Musical Fidelity A324 DAC as good as Tellig says?

I was wondering if anyone out there has purchased or heard the new Musical Fidelity A324 Upsampling DA Coververter yet? Sam Tellig raved about it in the April Recommended Components Issue of Stereophile. He placed it firmly in "Class A" saying it was about as good as any digital he's ever heard, at any price! And all for $1195. I have got to hear one of these units. I am currenly using a Arcam FMJ CD23 and I love it. I wonder how much of an improvement I might realize adding to the MF to my system. Any thoughts, comments, rants would be greatly appreciated.



Arcam FMJCD23
Melos Maestro Preamp
Musical Fidelity A3cr PowerAmp
B&W Nautilus 803's
Rel Strata Sub
Kimber select 1021 IC's
Kimber Monocle XL & Select 3033 (bi-wire)
Kimber PK 10 Gold Power Cables
It does ( Tellig's review) sound great, but listening is the only way. My Musical Fidelity dealership said that I can bring my CD player in any time and listen for myself. Can't beat that can you? I'm sure your dealership will do the same. I, too, was thinking of doing the Musical Fidelity Dac thing, but I don't like the idea of having another costly interconnect plus jitter possibilities. I am thinking (very strongly now, since speaking to some other audiophools) of going with the Audio Aeros Prima. One box, one killer sound. I don't know what the Arcam cost you, but even deeply discounted, you'll pay almost $900 for the DAC, a couple hundred dollars for a good interconnect, and probably some jitter reduction gizmo for another couple hundred dollars. Now if you sell the Arcam and put that money toward the Audio Aeros Prima CD player, I think that may not only be cost effective, but sonically speaking, the better move. Just another possibility for you to think about. This "Prima" CD player, I believe, is going to be a real killer. It sure has peaked my interest enough to forget about the DAC thing. At least for now.
I love mine. It was a dramatic improvement in my system. Great price too!
Forget about the MF DAC, your FMJ23 is a great player. If you are looking for an upgrade get a second A3CR power amp and biamp your N803s. Having them myself I know that they could use a little more power than the one A3 can provide.
Don't let Tellig convince you that the grass is greener. He has a habit of convincing readers that the ordinary is extrordinary. The MF might be a improvement over the 23's DAC, but the 23 is really good alone and there are lots good upgrade options that you should not rule out.
Now the kicker here is: where do I upgrade? This is what happens. You asked about the MF and I start on the Prima. What that has to do with the MF I don't know. Someone else tells you to bi amp. Gurantee, someone will tell you to have a good look at preamp possibilites. That always helps a system. Before you know it: a whole new system. That's what I love about this hobby. Now, I'm not a B&W fan, but I'm not going there. That wouldn't do you any good. I like the idea of, if they do infact need the power, biamping before going the DAC route. I think, however, your CD player is a weak link. It might sound great, but why not greater; especially if you can do it in your price range. You, apparently, can do some cool things to your system, inexpensively. Listen, listen, listen. And then do what we tell you to do.
Thanks for the input. I have definitely been considering bi-amping. It’d be more expensive but I'd probably not have think much more about amplification for the foreseeable future. Blackie: Are your 803’s biamped? I still plan on trying to audition the MF DAC in my system first. I don't think jitter would be much of an issue with the MF (see John Atkinson's measurements etc on page 92 of the July issue of Stereophile). I’m not familiar with the Audio Aeros Prima. Searches on Google, Yahoo & Hotbot provided no info.
Who knows (I wouldn't), it may be. You'll just have to go and listen. But keep two things in mind until then: Tellig is, and always has been, the foremost cheerleader for this brand; and even he hasn't compared every available option out there when he declares something to be unbeatable, either for the money or even flat-out (in his totally unbiased opinion, of course). I enjoy Sam as much as the next guy, and have even profitably taken his advice into consideration on occasion. But if this hobby is about anything at all, it's about system synergy and personal preferences. In my system, the digital front-end started with a mass-market CD player, went to a mid-fi CDP with a digital out, then to an outboard DAC, then a better digital IC, then a jitter-box, then a dedicated transport, and then I added a balanced PLC, and I've been rewarded with improved sound at each step. Now I've just bought an "umsampling" DAC to audition against my reference, and we'll see if history repeats itself. You'll probably stay curious if you don't find a way to compare your own reference against the "latest and greatest" for yourself, and the MF might well be as good a place to start as any. Sorry not to be of any *real* help, but I do wish you the best of luck!
I don't have my N803s biamped currently but I did try a single A3cr power amp and it has a great, transparent sound but it just ran out of steam at anything above a modest volume. I have also tried the A3dac and you will get better (larger, richer, more open) sound with a better one box unit like the Linn Ikemi, Meridian 508-24 or Krell KAV-280cd. I have also heard good things about the Audio Aero (not Aeros) Prima. Personally I would keep your CD player, get a second A3cr power amp, upgrade to the REL Storm III (the Strata is great but the 803s can go pretty low and would really benefit from the Storm) and just enjoy the wonderful sound your system can make, which I'm sure you already do.
Don’t trust the review. Instead of bringing your CD transport to the store, I suggest you borrow one for extensive home trial. This is the only way you can be sure if you will like it.
I had a dealer tell me it was good but nothing out of the ordinary for the price. I know they have also had some reliability problems with the unit. I have been told the Bel Canto DAC-2 is better but everything comes down to listening in your system.
Bob, I still think your weakest link is your CDd player. I know of another cool thing you can think of doing for your system. If you email me I'll go over some of that stuff. It, so you have an idea, has to do with a LC. I can also give you more info about the Audio Aero Prima CD player which I do believe will set you free.
Hey Warren,

