My Bricasti M1 expereince......

I got my Bricasti yesterday as promised by Brian. I let is sit for 24 hours to get to room temperature in order to avoid any condensation issues (it is cold up here!).

I installed it today and made a quick comparison with me PWD MkII with the Upgrade Company Statement mods. The M1 blew the PWD MkII out of the water so easy...

Yes it is double the price but it is worth it. I thought the PWD sounded very good but in comparison it sounded lean with a lot less body and with a defused soundstage. The M1 sounds real and with a very focus soundstage. You can pin point every instrument and voice in its own space. It just sounds a lot more analog and natural.

It is so good that I am going to sell my Wadia 27 and PWD MkII to buy a second unit for my other system.

In addition to the beautiful design and great performance dealing with Brian Zolner was a total pleasure. He was so quick in responding all my questions and a total gentleman.
159 ,

Never post a thread about a unit blowing away another and then telling all you are going to sell the blown out unit. Hurts the sale of the dead unit LOL.
159 ,

Never post a thread about a unit blowing away another and then telling all you are going to sell the blown out unit. Hurts the sale of the dead unit LOL.
This is a follow up of my initial impressions of the Bricasti M1 DAC.

I moved the Bricasti to my bedroom system where I have my Stax 727II/SR-009 combo and my Woo WA-5LE. The Bricasti sound was excellent since the beginning but for some time to my ears it showed a small energy peak at the top of the midrange frequencies.

With good recordings this peak was not really noticeable but with older recordings like the ones of some Classic Rock albums I listen it was clearly there and sometimes depending of the recording creating a little bit of fatiguing effect. Basically the M1 is unmercifully transparent and it will show exactly the quality of the recording.

Now the M1 has over 400 hours of burn-in and the HiFi Tuning fuses I put in have also over 250 hours. About the 400 hours mark I noticed a nice change in the sound. That slight peak of energy at the top midrange disappeared, the bass got even tighter and the whole presentation of the sound got very musical.

Over the weekend I finished a project setting up a Mac Mini as a dedicated music server. I bought a used Mac Mini from late 2009 server version. It has a dual Core 2 processor with 2.5 GHz speed, it came with a dual 500 GB hard drive (1T total) and I upgraded the memory to 8GB. I went with this Mini because it is the last model with an external power supply so later I can get a linear power supply to replace the stock one. I performed all the OS mods recommended by Mojo Audio and bought an iUSB form iFi to clean the USB power out of the Mini.

I the bedroom system in addition to my two headphones systems there I also have a Threshold S550e amplifier, a Threshold T2 Pre-amp, a pair of B&W N803 and a Rel Q401 Sub.

The Mac Mini is the dedicated source of the system. It has all the iTunes library (WAV) in one of the internal hard drives and all the Hi-Res files are in the other internal drive. I am using iTunes for file management and I am using Audirvana Plus with iTunes integration for playback. The Mac Mini is feeding the iUSB and from there to the Bricasti M1 which is feeding the 727II, WA5-LE and T2.
This is my first experience with a dedicated music serves connected via USB before I was using my iMac streaming music via a Squeezebox.

So first I started with my speaker system using my modified Teac VRDS-10 to feed the M1 via SPDIF coax (WW Gold Starlight 6). I put in a CD from a blues player that I just discovered. She is a sensational guitar player that remains me Steve Ray Vaughn and with one of the sultriest voices I have ever heard. Her name is Joanne Shaw Taylor.

As soon as the CD started playing my jaw dropped down to the floor. Her voice was so real, so textured, so clean. It was like she was there in front of me. I could hear her fingers going up and down her guitar strings and the bass oh my! It was fast, it was deep and it was impactful. The whole presentation was so not digital that I could not believe it even my wife (who does not care about this hobby) was amazed of the sound.

After that fabulous experience I then switched to the Mac Mini via the M1 USB input.
The first thing I can say is that I did not notice any change in sound quality. What I heard from the CD transport was the same than from the Mac Mini. I went through several other songs and types of music and I could find no fault in the sound at all.

After done with the speaker system then went to a tougher test going to the Stax rig. The SR-009 are so transparent that I am going to be able to hear any little detail for good or bad. The result was exceptional. The music was gorgeous. There was no peak at the top midrange whatsoever. The music was just like through the speakers, very smooth, very neutral, very analog. To put it in two words, very beautiful.

Following the Stax rig I switched the WA-5LE with the HD800 using the Zeus cable. This time I switched out Audirvana Plus from iTunes integration and loaded some Fleetwood Mac high resolution files from HDTracks. Who said the HD800 had no bass??? The bass on “Dreams” was deep, tight, fast and with great impact. Every single song was a glorious Mac Attack (they are coming out on tour later this year.. yeah!) at its best. A total delightful experience like I have never had before with those same song and HiRes files.

