Valin's new MSB Reference dac & transport review, AS Product Year Award

last night i received my Jan 19' Absolute Sound Magazine, and there on the cover is the MSB Reference Dac.

i still get Stereophile and Absolute Sound in the mail, and must admit to mostly just scanning them here and there and rarely reading any review from start to finish. it's just not what i spend my time doing anymore. but an actual MSB review is pretty rare, and obviously as an MSB Select II owner, i was a little curious what Mr. Valin might have to say about it.

Jonathan makes no direct A/B comparisons with other digital, but does offer how he thinks the MSB Ref is somehow different than other digital he has encountered, both relative to other digital and compared to his vinyl. his points are not altogether different than my own postings on that subject relative to my Select II, which is to be expected. Mr. Valin does wade in to the whole MQA issue and comes out very positively on the side of MQA......which mirrors my own MSB <-> MQA experience. he also complains about streaming and wifi in his home which is curious since streaming ideally should be over a network and only be controlled by wifi. interesting.

overall a very positive review.

Absolute Sound also named the MSB Reference DAC and Transport their 'Overall Product of the Year'.

Congrats to the whole team at MSB and Vince Galbo, their director of sales, for the great review and the Product of the Year Award.
 
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Comments

Elliot G.

Industry Expert
Jul 22, 2010
862
109
43
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
#41
I have been debating about whether to walder into the frey on this conversation.(excuse the GOT reference- I‘ve just concluded re-watching the entire 7 magnificent seasons). But here goes . I do not think it possible to easily conclude that any of the digital SOTA contenders are “Best”. I don’t think JV says that, only that the MSB is the best he has heard in his current “best “system, and I think we need to add the caveat- in a system that at present includes all the parts he also thinks are better than all the parts he had assembled when he listened to the much older dCS Vivaldi ( and not the vastly improved version 2.0) and any other prior component part of his system that he has now replaced with his new references. Variables- the bane of reliable test results.

By way of disclosure, we use the dCS Vivaldi ( with a Mutec Ref 10 - 10Mhz clock) because in our system and to our ears-it provides a wonderful balance of detail , bloom, depth and three dimensionality. The MSB Reference or Select and the CH Precision, all superb, which I have heard on several occasions in several different systems, to my ears, favor detail. I can understand people preferring them as well as understanding an opposite preference for the dCS stack. Having not heard the other digital contenders in our system, I can also acknowledge that my comments are limited by my own outside comparisons with other variables. However, I believe our brains process sonic information differently and we all value certain performance characteristics in all things ( women, cars, food, etc ) with different priorities of importance in chasing the absolute. I think it of utmost importance to identify the characteristics of most import to you , and when weighing on reviewers opinions, knowing their individual preferences as well.

For example, in the same TAS issue, Don Saltzman in reviewing the ARC Ref 750 SE amplifier acknowledges the former 'whitish " quality of older ARC amplifiers. A quality , first described by HP in his yin-yang dichotomy and later acknowledged by JV. I found that quality to be disqualifying with our loudspeakers and later wonderfully vanquished by the newer ARC circuits with the KT-120's and then KT-150's replacing the 6550's. Others bought the older "whitish" ARC amps in great quantities. C’est la vie.


Alan


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Industry Affiliation- Co-owner, Scaena Loudspeakers
Alan,
Having heard all three in different locals and with different gear, albeit lately some more similiar than before I believe all three are really excellent devices and they are probably different as well. It is impossible for me to say that one is superior to the others since as I have stated here many times we are listening to the sum of the parts , not just the part! I can't separate what i hear in your room with your speakers, and your cables, and your amplifier and say that the DAC is all that i am hearing. I have enjoyed your system with dCS, Howie's with MSB anb mine with CH. I find these definitive absolutes without actually hearing them with context worthless. JV may be a great writer and an excellent reviewer but his opinion on one digital system in a vacuum, is something that one must take in context.
Just because you have expertise in one discipline does not automatically give you expertise in another.
Just because you can make a mean Linguini Fra D'ablo does not mean you can make Pork Chow fun!
 
