The Digital Director - A new MSB product improving everything from the source to the output

bryans

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With the DD, you would not need the Pro USB. If this is something that you already owned, there would be no reason to change it out, just feed the DD directly. We have done many conclusive listening tests between the renderer input, USB, and Pro USB into the DD and have not discerned any performance differences."
You have to have a digital input of some sort. Just pick one that works best for you and go with it. I don't know what the price is today but they all use to be around the same price.
 

Easy Gliders

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Oct 22, 2021
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Here's some recent communication with Daniel@MSB:

"Just came across your YouTube on the Digital Director from Munich. The question I see most consistently from MSB owners is the level of improvement over the Pro USB, since all the promo photos show the Ethernet input module. Some also find odd the notion of keeping the Pro USB conversion in addition to the DD. Seems like a lot of interfacing to get to the DAC."

and his response:

"The level of improvement purely through the DD isolation is significant over the Pro USB. With its own power supplies (instead of the computer power supplies) the signal is able to be reclocked with much lower jitter. We tested just this aspect without the processing enabled and it was significant. Once you add the processing, the gap is even further.

With the DD, you would not need the Pro USB. If this is something that you already owned, there would be no reason to change it out, just feed the DD directly. We have done many conclusive listening tests between the renderer input, USB, and Pro USB into the DD and have not discerned any performance differences."
With the Pro USB-ISL into the DD, the Pro USB module will be still using the computer power supply. With the USB module (Quadrate USB?) into the DD, the USB module will be using the power supply of the DD. If it is true that no performance differences can be discerned in the comparison between the USB input and the Pro USB-ISL input into the DD (with or without the extra processing power of the DD), then that means the impact of the server computer power supply on the Pro USB signal conversion and reclocking is not significant.
 
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pleroma

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Jul 7, 2018
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You have to have a digital input of some sort. Just pick one that works best for you and go with it. I don't know what the price is today but they all use to be around the same price.

The Pro USB would allow keeping the USB cable at current length, which is a plus for me (and even more so if I try the Omega).

Haven't heard XMDS; making that statement based on what I've read about TAS and XDMS. This software development effort has to be a substantial investment for Taiko, and I can't imagine them doing it without confidence in a performant result. Recent posts from @EuroDriver reveal a UI with the elegance of Roon, and I just received confirmation you'll be able to browse the local library folder structure. Roon said they would never support this, and I hated their treatment of classical music. On paper, XDMS is the one I've been looking for.
 
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pleroma

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Jul 7, 2018
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With the Pro USB-ISL into the DD, the Pro USB module will be still using the computer power supply. With the USB module (Quadrate USB?) into the DD, the USB module will be using the power supply of the DD. If it is true that no performance differences can be discerned in the comparison between the USB input and the Pro USB-ISL input into the DD (with or without the extra processing power of the DD), then that means the impact of the server computer power supply on the Pro USB signal conversion and reclocking is not significant.

That seems logical. The one thing I'm not sure the MSB guys have done is to evaluate their DAC with a server at the level of the Extreme. It might be interesting to compare the Taiko + Pro USB to the DD without the Taiko.
 
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MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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Great posts, guys. Thank you very much. The proof will be in the listening, but to me this DD strategy is going to take some sorting out, per use case.

I am wondering about putting the Reference dac on a Stromtank vs. the DD route. Frankly, my power delivery is already very good, but it will be interesting to test the battery model. I would leave everything else into the TT7 dedicated line.
 

bryans

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The one thing I'm not sure the MSB guys have done is to evaluate their DAC with a server at the level of the Extreme.
Hmm interesting thought. I would think the opposite. Why would a company that sells DACs all the way up to 100K+ not evaluate with some of the ultra streamers/servers?
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Great posts, guys. Thank you very much. The proof will be in the listening, but to me this DD strategy is going to take some sorting out, per use case.

I am wondering about putting the Reference dac on a Stromtank vs. the DD route. Frankly, my power delivery is already very good, but it will be interesting to test the battery model. I would leave everything else into the TT7 dedicated line.

Hello Markus,

Do you have a concern about the quality of your AC power? Is that why you would consider the Stromtank?

Or do you suspect that the Stromtank would be good in all cases with an MSB DAC?

If yes, do you think a Stromtank would be beneficial with any DAC?

Thank you.
 

MarkusBarkus

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Hello @Ron Resnick. Actually, I think my power started out pretty good, with about 10 homes on this leg from the trans. and 200 amp service in copper to my panel.

And got better: I pulled a dedicated 10ga. run of THHN in conduit. A TT7 is plugged into a Shunyata Z1 outlet via a Sablon King pc. Everything goes into the TT7.