I have not listened to the Meitner MA-1 or the AMR DP-777 or the Berkeley Alpha MkII so I cannot make a comparison to those but I know the Bricasti M1 blew away my PS Audio PerfectWave MkII (with upgrades from The Upgrade Company) and sounds significantly better than my old Wadia 27 and so far my systems have not sound this good ever!

I want to thank Brian Zolner from Bricasti for all his advice, help and patience. He is an exceptional guy and the master mind of an exceptional product. Thanks Brian!
How'd you get 400 hours of burn-in done in one day?
Nice write up. I am though surprised that the computer is only on a par with your cd player. Are you sure that you are done optimising playback through memory play, integer mode, hog mode and choosing the best filter set up?
using time travel at warp speed :)
Glory, it could lead to this
Drubin... That is call Warp Speed :)
No, I got the M1 on December 27th and has been running 24/7 since then.
The first post was done some time ago in a different site and just put it here before the second post.
Yes i did all the optimizations. How come the computer should be better since the original source is the same? Thos files were uploaded from the same CD played in the Modified Teac.

Yes, the tracks downloaded from HDTracks are much better sounding that the one upladed from the CDs I have.
It a totally different price point and market. The M1 is a $8,500 unit where the PWD MKII currently reatiles for $4,000 (over priced IMO) and is already talked for $2,500 which is the on going price for a mint unit.

The potential buyers are the ones with no DSAC or entry level DACs that don't want to spend $8,500 but ipgrade what they have.
Congrats on your new Bricasti M1 DAC. My personal experience with the M1 unexpectedly turned out to be rather brief. I was rather disappointed as I had very high hopes for it.
I auditioned it at home by connecting my dCS Puccini player (with U-clock) to the M1 via Kimber Kable KGDL digital cable. With the Puccini as CD/SACD transport driving the M1, I felt I lost what the U-clock was doing for the Puccini. Somehow, the sonic performance could not be optimised - the M1 imposed a veil between me and the music when before, there was none. I think the audio path for the Puccini and U-clock together is compromised to an appreciable degree when the digital signal is routed out to the M1.
Needless to say, I returned the unit but I am quite confident, given all the rave reviews that the M1 has received, that it would sound superb connected to its very own dedicated transport. So, over to Bricasti to bring us that missing link.
Hi. After side by side in home auditions between the Berkeley w/USB and a later in home audition of the EMM DAC2X the Bricasti is on order. To my ear, the Bricasti's dynamics and "air" around vocals and instruments slightly bested the Berkeley.

While I could not do side by side comparisons to the EMM, my notes on the two were very similar. The EMM MIGHT have had a slight edge in transparency but at the end of the day, I couldn't justify the thousands of dollars of cost differential. And I in know way am convinced of the superiority of the EMM to the Bricasti.

They were all fabulous sounding. It was a great way to spend a couple of weeks with all this gear to play with in house !
Lucky you! I've been looking for comparisons of the Bricasti with the Meitner MA-1, which I think should be similar but presumably not as good as the EMM, so your comments are helpful. The Calyx FEMTO is another in that price ballpark.
I've owned the Bricasti for about 6 weeks. It's world class. My previous DAC for 15 years was the Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 mkii, which I love. I've had the Weiss 202 in my system. Bricasti won hands down. I've also listened to the MSB Sig Platinum with Femto clock and Analog DAC. While I might give the nod to the MSB Sig Platinum, at $23K the difference was not worth the extra $14K.

The Bricasti will be in my system for a long time.
I want to do a follow up on my experience with Brian Zolner and his Bricasti M1.
As mentioned before dealing with Brian is a total pleasure he is very helpful and very responsive with his communications and delivery.

Like so much the performance and sound of the M1 that I also sold my PS Audio PerfectWave MkII and ordered a second M1 unit. About a week and half after I ordered the I received a call from Brian letting me know that my units was ready but was wanting to ask me if I would be willing to wait 2 or 3 more days to install an upgrade he has made and was wanting me to try. He said he was very surprised by the effect of the upgrade in the sound.

At that point he did not want to discuss the upgrade so it would be a surprise. Being the way I am I immediately said yes but I told him that is I like the sound he will have to upgrade my first unit. He laughed and said not to worry because the upgrade can be done by the user I the field.

I received my second unit Friday of that week. As soon as I got home I removed the top to replace the stock fuses this time with a set of Gold AMR fuses (the first unit has HiFiTuning Supreme) and saw the change. The M1 has 3 internal power supply units one for each analog channel and one for the digital section. In my first unit the analog power supplies have toroidal transformers and are linear while the digital section has a different power supply non-linear with a stack transformer. The second unit has a different digital power supply now very similar to the analog ones with a toroidal transformer.