Likes: Al M.

jazdoc

Member Sponsor
Aug 7, 2010
2,691
43
48
Bellevue
#42
Spent some time hanging out at the barn last night. Only change of significance since the last visit was having the Herzans under the amps instead of the sources which resulted in a nice little improvement in liquidity. We played tape, digital and vinyl.

I can't comment with respect to other assaults on the digital SOTA, but this is the best I've ever heard Mike's room sound. Mike had ripped a batch of my favorite 2018 jazz CD's and I remain gobsmacked how great ripped Redbook sounds on the big rig. Frankly if I was getting into high end from scratch, you'd be hard pressed to argue about replicating Mike's digital system....
 
Likes: Mike Lavigne

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
4,356
260
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Greater Boston
#43
But did Mike mention that JV was streaming his music over wifi? Is that from the sound as you like it school or fidelity to the master tape approach... I’m not sure what wifi is in that regard but any absolute sound that you get over wifi might not actually be the last word in depth.
You may have a point here, but I'll refer to others who have more experience to comment. I don't stream, I trust my old-fashioned CD transport.
 

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
1,010
436
83
#44
Al, yes, we do optimise our systems based on our own chosen delivery process. You choose to use your transport, I choose to use a sotm renderer via Ethernet, and then equally as importantly we then work it till we get the most out of it.

That’s the point with JV, he probably hasn’t done sufficient discovery yet with digital in his system to work out exactly what are the limits with the way he is approaching it yet. Certainly not in the levels of system he is working with. Mike has a similarly Sota setup yet still has had to put in as much time getting it optimised as any of us in lesser more modest setups. Having a Sota system isn’t the golden pass key to ultimate setup, you have to put the time and focus in as well.

Big picture he could be partially or even accidentally right within the limits of his system and preferences but clearly just not for making the ultimate overall absolute pronouncements on it... and just as clearly he may not be the discipline expert on digital especially if he is wifi-ing any part of his audio signal, that is fairly basic stuff in regards to streaming.
 
Last edited:
Jun 22, 2013
190
4
18
Soquel, CA
#45
We have crap for digital sources.......quote me on that.

When you buy a record you are buying the same thing every other person does who buys the records from the same batch. The records are not stored in digital, sent over wires or wireless or put on a CD and sent to you. You have a very pure version of what the master tape did. Not so, for digital.

Digital is a bunch of super high speed analog pulses representing ones and zeros. Whatever you do to those very high speed analog pulses affects the sound. Any slight imperfection of the timing of these pulses.........and bingo, there goes the reality. Do you realize how bad CD is as a source? I sand the outer and inner edge, use an opaque black marker on the entire top and edges and on the bottom around the hole. I use a super disc fluid (Ultrabit Platinum Plus), use the Herbies small CD mat, and de-static the CD with the Ionoclast. The Ionclast makes it way more transparent and real.....however, the effects only last around 7 minutes. If I do not do all these things, my CDs sound like digital....with all these things done they can sound amazing. So, when you are burning CDs into your computer you must do all these same things to the CD or you will just have the ordinary sound of a CD on your computer.

All computers, cables, connectors, power supplies, clocks, etc. all change the sound of digital. If your modem is not run off batteries or super power supply, on a non resonant stand, and have its LEDs removed (leds add distortion) you are not getting what can be had. Whatever cable you use from you modem to your computer will effect the sound. Steve at Empirical Audio and others have talked about these issues. Just now noticed a thread on battery supplies for the modem on the computer forum on this site.

Here is an experience I had years ago. I downloaded Tea for the Tillerman at 24/192. This was a transfer using the original master tape and the $35K MSB A2D converter. I had never downloaded anything so this was my first time. I figured this would be way good. I bought a couple of usb sticks so I could play them on my modded Oppo 95. I downloaded it and burned the files to a usb stick and plugged it into the front usb port. It sounded horrible....like a 1970 transistor radio. So I plugged it into the rear usb port which was nearer the main processor and did not have a cable connected to it. Better sound......maybe a 1970 tubed radio. I noticed that the usb stick had this red plastic case that was loose and also it had this LED that was blinking on and off. So I took the other usb stick that I had and broke the plastic case off and removed the led. I put this usb stick into the computer and ran some constrained layer damping material down the side of the usb stick and onto the computer so it would be damped in the socket. After burning files to the usb stick I mounted it in the rear of the Oppo with the same damping material holding it securely to the player.......WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! way, way better sound. Certainly better than CD at that point.