Are you talking about a line conditioner? I've been considering something passive like a Changlightspeed. I am currently running everything through cheap computer strips but they've sounded damn good until: My last cable upgrade. I seem to have lost some synergy. I upgraded my Kimber Silver Streak (CD to Preamp) and PBJ (preamp to amp) with Kimber Select 1021. I also replaced the stock powercords on my CD, Preamp & Amp with Kimber PK10 Golds. I've had everything burning in for over two weeks but it still sounds a bit compressed and less involving than before. My Amp incorporates a choke to clean up the affects of dirty power. I think I may try replacing the stock power cords one at a time to see if that's the problem. I can't imagine the Kimber Selects are causing any problems. I think they're considered some of the best available out there. Any thoughts?
Yes indeedee. You have no idea, or maybe you do, what this can do for your system. I purchased, and have been running for 3 weeks the Audio Magic Stealth LC.(they call it a purifier/whatever) This is the best thing I have done for my system in 6 years. Did lots of homework on all the others. Not enough time to get into it. It was the Audiogoners that turned me on to it and set me free. I waas considering the PS Audio 300 & 600, the Shunyata Hydra and other costly ones, but this is what I finally went with. It was some interesting posts here and there that lead me to this. It's quite amazing. I've got lots of the ubiquitous, audiolingo superlatives, and then some, but if you're really interested drop me an email and ask away. This is one inexpensive, by my standards, component that will affect every component you have that runs on electricity. And all the benefits will go to your speakers, if they can handle them. And if they can't? Well, there's always something else out there.

Though I'm not familiar with the unit Warren is talking about, I will say concerning power conditiong that of all my source compenents, by far the most marked differences to be heard were realized with my digital separates. But an equally important aspect of that treatment to the filtering was running balanced AC. I have an API Power Wedge Ultra, which lets you switch on the fly between +120/-0 and +60/-60, and it really shows its worth on CD playback, even when I engage balanced on only the transport, the jitter-box, or the DAC individually, and the effects add right up when all three are fed the balanced AC together. (By contrast, I can tell no difference between balanced and regular filtered AC when supplying it to my tube preamp.)
Well, history did not repeat itself...see my further thoughts, comments and rants in a new post titled "Upsampling Put To The Test", which they should throw up there today if they don't decide that it's inappropriate! (And bring a bag lunch and take the phone off the hook - it's a real mutha 4 ya!)
1) there do not seem to be MF dealers while I live, near Chicago. I would definitely audition first if at all possible, also I don't think MF or dealers offer free home trial??
2) Sam Tellig reminds me of some kind of slick used car salesman. I don't get a feeling of confidence from his recommendations, he doesn't usually go into much depth or subtlety in his reviews. It's just cute stuff like "this is great" or "yus got to try it...". I definitely would not buy without trying it first.
I listened to this unit at my dealer's with similar electronics to what I'm using ( MF A300 integrated and A3 cdp). The sound was different but I don't thnk it was any more real or involving--- it took a studio piano sound and turned it into a kind of badly recorded live date in a club sound, plenty of distortion and noise.For 1200. I'll pass. John