I immediately called Brian to let him know I saw the change. He confirmed that the change was replacing the old digital power supply unit with now a linear version. He told me that him, another customer in NYC and me were the only ones with a unit with the upgrade and wants our opinion of the change in sound before implementing the change in production and offering the upgrade to current customers.

As soon as I finished replacing the now 3 internal fuses (there is another one outside near the IEC inlet) I connected the unit in my living room system. Right out of the bat with no burn-in period this second unit sounded better than the already well burnt in and great sounding first unit. What was the change in the sound? Well, the noise floor got even lower so the sound is coming out from a totally black background, there is more air and separation between instruments and voices, the bass got deeper, faster and tighter, the midrange sounds cleaner and totally natural and the high frequencies are detailed and perfectly defined. I was surprised and very happy with the change.

I emailed Brain with my findings and found out they matched exactly his. I also connected with his other customer and the results were also the same. I told Brian that the change was so significant that he should think about releasing it as a “M1 MkII” or “M1.2” or something similar.

About a week later I received the new power supply for my first unit. The upgrade was a breeze. You just have to remove 4 connections and 6 screws to remove the old power supply. The new one drops in exactly in the same position in the unit. It is attached by the same 6 screws and you make the same 4 connections. Voila! It is upgraded and sounding even better.

If you read April’s Stereophile you will see that the Bricasti M1 is in the A+ category among digital converters. That classification is with the old digital section power supply. With the new one is even better. Unfortunately Stereophile does not have a higher rating than A+ but in my book the unit is now A++.
musicman, just got my bricasti, with all the new upgrades installed... Wondering what filters you use? I go between min 0, 2, 4... Not sure I can reliably pick a winner...

Next week I get the gold hi-fi fuses, and then I'm done I reckon!

Fantastic DAC.
Hi David,
Before the digital section power supply upgrade I was normally using Min 2 but after the upgrade I find myself using more the Min 0.

The gold fuses will give you a bit warmer sound compared to a more open and airy (not bright)sound of the Supreme.

I think I am goig to end up with the Supreme in my two units. I noticed the gold AMR being a bit warmer and a bit smaller soundstage in comparison to the Supreme.

I know Brain is waiting to receive a set of the Supreme to do some testing (he already has a set of the AMR).

Now I'm wondering if I should have gotten the Supreme fuses? I picked the most expensive ones, figuring they were the most bang for the buck...

Also: is changing the fuses pretty easy? I see the one in back, but not sure where the other two reside...

If you ardred the most expensive ones then you ordered the Supreme not the Gold. The Supreme Slow Blow Small are $59.95 each and are the most expensive ones within the Small size.

You need three .5mA Small Slow Blow for the inside and one 1 amp Small Slow Blow for the outside.

You just need to remove the top cover and you will see the three fuses in the three power supply units. The two units on the sides (left and right) are for the analog units and the arrow of the Supreme fueses should be pointing to the back of the unit (where all the connectors are). The power supply in the middel of the unit is the new one for the digital section and the arrow of the fuse should point to the right (to the transformer)assuming you are accesing form the back of the unit.

The main outside fuse when is in the holder the arrow should be pointing to the outside.

Jose, thanks so much! Got them all installed. Last question: do you run
Balanced to your amp, or single ended? Trying to see if I have a preference...


Jose, thanks so much! Got them all installed. Last question: do you run
Balanced to your amp, or single ended? Trying to see if I have a preference...


Musicman,I'm the "other customer in NYC":)

Nice to see you here.

Check my post:
My Threshold amplifiers required a very low output impedance from the source (50 ohms) so if I connect the Bricasti or any other source with a higher output impedance I get a slight buzzing sound due to the impedance missmatched.

I am running to balanced output thorugh my Threshold T2 pre-amp and sometimes using the single ended outputs directly to my amps since SE input impedance in my amps is a little higher than the XLR.

I have not been able to distinguish much difference in the quality of the sound between the SE and the XLR outputs. The main difference is the output voltage. The XLR outputs have about 3.5 volts standard from the factory and I think the RCAs have 1.7 volts. The XLR are adjustable so you can match them to the sensitivity of your amp. The adjustment process is very easy.
Sorry Smilence, I was not referring to you but to Ken (lasercd) in your post at
Musicman,no problem.So I guess there are two customers in NYC who got the latest M1.Actually when I picked up mine at Ciamara,there are two there so I suppose the other one belongs to Ken.
Although I was born and raised in NYC I reside in Southern New Jersey.

I didn't purchase from Ciamara.
Actually, 3!