What other method is more efficient? Mixing and matching devices that colour the sound until you find the perfect synergy? I know lot's of people who've been trying that for decades and spend a fortune on that.

Out of 3000 CD's how many mastering studios do I have to simulate? And what are the cost of the main + two and three pairs of speakers usually found in professional mastering studios?
You don't have to simulate different mastering studio's, it's the mastering studio's job to produce a product that translates well. That's exactly why they might use different speakers. The results won't always be perfect, but if you have the experience that the sound of your 3000 CD's is all over the place and they all have serious flaws than the first place to look for the root cause is your own hifi system.

What I found where that one very popular way to create great sounding recordings in popular music are to emulate the poor performance from old studio gear.
You shouldn't generalise this as its not general practice, and when it's used its often applied only to specific instruments as part of the artistic process. Which means the fidelity of a finished recording will not necessarily improve by adding additional distortion to it via your hifi system.
 
Last edited:

Geert

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
478
Likes
591
Even emulating distortion to enhance the artistic my believe this thinking gives wiggle room for anyone curious to accept SINAD do not tell the whole truth when the device are intended to reproduce music for pleasure in a living room.
As explained above, there's no magic distortion formula in music production that makes everything sound better, on the contrary. Nevertheless that's what you're aiming for by adding distortion in the reproduction chain. That's assuming you're adding audible levels of distortion, so I'm not saying SINAD always needs to be of the charts.
 

aj625

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
118
Likes
90
I used the silk screen printing on the PCB to guide me. My thinking your measuring rig would give you confirmation.


The M7S specimen measured here we are not certain how was configured given amirm weren't able to set the jumpers. Different for my M7 the M7S have a dedicated NOS mode activated with jumper S2.

Now I use mine in 8x OS so I'm not really affected by this measurement. But have been thinking about this topich for a while. Are NOS and MQA a 'thing' among listener affected by bandwidth age or do we see younger people subscribe?


I'm sure it could be given other aspects in the audio chain and room all were perfect. I've given up on speakers and my room ever beeing perfect in my lifetime. Given their big contribution to the overall sound could be affected with electronics I don't have the experience by now that high SINAD score and being true to source are the most efficient way to do so.

My thought process now shifted from trying to reproduce what were intended in the mastering studio to what please my listening experience opens up a completely new can of worms. But one I possible have better chance to have success with.

Here is the thing. Out of 3000 CD's how many mastering studios do I have to simulate? And what are the cost of the main + two and three pairs of speakers usually found in professional mastering studios? Realizing I don't have the space and surely can't afford several pairs of 7,000£ to 15,000£ speakers to have the same experience what are my options? It dawn on me I where chasing utopia.

So I decided I wanted to try create my own experience somewhat different but close to the original master by better understand the tools used in music production rather than following traditional hi-fi thought process.

What I found where that one very popular way to create great sounding recordings in popular music are to emulate the poor performance from old studio gear. Next I learned where that a lot of work goes into make the recording function on poor speakers an earbuds and later years come out as loadest from streaming services. I.e. the masters are not really optimized for my stereo anyway is it. Even the old ones had radios as target which might explain why a 50£ vintage receiver can function so well.
great, you have good talent in english language my friend !
 

aj625

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
118
Likes
90
Yes, it is from personal objective experience I'm discussing. But as I'm not a disbeliever in measurements I try make understanding as to where I'm coming from. With an industry utilizing a combination of both poor and great measuring devices. Even emulating distortion to enhance the artistic my believe this thinking gives wiggle room for anyone curious to accept SINAD do not tell the whole truth when the device are intended to reproduce music for pleasure in a living room.

And to clarify. I'm talking on general terms. I'm not pushing this 10 year old M7S design here partially tested and no longer i production. But it where with a similar device M7 2015 v5 I had this experience manifest itself, hence taking part in the discussion on behalf of the dark side ;)
how added distortion can be a better experience than no distortion ? any science behind it you can explain ? to me it is only the training most have been to over the years and people tend to like that kind of similar sound. that's it. that does not mean equipments with better and better measurements will not evolve. that does not mean recording labels will not produce recordings without any compression. in fact if you listen a very clean modern recordings by the likes of ralph alessi on a very transparent top measuring system, there is no going back to colored mess most of us have been to over the years. hi fi audio is reproduction of sound as faithful as possible to original (irrespective of type of processing or distortion added during the recording), ie least possible added distortion or color by down the line equipments. how can it be achieved by a poor measuring chain in a better way than better measuring chain, any explanation ? may be audiophile and hi fi are totally unrelated terms as per you ?
 

PO3c

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
54
Likes
113
You don't have to simulate different mastering studio's, it's the mastering studio's job to produce a product that translates well.
I had hoped my comment "not mastered for my stereo" covered that ;)

As explained above, there's no magic distortion formula in music production that makes everything sound better, on the contrary. Nevertheless that's what you're aiming for by adding distortion in the reproduction chain. That's assuming you're adding audible levels of distortion, so I'm not saying SINAD always needs to be of the charts.
I completely understand your arguments that dirt isn't a magic trick for great audio, hence my initial dual setup. Like to again point out I've landed this conclusion based on a long term setup where I could press my remote button and compare with my RME. And I understand it is a fault on my behalf not being able to let go of the EQ which is defactor trait of a great mastering engineer.

how added distortion can be a better experience than no distortion ? any science behind it you can explain ?
Please follow YouTube links already provided. As I said repeatedly. My way of thinking are now based purley on the music genre I'm listening to. I'm no longer optimizing for the rare ocation when recodings like Ralph Alessi or classic makes it to the speakers. I used to do so for decades and rarly got any satisfaction from it when listening to music rather than audio.

hi fi audio is reproduction of sound as faithful as possible to original (irrespective of type of processing or distortion added during the recording)
And here are our disagreement. I do no longer subscribe to that thought process. I now take ownership to the end result in a way that pleases me. No longer accepting the usual avering mastering result meant to translate to multiple listening devices, but rather try optimize for my speakers, room and most importantly how I personally perceive sounds.


