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  Playback Designs MPD3 Audition
Ill keep this short and sweet....anyone else hearing you're or owning this dac your opinions would be appreciated. The other trio of Dacs I had in the house were not in the same league. Albeit the were several price points cheaper...I guess amgonna have to part with money..v
Zugisland  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

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04-24-12   Http:// ...   Lloydelee21

04-26-12   Here's something i typed earlier today for my local forum. a ...   Doggiehowser

04-26-12   Doggiehowser: thank you for your thorough efforts and commen ...   Jtinn

04-26-12   Doggie i too just had the mpd 3 in my home and quite frankly ...   Zugisland

04-26-12   Doggie, great, detailed 'review'! thanks for posting!!!   Lloydelee21

04-27-12   Jonathan, thanks for the offer. i don't have your email but ...   Doggiehowser

05-16-12   I am the bill mentioned in the post above. first the mpd-3 ...   Bhobba

05-17-12: Zugisland
Bill let me recap your post..I am to understand THE LENEHAN PDX VER2 IS WHAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO ? CORRECT?. and at 44.1 the PDX outperformed the MPD3 by a wide margin but at upsampled rates the units were very close?..Also it is my understanding that the MPD upsamples all input to DSD .
Finally i have recently had in my home an audition of some highly regarded dacs, Weiss 202 ( 6900$) Esoteric k-03 ( 13000$) and some other lower end but also some fine pieces . SImaudio 300d (1900), Hegel hd 100 ( 1200) and The Playback bested these all by a wide margin. I did go t the Lenehan site and could not find price points for their PDX configurations nor a dealer here in the US. What is the Price of the PDX in comparison to the PB MPD3 6500 $. My analysis indicate not only was it the best sonically but also had the edge in future proofing it with 384 and DSD capabilities. Combining that aspect together with the higher rez features and a made in the USA tag ( yes an issue we are sensitive to in the Detroit Area)..made the MPD3 a no brainer for me!..look forward to your response Bill V

Zugisland  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

05-17-12: Doggiehowser

You can check the prices (in Australian dollar) here.

The Lenehan is IMHO a more rudimentary design: BB PCM1704 DACs stacked and linked to a tube output stage.

The 1704s are legendary and in the configuration Lenehan uses, supports only inputs of up to 24/96.

So there are some limitations in the kinds of media it can accept.

I've always maintained that what makes the Lenehan sound as good as it does is how the tube outputs complement the digital sound.

I expect you can get the MPD3 to sound similar with a good tube preamp if you liked how the Lenehan sounded.

Doggiehowser  (Answers | This Thread)

05-17-12: Aplhifi
The 1704s are legendary and in the configuration Lenehan uses, supports only inputs of up to 24/96.

True when it comes to "legendary", but masking their real colors with a tube stage does not really improve their performance (that I personally find unsatisfactory). You need to hook up the MPD3 internal DAC to your tube output stage in order to find out how the two DAC designs really compare.

Best wishes,
Alex Peychev

Aplhifi  (System | Answers | This Thread)

05-18-12: Bhobba
Hi Zugusland

What I am referring to is the PDX Level 2 that costs about 4.5K depending on options. Lenehan Audio is basically a small outfit here in Aus and doesn't have much of a retail presence preferring to sell direct which keeps prices lower. In the US Swap Meet Audio handles their stuff:

At 44.1 the PDX easily outperformed it but when upsampled it was closer - but the PDX was still better.

This was not just my view - here is what another person said:

'Yep, the MPD-3 most definitely has a smooth sound (one listener used the term "lifeless") when fed straight 16/44.1 audio via USB. Kind of like NOS without the schweppervessence. A very clean and composed sound. With the right kind of music it'd be a most relaxing experience, with the wrong kind you probably "can't get no satisfaction".

And yep, it changes a lot with upsampling. I took it all the way to 352.8kHz (8 x 44.1) with both CoreAudio and Izotope SRCs in Audirvana Plus 1.3.5. The top end gained in clarity and sparkle, the bottom end in stomp and bite. Sounded pretty decent. The CPU load was pretty severe, though, and playback wasn't entirely seamless.

Then I switched back to the PDX (Duelund output caps but cheap tubes) and 16/44.1, and I'm sorry to say it was game over for the Playback Designs within a few seconds. Depth, texture, detail, colour and slam. Like when photographs get digitally enhanced by somebody who knows what they're doing without going over the top. More accurate? Who knows, but on the incredibly un-coloured speakers and amps these DACs were partnered with, the result was far more pleasing with the PDX.'

The amps were Mac 501's and the speakers were Lenehan ML2's which you probably don't know in the US but they are indeed extremely uncolored with stuff like being lined with steel and using a specially designed stand each of which weigh 53kg - as the same person that wrote the above expressed it 'they sounded like they were bolted to a granite mountain'. I know Doggie likes them because he got a pair.

I do agree in part with what Doggie said regarding valves- but only in part. We heard a NAD 390DD - a direct digital amp - and it was actually fairly close to the PDX and Mac 501's which makes me think more is going on here than valve euphonics.

If you hunt around on the internet you will find all sorts of comparisons with all sorts of outcomes. For example check out:

The bottom line is before forking out for a DAC in the price range of the PD compare it to as much other stuff in that range as you can get a hold of in your system.

I would also suggest getting your hands on a NAD 390DD and see what you think - it impressed the bejesus out of every that has heard it and IMHO is up there with the PD and MAC501's - in fact some thought it was better.


Bhobba  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

05-19-12   @aplhifi i think there's a difference from the traditional ...   Doggiehowser

05-19-12   Ive audtioned a bunch of stuff in the pbd mpd3 price range a ...   Zugisland

05-20-12   Hi zugisland yes indeed the mpd 3 does internal up-sampling ...   Bhobba

05-22-12   I am trying to stay out of this discussion as much as possib ...   Jtinn

05-23-12   Jon i think that some software like jplay can do an offline ...   Doggiehowser

05-23-12   The absolute sound was wrong.   Jtinn

05-24-12   Hi johnathan i have used up-sampling on many dac's and full ...   Bhobba

05-24-12   Hi bill, it is based on knowledge as well as listening. i ...   Jtinn

05-25-12   So jon obviously using jriver you suggest using no upsamplin ...   Zugisland

05-24-12: Bhobba
Hi Agsain Johnathon

It was a Mac-Mini using Audirvana Plus direct connected to Mac 501's into Lenehan ML3 Reference. You quite possibly know of the MAC's but probably not of the speakers. They are lined with steel to reduce resonances and use nothing but Duelund VSF Copper capacitors in the crossover. Each speaker is individually hand tuned for the best frequency response. They are ultra accurate, ultra revealing and are the fastest sounding thing I have ever heard - they for example blow B&W 802D's out of the water (not hard - I have seen the frequency response of those - without going into the details YUK). I am biased though because they are the speakers I have.

As I said everyone who has heard it noticed the same thing - it benefited greatly from up-sampling.

I am having someone over tomorrow to check out my Off-Ramp and if we get some time may be able to do the test again with a fresh set of ears.


Bhobba  (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

05-26-12   Just had a guy that over who bought his upgraded and modded ...   Bhobba

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