MSB Select Dac vs Vinyl
(This the same room with slightly different setup)

On Dec 6th, 2018 I had attended Launching event of YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 speakers in Seoul, Korea.

MSB Select II Dac  and Pre was connected to Viola Legacy Mono Amplifier to drive the speakers.

Nordost Valhalla cables were used.

The system gave wide and deep soundstage with tight and tuneful bass.

There is no doubt it was top notch system in every way with the total cost of component over 200K $.

At the end of show, we decided to do interesting comparison between MSB Select Dac II (85K$) and vinyl system using Kronus turntable.

Kronus turntable was fed to Octave phono amp and Viola Pre amp,

MSB Select was used as Pre and Dac.
We selected above Vinyl and 24/96 network media.

I got surprised to find that MSB and Kronus gave very similar sound.

MSB Select provided slightly more dense sound with little bit more details.

Kronus gave slightly more relaxed sound.

If I had to choose one, I would take Kronus over MSB on this music since I like relaxed sound as I get older.

But it could change with different music.

Unfortunately we could test only one music.

Other people may have different opinion.

Despite this conclusion, MSB Select II gave one of the best sound from any DAC that I had ever heard.
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The Select DAC II: MSB Technology's $90,000 D/A converter | Darko.Audio

I am not ready to break my Piggy Bank to buy it.

 But it sounded good enough to justify its price to people who can afford it.
Somehow no response from Audiogon members.

But I got more response from other forum.

I am having lot of fun in Korea listening to several high end and vintage systems not available in Seattle area.
Way out of my price ranges, so of limited interest to those of us who don’t have the ability to audition the stuff.
  I also don’t really know how to respond when people compare digital to vinyl.  Regardless of the cost, all vinyl rigs have inherently limited dynamic range compared with digital, so people who prefer
vinyl to digital have that preference based on non musical factors.  I would have been more interested if you had compared the DAC to a dCS stack...
The MSB Select II dac is very good by all accounts, though i've only heard the MSB Reference dac so I couldn't specifically comment. MSB sounds natural and very smooth. The most analogue sounding transport/dac i've ever heard however is the APL Hifi DTR-MR transport & DSD-MR tube dac. That is the best sounding digital i've ever heard.


Steve Hoffman Forum is the LAST place I would seek advice on High End Audio.  90% of the people on that board think PS AUDIO and Parasound are as good as it gets. Audiogon, AudioShark, Audioaficiondo sites are some of the best places to ask....but still a limited number of people own stuff in that price range.

@ mahler123

Kronus turntable also cost 40K$.

I never felt it lacked dynamic range compared to MSB Select II.

I would not spend more than 10K on front end right now.

Somehow I felt my current system is much more musical than this 200k$ system.

@ melbguy_one

MSB Reference Dac is no slouch with the price tag of 45k$.

I wish to have a chance to compare it with Select II Dac but I could not.

Overall I felt my system more musical than the system using MSB Select Dac in the show.
@shkong78, system synergy can’t be underestimated & can trump pricier gear if you’re smart about your choice of equipment. 
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@ melbguy_one 

I agree with your opinion that system synergy is more important.

I had got the impression that 90K$ MSB dac did not fulfill its full potential in the system.

You guys need to check out Whatsbestforum for these comparisons and league.

Regardless of what you may perceive, vinyl has an inherently limited dynamic range vs digital.  It doesn’t matter how much money the turntable costs

Somehow vinyl appeard to be as dynamic as MSB select II at the show

But it need to be noted that  YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 speaker used in the show is not top notch dynamic speaker.

With my speaker Lansche 4.1, it could make much more difference
I've never quite understood the "limited dynamic range" argument. That's like saying Car A is better than Car B because it has a higher top speed, when we all have the same speed limit. Vinyl has plenty of DR for the human ear and with proper gear and isolation, one can take advantage of all it has to offer. 

I'm in a bit of a Redbook discovery phase and I have to say, I love it. I finally got a DAC that reminds me of my vinyl rig in terms of tonal density and "ease" or as I like to think of it in my own head, the muscularity of the music itself. I've been through a few digital rigs and the ones before, which weren't cheap, were thoroughly trounced by a relatively pedestrian vinyl rig which set me off on a 3 year vinyl pilgrimage. And I still have all that and love comparing similarly-mastered RB to vinyl I own. In some cases, RB wins, vinyl wins others.

So, at the end of the day, as usual, the answer is - it depends. Because it's a sensory experience, using a mic or oscilliscope to guide our decisions is foolish. Those are data points, sure, but they're no better at ultimately deciding one vs the other as the nutrition label will tell you how a meal will taste, or how a car's spec sheet will tell you how it feels to drive it. 

No other hobby is so bent on proving our opinions correct using "scientific means" when the hobby is completely subjective and personal. I follow a lot of cooking forums and FB groups and I've never once seen a fellow cook ask another to prove how tender a piece of meat was, or measure the crunch of his or her vegetables. Or ask for a double-blind test proving that Prime is better than Choice. But alas, thankfully the music fuels my passion for this hobby, and not the need to prove something to an anonymous person whose opinion really doesn't mean much at all nor who will ever hear what I am. 
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