I'm hoping we by this decaye will see a selection of digital audio transports being capable of loading VST plugins taken from the usual toolbox of mastering engineers. That will fit much better with my 'filosophy' rather than a singular dirt box.
 

Geert

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
478
Likes
591
I had hoped my comment "not mastered for my stereo" covered that ;)
Not really if you put that comment in another paragraph ;). But now that it's clear; doesn't the problem of records sounding different because of different mastering targets still remain when you go for a hifi system that sounds like you prefer it? In my experience only a low quality system makes everything sound consistent and acceptable, but that's probably not the solution most audiophiles are after.

I'm hoping we by this decaye will see a selection of digital audio transports being capable of loading VST plugins taken from the usual toolbox of mastering engineers. That will fit much better with my 'filosophy' rather than a singular dirt box.
I don't believe in that approach. How do you plan to use your mastering toolbox? Mastering is mainly compressing and eq-ing. Adding additional compression is already out I guess. Are you going to EQ indivual albums, songs or even parts of songs? Do you plan to use advanced techniques like dynamic EQ or multiband compression, things even a lot of sound engineerings stay away from? What reference will you be using? Is an audio transport the most convenient tool to do such editing, and how do you plan to store your customizations? I think a DAW is the appropriate solution for this, a solution already available to people who like to tinker with it. Personally I believe most people would get lost completely.
 

maarten

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
33
Likes
49
...
And here are our disagreement. I do no longer subscribe to that thought process. I now take ownership to the end result in a way that pleases me. No longer accepting the usual avering mastering result meant to translate to multiple listening devices, but rather try optimize for my speakers, room and most importantly how I personally perceive sounds.
...

This implicates you buy a different hi-fi system for every recording you listen, since each recording has a different mastering needing a different set-up to translate to your needs ?!
 

PO3c

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
54
Likes
113
In my experience only a low quality system makes everything sound consistent and acceptable, but that's probably not the solution most audiophiles are after.
LOL :) That truly are food for thoughts :)

Is an audio transport the most convenient tool to do such editing, and how do you plan to store your customizations? I think a DAW is the appropriate solution for this, a solution already available to people who like to tinker with it. Personally I believe most people would get lost completely.
I own Cubase Pro and this environment as you say have all the tools, but aren't particularly optimized for playback. My thinking are more in lines with devices like Fractal Audio's Axe Fx with multiple FX slots and loads of presets and great remote software for editing. Including a transport and FX optimized for full range stereo signal it might be what some of us are waiting for https://www.fractalaudio.com/

Presets could even be controlled by metadata similar to Replay Gain, which lead me to believe this kind of functionality are better to include with the transport and given some standards, and not implemented as standalone.
 
Last edited:

Geert

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2020
Messages
478
Likes
591
I own Cubase Pro and this environment as you say have all the tools, but aren't particularly optimized for playback. My thinking are more in lines with devices like Fractal Audio's Axe Fx with multiple FX slots and loads of presets and great remote software for editing. Including a transport and FX optimized for full range stereo signal. https://www.fractalaudio.com/

Presets could even be controlled by metadata similar to Replay Gain, which lead me to believe this kind of functionality are better to include with the transport and given some standards, and not implemented as standalone.
I see what you're getting at but it's pretty ambitious. First coming up with a standard to store settings for different types of audio processing in tags. And secondly you'll need transports that allow you to load your preferred 3th party processing plug-in's (e.g. VST plug-in's), otherwise your locked-in to one vendor. This is only going to happen if people are convinced there's a market for it.
 

PO3c

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
54
Likes
113
This implicates you buy a different hi-fi system for every recording you listen, since each recording has a different mastering needing a different set-up to translate to your needs ?!
Or my preferd way to think about it are that we no longer have to stay true to the original source but rather learn to adjust to our liking. We are already at the stage where music produced on a budget can automatically be mastered by a computer algorithm rather than a profesional engineer https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=online+mastering+service Next step in that evolution we might see tools for end users incorporate measurements similar to room correction, but actually include the music source and create a "master" with sound spectrum as algoritm intended for but now also adjusted for our room rather than an average as today.
I see what you're getting at but it's pretty ambitious.
True, but it doesn't seem like a imposible task given ROON and others already have EQ plugs. Once a stable VST host can plug into their environments I'm optimistic the ball start rolling and similar will happen on embedded Linux. Where in theory it already should be possible to port audio in/out of LMS with Carla as VST host https://github.com/falkTX/Carla/
As you mentioned, problem with such a system are to create a user interfaces that doesn't overwhelm the end user. Here is where I think Fractal Audio have done a pretty good job.
 

aj625

Active Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
118
Likes
90
Eqing to your liking is ok but getting it done by tons of "uncontrolled" harmonic or inharmonic distortion by the poorly designed dacs is just an excuse and "show off" of not caring about measurements. Sadly you find too many so called audiophiles these days who feel proud of not caring about measurements. Surprisingly this is even when they don't have any control of distortion factor, through poorly measured equipments. First they like distortion and color by the recording engineer and over top of that added distortion by the poor measurements of dacs and other down the line equipments. If you like compression or eq done by some recording engineer then why to destroy that by poor measurements of down the line equipments ? I know there is no answer to this but such people will use tons of jargon, many long paragraphs of english to justify poor measurements. Are they old schiit lovers ?
 
Top Bottom