Jeff Rowland Aeris and Playback Designs MPD-3

Just curious if anyone has heard both of these and their impressions of the difference. I am interested in picking up a standalone DAC and seriously considering between these two.

Heard the Aeris DAC recently and was impressed. Very warm and holographic sound, and would not have initially guessed it was a USB feed from from a Macbook.

I have never heard the MPD-3, but I have previously borrowed the flagship MPS-5 and quite enjoyed that as well.

Anyone heard both able to offer any thoughts?
I have not heard the Aeris and I recently purchased the Playback Designs MPD-3. I did quite a bit of research and previously owned a Berkeley Alpha DAC prior to the Playback Designs DAC. One reason I did not consider the Aeris was it tops out at 24/96 sample rate on the USB port, I simply wanted to invest in a DAC that was ready for Hi-REZ.

My Berkeley was VERY good, the Playback is in another league but you should arrange for auditions in this price range. The Playback can receive 24/384 PCM and 1 bit/5.6448mhz DSD(double the sample rate of SACD's) via USB. VERY organic.....all PCM is upsampled to 5.6448 mhz and I use Pure Music on a Mac Mini.

As an aside, I also own a Korg MR2000S studio DSD digital recorder. It will record 16/44 all the way to the 1 bit/5.6448mhz DSD to an internal hard drive. It has truly excellent and smooth sound quality and I am using it to record vinyl. The sound quality of a high quality album played back through the MPD-3 is simply stunning.

Good luck in your search...I'm sure the Aeris is a fine would surprise me however if it was a match for the Playback Designs.
Thanks, definitely I would audition the MPD-3 before buying.

The problem is out here the chances of being able to demo these two on the same system are pretty low... hence throwing the question out there.

On a slightly different note, does this mean the Aeris would not be able to process a signal from an SACD transport? Or it would compress sample rate.
Just my 2 cents. I dont see anywhere where the Aeris is a DSD DAC so no, it would not process a DSD stream. I also know of no SACD transport at present that puts out data that can be read by a consumer DAC other than the proprietary offerings by Esoteric or Meitner et al....I think Sony made sure it was next to impossible to legally do so. They had such success with the BetaMax that they simply carried that strategy forward to "insure" the success of SACD.

I believe the SACD physical format is doomed, not because it isnt returning on the promise of better digital but because of the ability to download music from the web in a myriad of sample rates. In my opinion, the widespread ablity to download new music in DSD is just over the horizon. Software development is moving at warp speed and companies like HDTracks is really hustling to bring new releases to market in HiRez. 24/192 downloads are no big deal now and DSD is next as far as widespread adoption by those selling music. It costs a company no more to sell you a DSD download other than more server space and maybe beefing up their bandwidth. Now the big dilemma for the music industry is if they offer you a DSD download, you likely have no need to repurchase the same music over and over....anyone else here buy "Kind of Blue" or "Time Out" more than once LOL? This has been the lifeblood of the industry but that will all be changing soon as artists will be able in 2013 to exercise their "rights of termination" to reclaim their masters. But I digress.

If you are going to invest in a DAC and you must have SACD, look at the MPS-5. I simply believed in my case that the physical media was no longer necessary but the 1 bit DSD was.
Thanks for the info Ghasley, much appreciated. I strongly agree with your views on the prospects of downloadable music. I personally have a couple SACDs, not a huge collection by any means, but enough for it to give it some consideration.

On that note, have you heard the new Meitner DAC? I heard the flagship EMM player at a dealer in the past and frankly preferred the PD MPS-5, although my experience with them was on different systems. But the DAC looks like a competitor in the MPD-3 segment.

I do appreciate PD gear as impressive pieces of tech. DSD processing does look like a nice bit of future proofing. The Aeris is in the running, however, because I do use a Rowland amp at present.

Thanks again.
Haven't heard the Meitner DAC. I didn't search it out for 2 reasons: it does not process DSD and the designer of the Playback gear Andreas Koch designed all of the Meitner gear(as well as other landmark gear for Studer Revox and Sony, among others) until he ventured out again and started Playback Designs. I figure he knew what was on Meitners drawing board since he was doing the designing!

I don't mean to sound like a Playback Designs Fan Boy nor do I intend to imply that I have heard it all, on the contrary, i don't feel qualified to render any advice worth more than you are presently paying for it!

Good luck, you really can't go wrong with any of the group you are really boils down to feature set and your needs. We are way past the price point with this field where you wonder if they will sound good....they will all perform very well....horses for courses as they say.



Thank you for sharing info on the Playback Designs MPD 3
When did it start shipping and what is the current price?

Currently I am using the ExaDevice's ExaU2I and their lo-Tech DSDDIFF player mated with Korg Audiogate for 1 bit/5.6448mhz DSD playback; a stable DIY solution.

It's great to see other product options emerging for DSD playback.
DRSpence, it is my understanding they quietly began shipping in early July and I received mine a few weeks later. The Audiogate software is pretty cool, it came with my Korg MR2000S digital DSD recorder and is pretty darn simple to use for sample rate conversion/editing. I believe Korg has recently released Audiogate as freeware. I use my Korg exclusively to record vinyl in DSD and while there may be easier ways to get/edit your vinyl to digital I couldnt be happier.

I agree with you that it is good to see the envelope getting pushed with regards to DSD and no ne knows the possibilities of DSD and digital better than Playback Designs' Andreas Koch based on his broad experience of being at ground zero of many of digitals most important developments.

Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.
List price on the MPS-3 is $8,500 and the MPD-3 is $6,500 as of this writing. I paid full list and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. The MPD-3 is a stone cold bargain.
Wow just auditioned tge PBD Mpd3 and am in awe at how it sounds relative to other dacs which have been highly regarded. Hegel hd11 and simauduo 300d..yes these are a few pricepoints difference but its like having sex with a hot stripper and you know you have to go home to the homely wife..u know the stripper will break your pocketbook but you dont care! After listening to the,mpd for 3 days I put the other dacs bavk in and they were nit in the same league. I encourage all to audition this unit..
Ghastly so before I pop for thr mpd3 what are your impressions now that you ve owned it for half a year ...thanks v