Musical Fidelity A324 DAC, Is this a ??

Is this a smooth sounding DAC?
Warm and detailed or very detailed and forward sounding?

Any opinions would be appreciated


After the Tellig-Stereophile review, where, of course, any MF stuff portends new audio enlightenment I borrowed one from my dealer.
Utterly nondescript - when using a Denon changer into a Sunfire preamp, there was no significant change between using the MF, and not using, and I A-B'd in real time by using different inputs to the pre.
Useless in my experience. Another Stereophile/MF hype job. Don't waste your money. I eventually used an old EAD 7000 DAC, where there was a reasonable change for the better.
What's it sound like - mid fi.
I owned one for a while, before taking advantage of the upgrade to the tri-vista dac. I totally disagree with snofun3, I found it to be a big improvement over the redbook on my sony c555es, a highly regarded sacd/cdp. If you do not trust Sam’s opinions, look at the follow up measurements in stereophile….they are uniformly excellent. As to your question, the tri-vista is better, it delivers more detail…but the A324 is I would say slightly more one the detail side than the warmth side
In my small tube system , (cayin TA-30)it is excellent, I am useing a phillips cd80 for a transport through a monarchy dip,
odyssey epiphany speakers. I'm not familiar with the denon changers but it may be transport or system /cable dependent. Best bet is to see if you could borrow one and try it in your system. TG
I own a rotel RCD855. Used the dac your looking at. Not that dig a deal. Not a day and night diffrence that stereophile would make you think but they really didnt give that great of a review if you read. " It added more air then the jupider refrence player, your results may be better..." If I were you id spend some more $$ You will grow tired of it quick . The guy I sold mine to resold it in 2 months. I had it for 2 weeks... not trying to put it down just saving you some time.
Go to You can find reviews of the MF there. One does a comprison between the 3.24 and a Bel Canto DAC.

From what the reviews say it leans toward the warm side.
Sam Tellig likes lean and smooth sounding gear.

MF gear of that period tends to sound lean. Sam likes lean.

MF gear of that period tends to sound smooth i.e. lacking in rough or abbrasive qualities without any sense of sibilance or grain, but possibly at the expense of resolution. Sam likes smooth.

Judging from the above, it's not hard to see why Sam and others might like this product. Having said that, the MF products from this time period tend to lack body, warmth and PRAT. They are a step up from many of the lifeless sounding SS alternatives out there, but they aren't really all that musically accurate. You get the sense of high resolution because it sounds lean and clean, but the music lacks weight, emotion and inner-detail.

This is kind of like comparing the natural beauty, warts and all, of a gorgeous and lively woman to that of an air-brushed model. They both look good on the surface, but one is kind of glossed over, artificially primped and lacking in the reality factor whereas the other is the real deal with less gloss, hype and artificiaity to their beauty. As such, you can do worse than MF gear, but you can also do better. Sean

PS... MF gear is NOT warm. The warmth region lies between the bass and midrange regions of reproduction. Added warmth gives a bigger, full-bodied sound that tends to sound lush on the typical digital recordings but thick on good quality analogue recordings. As such, too many people confuse a lack of glare i.e. smoothness with that of being "warm". They are NOT the same thing.
Well thank you very much for all the inputs!
Its really hard getting one on hand but that might be the only way. I have a Meridian Transport so that should not be an excuse by any means if the dac does not suit me, well I guess I have to try to get one and listen from away if possible.

I have heard some older dac and found them more musically satisfying than some newer fancy upsampling dac's so.........for example the original Goldmund DAC was just incredible and still very pricy.

Just a small not when I mean warm sounding, I dont mean DEAD like my former Audio Note external DAC (I tried 2 dac' and was not impressed so), a very dull sounding DAC with pretty much no resolution as an excuse to call in warmer and analog like when you are pretty much loosing the essentials of the goal of the DAC.

If it sounds anything like a Theta Gen V or so, I can easily live happily ever after, thanks again and keep them comming

Hmm...I guess to each his own.

Interestingly enough (snofun3) I replaced an EAD 7000III with this DAC, and I don't agree that the EAD was superior, though I have said many times that going from the EAD to the MF was a sideways step in some regards.

I've compared the MF with a few other players/DAC's in the time that I've owned it. I had a Electrocompaniet DAC for a short while that was warmer, more ful-bodied and perhaps more musical, but had less stage depth/width and wasn't as transparent.
I tried the MF A3 player, that sounded thin and lifeless, lean and yes, quite I wonder if some of the comments on the A3 24 DAC are actually based around the player, which I think uses the same DAC section?

I own a Pioneer universal player, the DV47ai, and it's hard to tell the difference between the DAC in the Pioneer and the A3 that isn't really a good thing for the MF considering it was the same retail as the Pioneer universal.
I'm presently borrowing a Krell KPS20i, which sounds quite different to my own digital front-end. The transport in the Krell is better than the Audio Alchemy DDS Pro transport that I use (as it should be for the price), but the DAC in the Krell isn't that different to the MF A3 24. So using the Krell as a transp into the MF, is similar to using the Krell as a one-box player. Let me quantify similar - the MF DAC doesn't resolve the lower frequencies as well as the Krell, but it has a little more treble extension and air, maybe leading to just a tad more transparency.

In general, I would class the MF DAC as a little lean through bass and into the lower mids. It adds no 'warmth' from the midbass through the mids and upper mids that I can detect. It is anything but smooth (in my system). It is transparent and lively sounding, dynamic and quite punchy in the mids/low bass, but without the fullness and weight/authority of the Krell. It stages very well, with good depth and width, as good as if not marginally better than the Krell as a one-box player.

I found that by adding a Jitter unit between transport and MF DAC, that the bass performance is noticably improved. The jitter unit tightens the bass a tad and makes it a little more tuneful.
I use an Audio Alchemy Dti Pro32, which can be picked up for under $300.

This is not an exceptional DAC. I believe there are others out there that perform better at the price. But sometimes better really means 'different' so you have to make your own mind up.
I've hung on to it whilst making changes in my system (amps, pre's, cables) and it's always been very resolving of details and subtle changes. Now that I have most of the hardware changes completed, I've been looking for a more upscale digital player like the Audio Aero Capitole or Prima.

That's my take on things, sorry for using up so much server space.


Thank you and keep them comming