Review: RidgeStreet Audio MSE Gen.II Digital Link Interconnect

Category: Cables

Over the past several years I've had the opportunity to own and use several good digital cables with my 5-watt 2A3 tube system and solid-state system. I still own and use the following digital cables: Illuminati D-60, Kimber Select KS 2020, and Onix Grand Master, i2 Digital X-60 and Midnight Silver Edition gen. II
Digital Link (from now on referred to as the Digital Link).

To cut to the chase, the Digital Link is the best sounding digital cable I've ever had in my systems. I didn't think it was possible for a digital cable to improve the overall sound of a two-channel system, but I'll be the first to admit I was wrong.

Just as the MSE Gen.II interconnects and speaker cables are extremely smooth, fast, neutral, transparent, and allow one to hear deep within the music and convey the force, speed and robustness of a live performance, so does the Digital Link.

What shocked me the most about the Digital Link was the entire bass became tighter, cleaner, deeper, with more punch and slam. The midrange was natural and musical with no sighs of artificial harshness. The treble was extended and smooth. The bass, midrange and treble had more dynamics in the area of micro details and resolution. Details that I had heard faintly in the background while using other digital cables suddenly became more apparent and obvious.

Soundstaging and imaging of the Digital Link was deep, wide and expansive. The only limiting factor would be the other components in your system. A mediocre or poor recording will continue to sound poor; however, good recordings will improve.

The Digital Link appears to be very well engineered and constructed. It is attractive to look at, very flexible, and lightweight. In addition, it has a very easy-to-read yet non-intrusive directional arrow and is clearly marked "MSE Digital.”

In conclusion, I realize that audiophile componenty is system dependent, and what sounds good in one system doesn't always work well in another. In this case the Digital Link sounds excellent in my tube and solid-state systems, and I highly recommend you give it a try if you're in the market for a new digital cable. I don't think one could lose with a 30-day money-back return policy.

Associated gear
Click to view my Virtual System

Similar products
Illuminati D-60, Kimber Select KS 2020, Onix Grand Master, i2 Digital X-60
I agree with your description. I too own this digital link and it is one of my two favorites. The other cable that I use is Ridge Street Audio balance digital link. The balanced and single ended digital cables made by RSA reign supreme within their category in my opinion. I base this claim on the fact that I have lived with Marigo, Nordost Moonglow, Illuminati D-60 and Orchid, Kharma, LAT International, Goldmund, I2 Digital, Audience to name the ones that stick in my mind. These were used in various combinations with Dodson, Meitner, Camelot and (2) AudioLogic DACs. Transports used were Museatex, Parasound 2000, CEC TL-2 and CEC TL-1X. The inherently different topologies of the single-ended and balanced designs gives each a unique presentation but they both can be "correct" and very pleasing musically. Some recordings, because of the recording style used, may sound better with the one cable topology over the other but either RSA design is way ahead of the competition and are my reference digital cables.
Thank You! Lak for investing your time and energy. I don’t know what to say except I am so appreciative of Lak, audiojerry, Beezer, Lonewolf42ny, satfrat, 4yanx, “M” and others and phsycicanimal who really was a catalyst in people taking a chance with us. I’m glad our efforts have contributed so positively to your music listening enjoyment.

Just to sidetrack here for a moment, a good point was brought up in another forum and thread I would like to further clarify. Lak would seem to be the only true RSAD cult follower who continually, on what seems to be a regular basis, spills ink on our products in a formal manner (BTW, others are invited to do so also). Lak is afforded the opportunity for several reasons. First, he really enjoys doing mini reviews and I like to accommodate him. Secondly, he’s acquired a pretty broad scope of products and their performance by exposing himself to different gear from different cryo’d outlets, to system racks, to electronic gear, cabling, tweaks and probably anything else I may be missing. Thirdly, regardless where you put the pedigree of his system(s), he has an excellent handle on its strengths and weakness’ and he understands his own listening filters and biases. All these things make up for pretty honest evaluations IMO. To make sure, Lak is not my “patsy” and I have no guarantee that just because he has one of our products to evaluate he’s going to automatically take favor to it. I hold my breath anytime I know somebody is going to evaluate one of our products and report on it. Neither do I inappropriately trade any kind of favors for positive comments. As Ridge Street Audio Designs has predominantly enjoyed win / win, audition / commentary situations, I’ve done nothing to minimize the risk involved save for making good product just as I do when a client makes a purchase.

On to the MSE Gen.II Digital Link. It is a very special cable that I am quite proud of. Hell, I’m proud of all our stuff but a digital cable is very easy to get wrong and requires more effort comparatively in our approach to cabling. As with all our cables, my premise of neutrality and transparency took precedence with what we wanted to accomplish, and we feel we’ve met those criteria. Elements we considered important to realize our goals were no self-induced artifacts that introduced timing faults and storage affects, for example. It’s our opinion that this digital cable is about as “wide open” as you’ll get and it can be mesmerizing…and I’m an analog fan!

Other than that, I think Lak’s comments nailed it. I would only add this; this cable offers more than an intellectual exercise in listening to music digitally. If the transport, DAC and the rest of the system, and if the recording has captured it, the emotional impact the music can communicate can be experienced full throttle. I don’t think this is a commonly experienced attribute of digital playback. BTW, the MSE Gen.II Digital cable is available in a single ended and true balanced version. They are both wonderful and I would encourage you to give us a listen!
Kind Regards,
It's nice to read comments from someone such as yourself that has owned more high end audio equipment, interconnects, tweaks, etc. than most of us that can only dream of. My point being you have had the opportunity to hear, audition and own some really great sounding gear and my findings coincide with your thoughts.

Thanks for your kind words, as the creator you have every right to be proud.
Nice Review. Interesting you can hear the difference in both your tube and Solid State gear. To me that gives the review more weight. Enjoy !
Psychicanimal--a catalyst? Of course--I self describe myself as an agent of change!!!

Meeting Robert was not coincidence, as his partner was asst. mgr at my local Radio Shack and I started talking audio with him on my periodic visits. He started talking about cables and his friend, the business, the website, etc. One day I ran into an auction and I e-mailed Robert, then talked on the phone and the rest flowed naturally. The first telephone conversation with him gave me the same feeling as my first conversations with Kevin Barrett (KAB Electroacoustics) and Danny Boy (Modwright). I develop intense affinity/affection with these people who left their full time jobs and dedicate themselves to the art in a way that reaches people and deilvers true passion. The converse goes to the Voodoo priests and their cohorts. As a matter of fact, I sent my only two MSE ICs to Danny Boy along with my transport so that he could experience what Robert is all about through his craft. This past weekend I drove to Indiana, met Robert and his family and came back with two more sets of MSE Gen IIs. As I stepped into my car I held in my hands the bag with the cables and said to myself: "Oh shit, my vacation to the Caribbean is in this bag!!!"
LOL! You said that a couple of times before you got in the car too! I'm thinking; since your vacation is in that bag, why not put the bag over your head! Wa-La! You're there!

Hey, seriously, I enjoyed your visit and trust we can do it again in the not too distant future. I hope we have more time then and that I'm a better host.

Best Regards and Happy Wishes to you and all,