Advice on DAC/upsampler

I am seriously considering adding an outboard DAC/upsampler to my system to extract better sound from my large CD collection. Based on various reviews, the two units that seem to fit within my budget and offer good performance are:
1. the Musical Fidelity AC3-24 (which provides both 24-96 and 24-192 upsampling) (MSRP $1200);
2. the MSB Link DAC III with either the 24-96 upsampling module or the MSB 24-192k Network module ($700-800).

I have not included the Perpetual Technologies P-3A unit on my list ($800) because -- at this time -- it only offers 24-96 upsampling.

Do any of our readers have experience with either of these units. Since I have read most of the reviews available on these units, I know their relative strengths and weaknesses, so I am looking for direct, "hands-on", "heard it with my own ears" impressions.


Scott C-
I've had a MSB Gold w/optional power supply for all of a week I'm pleased. But then anything would of been an improvement over my prior setup. If the unit "sucked" trust me, I'd say so.
Hi, I had the MSB Link Dac 3 and thought the Art DI/O modded by Bolder cable Co. w/ external power supply was a better performer in spades. I have not the heard the other 2 Dacs in question, I hope this helps.

For any more information about the Art DI/O check out

There is alot of information available at as well.

Now, if you were wishing the Art DI/O looked better, join the club :)

Good Luck,

I have the Musical Fidelity AC3-24 and am completely satisfied with it. You can definitely hear the improvement whether you choose 96 or 192K upsampling. It gets better the more time you can burn it in.

Make sure you negotiate a reasonable return period (say 2 weeks)for this unit with your dealer. Apparently other Audiogon members have had some odd mechanical problems with this unit. I haven't had any problem whatsoever. However, since it's a British product, you need to be careful. The British usually have good designs, but they are not known for high-quality manufacturing. (Sorry Brits, just being brutally honest here)
I've fallen in love with my Bel Canto DAC 2. I like it better than the MSB (both Gold and Nelson versions) and Perpetual Technologies. I think it's 95% of the Kora Hermes which is now a 1000 bucks more. If you can give it a listen I think you'll be astonished. Haven't heard any thing but good things about the MF unit.
Thanks for the comments, guys. Now to do some auditioning and make the plunge...
Be careful about putting too much emphasis on upsampling. Much of the benefit depends on the implementation, and often upsampling makes very little difference as the added circuitry can easily cancel out the benefit of the upsampling if it's not implemented carefully. I know with the Link DAC, for example, many have found the upgraded power supply does much more for the sound than the upsampling, which doesn't do much at all by itself(despite what Sam Tellig would have you believe). In general it seems that DACs that use the popular upsampling chip du jour frequently don't garner nearly the benefits as the more esoteric systems such as the Audio Aero STARS system, dCs, etc.

I guess my point is that all upsampling is not created equally, and success depends on the method of upsampling and the implementation of upsampling into the DAC. Use your ears to make the final decision and you may find a well-implemented, non-upsampling DAC may sound better than many upsampling DACs out there, so keep your mind and ears open. Best of luck.

To all:

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my post. After doing some further research, I learned yesterday that Bryston is now offering an upgrade to my SP-1 preamp/processor. Of primary interest to me, the upgrade ($1000) includes a new DAC that provides 96kHz upsampling, as well a new chip that will enable software upgrades via the Internet;

In addition, the upgrade also has: a 5.1 analog bypass input (rather than analog bypass switching); 6.1 and 7.1 surround formats (which are of absolutely no interest to me); Dolby Pro Logic II (useful); and additional 2-channel music and surround modes.

So, on balance, the upgrade will take care of my desire for upsampling capability, plus some other useful features. The upgrade is extensive, since it involves replacing the face plate, rear panel, and the digital circuit board. But, for $1000, it's a good solution for my "problem", and I am going to take this route rather than buy an outboard DAC.