MSB Select II arrival

wisnon

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Dec 12, 2011
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Congratulations Mike on your landmark purchase. I will say the MSB products are some of the most aesthetically pleasing pieces of equipment I have seen. I have hardly any first hand experience with the sonics but I am sure they are superb. Enjoy!

Funny, for me the looks of MSB is what I like least about them. Performance has almost always been good though and the Sel2 ...though expensive is top shelf.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Funny, for me the looks of MSB is what I like least about them. Performance has almost always been good though and the Sel2 ...though expensive is top shelf.

I'm not a fan of the look of the prior model line, especially in pictures. in person it looked ok.....but never refined or elegant. industrial.

the Select II looks good in pictures, but not exceptional. OTOH in person I do really appreciate the quality and refinement it radiates. nothing shiny, and no pretty lights or colors or sharp edges. but I think it will age very well.
 

wisnon

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Dec 12, 2011
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I'm not a fan of the look of the prior model line, especially in pictures. in person it looked ok.....but never refined or elegant. industrial.

the Select II looks good in pictures, but not exceptional. OTOH in person I do really appreciate the quality and refinement it radiates. nothing shiny, and no pretty lights or colors or sharp edges. but I think it will age very well.

Agreed.
 

Priaptor

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Jan 29, 2012
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I got a surprise today. Just delivered and got it hastily setup. Will try to post some pictures tomorrow.

Pretty amazing. When I get a 60 dollar lens filter for my camera I have to either allow release or sign for delivery. This absurdly priced two box piece of audio gear I wouldn't have known was dumped by my front door had the dogs not started barking.
 

astrostar59

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Interesting move Mike. I would be interested where the MSB sits (how far above) v the Formula fed by USB/SPDIF.

Digital seems to be going in 2 directions, many discrete R-2R DACs from China at 2.5K or less, a cluster of good discrete DACs up to 10K roughly (Aqua, TotalDAC, Lampi Big 7) then a 'middle ground of big hitters (dCS, MSB V, CH Precision) and 'oldies' oddballs like Zanden and Audio Note. Middle ground as in 20K to 40K USD, still insane money for a DAC but it seems that is now the new middle.

The top tier right now seems to be the Select DAC and Kassandre. Oddly both those DACs haven't got so many reviews or feedback yet, probably as the price is so high and that market is small (lucky few).

I am unsure where I sit in this digital space. I think my personal comfort zone would be 20K USD max, so Lampizator GG, Formula, TotalDAC 6, Audio Note DAC 5. I did demo the CH Precision last year and came away uninspired by it. I demoed the C1 on it's own, as knew I would never get into the X1 PS and D1 transport to 'max' it out.

I think MSB offer to update the Select for life? It needs to be so really, for the price. There are so many digital 'dinosaurs' left in the last few years, and prices falling off a cliff.

Crazy hobby guys, but as we know, the enjoyment is immense and the last bit of quality, connection to the music is to the true audiophile so important. And when we get there it is heaven. I am very content with my 'old school' Audio Note DAC 5, it does so many things right, and it has zero fatigue, regularly listening for 6 hours a day.

Looking forward to your review Mike, and congratulations on the MSB Select II.
 

Mike Lavigne

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I got a surprise today. Just delivered and got it hastily setup. Will try to post some pictures tomorrow.

Pretty amazing. When I get a 60 dollar lens filter for my camera I have to either allow release or sign for delivery. This absurdly priced two box piece of audio gear I wouldn't have known was dumped by my front door had the dogs not started barking.

;););)

congrats Priaptor! and nice job to your doggies!!!

enjoy the listening, and when you can I'd love some feedback.....

mine is in the air as we 'speak'.
 
Last edited:

jep123

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Congratulations Mike, I am very sure that you have made a very good chioce. Regarding USB; I am currently using USB as well from my CH C1 to the Aurender. But I am curious to try Coax/ S/PDIF because that might be a better choice for the best sound. To me USB sounds very good as well, but I will check.

Good luck, I am always enjoying your posts and pictures from your room.

Rgds
JP
 

microstrip

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May 30, 2010
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I got a surprise today. Just delivered and got it hastily setup. Will try to post some pictures tomorrow.

Pretty amazing. When I get a 60 dollar lens filter for my camera I have to either allow release or sign for delivery. This absurdly priced two box piece of audio gear I wouldn't have known was dumped by my front door had the dogs not started barking.

Really a nice surprise. But now you must go through the burn-in phase. :mad: . The Vivaldi took several weeks - more than three, I think - before reaching its full capabilities. I do not remember exactly the time, but is was not a continuous process - I left it always on, playing on repeat. Suddenly one day everything seemed to sound much better.
 

