Have you compared Bricasti to dCS? I'm considering the Bricasti.
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First thing you have to do with the M1 is replace the switching power supply with the new linear one. The upgrade was transformative. Any hint of glare that it had before was completely removed.
I subsequently replaced the fuses with Hi-Fi Supreme. This made a noticeable improvement as well. When I was done with the upgrades I actually changed my preferred filter settings from MP2 to MP0.
DSD has a very distinct sound (to my ears at least). Notes are rounder. Perhaps you can characterize it as more analogue sounding than PCM. Its probably not the ultimate in detail compared to hi-res PCM but its something that is just really pleasant on the ears.
I didn't listen to a lot of different units before I bought the M1. I had been using the Accustic Arts DAC I Mk 4 for some time. It was a very good DAC but time had passed it by. I was able to get the M1 on a brief loan. I immediately understood that it was working on a different playing field. Given the geneology of the DAC and the company itself, it became a no-brainer for me.
Since I've owned the unit I've seen it through various software updates and hardware upgrades. I've heard DACs from EMM, DCS and MSB (albeit not in my system). Great DACs but I prefer the Bricasti.
I love the ability to dial the unit in by changing filters. It makes a huge difference.
I'm not saying its the ultimate DAC but given its reasonable price I think it blows away the competition. YMMV.
I have the M1 USB with all the latest upgrades (purchased April 2013) and upgraded it for DSD. I agree with Lasercd regarding the analog like sound of DSD played through the M1. I use a Bryston BDP-2 for PCM, PC laptop with J. River v19 for DSD and a PS Audio PWT for CDs (rarely use it). I'm anxiously awaiting Bryston's implementation of DSD output capability for the BDP-2. Bryston has stated that DSD output upgrade for the BDP-2 should be out before the end of the year.
Back to the M1, it sounds great but I've only compared it to my PWD mkII. I have a lot of DSD files and they sound so musically engaging through the M1 and my Harbeth M40.1 speakers.
I have no doubts that the M1 is a fantastic DAC. I will listen to the M1, the exaSound e20, the Analog DAC, and the Berkley DAC 2, and then decide which works best in my room and rig.
I've downloaded several DSD files and they sound very good even with Adirvana converting them to PCM on-the-fly; really looking forward to hearing this music in Native DSD on a top notch DAC... Will report back on this later...
After almost three weeks of listening I have decided to purchase the MSB Analog DAC. Overall, I felt that it was just more musical than the exaSound e20 (remember, the e20 was 1/4 the price of the MSB or Bricasti), and in my rig it also bested the M1.
Both the M1 and the ex20 sounded very good, but they were several notches below the Analog DAC IMO only! The Analog DAC was smoother overall, much more 3D all around, and just better balanced in sound; it provided the most goosebumps!
This thread is a little older but I have a brand new Bricasti M1 on the way to me and I will have it this Thursday. I traded my PS Audio DirectStream for it and was wondering if you M1 owners have any recommendations or feedback on break in or anything that could be helpful or anything info about the DAC. Thanks
There are numerous ventilation openings throughout the Bricasti casework. This leads me to believe that the unit runs very hot. Can anyone confirm how much heat the unit produces at idle? For example, how long are you able to hold your hand on it?
I am asking because this affects not only placement but circuit longevity. Many DAC's have no ventilation openings because they are not required.
One of the cool things about the Bricasti M1 DAC is it has a status button that shows cool stuff like polarity, volume per channel, signal rate in then the signal rate out 352 / 384 or DSD/2 / Software version and great internal temp reading that shows the internal temperature that is luke warm at most. You could hold your hand on it for a month. It runs about 2-3 degrees warmer than your hand which in HI-FI would considered quite cool. Mine after long sessions gets up to 104 - 107. With the mono separate design with all aluminum block construction and all the great venting you couldn't ask for a better performer from a heat dispersion longevity standpoint. Plus it is probably the best sounding digital player in the world at any price. It is insanely good!
We can expect the Berkeley to be better at about twice the price of the M1. That price doesn't include a usb input or dsd capability. It's all about value for money.
Where cost is no object, we can start talking instead about the Boulder, the Swiss Beast, the Vivaldi stack, the Trinity, the Constellation Audio, the D'agostino, etc, etc....
Coming back down to earth, at 9k, the M1 is hard to beat. And to echo Fsmithjack, at 6k, the DS is hard to beat.
Wouldn't spend that kind of money on a Berkeley product. Rather grab a demo/used Trinity DAC if we going up there. Combo Berkeley / Bricast dealers at that price better be saying the Berkeley is better. How could they ever carry both lines and not say that and ever think they will sell a single Berkeley if they said Bricasti is better?? Not sure listening to salespeople is the way to get objective info but each their own. Rather talk to my fellow Agon comrades to get the skinny but that's me. Have heard the Berkeley is great but we'll see if 3 - 4 years later everyone is still gushing over it still like they were doing over the Bricasti and still are...
I own the Berkeley Alpha 2 as well as a Bricasti M1 and a W4S DAC2 se.
All 3 DACs sound distinctly different and have their pluses and minuses.
The W4S brings some color and excitement to the table and has a real WOW factor, whereas the Berkeley and Bricasti are more clinical and unexaggerated in their deliveries.
The Alpha 2 is a very sweet sounding DAC, providing excellent HF transparency but against the Bricasti and W4S sounds slightly dynamically lacking - in the upper mids and lower treble particularly. The upper treble can also run slightly hot at times through my B&W 800 Diamonds.
The Bricasti is probably the least initially impressive sounding of the 3 but makes up for it by being ultimately more neutral and less artificial, which is desirable for long listening sessions. It's failings are not in what it adds but rather in what it doesn't quite manage to reveal. I've heard it side by side with a DCS Rossini with master clock and the Rossini won out with its heightened transparency and resolution/ The Rossini clearly provided a more nuanced presentation. IOW, a clearer window into recordings, along with a difficult to describe level of purity. On many recordings I could easily convince myself that I was listening to a pristine analogue master tape.
There's no doubt though that the M1 is a very fine DAC, even if it's not quite the last word. It comes with an excellent feature set and connectivity and is a real pleasure to use. At its price point I would say that it's as least as good or better than anything else available, but as with most DAC's, subject to personal preference.
Re the recent available upgrade, yes I've heard one and while I could hear a subtle improvement it was by no means night and day so I'm yet to commit to it.
Hopefully there will be other upgrades down the track that will raise the bar more significantly.
I would think that the cost to gain incremental sonic improvements over the M1 would come at a dear price but just my opinion as I've not heard dacs priced beyond the M1. It's a great audio piece that never has me thinking about going to something else. A big plus is the owner/designer is very responsive and general good guy and his upgrades are very reasonable. Finally it sounds great using its volume control as well.
Timpani - Great info - it's super helpful to hear from someone that owns the DACs and can talk about them in relation to the others in the exact same system.
Couple things I've seen is the M1 is super transparent to the source or transport hence it really has a big input on the sound. What transport - source do you use with your DACs?
Also - in my system the M1SE upgrade made a very significant upgrade - huge bang for buck add - it doesn't make it an entirely new DAC but it mattered a lot and I was very happy with the significant improvement! I loved it!