Bricasti M1 owners- a question-

I’ve got and love my M1 DAC. I run it balanced, and I notice that the output level from the balanced outputs can be tweaked by moving a jumper of each analog board. You can either then do nothing, in which case you get an extra 2.5 dB output, or you can juice it go get about an extra 9.5 dB output ( you can decrease it too)

Anyone ever explore this feature? 
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Yes, the output gain on the M1 DAC balanced outputs can be adjusted, up or down, by moving a jumper connection on each analog board.  

However, I suggest you call Bricasti for the exact detailed information on adjusting these internal jumper connections.  If you decide to change them, you need a volt meter to ensure each side is set correctly and balanced.  You also need to decide how much additional gain is required since these adjustments are done in volts. These adjustments have to be correctly balanced to your amplifier to accomplish the  required gain levels. 

When I owned my Bricasti M1SE DAC, I experimented with using it direct to my amp and then a pre-amp.  I felt it sounded “much better” when used with a pre-amp but everyone has a different opinion on this topic.   I made no adjustments to my internal jumpers because I was not qualified to adjust them. 

Sone amplifiers have gain adjustments meaning these adjustments can be done on the amplifier and not the DAC. I hope this helps. 

I eventuality sold my Bricasti M1SE DAC and purchased the Bricasti M21 DAC. 

See Additional info on these jumper adjustments from the Bricasti M1 DAC Manual:

“For custom level matching, an internal the jumper on the board can be moved to engage a precision adjustable potentiometer. This adjustment is set from the rear panel screw near the XLR connector. When the potentiometer feature is engaged the level is adjustable from +8 to +23 dbm and can be referenced to a fraction of a db to match any setup.

This level is set as a default +16 dbm at the factory so when the jumper is engaged this will be the new level. Please contact us for detailed instructions on how to change and set these levels. The unbalanced is set to normal hi fi levels of 2V RMS (+8dbm) by precision resistor values on the board”. 

As noted, a jumper on the board can be moved to engage a precision adjustable potentiometer.  If you plan on doing this, please call Bricasti Customer Support for assistance.   

@hgeifman can you say what the sonic difference is from your M1SE to the M21?
I’m aware of what the owner’s manual provides. What’s interesting is that the unbalanced output is set at +8dbm and the fixed balanced output is set at +13.5dbm which is a bit odd as it should be double the unbalanced output. And yet by moving the jumpers you do get +16dbm, without needing any other adjustment at all. 
@rsf507, The Bricasti M1SE DAC is very good and the Bricasti M21 DAC sounds much better (In my opinion). The M21 DAC includes both a sigma delta DAC and a ladder DAC.  The M21 has great detail, is clearer and is very musical.   I suggest you give it a listen.   It is truly amazing.  
Set the output fixed level so the digital volume control is up near full for loud listening, this way you won’t run the risk of "bit stripping" if the volume is too low.

Cheers George
Thanks @hgeifman did you have a chance to compare the M21 to the M12?
@rsf507, I never considered the Bricasti M12 Dual Mono Source Controller since I ONLY needed a DAC.  I am using the SimAudio 700i V2 integrated amplifier and use its volume control.   Based on my experience, I prefer to use the volume control in the pre-amplifier section and NOT the DAC.   It is my opinion that the volume control function needs to be in the pre-amplifier section (and not the DAC).  

HOWEVER, there are some people that PREFER using the volume control in the DAC, like the Bricasti M1, M12 and the Bricasti M21 DAC, and go direct to a power amplifier.  Please note that Bricasti recommends using the volume control in the DAC and going direct to a power amplifier.  Everyone has a different opinion on this topic. Most likely, if the DAC's volume control works in the analog stage (like the Bricasti M21 DAC) and is "perfectly matched" to the power amplifier, the system will probably sound excellent.  On the other hand, I have excellent sound quality results using a pre-amplifier for the volume control so I am happy.

The only way to determine what sounds best for you is to demo using the DAC's volume control going direct to a power amplifier and also using a pre-amplifier volume control.   Once you hear both connections, you can make a decision based on the resulting sound quality.  Unfortunately, it is not easy to demo these 2 combinations so maybe you need to get additional comments from Audiogon members.  I hope this helps.  

BTW, the Bricasti M21 DAC is excellent and I am very happy with it. The M21 DAC includes both a sigma delta DAC and a ladder DAC so you have 2 options to choose from.  
@hgeifman which dac do you like better the sigma delta or ladder and why?
@rsf507, The sigma delta DAC and the ladder DAC are both excellent.  After switching back and forth, I prefer the ladder DAC.  It is smoother and the music sounds more natural to me.  

These differences are not huge but I do most of my listening to the ladder DAC. The good news is it is very easy to switch between these DAC’s.