Bricasti M3 In the house


Just got a Bricasti M3 with the Ethernet renderer module. Looking forward to breaking this piece in. First impressions are: it’s a winner. I am curious what ways folks who have this DAC (or other Bricasti models) run it; over ethernet or USB? I will report my findings as the days tick by; Right now it’s cooking on ethernet out of my InnuOs Zenith MKIII into an ether-regen into the M3;
Thanks!
Dave
PreviewAg insider logo xs@2xdpac996
Two days ago I submitted my review on the M3 to my editor at Stereo Times. I don't know exactly when it will go up on the website, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks. I'm sure you M3 owners will enjoy what I have to say about the M3 and readers will be able to understand why this is a very special DAC, indeed.   
@teajay I sure am looking forward to that review!
I love this DAC. I’m pretty sure it’s settled now, day 25 or so; During this time, I have continuously re-confirmed what I first heard on the early days; First impressions matter, and when we hear greatness it’s obvious.
I am astounded by the reliability of the network connection. I have not had a single freeze, dropout, or hang that was the fault of the M3; I have tested the internal buffer of the data stream a few times. It will play music when I pull the ETH cable for ~40 seconds; Since I am using the M3 with direct ethernet (and not USB) the following notes apply:
I have discovered that when streaming Tidal or Qobuz the best possible sound quality comes from playing the stream direct to the M3-renderer. There is an app called M-connect that reminds me of my time with the Auralic Aries and it’s native app; (loved the Aries, btw fabulous SQ). More recently my experimentation over 12 months of InnuOs Zen mkiii and Zenith mkiii has also shown that the best possible sound was obtained when using native apps (no Roon). I have found that there was always some eventual (sometimes slight, sometimes obvious) degradation when using Roon; I absolutely LOVE the Roon user interface and experience and i’m sure it will continue to improve; I still use it often, but when I am looking for that last gram of fidelity I switch to M3-direct.
During my lengthy experimentation of the Zenith /Ethernet/ M3 stream I discovered the Zenith did not improve my sonic experience and actually sounded slightly less good than the M3 direct. I also discovered that I can simply run Roon in an i7 Intel NUC attached to the A-side of the EtherREGEN network switch (M-3 on the "B-side", which is the double secret probation isolation side, because as we know, ethernet is by definition fully isolated by virtue of the magnetics in the RJ-45 connector--this is another story I won’t detail here) and the results were excellent; So it’s very simple to switch modes of streaming Qobuz or Tidal; It only depends on the app I open up in my iPad;
If this DAC were USB only I would say the best USB solution I have found yet would involve something at least as good as the Innuos Zenith or Aurender N-10 (had that for a while) plus the Phoenix USB reclocker.

Warning: USB Rant
*That so much hardware is needed to purify the USB data stream makes it clear to me that USB is not an ideal (although, sadly, widely accepted) interface for streaming audio. USB was designed from the get go for computers to communicate to peripherals in a reliable and cheap method; the requirement by the USB standard of the +5V on the supply line (ie 5V DC is required from USB HOST IC to USB DEVICE IC 100% of the time to achieve bus enumeration) is the first and major strike against why this interface is sub-optimal from a noise perspective. Take a look at the history of USB in high end audio and you find endless bandaids and tweaks to get the most from this interface;
Async helped but the problem of the 5V / GND is still there and has to be dealt with. USB needs to disappear forever from high end audio. It’s perfect for simple cheap electronic peripherals because that was the ecosystem USB was designed for.
Perhaps a silly analogy; the various ways to attach DACs to the source (USB/Aes/Spdif/Coax/Eth) are like stylus changes in the analog domain. There is variation in all these transport layer bits; Digital is not purely digital because analog is always in the way-- not really a blocker, but meaning everything comes down to voltages and currents changing in our world and these things are purely analog.

Rant off;

So back to the M3; I love this thing and i’m amazed by the sound quality; Can’t wait to read your review!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts D-Pac! I am thrilled you still have the M3. This must be the longest lasting piece of equipment for you. So far. True?
@dpac996... have you tried bypassing your preamp and running direct thru your amp, given the analog volume control?

I sold my preamp (Aesthetix Calypso Sig.) after I tried running my DAC with analog volume control direct to my amp.
Hi @pdreher I did try that (running direct) and it is excellent— very transparent and such but I prefer the body and tone better using my Luxman C900u; I might revisit this experiment a few more times with other XLR cables though; I have had experience with the C900 since late last year and have grown to really love this preamp; I find it faultless in the service of the music. The C900 has the additional and magnificent feature of tone control which expands the enjoyment factor across otherwise flat and nasty recording balances that exist. After having this I can’t live without it; 

Skerdi; I love the M3; it’s fabulous; I’ve had some pieces since 2006,btw; in my main rig I’ve been on a quest to keep what I find favor with. I believe this dac is a game changer for what can be had for the ask. Cheers all!