Due to a combination of laziness and a bum knee, I have not yet pulled the 6ga copper cable I have for a dedicated run for the audio system. That would significantly lower the impedance of that run. At 35' the benefit to voltage drop would be minimal, IMO.

In short, I have no power concerns and the system sounds great. That said, anything worth doing in audio, is worth over doing, in all likelihood.

The concept of being off-the-grid is appealing theoretically, and I would like to see if it is in practice, ergo the consideration of the baby Stromtank.

Since I would only put the front-end on battery power, I would target the smaller 1000 unit, and probably want to put the MSB dac on that.

To your specific question, I have no idea how the MSB Reference would be on battery. I have posed that to MSB, but have not yet heard back. I expect their answer would only apply to MSB and we would have to test the other dacs...but why wouldn't it help any dac? Seems like it would, but it requires validation, IMO.

I am wondering about the potential power "improvement" to SQ by adding the Stromtank vs. the DD. Depending on the Stromtank model vs. the Reference DD price, the Stromtank could be cheaper. Funny that the Stromtank might actually be a bargain.

I expect, and with no hocus-pocus logic at all, that MSB would still tout the benefits of the new FPGA processing as being a net-plus to SQ even *if* the power aspect was a draw.

I think given these multiple variables, an in situ demo would be the only way to possibly draw a practical conclusion for my (or any) use case, regardless of the theoretical expectations. In any case, it would be a fun experiment. I can follow-up if an MSB reply is useful to the community.

We *need* more details on the DD configurations and usage, that's for sure. And I need to get that cable run!
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Hello @Ron Resnick. Actually, I think my power started out pretty good, with about 10 homes on this leg from the trans. and 200 amp service in copper to my panel.

And got better: I pulled a dedicated 10ga. run of THHN in conduit. A TT7 is plugged into a Shunyata Z1 outlet via a Sablon King pc. Everything goes into the TT7.

Due to a combination of laziness and a bum knee, I have not yet pulled the 6ga copper cable I have for a dedicated run for the audio system. That would significantly lower the impedance of that run. At 35' the benefit to voltage drop would be minimal, IMO.

In short, I have no power concerns and the system sounds great. That said, anything worth doing in audio, is worth over doing, in all likelihood.

The concept of being off-the-grid is appealing theoretically, and I would like to see if it is in practice, ergo the consideration of the baby Stromtank.

Since I would only put the front-end on battery power, I would target the smaller 1000 unit, and probably want to put the MSB dac on that.

To your specific question, I have no idea how the MSB Reference would be on battery. I have posed that to MSB, but have not yet heard back. I expect their answer would only apply to MSB and we would have to test the other dacs...but why wouldn't it help any dac? Seems like it would, but it requires validation, IMO.

I am wondering about the potential power "improvement" to SQ by adding the Stromtank vs. the DD. Depending on the Stromtank model vs. the Reference DD price, the Stromtank could be cheaper. Funny that the Stromtank might actually be a bargain.

I expect, and with no hocus-pocus logic at all, that MSB would still tout the benefits of the new FPGA processing as being a net-plus to SQ even *if* the power aspect was a draw.

I think given these multiple variables, an in situ demo would be the only way to possibly draw a practical conclusion for my (or any) use case, regardless of the theoretical expectations. In any case, it would be a fun experiment. I can follow-up if an MSB reply is useful to the community.

We *need* more details on the DD configurations and usage, that's for sure. And I need to get that cable run!

Thank you very much for this very detailed reply, and for explaining the background and your thought process!

I think your analysis and your speculation make sense.
 
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Armsan

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With the Pro USB-ISL into the DD, the Pro USB module will be still using the computer power supply. With the USB module (Quadrate USB?) into the DD, the USB module will be using the power supply of the DD. If it is true that no performance differences can be discerned in the comparison between the USB input and the Pro USB-ISL input into the DD (with or without the extra processing power of the DD), then that means the impact of the server computer power supply on the Pro USB signal conversion and reclocking is not significant.
No, the Quadrate USB module will still use power from the server. In Munich, I asked Jonathan and Daniel exactly this question, and that was the answer. If you try a USB cable without the power lead inactive, the Quadrate won´t work, even when installed in the DD.
Despite all the scenarios we can make, the proof will always be in the listening with/without the Pro USB module in the way.
I trust MSB thecnical and listening work done now during the DD development and I beleive in the the idea and concept of the DD.
Mine is already ordered and I will gladly share my findings.
 

