Larry, try to contact Audiogon member Iblieve, he has extensive experience with the whole Music Culture line, I think he owns most of their gear, and he speaks very highly of it.
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Jmc routed me to your thread.
I use a MC-501a CDP/DAC device for many months now. I hope you'll excuse my enthusiasm but it's the best CDP/DAC i ever heard and possess.
My system is :
USHER AUDIO BE-10 speakers
MC-811 dual power amps
Marantz SA11-S1 SACD Player
W4S music server
Acrolink DA-6300II, A-2500II , DA-5100, Analysis Plus Solo crystal interconnects
Acrolink PC-9500, Taralabs Onyx, A+ ultimate power cords
I was always seeking for the most neutral system but with the kind of naturalness that gives all the emotions from the music.
I tried several CDP : Jolida, Esound, Marantz, Esoteric, Ayon, Nad, Accuphase, Naim... Many are good or great CDP but there is always a lack of naturalness, of fluidity and presence.
Music Culture has been created by the major founder of MBL and you can notice it on the look of the devices. I never compare a MBL CDP with my MC-501a directly so i can't figure out if they are close sounding. Anyway the MC offer a very detailed sound with a organic and fluid presentation. It's pretty rare to listen to those qualities all together in one device.
You should know that it's better to use neutral system with it to get all the qualities of this CDP. If you also use a music server, the DAC is simply greater than any other high end DAC i previously owned. It gives an "analog" presentation without the flaws. It's so good that you may stop using the CD player...
Hope it helps
Jmcgrogan2 and Iblieve,
Thank you both for your assistance. I did not realize that Audiogon had put this thread on Audiogon until just now. I'm still figuring out how the newer Audiogon site works (sad but true).
My MBL 1531 CDP stopped working and I had to send it out for repairs. I'll be without it for another two and a half months. I'm currently using the new Oppo BDP-105 (which I think sounds great) and then when I receive my repaired unit I can slide the Oppo to my flat screen in place of my $80 Blue Ray player.
I sure would like to know how the Music Culture would sound compared to the Oppo?
Thanks again for any input you can offer.
I received the MC 501A today.
It and the remote are solid, sexy, and built like a tank.
Sounded like my MBL 1531 CDP which was/is no slouch!
Without listening to the MBL vs MC 501A (MBL is in for repairs) side by side I have no idea what the differences are? I'm very pleased with the MC 501A :-)
The Oppo BDP 105 sounds good in my system as a CDP but the 501A is the winner; more refined, better sound stage and bass slam to my liking. Of course the 501A lists for 4X the cost of the Oppo.
IÂm not an expert on the Music Culture Elegance 501A CDP, after all I just received mine yesterday (11/21/13).
I believe if you read the following review it will answer all of your questions, I have found that what was said it true and a fair review.
I came across this CDP by accident but it was one of the best things that has happened to me in audio.
Xtreme Fedelity in Fairfield NJ was the US distributer for this German company but no longer. They still have some of these new $4000 CDPÂs that they want to move.
ItÂs up to you to negotiate your best price plus freight. If I were you I would want to pay a lot less then $1900. ;-)
Same guy; I believe he has a couple of corporate identities. I heard the MC component system (CD, integrated, speakers) at Mike's house a few years ago and thought it was a very nice-sounding, well-balanced system. Mike is very good and fair to deal with, as well; I bought my VAC amplifier and Nola speakers from him.
Thanks. It really sounds great, even in a small (12 by 15) untreated room. I got the Micro Grand References (Carl assured me they were designed for rooms of my size) and the Phi 200, and am stunned by how good they sound together using a Shindo Monbrisson preamp. I don't have quite the scale/slam of my old system (which was in a much larger room and presented a huge soundstage and bass down to 18Hz), but the new system keeps me listening for hours at a time and gets out of the way of the music to the point that I am not thinking of equipment, tweaks, or room treatments, just the performances. They do all the audiophile stuff exceedingly well too, but my last sentence is my highest recommendation for any system.
Mike Oltz was great about letting me listen for an extended time at his place to a few different Nola speakers, including the Boxers, KOs and the Metro References, driven by VAC electronics, and he gave me a great deal on the package when I decided I simply had to have one of the ribbon tweeter models. I recommend him highly if you're in the market for the brands he carries.