First Hand Experience in Comparing: Totaldac D-1 Twelve Mk II; MSB Select II or Reference and/or Nagra HD DAC X?

Oct 8, 2019
16
15
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#1
Hello All,

I am looking at upgrading to one of the DACs mentioned above, and would love to hear comments and thoughts from anyone who has been fortunate enough to hear any two of them and can offer perspective on how they compare to each other.

Regards,

Baird
 

Jeffy

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2014
265
33
233
Orchard Lake, MI
#2
I had the Nagra Tube and HD DAC, Total Dac D1 Seven, MSB Reference in my system. My thoughts are obviously based on my system. The worst was the Total dac followed by the MSB, then the HD DAC, and Nagra tube dac. The tube dac was the best. I felt it had more life in my system than the HD DAC. HD DAC was warmer in tonality. The MSB sounded the same on lots of music. Pleasant, but a little too warm for my taste. It's like you put a small cover over the speakers. Total DAC did not do anything for me. My favorite dac is the Bricasti M21. They have a new digital board that came out a few weeks ago and brought this player up to the best digital I have ever heard. It is so organic, but with precise imaging and beautiful dynamic shadings. As far as I'm concerned this dac should be much, much higer as its better than mostly anything (my opinion). Watch out analog lovers this is something else. You have to use ethernet with this dac and a dedicated switch and fiber optic for best sound. My second choice would be the Nagra Tube Dac. One dac I did not hear but was told is a contender is the Ideon Audio Absolute Dac.
 
Likes: howiebrou

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
1,391
1,128
400
#3
I had the Nagra Tube and HD DAC, Total Dac D1 Seven, MSB Reference in my system. My thoughts are obviously based on my system. The worst was the Total dac followed by the MSB, then the HD DAC, and Nagra tube dac. The tube dac was the best. I felt it had more life in my system than the HD DAC. HD DAC was warmer in tonality. The MSB sounded the same on lots of music. Pleasant, but a little too warm for my taste. It's like you put a small cover over the speakers. Total DAC did not do anything for me. My favorite dac is the Bricasti M21. They have a new digital board that came out a few weeks ago and brought this player up to the best digital I have ever heard. It is so organic, but with precise imaging and beautiful dynamic shadings. As far as I'm concerned this dac should be much, much higer as its better than mostly anything (my opinion). Watch out analog lovers this is something else. You have to use ethernet with this dac and a dedicated switch and fiber optic for best sound. My second choice would be the Nagra Tube Dac. One dac I did not hear but was told is a contender is the Ideon Audio Absolute Dac.
Was the Nagra HD Dac the old version or the recent one?
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
1,985
1,237
520
Hong Kong
#4
Hi Whbgarrett,
Maybe diff taste & diff system, my personal preference of your listed choices in order are :
First : MSB Select DAC
Second : Totaldac Twelve Mk2
Third : Nagra HD-X

For tube dac, I like the Lampizator Pacific most.
It occupies the third place on my personal dac league table, behind the Select and Twelve Mk2 only.

There are numerous threads and posts written by various members on WBF.
A lot of useful info there but you will have to spend quite some time to read all of them.
:)
 
Likes: fizzletop

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
8,866
2,656
770
#6
i had the previous version Nagra HD dac, with power supply and base, and the Lampi GG1.5 (which i owned) and Aqua Formula all together. there is a thread here someplace about it. i ended up preferring and buying the Formula, selling the GG 1.5 and sending the Nagra back.

then three months later i did hear a newer version of the Nagra HD in my system, and then i slightly preferred the Nagra HD to the Formula......although not enough to buy it.

in the background to these dac adventures i had been 'stalking' an MSB Select II for 2-3 prior years; hearing it's magic at shows and trying to find a less costly alternative. 30 days after my Nagra HD <-> Formula compare, i did buy an MSB Select II, which i have written extensively about. 3 years later i'm still thrilled with that decision and have not looked back. it's amazing.

the Nagra HD i heard in my system then is not close to the same realm as my Select II to my ears based on my experience. Ed (EuroDriver) from Taiko owned that Nagra, he could identify which exact unit that upgraded one i had was......i'm not exactly sure).

i think another thing to consider regarding the MSB and the Select II in particular is it's modular upgradability and what that modularity does for interface optimization. the MSB Pro USB interface is pretty amazing. i know there are third party alternatives to choose from, but the synergy of that type product is hard to beat.

i hope that helps.
 
Last edited:

Hieukm

Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2016
231
56
93
#8
I had the Nagra Tube and HD DAC, Total Dac D1 Seven, MSB Reference in my system. My thoughts are obviously based on my system. The worst was the Total dac followed by the MSB, then the HD DAC, and Nagra tube dac. The tube dac was the best. I felt it had more life in my system than the HD DAC. HD DAC was warmer in tonality. The MSB sounded the same on lots of music. Pleasant, but a little too warm for my taste. It's like you put a small cover over the speakers. Total DAC did not do anything for me. My favorite dac is the Bricasti M21. They have a new digital board that came out a few weeks ago and brought this player up to the best digital I have ever heard. It is so organic, but with precise imaging and beautiful dynamic shadings. As far as I'm concerned this dac should be much, much higer as its better than mostly anything (my opinion). Watch out analog lovers this is something else. You have to use ethernet with this dac and a dedicated switch and fiber optic for best sound. My second choice would be the Nagra Tube Dac. One dac I did not hear but was told is a contender is the Ideon Audio Absolute Dac.
I think you are mixing the effect of streaming modules and DAC capability for Briscati M21 if you are using the internal streaming board. It gaves Briscati M21 huge advantge if your music server/streamer is not Aurender W20 or above.
 

matthias

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2019
338
103
48
Germany
#9
My favorite dac is the Bricasti M21. They have a new digital board that came out a few weeks ago and brought this player up to the best digital I have ever heard. It is so organic, but with precise imaging and beautiful dynamic shadings. As far as I'm concerned this dac should be much, much higer as its better than mostly anything (my opinion). Watch out analog lovers this is something else. You have to use ethernet with this dac and a dedicated switch and fiber optic for best sound.
Which of the three types of DACs in the M21 do you like most?
Thanks

Matt
 
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