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MSB has just won an award at the recent Heathrow Hifi show in London. I rate the combination one of the best. They have just bought out some prototype diamomd DAC's, which I had t5he chance to get a sneek preview at the london show. I can't wait to have a proper listen when they put them into production.
I have just had a look at the forums Hifiwigwam and zerogain who mostly said that ABC Audio who distribute MSB had the best sounding room. Worth arranging a listen.
I have had some experiences with MSB PlatinumII DAC. I do not know the rest of the MSB products. My listening is actually more prone to Lps. I always find setting up turntable, arm, cartridge alignment, and all the tweaks with respect to these set up are easy and they are just more or less mechanical approaches, once you have already a good sound system( synergistically I mean). From the time the introduction of CD to HighEnd audio, my first CD player was the NEC top of the line player, and that was sometime in 1986. Since then, I always have difficulty finding the right sound reproduction ( to my ear) from digital playback versus that of analogue playback. I changed to using Estoric P01 with VTL top of the line 20bit DAC, and at one stage, dcs Elgar and Purcell, and the last before the MSB, I was using the Burmester 969 transport and 970 DAC. Maybe, I was too fussy. I learnt and spent a lot trying to get rid of the intangible electronics or electrical disturbances so called "electronics haze" or "electronics edge" in my digital playback system. What I was trying to achieve for the digital playback is the lacking of their 3D soundstage, the harmonics of the string till the last bit, human vocal, weight of ochestra etc.. More importantly, I like to crank up my volume and when i do that during digital playback, i always feel that there are too much of those extras; extra details, extra extension, extra inner noise between instruments and/or within the soundstage, which are totally unwanted, as compared to analog playback. Lacking of the continuousness is the worst amongst all. All these to my ear, unbearable. Do not misunderstand my musical taste and understandings. I know how meticulous I have to be for my analog set up. The combination and synergistic effects for tonearms and cartridges, further to my phonostages, my preamps, my amps, my speakers and to the room accoustic. I know once you achieve all these synergies, the wide range of the Lps, right from recordings from the 50s 60s to the 90s, and from vocal, jazz, chamber music to large scale orchastra will give you the best musical satisfaction you ever need. Only when I came across MSB, I found and re discovered something good about digital playbacks. Not quite in parallel with what Lp does, but line up itself nicely in high quality playback for sound reproduction in the world of high end. Of course, to deal with those intangible and unwanted electronics haze, I spent a lot of efforts to clean up the system's internal electrical supplies. I have the Burmester 948, couples with Quantum*2 and to Nordost Thor. All these conditioners are interlinked with Nordost power cords. You have to really get the best power cords to work with those conditioners, it is no kidding. You also must learn to use Nordost Pulsar points, amazing to note the reduction of the noise flow by this mechanical devices when they are placed strategically underneath the CD transport and the DAC. I think for all these, the most critical knowledge for digital playback is still individual's capability to find the right interconncets for the digital link and from the DAC to your preamp. For this part, not necessary that the most expensive ones is the best. It has to be very good cable as well. Right now, first time that I can enjoy very much to my digital playback with MSB Platinum DAC in my system.
I did not do any comparison directly. As said, I know the sound from my system clearly as I put a lot of times for my analog system. Having four arms in my system, few phonostages, and coming to a dozen of cartridges allow me to know what individual of these can do. I tried different transport with the MSB Platinum DAC and I know they sounded quite differently even with the top rate of power supplies. I did not give any further in depth analysis to it, it could be my existing cable compatibility issue, the quality of the Optical Pick Up head, or the build in topology of the software, or the build of the hardware. Not very sure, and this is what I mean I found always contrary to most of the goners' feedback that digital playback is easier to deal with as compare to Lp playback which is so troublesome for all the tweaking and matching. If you mean just loading CD into the player, than I would tend to agree that it is easier. But to me the challange is how to get the sound from the digital playback to becoming better and listenable in view of things that are intangible within the system. My personal experience is that more money needs to be spent for digital playback as compare to analog system, as the money you need to spend for the conditioner, power cord, mechanical devices etc. is so much more than the player/DAC itself. This is just my personal experience and it may not speak for the rest.
I have a signiture Platinium cdplayer II with 16 x filter and plan to upgrade to the new 32X digitial filter. The Signiture dac is a $6000 upgrade which gives a world of sound. Personlly I have used their Player and I have use a Nachmichi Cd player and I am hard pressed to find the a huge difference. I did add the new Ilink an that made an unbelieve difference in detail and full body of sound
so in order of importance if I was getting a new MSB Dac
1)MSb Dac III sigiture with Ladder dacs
2) 32x filter
in that order I don't beleive it does't gets much better