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
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Well, this is one serious (digital) step Mike.

Hope for you that this new unit will stir your soul musically for many years to come.
 

Priaptor

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;););)

congrats Priaptor! and nice job to your doggies!!!

enjoy the listening, and when you can I'd love some feedback.....

mine is in the air as we 'speak'.

I will definitely be giving you feedback as I am most interested (after the performance of the DAC of course) in what volume you wind up finding optimal for use with your darTZeel preamp? When I get back from my beautiful Flathead Lake Montana rest I will be doing so real listening and comparison of MSB pre vs the REF10. Looking forward to sharing with you. I'm right now very happy I got it hastily set up, it turns on, plays and recognizes the bit streams fed.
 

asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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Wow, so cool to see so many SELECTs popping up :)

Couple of things now: it needs burn-in, give it at least 50 to 100 hours. And don't switch it off, just leave it on, on mute if you need to.

As for the comparison with the Aqua+SGM combo, I'll repeat what I told Mike: it's not even in the same ZIP code. No comparison. SELECT is simply "out there". That said, the Aqua+SGM is tied 2nd place with the Linn Klimax DSM.

I haven't heard the SELECT with the SGM, but I did play with the DAC V+SGM, and I ended up preferring the SGM configured to do Roon directly onto the MSB, with no HQPlayer. I understand this is very particular to the MSB DACs, so that might be something to try.


cheers,
alex
 

Priaptor

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Really a nice surprise. But now you must go through the burn-in phase. :mad: . The Vivaldi took several weeks - more than three, I think - before reaching its full capabilities. I do not remember exactly the time, but is was not a continuous process - I left it always on, playing on repeat. Suddenly one day everything seemed to sound much better.


I know. My first MSB was so much pleasing than the EMM DAC2X that it replaced that the burn in phase didn't bother me. Upgrading from the Diamond Plus IV to the V was pretty bothersome for me during burn in and I am sure the same will exist going from the V to the Select II. However, if that is my biggest problem I consider myself a very lucky person.
 

Priaptor

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Jan 29, 2012
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Wow, so cool to see so many SELECTs popping up :)

Couple of things now: it needs burn-in, give it at least 50 to 100 hours. And don't switch it off, just leave it on, on mute if you need to.

As for the comparison with the Aqua+SGM combo, I'll repeat what I told Mike: it's not even in the same ZIP code. No comparison. SELECT is simply "out there". That said, the Aqua+SGM is tied 2nd place with the Linn Klimax DSM.

I haven't heard the SELECT with the SGM, but I did play with the DAC V+SGM, and I ended up preferring the SGM configured to do Roon directly onto the MSB, with no HQPlayer. I understand this is very particular to the MSB DACs, so that might be something to try.


cheers,
alex


Alex

Interesting. Until Roon 1.3 I didn't like it as my primary player and was using my jazzed up CAPS with JRiver. On my headphone rig with the T&A HQPlayer upsampled is amazing, however, I am not crazy about it with MSB and find native data without upsampling by HQPlayer to be best. Can't speak for the Select as yet as I just plugged it in but with the V I wound up settling on microRendu and Roon 1.3. I gave up on Roon as a player until 1.3.

I will obviously be experimenting between my Core Technology LPS to my CAPS/JCAT with Lightspeed USB or Curious Cable with JRiver vs microRendu and Roon. Lots of variables to get through.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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Interesting move Mike. I would be interested where the MSB sits (how far above) v the Formula fed by USB/SPDIF.

Digital seems to be going in 2 directions, many discrete R-2R DACs from China at 2.5K or less, a cluster of good discrete DACs up to 10K roughly (Aqua, TotalDAC, Lampi Big 7) then a 'middle ground of big hitters (dCS, MSB V, CH Precision) and 'oldies' oddballs like Zanden and Audio Note. Middle ground as in 20K to 40K USD, still insane money for a DAC but it seems that is now the new middle.

The top tier right now seems to be the Select DAC and Kassandre. Oddly both those DACs haven't got so many reviews or feedback yet, probably as the price is so high and that market is small (lucky few).

I am unsure where I sit in this digital space. I think my personal comfort zone would be 20K USD max, so Lampizator GG, Formula, TotalDAC 6, Audio Note DAC 5. I did demo the CH Precision last year and came away uninspired by it. I demoed the C1 on it's own, as knew I would never get into the X1 PS and D1 transport to 'max' it out.

I think MSB offer to update the Select for life? It needs to be so really, for the price. There are so many digital 'dinosaurs' left in the last few years, and prices falling off a cliff.

Crazy hobby guys, but as we know, the enjoyment is immense and the last bit of quality, connection to the music is to the true audiophile so important. And when we get there it is heaven. I am very content with my 'old school' Audio Note DAC 5, it does so many things right, and it has zero fatigue, regularly listening for 6 hours a day.

