@melm I switched from my CODA 07x preamp (easy for the dog to hit volume) to the Benchmark LA4 preamp. Both sit side-by-side and share XLR and RCA inputs between the Musetec 005 and Benchmark DAC3B outputs. I have also matched the gain on the CODA 07x preamp between the 2 DACs (not LA4 gain). The Musetec is connected to the LA4 by RCA. I have almost identical Sonore OpticalRendu’s going into the USB of each DAC. The only difference between the 2 streamers is the LPS and USB cable, both of which are not noticeable to me.
The 005 now must have more than 30 hours. I have been playing it into my RAAL speaker interface box when I am not around. So, the unit has been getting nice and warm each day.
I did do some comparisons between the DAC3B and 005 using the CODA 07x preamp and my RAAL SR1a headphones. The CODA 07x preamp was gain matched as mentioned above. Now I expected to hear differences with the SR1a since it is incredibly revealing. However, at this point in time I could not tell a single difference between the 2 DACs on the RAAL. I was shocked at this. I used ROON GROUPED streaming to both DACs.
On my Thiel CS3.7 speakers I did notice a difference between the 2 DACs on both preamps. First of all, I am still getting a bit of fatigue from the 005. However, this fatigue is going down to almost negligible levels. I think this is because the 005 may have more bass energy and also the unit is breaking it. The sound also seems to be denser on my Thiels, the soundstage more filled in, which is great. It could be the bass?
I also notice the tone on the 005 is really gorgeous. The whole range of sound is so coherent, with nothing seemingly out of place. The DAC3B has a more noticeable top end, which a friend of mine attributes to a bit less bass (he also owns the DAC3B). I like the DAC3B for certain music like hard rock, to get the juices flowing. The 005 seems to sound like what I was going after. Something a little less ’hot’ than the DAC3B, more like my departed Gustard X26 Pro, but with greater sharpness and detail without the top end sounding ’hot’.
I need to give the 005 more hours because I can hear the changes in sound and my fatigue going away.
My prior DACs were the following:
- Benchmark DAC3B (and others)
- Topping DAC90SE
- KRELL K300i (internal DAC in integrated amp)
- Matrix Audio Mini I-3 (sold)
- Gustard X26 Pro (sold)
- AudioMirror Tubadour III SE (sold)
The 005 is already the best (for me) of the bunch. I will post updated photos later tonight because my office system is DONE. No more purchases for this system.