Latest Bricasti M1 who's heard?

Looking to hear from those who have heard the latest M1 with network card. 
I found the following info on the Bricasti network card option and the Bricasti M5 Network player but have no experience with this technology:

1) Network Player Option:

"First incorporated for the M12 Dual Mono Source Controller, The Bricasti network interface and media renderer option allows any Bricasti M1 DAC to be seen as a DNLA device on an audio network and server as an audio device to play or stream to through a wired connection on your network. Now you can run wired data longer distances without loss in quality so your network server can go anywhere you choose". 

Note:  I believe the Bricasti M1 DAC can be upgraded with the Network card but I do not know the cost.  

2) Bricasti M5 Network player:

"The Bricasti M5 network player is a network interface and media renderer that connects to your server via a local area network. With wide support for DNLA and other popular network protocols, the M5 delivers pristine lossless audio from your network to your Digital to analog converter; your music server can go anywhere you choose. Connects to your LAN via Ethernet and Wi-Fi, with SPDIF, AES outputs supporting sample rates up to 192k PCM, DSD 64 and DSD 128 over USB. MSRP is $2,400".

I have heard the Bricasti M1 with the new network card, but I actually purchased the Bricasti M12 --- it is the same design, and contains the same DAC (except for an improved DSD converter), plus analog inputs and an analog volume control. Both have the network card. The M12 falls in the category of a "DAC/pre".  Sorry for the long post, but I think it is a fascinating area of development right now.

To give my comments some perspective, I have been using a computer as a front end since 2008, and moved to LAN network playback when the Sonore Microrendu came out last year. It has been an interesting evolution. The Mrendu was an improvement over direct USB playback because it takes the actual rendering of the music out of the noisy computer environment (in this case, Windows 10) and moved it to a purpose-built audiophile computer. It does this by using the LAN to transport the signal from the server to the MRendu, and those LAN info packets are not real-time audio.

However, the MRendu and other devices like it such as the SOTM 200 and most recently the dCS network bridge (which I own), all share one common conceptual weakness (IMHO): they all have to translate the LAN signal back into USB or SPDIF to get it to the DAC. They are all fine devices, because there is a huge installed base of DACs that needs such conversion, and as I noted above, and they still are preferable to a straight USB connection.

The Bricasti network card eliminates the need for USB or SPDIF anywhere in the playback chain. How can this be bad, from an audiophile perspective? No USB receiver chip, no extra USB cable or USB reclockers. According to Brian at Bricasti, the LAN packets are translated directly to the DAC's native I2S just millimeters from the converter, and the card shares the same internal clock.

Of course, context and implementation are everything. Start with the fact that the Bricasti M1 and M12 are amazing DACs, regardless of which input is used. The LAN input just makes it better. I used my dCS network bridge and connected it to the M1's XLR input -- the LAN input was clearly better. I tried connecting using the USB input. Had I not heard the LAN input, I still would have thought it was an amazing DAC. But it was a few notches below where the LAN connection gets you.

By the same token, before trying the Bricasti, I demoed the Ayre QX5-20, which also has a network card. It sounded better using the network bridge. Plus, overall, it wasn't in the same league with the Bricasti --- IMHO!

The bottom line? A few, actually. Input choices shouldn't be driving your choice of a DAC. But with streaming and computer front ends here to stay, LAN delivery is the wave of the future. DACs that accept LAN inputs directly are part of that wave. Congrats to Bricasti on its brilliant implementation of the network card --- it pushes a world-class DAC even further ahead.  

davidz what network cable are you using between  the computer and the server or M12?
@davidz,  As you posted above, what does it mean the "Bricasti M12 falls in the category of a "DAC/pre?"  

Is there a problem using the Bricasti M12 as a line stage pre-amplifier?    Please explain.  Thanks. 
Hi --- I guess it's just terminology. A dac/pre to my understanding is no different from a linestage preamp that also serves as a DAC. The M1 has a digital volume control, but no analog inputs. The M12 has one set of analog RCA inputs, plus the standard digital inputs and uses an analog control for all of them. Hope that helps. -- David


Check this out ---- I haven't compared it to audiophile label CAT cable, but it was a big improvement over standard CAT cable, and a lot cheaper than the audiophile stuff. -- David
Good stuff - thanks Dave! 
I haven't heard the latest M1 but I started with the Classic M1 together with the Aurender S10. It worked well. But then I listened to the M12 and it was way better. And as a bonus I don't have to use my Aurender S10 anymore. The M12 does the job as a DNLA device. And it does much better than the Aurender. Listening to DSD files through the M12 is awesome.
Now I am using a laptop with the JRiver installed. It is placed in the other room together with the router. As LAN /Ethernet cable I use the Audioquest Vodka which connects it all to the M12. I control all the music from my IPad. Very simple. 
I love the design of the M12 and their M15 amp. It is a good match. You can connect them so you just have to push one button on the M12 to power it all up. Keep it simple
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