Musetec (LKS) MH-DA005 DAC

Some history: I was the OP on a four year old thread about the Chinese LKS MH-DA004 DAC. It achieved an underground buzz. The open architecture of its predecessor MH-DA003 made it the object of a lot of user mods, usually to its analog section, rolling op amps or replacing with discrete. The MH-DA004 with its new ESS chips and JFET analog section was called better then the modified older units. It has two ES9038pro DAC chips deliberately run warm, massive power supply, powered Amanero USB board, JFET section, 3 Crystek femtosecond clocks, Mundorf caps, Cardas connectors, etc., for about $1500. For this vinyl guy any reservation about ESS chips was resolved by the LKS implimentaion, but their revelation of detail was preserved, something that a listener to classic music especially appreciated. I made a list of DACs (many far more expensive) it was compared favorably to in forums. Modifications continued, now to clocks and caps. Components built to a price can be improved by costlier parts and the modifiers wrote glowingly of the SQ they achieved.

Meanwhile, during the 4 years after release of the MH-DA004, LKS (now Musetec) worked on the new MH-DA005 design, also with a pair of ES9038pro chips. This time he used more of the best components available. One torroidal transformer has silver plated copper. Also banks of super capacitors that act like batteries, solid silver hookup wire, 4 femtoclocks each costing multiples of the Crysteks, a revised Amanero board, more of the best European caps and a new partitioned case. I can't say cost NO object, but costs well beyond. A higher price, of course. Details at

The question, surely, is: How does it sound? I'm only going to answer indirectly for the moment. I thought that the MH-DA004 was to be my last DAC, or at least for a very long time. I was persuaded to part with my $$ by research, and by satisfaction with the MH-DA004. Frankly, I have been overwhelmed by the improvement; just didn't think it was possible. Fluidity, clarity, bass extension. A post to another board summed it up better than I can after listening to piano trios: "I have probably attended hundreds of classical concerts (both orchestral and chamber) in my life. I know what live sounds like in a good and bad seat and in a good and mediocre hall. All I can say is HOLY CRAP, this sounds like the real thing from a good seat in a good hall. Not an approximation of reality, but reality."


Shenzhen, the city in China is presently in Covid related shutdown, being the silicon valley of China I can only wonder how much longer before stocks of 005 and other Chinese audio offerings are depleted.

The DAC is made in Jiaxing, close to Shanghai. My guess is that they can be drop-shipped from there.  But I think Shanghai is in the current Covid area.

In any event, shipping time commitment is a good question to put to Shenzhen Audio before ordering. Email provides a paper record.

For potential buyers in the US, you may want to contact Midwest Audio to inquire whether they'd be able to match this sale price. They have posted earlier in this thread. 

Midwest Audio: 574 329-1850




There is no question, I think, but that the best of the new DACs take Redbook further than before.  My own experience is that the Musetec brings Redbook closer to high resolution than did the LKS, already close.  All this has generated articles on whether there's any further need for high resolution audio in our DACs.  Seems to me that higher resolution is not dead just yet for a couple of reasons.  

I, for one, hear something special in "pure" DSD recordings, that is recordings that have not passed through any PCM processing.  For me that is primarily DSD recordings taken directly from analog tapes.  Yes, they're mostly rips of old RCAs and Mobile Fidelitys, but IMO they can be quite spectacular.  As for new recordings, besides those that have been doing it for a while, PS Audio is now doing pure DSD recording.  They probably have resources enough to make an impression on the  market.  And of course, SACDs are still being made, particularly in the classical field.

I have carefully compared some of the Nelsons Shostakovich recordings in their Redbook and 96/24 versions and can report a slight benefit from the latter, even to these old ears.  It's small, essentially spatial issues, but it's there in my experience.  It's a difference we crave.  In some other comparisons I have not heard a difference.  Would I have been satisfied with the Musetec-Redbook alone?  Certainly.  It has also been said that for high resolution recordings the mastering is better, that is, done more carefully, so yielding a better sound product.  Does that trickle down to the Redbook file of the same recording?  I don't really know.

Also, there are those who report beneficial effects using computer programs that do upsampling to the limit of their DAC, and even conversion to DSD and upsampling those also to the limit of their DAC.  I'm in no position to question them.  I have not done that to any extent myself.  I control my music through a PC that is little more than a Chromebook.  I could do it manually, but it's not worth the effort, for me.

So hirez seems still to be alive, if somewhat on its heels.


@melm I agree dsd recordings have unique sound qualities, but then mine are all best of best originally analog recorded and sympathetically mastered recordings or Blue Coast recordings.


I've continually tried at various times to incorporate dsd conversions of pcm recordings via Roon dsp, always have preferred no Roon dsp of any kind. HQPlayer dsp reportedly superior to Roon. Sublime sound quality currently experiencing lends no motivation to incorporate HQPlayer into my streaming setup.


While I've not spent a lot of time critically comparing hi res  directly to 16/44, my listening sessions don't include searching for hi res recordings or even paying any attention to these particulars. I find this informative in that it doesn't bias me towards any particular format, I find no substantive differences in these solely pleasurable listening sessions. The original recording and mastering are by far the most substantial variable for sound quality. Remastering can help, but you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. I'd also suggest unless original recording done his res the differences you're hearing from recordings originally done in analog or 16/44, and then converted to hi res are likely solely due to differences in the mastering rather than the hi res itself.