Kippyy

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Feb 20, 2011
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I have a Stromtank S2500 on order and will connect my MSB Select DAC, ethernet switch and SACD player to that. Will report back to the group. Have received mixed messages about connecting the D'Ag M400 mxv monoblock amps to the Stromtank vs the wall. I'm inclined to use the wall outlet, and may experiment with both
 

Levitator

Member
Jul 1, 2020
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No, the Quadrate USB module will still use power from the server. In Munich, I asked Jonathan and Daniel exactly this question, and that was the answer. If you try a USB cable without the power lead inactive, the Quadrate won´t work, even when installed in the DD.
Despite all the scenarios we can make, the proof will always be in the listening with/without the Pro USB module in the way.
I trust MSB thecnical and listening work done now during the DD development and I beleive in the the idea and concept of the DD.
Mine is already ordered and I will gladly share my findings.
As a fellow MSB and Taiko owner, it will be really interesting to hear your experience. After all, the DD is a significant investment so hopefully it bears fruit. I’m also conscious that Taiko have some exciting developments in the wings which could play a part in the overall direction I take. What sort of timing have MSB given you?
 

pleroma

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Jul 7, 2018
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Hmm interesting thought. I would think the opposite. Why would a company that sells DACs all the way up to 100K+ not evaluate with some of the ultra streamers/servers?

At least until the release of Pro USB, their premise has been that they can engineer their products such that the server doesn't matter. I think dCS was the same way (or else why would they demo their DACs with a MacBook?). Thanks to Taiko, and others, we can now definitively say it does. Late last year Jonathan said he was going to try out the Extreme, so at this point I wouldn't presume to speak for them (though we still see this thinking of equalizing the inputs).
 
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bryans

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Dec 26, 2017
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At least until the release of Pro USB, their premise has been that they can engineer their products such that the server doesn't matter. I think dCS was the same way (or else why would they demo their DACs with a MacBook?). Thanks to Taiko, and others, we can now definitively say it does. Late last year Jonathan said he was going to try out the Extreme, so at this point I wouldn't presume to speak for them (though we still see this thinking of equalizing the inputs).
Sorry I don't agree with you on this one. I have never heard MSB or dCS say the server doesn't matter. I don't think I have heard that from anyone. Now maybe it is just me but I haven't heard that. I have listened to MSB and dCS using all kinds of front end units. I would think DAC manufactures wouldn't get into what server./streamer one needs to use. Again maybe it is just me.
 

Easy Gliders

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Oct 22, 2021
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No, the Quadrate USB module will still use power from the server. In Munich, I asked Jonathan and Daniel exactly this question, and that was the answer. If you try a USB cable without the power lead inactive, the Quadrate won´t work, even when installed in the DD.
Despite all the scenarios we can make, the proof will always be in the listening with/without the Pro USB module in the way.
I trust MSB thecnical and listening work done now during the DD development and I beleive in the the idea and concept of the DD.
Mine is already ordered and I will gladly share my findings.
If the Quadrate USB is not using the power supply from the DD for reclocking, then which USB module or digital input is using the DD's power supply for reclocking, as stated by MSB (quote from MSB posted by @pleroma ):

"The level of improvement purely through the DD isolation is significant over the Pro USB. With its own power supplies (instead of the computer power supplies) the signal is able to be reclocked with much lower jitter. We tested just this aspect without the processing enabled and it was significant. Once you add the processing, the gap is even further.
 

matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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If the Quadrate USB is not using the power supply from the DD for reclocking, then which USB module or digital input is using the DD's power supply for reclocking, as stated by MSB (quote from MSB posted by @pleroma ):

"The level of improvement purely through the DD isolation is significant over the Pro USB. With its own power supplies (instead of the computer power supplies) the signal is able to be reclocked with much lower jitter. We tested just this aspect without the processing enabled and it was significant. Once you add the processing, the gap is even further.
Reclocking, filtering is done for ALL inputs downstream to the input modules in the DD. So I think @Armsan is right.

Matt
 
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pleroma

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Sorry I don't agree with you on this one. I have never heard MSB or dCS say the server doesn't matter. I don't think I have heard that from anyone. Now maybe it is just me but I haven't heard that. I have listened to MSB and dCS using all kinds of front end units. I would think DAC manufactures wouldn't get into what server./streamer one needs to use. Again maybe it is just me.

Well, it's okay to disagree here ;). We're all just learning and adjusting our opinions as we go.

I have heard them say this, and was skeptical myself until I heard the Extreme in my system. Certainly the server always mattered at some level, if only from the standpoint of UI preferences. But now we know it does matter sonically. Regarding the DD, what if that clean power is coming in with USB to begin with? Does it change things? Just fun to think about (or if funds are limited, does the new $30k component go before or after USB? Maybe not so much fun to think about).
 
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matthias

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For USB only it might be interesting to compare a very good USB reclocker like Ideon Absolute Time vs DD (both with ProUSB and the same MSB DAC) :cool:

Matt
 

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