MSB Select II arrival

abeidrov

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Dec 17, 2015
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Look forward to seeing what you end up doing. Some very difficult and high quality choices where CH, Dartzeel are joined by the big Boulder (1000, 2100 and 3000 series preamps), Audionet and Constellation Altair 2. And of course, my personal choice coming from 20 years of CJ and Zanden...the Robert Koda K15EX. You will find quite a number of Mephisto owners here.
There are many many excellent preamps out there, but I won’t be able to audition all of them, so I narrowed down my choice to CH, Gryphon and MSB. I had MSB Reference in my room before Mephisto and Pacific after I got Mephisto, so no direct comparison yet. Based on my memory I could happily live with either dac.
The quality of vinyl playback is probably more important in my case.
 

Alpinist

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Jun 17, 2014
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Yes on the MSB M500's
Hi King,

I can’t speak for the Dragon HC Power Cords but the Dragon Source PC’s on my Select DAC sound terrific to my ears. They might be worth a try. I haven’t found any power cords on my Vandersteen monoblocks that I prefer to the stock cords that came with the amps.

Ken
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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. . .

3. I'm at a crossroads with regard to whether I keep my vinyl front end vs. using the Select as my only source. I'd love to simplify my life by going 100% digital if the Select's sonic performance will be very close to the caliber of my analog front end (i.e. a $75K vs. an uber expensive analog system). That said, for those Select owners who also own a vinyl reference analog front end, how has the Select affected your listening time split between digital and analog? Moreover, when you are listening to vinyl, is because of it sonic superiority over the Select, or just to occasionally switch things up? Lastly, has the sonic quality and convenience of the Select resulted in any owners abandoning their vinyl systems altogether?

. . .

Simpler is easier and cheaper and psychologically "cleaner" and space-saving. I am very sympathetic to the concept. (In my case, I solve for "simpler" by not having more than one turntable.)

But with audio (and, probably, expensive toys in general) simpler may not get you to "very close." This is especially true if you are trying to achieve an objective as complicated as bridging the digital/analog divide.

If one is thinking within a digital system, or within an analog system, I think "very close" is achievable. For example, a less expensive ethernet cable might get you very close to the sound quality of a more expensive ethernet cable within an all digital system. For example, a less expensive line stage might get you very close to the sound quality of a more expensive line stage within an all analog system.

In this context what is your definition of "very close"?

Alternatively, my personal, subjective, biased view is: NO! Don't do it! :)
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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There are many many excellent preamps out there, but I won’t be able to audition all of them, so I narrowed down my choice to CH, Gryphon and MSB. I had MSB Reference in my room before Mephisto and Pacific after I got Mephisto, so no direct comparison yet. Based on my memory I could happily live with either dac.
The quality of vinyl playback is probably more important in my case.


With your questions about solid-state preamps and MSB I was wondering if you subscribe to the view that "there should be a tube somewhere in the system." I was happy to discover you have an Io Eclipse!
 
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V-Squared

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Jun 9, 2017
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How does one attach 6 gauge romex to an outlet? I’m trying to imagine bending 6 gauge copper around the terminals or sliding that diameter of cable into the receiving slots and I can’t. I have installed a couple of expensive outlets, but it was still a little challenging using 10 gauge romex.
Hi Germanboxers:

I managed to run 4 AWG to various outlets a couple of different ways.

In one installation, I ran 4AWG stranded wire directly to my dedicated audio outlets by splitting up the strands equally in 4 as in the attached picture. In a subsequent installation, I used a large junction box with an adaptive distribution terminal, converting the 4AWG incoming line to (4) 10AWG lines to each outlet. For each parallel run of equivalent gauge, the effective gauge drops by 3, so (2) 10AWG wires in parallel equates to 7AWG and (2) 7AWG wires equates to an effective 4AWG run, so in summary, inserting (4) 10AWG wires into an outlet was equivalent to 4AWG and was much easier to work with than my initial installation where I had to split the 4AWG strands evenly. See attachment pictures where 4AWG comes in the box and (8) 10AWG orange wires exit it ((4) per outlet). Also, the other picture shows the (4) 10AWG wires going into the outlet box (installed under the flooring of a raised foundation location).

As of a couple of months ago, I changed those schemas. I had the power utility company install a new 50KVA pole transformer (doubling the prior 25KVA service) and had them run a copper (vs. aluminum) service line to my home. Then I ran 2AWG copper from there onwards to a dedicated (audio only) 25KVA isolation transformer with a separate audio ground, using (3) 3/4" x 10 foot copper ground rods. I ran 2AWG copper from the secondary as well. But this time, instead of running such thick wire (4AWG) to the outlets, I mounted the Load Center within 5 feet of the outlets and decided it was best to run the final 5 feet with 10AWG to each outlet instead (so they could take up some of the modulated slack from the amps vs. being too stiff of a source and risking modulations across to other outlets, such as the source outlets).