Looking forward to your review Mike, and congratulations on the MSB Select II.

thanks Astro,

I'm excited to discover the essence of the MSB Select II. and what it's degree of 'lift' over the Aqua/SGM might be?

I suppose I generally agree with your dac world view, although I've not had the opportunity to hear many of the lower rung (in price) players, of which some are likely relative giant killers. but I would add that for many of these dacs, the server quality and software processes such as the SGM and HQ Player can move a dac from one category to a higher notch (or 2 higher notches). so dacs are not of themselves but are (most significant) links in the chain. and then there is the USB/SPDIF verses Ethernet question which also might be relevant for those dacs which offer both methods.

I'd also include the Nagra HD as one of those near those big hitters, especially with the upcoming Quad dsd upgrade and combined with the SGM and HQ Player. I was sure impressed with this combo in my system.

a week ago I would not have included MQA in the picture; but at the LA Show I was exposed to two MQA experiences which were significant, and in the MSB Select II, I now have maybe the best of MQA implementation. I was ready to write it off, but maybe not so fast.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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Congratulations Mike, I am very sure that you have made a very good chioce. Regarding USB; I am currently using USB as well from my CH C1 to the Aurender. But I am curious to try Coax/ S/PDIF because that might be a better choice for the best sound. To me USB sounds very good as well, but I will check.

Good luck, I am always enjoying your posts and pictures from your room.

Rgds
JP

thanks JP.

what I would be interested in would be if you are considering adding the Ethernet card to your CH C1? I've heard that is preferred with CH C1 users who have compared.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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Well, this is one serious (digital) step Mike.

Hope for you that this new unit will stir your soul musically for many years to come.

thanks Rudolf,

this was a very serious move, and it had better rock my world.:D
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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welcome to the MSB club, Mike. We are a warm, friendly group :)

thank you Keith, it was fun seeing you at the Show.....and thanks for the music recs.
 

Alpinist

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Jun 17, 2014
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thanks Rudolf,

this was a very serious move, and it had better rock my world.:D

Hi Mike,

I think it will rock your world and your DAC search will be concluded. To my ears, the MSB Select II DAC sounds distinctly different from any other DAC I've ever heard. It does not sound like digital, vinyl or reel to reel. It sounds like vocalists and musicians. There is a wholeness and naturalness to its presentation that takes you to the original recorded event like no other. There is no "house sound". I also highly recommend MSB's Universal Transport. It's proprietary I2S connection pulls the data from the transport to the DAC rather than the traditional pushing of the data from transport to DAC. The result is the best sounding redbook and SACD playback I've ever heard. Plus it plays Blu-Ray discs wonderfully. One other item of note to mention. On the last day of Axpona 2017 (Sunday), Vince utilized a new digital filter with the Select II DAC that offered a significant improvement over the prior days. I believe this filter was only in the testing phase at this point in time. IMHO, you need this particular digital filter!

Best of luck,
Ken
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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Hi Mike,

I think it will rock your world and your DAC search will be concluded. To my ears, the MSB Select II DAC sounds distinctly different from any other DAC I've ever heard. It does not sound like digital, vinyl or reel to reel. It sounds like vocalists and musicians. There is a wholeness and naturalness to its presentation that takes you to the original recorded event like no other. There is no "house sound". I also highly recommend MSB's Universal Transport. It's proprietary I2S connection pulls the data from the transport to the DAC rather than the traditional pushing of the data from transport to DAC. The result is the best sounding redbook and SACD playback I've ever heard. Plus it plays Blu-Ray discs wonderfully. One other item of note to mention. On the last day of Axpona 2017 (Sunday), Vince utilized a new digital filter with the Select II DAC that offered a significant improvement over the prior days. I believe this filter was only in the testing phase at this point in time. IMHO, you need this particular digital filter!

Best of luck,
Ken

Ken,

I do expect the Select II to accomplish all those attributes you describe.......which are hinted at in the show demos to the degree that system and room can convey. I need my own files in my own room and system and to relax and allow it to come to me as it will and intend to try not get too carried away with my initial emotional response, while still letting myself enjoy the moments. the real test will be when I fire up my analog references to compare......which themselves are very much without any sameness or signature coloration. I do really believe that what I've heard from the Select II means it should be 'of a piece' with my analog in many ways.

as far as disc playback I'm encouraged for you to describe it that way; likely that will be later that I get into that part.

as for the filter I think Vince was utilizing that and it was very fine sounding, as well as a dsd 'optimizer' said to 'fix' dsd (I heard it with sacd's)......which did sound very good also.
 

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