A customer of mine had been exclusively using the front usb port on his Oppo 95 and I told him of my experience. He doubted everything I said as he always just had a CD player and never even experienced what different digital cables do. After a few day, I get this email.....and tells me, yes, I was right and the rear port sounds better and that his all steel usb stick sounds steely and his rubber coated one sounds rubbery.......Welcome to the real world....he he.

What if you could order a custom one off copy of an original digital file on a SD card.......and you have a great SD reader to play it on (of course, you damp the SD card into the player). No downloading, no plastic spinning disc, no streaming but a physical copy right from the original computer it was recorded on......OMG....OMG....OMG. You would die, it would be so good. I can take my $229 Sony portable recorder and record live music at 24/96 and it sounds outrageous played directly out of the player. The $900 one from Sony that also records DSD is suppose to be better. Those that have transferred a master tape at double or quad speed DSD and played back the file (not sent it to someone) directly from the recorder say it sounds the same as the analog master. But as soon as you store it/transfer it to several devices, move it around, fool with the original file, stream it to someone through their noisy modem, etc.....you lose the magic.

Yes, a better DAC will always be better, just like a better turntable, phono stage, reel to reel or whatever. However, if you could get your hands on a "pure" digital file......OMG.....even a moderately priced DAC would knock your socks off.

Does anyone here have the experience of listening in their home to a digital file off the original recorder? Not downloaded......the actual file on the original recorder or at least close to the original file. A record or master tape copy is a super close clone of the original.....not so with digital. Any tiny thing you do to digital files corrupts them. This I know from experience over and over again.

By the way, I used the word crap to get your attention. They are not crap. I listen to them everyday. They are good.......but much crappier than what is possible.
 
Last edited:

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,408
336
83
North Shore of Boston
#46
Spent some time hanging out at the barn last night. Only change of significance since the last visit was having the Herzans under the amps instead of the sources which resulted in a nice little improvement in liquidity.
This is extremely interesting to me. I don't want to derail this thread or go off topic, so Mike, could you discuss this change and the resulting sonics somewhere and point me in that direction? Thanks.
 
#47
We have crap for digital sources.......quote me on that.

When you buy a record you are buying the same thing every other person does who buys the records from the same batch. The records are not stored in digital, sent over wires or wireless or put on a CD and sent to you. You have a very pure version of what the master tape did. Not so, for digital.

Digital is a bunch of super high speed analog pulses representing ones and zeros. Whatever you do to those very high speed analog pulses affects the sound. Any slight imperfection of the timing of these pulses.........and bingo, there goes the reality. Do you realize how bad CD is as a source? I sand the outer and inner edge, use an opaque black marker on the entire top and edges and on the bottom around the hole. I use a super disc fluid (Ultrabit Platinum Plus), use the Herbies small CD mat, and de-static the CD with the Ionoclast. The Ionclast makes it way more transparent and real.....however, the effects only last around 7 minutes. If I do not do all these things, my CDs sound like digital....with all these things done they can sound amazing. So, when you are burning CDs into your computer you must do all these same things to the CD or you will just have the ordinary sound of a CD on you computer.

All computers, cables, connectors, power supplies, clocks, etc. all change the sound of digital. If your modem is not run off batteries or super power supply, on a non resonant stand, and have its LEDs removed (leds add distortion) you are not getting what can be had. Whatever cable you use from you modem to your computer will effect the sound. Steve at Empirical Audio and others have talked about these issues. just now noticed a thread on battery supplies for the modem on the computer forum on this site.

