MSB (and the decoding of digital via R2R tech) has always been a personal favorite. The new Analog DAC hits new highs for MSB, in styling and functionality this player inspires at every turn. Like many MSB products, there are a plethora of ways one can outfit this unit, from a very sublime $6k or so to a far heftier sum of around $18k. So please contact us for help best determining your needs. We love this unit, and with the Renderer, it is now a superb dac and server.
Lets face it. What music lovers really care about more than anything else is the naturalness of reproduced sound.
Despite limited dynamics and distortion, analog sources are still loved and respected. Digital has just never met the challenge - until now.
"a 'reach-out-and-touch-it' quality, creating the illusion of someone standing in front of me singing." Vade Forrester, The Absolute Sound, January 2014
"With a DAC like the MSB, you get a sense of someone hitting Play on a big reel of wide-track analog tape, after being fed by live mikes in a room." Jon Iverson, Stereophile, April 2014
We started the development of this product with just one simple very focused goal. We started with the name. The Analog DAC. Lets take everything we know about digital audio and evaluate every aspect of the technology as it relates to the characteristics of analog sound. Lets build a DAC from the ground up to be as analog-like as possible. Lets ignore all other features and requirements and just focus. Not only Analog sounding, but analog in function - simple to use.
So we picked bits of technology from our advanced DAC designs and integrated them together. The Analog DAC is the breakthrough product that resulted. Unlike our DAC IV line, it is not as upgradable. The Analog DAC offers the integration of our most advanced clock, digital filtering and ladder DAC technology in a simple but incredibly advanced package.
In our many years of experience building DACs we noticed that the most common feature to change is the input formats. The Analog DAC has adapted a revolutionary concept. It is equipped with three high resolution I2S input bays. Input modules such as USB2, MSB ProI2S, and standard AES/EBU and S/PDIF inputs can be selected by you and plugged in as needed. You can mix and match, and change inputs as new formats are developed.
Several advanced input modules have been developed. TheQUAD USB input allows very high resolution DSD, up to Quad rate, to be streamed directly to the DAC as DSD or to be input as DSD by DOP as usual. This premier USB input has lower noise and better resolution than the standard 384k USB. Another exciting input is theMSB Renderer. The Renderer brings the critical part of a music server inside the DAC. Now you can play music (including quad rate DSD) directly from your computer over the network with programs like JRiver, or can play music from your NAS or HDD directly with a mobile device. In both cases you will have sound quality that will most likely beat any computer or server you have tried.
The second area of rapid change is the user interface. Again we provide a general purpose RS-232 and CAN BUS interface module that can accommodate a range of internet based control options, and can be changed and updated as needed, without ever taking the cover off the DAC.
Speaking of cover, there is none. Another innovation designed to get the most analog-like sound is the unique packaging of this DAC. Individual pockets are milled from a solid plate and the DAC components are potting into the plate for perfect temperature uniformity and long life, as well as unprecedented isolation. As most audiophiles have learned, part of good analog sound is good power supplies. Again we designed fully analog linear power supplies with many isolated transformers providing every part of the DAC with clean power.
"It was a pleasure to measure such a good-performing product as MSB's Analog DAC. And I loved the top-mounted volume control, the display, and the ergonomics. It is rare to encounter an audio component so well thought out and so well engineered." John Atkinson, Stereophile, April 2014
Finally, to maximize the analog qualities of this DAC we integrated a high quality analog stepped attenuator for volume control. To accommodate other analog sources we also incorporated our analog inputs and switching, eliminating the need for a preamp in most systems.
"This volume control stage is exceptionally transparent, and only extraordinary pre-amplifiers will prove comparable. The addition of this optional extra is clearly very good value for money." Chris Bryant, HiFi Critic, December 2013
But the most irritating part of most digital products is the plethora of digital controls. Although incredibly advanced, the Analog DAC is super simple to use. It has one button and one knob. Press the button to change inputs and turn the knob to change volume. Simple. Need a few more features? The MSB remote provides some favorites like mute and phase invert. Want even more control. Every conceivable setting is available via the internet from your mobile device.
You can have it all. Simple to use. Incredibly advanced with a stunning faithfulness to analog sound.
This is the first question I am usually asked. The answer is not simple. Its like comparing a Mini and a Prius. Both are very good at doing what they were designed for, but they are designed with a different goal in mind.
So lets start at the beginning. When a DAC reproduces a digital sample there are two independent components. The precision of the analog level and the precision of the placement in time. The DAC precision determines the exact voltage created. The jitter of the clock determines the precision of the placement of that sample. The graph shows that shifting the reproduced audio signal in time or amplitude creates an error that effects the sound BASED on the nature of the signal. Test tones are not important here, we are talking about music. So the perceived change in the music is defined by the nature of the music and the type of error introduced.
If this isn't enough info for you contact us or visit the MSB website