In a second installation within the last couple of months, I ran 1/0 AWG (not 1AWG, thicker) copper (immensely thick and tremendously hard to work with) and then from the Load Centers, I used 8 AWG to each of the outlets, which again, has it's connection challenges. Clearly the 4 and the 8AWG runs were very challenging (to the outlets), and I think my last version (with 10AWG for the last 5 feet) is the way to go.

Regards,

V2
 

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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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I remain in awe of the guys who've gone the extra mile (or is that the extra 26.2 miles Lol), like you V-Squared.

Me? When I requested my main house fuse breaker to be upgraded from 60A to 100A, well I was met with blank faces and endless phone calls over 6 months for the utility company to agree and carry out.

And installing an 18mm SWA cable to an 8kVA balanced transformer in my audio room was met with endless Qs from my electrician.

The will to live was in short supply.
 

Germanboxers

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Dec 14, 2015
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Hello V-Squared,

Color me impressed. I would not think it possible, but you have provided multiple ways to accomplish a much higher AWG circuit.

Thanks for sharing!

Jordan
 

V-Squared

Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2017
27
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Hello V-Squared,

Color me impressed. I would not think it possible, but you have provided multiple ways to accomplish a much higher AWG circuit.

Thanks for sharing!

Jordan
BTW, the AudioQuest NGR outlets accommodate 8 AWG wires and have a nice vise-grip retention. I replaced the FuroTech GTX-DR's with the AQ's because of the grip and the larger wire accommodation (8AWG (fits in the hole) vs 10AWG (which is a challenge)).

Another thing that helped was lowering the impedance throughout the entire chain, to the absolute minimum. Last month I pulled every wire from the 200A breaker panel, cut the ends of the wires for fresh, non-oxidized connections (and lightly brushed them with a brass brush), then applied silver paste on each connection. Then I completely disassembled the panel and cleaned out all the connections between the main power distribution buss bar and circuit breaker connections (and applied silver paste throughout) to remove virtually all measurable contact resistance.

The sound quality improvement was immense.

Power matters... big time.

Regards,

V2
 

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gds7368

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Jan 9, 2015
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I know that MSB Reference / Select passive preamp module is highly regarded, and even Mike said, that it is on par with his Dartzeel preamp. I’m now in the process of selecting a preamp to match with Mephisto. Also thinking about changing my dac and that complicates things somewhat, as all of a sudden a cost of upgrading my GG to Pacific and getting Pandora or CH L1 becomes comparable to buying Reference with the preamp module:)
My only concern is using MSB preamp for the analog playback. Is it good enough? Do you use your MSB preamp module with your vinyl or R2R rigs?
Thanks in advance,
Aziz
My business partner uses his Select2 DAC via the Select transport and also for Studer R2R, with no other preamplifier. The sound is outstanding. I could get your contact information to him if you want to speak to him directly. Just send me a PM .
 
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battles

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Dec 12, 2011
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Simpler is easier and cheaper and psychologically "cleaner" and space-saving. I am very sympathetic to the concept. (In my case, I solve for "simpler" by not having more than one turntable.)

But with audio (and, probably, expensive toys in general) simpler may not get you to "very close." This is especially true if you are trying to achieve an objective as complicated as bridging the digital/analog divide.

If one is thinking within a digital system, or within an analog system, I think "very close" is achievable. For example, a less expensive ethernet cable might get you very close to the sound quality of a more expensive ethernet cable within an all digital system. For example, a less expensive line stage might get you very close to the sound quality of a more expensive line stage within an all analog system.

In this context what is your definition of "very close"?

Alternatively, my personal, subjective, biased view is: NO! Don't do it! :)
Thanks Ron. I appreciate and understand your well articulated points. Ultimately, as much as I’d like for someone to tell me what to do, this is a decision I’ll need to make for myself once my system is reassembled and dialed in. Saying that, I’d still value the perspective of those WBF members who own both the Select and have analog systems of my caliber (very good but not SOTA) and hear their feedback on how owning the Select has affected the usage of their analog sources.

In my particular situation, for me to integrate my analog source into my new listening environment (I don’t have a dedicated listening room) I’ll need to trade my ARC REF Phono 10 for a smaller comparable Phono such as the D’agostino that is stackable and invest in another Gobel IC. So it’s going to require some additional expense and effort to get it there, however, if the sonic reward is worth it, I’ll do it. Thanks again for casting your vote!

Simpler is easier and cheaper and psychologically "cleaner" and space-saving. I am very sympathetic to the concept. (In my case, I solve for "simpler" by not having more than one turntable.)

But with audio (and, probably, expensive toys in general) simpler may not get you to "very close." This is especially true if you are trying to achieve an objective as complicated as bridging the digital/analog divide.

If one is thinking within a digital system, or within an analog system, I think "very close" is achievable. For example, a less expensive ethernet cable might get you very close to the sound quality of a more expensive ethernet cable within an all digital system. For example, a less expensive line stage might get you very close to the sound quality of a more expensive line stage within an all analog system.

In this context what is your definition of "very close"?

Alternatively, my personal, subjective, biased view is: NO! Don't do it! :)
 

Mikem53

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2020
602
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@V-Squared , I salute you for your extreme “overdoing” of anything worth doing is worth Overdoing !!
I didn’t even realize you could use such a thick gauge of wire in some of the areas you addressed !
You’re prepared a great foundation for anything that comes your way... amazing... Nicely done !
 

V-Squared

Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2017
27
49
93
@V-Squared , I salute you for your extreme “overdoing” of anything worth doing is worth Overdoing !!
I didn’t even realize you could use such a thick gauge of wire in some of the areas you addressed !
You’re prepared a great foundation for anything that comes your way... amazing... Nicely done !
Thanks. I also invested in a nice isolation rack as well - things have finally taken a turn for the better, after chasing my tail for years, and are now sounding extremely good. sure was a long journey.
 

Alpinist

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Jun 17, 2014
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One of the biggest improvements to the sound quality of my Select II DAC was the addition of AudioQuest Dragon Source Power Cords on both Power Bases. The improvement in detail, nuance and ease is stunning. There is huge synergy between the Select II DAC and these particular power cords.

Ken
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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One of the biggest improvements to the sound quality of my Select II DAC was the addition of AudioQuest Dragon Source Power Cords on both Power Bases. The improvement in detail, nuance and ease is stunning. There is huge synergy between the Select II DAC and these particular power cords.

Ken


Thank you for this report, Ken.

Did you hear an increase in vividness or "contrast," like turning up the contrast control on a television set?
 
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Alpinist

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Jun 17, 2014
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Thank you for this report, Ken.

Did you hear an increase in vividness or "contrast," like turning up the contrast control on a television set?
Hi Ron,

I heard increased resolution of the music delivered in a less fatiguing way. I wouldn’t say that the music sounded more vivid, which makes me think of a brighter presentation.

Ken
 

fbhifi

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2013
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When I got my Merging Nadac stack recently I auditioned several power cords for use on the external power supply and clock. Among the finalists I compared the AQ Dragon to the ZenWave PSR-14. The PSR-14 is Dave’s silver ribbon PC for source components.

I’m a huge fan of the AQ Hurricane PC, which is in the system presently and I’ve owned and enjoyed various AQ interconnects over the years. So I’ve got nothing against AQ, but the PSR-14 was night and day better than the AQ Dragon on both the Nadac power supply and clock. The PSR-14 was FAR quieter with better dynamics, micro and macro details. Simply way more refined without ANY stridency in the upper frequencies, just smooth, detailed and beautiful. The best part is that it’s a fraction of the cost of the Dragon.

I bought two and couldn’t be happier. Dave’s active on WBF and is a great guy to work with.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Hi Ron,

I heard increased resolution of the music delivered in a less fatiguing way. I wouldn’t say that the music sounded more vivid, which makes me think of a brighter presentation.

Ken

Thank you. That certainly is a good improvement!
 

Alpinist

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2014
486
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Thank you. That certainly is a good improvement!
You’re welcome, Ron. It’s hard to quantify how much improvement the Dragon Source Power Cords made over the Hurricane Source Power Cords they replaced on my Select II DAC’s Power Bases. I don’t think saying they sound twice as good would be an overestimation. It certainly was a transformative improvement in transparency.

Ken
 
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CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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The Westminster Lab Hybrid DC Cables for MSB Select Series & Reference Series :

Capture _2021-01-11-17-57-28.png
Capture _2021-01-11-17-56-17~2.png
I heard that samples had been sent to Monoandstereo.com for review.
:oops:
 

ationg

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2016
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You’re welcome, Ron. It’s hard to quantify how much improvement the Dragon Source Power Cords made over the Hurricane Source Power Cords they replaced on my Select II DAC’s Power Bases. I don’t think saying they sound twice as good would be an overestimation. It certainly was a transformative improvement in transparency.

Ken
Ken, the Dragon powercords maybe more detailed than the Hurricane, but does it lean out the sound ? Silver power cords like the Nordost I have tried seem to overemphasize the speed and details but some what lose the meat on the bones. Regards
 

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