Here is an experience I had years ago. I downloaded Tea for the Tillerman at 24/192. This was a transfer using the original master tape and the $35K MSB A2D converter. I had never downloaded anything so this was my first time. I figured this would be way good. I bought a couple of usb sticks so I could play them on my modded Oppo 95. I downloaded it and burned the files to a usb stick and plugged it into the front usb port. I sounded horrible....like a 1970 transistor radio. So I plugged it into the rear usb port which was nearer the main processor and did not have a cable connected to it. Better sound......maybe a 1970 tubed radio. I noticed that the usb stick had this red plastic case that was loose and also it had this LED that was blinking on and off. So I took the other usb stick that I had and broke the plastic case off and removed the led. I put this usb stick into the computer and ran some constrained layer damping material down the side of the usb stick and onto the computer so it would be damped in the socket. After burning files to the usb stick I mounted it in the rear of the Oppo with the same damping material holding it securely to the player.......WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! way, way better sound. Certainly better than CD at that point.

A customer of mine had been exclusively using the front usb port on his Oppo 95 and I told him of my experience. He doubted everything I said as he always just had a CD player and never even experienced what different digital cables do. After a few day, I get this email.....and tells me, yes, I was right and the rear port sounds better and that his all steel usb stick sounds steely and his rubber coated one sounds rubbery.......Welcome to the real world....he he.

What if you could order a custom one off copy of an original digital file on a SD card.......and you have a great SD reader to play it on (of course, you damp the SD card into the player). No downloading, no plastic spinning disc, no streaming but a physical copy right from the original computer it was recorded on......OMG....OMG....OMG. You would die, it would be so good. I can take my $229 Sony portable recorder and record live music at 24/96 and it sounds outrageous played directly out of the player. The $900 one from Sony that also records DSD is suppose to be better. Those that have transferred a master tape at double or quad speed DSD and played back the file (not sent it to someone) directly from the recorder say it sounds the same as the analog master. But as soon as you store it/transfer it to several devices, move it around, fool with the original file, stream it to someone through their noisy modem, etc.....you loose the magic.

Yes, a better DAC will always be better, just like a better turntable, phono stage, reel to reel or whatever. However, if you could get your hands on a "pure" digital file......OMG.....even a moderately priced DAC would knock your socks off.

Does anyone here have the experience of listening in their home to a digital file off the original recorder? Not downloaded......the actual file on the original recorder or at least close to the original file. A record or master tape copy is a super close clone of the original.....not so with digital. Any tiny thing you do to digital files corrupts them. This I know from experience over and over again.

By the way, I used the word crap to get your attention. They are not crap. I listen to them everyday. They are good.......but much crappier than what is possible.
Not sure where you are coming from. I agree digital can sound bad, but so can some vinyl. I don't agree that copying or sending the data loses sound quality. In my opinion, it is more the way it was mastered in the first place (digital, not analogue or tape) and the quality of the DAC. I have heard top TTs at shows, and also heard top DACs, and they are very close now (with the right DAC). In some cases the DAC is better IMO.

So, lets not put up an 'all is crap' announcement for digital, it is simply not true.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,445
464
83
#48
Spent some time hanging out at the barn last night. Only change of significance since the last visit was having the Herzans under the amps instead of the sources which resulted in a nice little improvement in liquidity. We played tape, digital and vinyl.
This is extremely interesting to me. I don't want to derail this thread or go off topic, so Mike, could you discuss this change and the resulting sonics somewhere and point me in that direction? Thanks.
here ya go.....i started a thread about it.

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-tana-herzan-under-dart-458-amps.27016/
 

Scaena1

Industry Expert
Sep 14, 2010
10
5
3
#49
Alan,
Having heard all three in different locals and with different gear, albeit lately some more similiar than before I believe all three are really excellent devices and they are probably different as well. It is impossible for me to say that one is superior to the others since as I have stated here many times we are listening to the sum of the parts , not just the part! I can't separate what i hear in your room with your speakers, and your cables, and your amplifier and say that the DAC is all that i am hearing. I have enjoyed your system with dCS, Howie's with MSB anb mine with CH. I find these definitive absolutes without actually hearing them with context worthless. JV may be a great writer and an excellent reviewer but his opinion on one digital system in a vacuum, is something that one must take in context.
Just because you have expertise in one discipline does not automatically give you expertise in another.
Just because you can make a mean Linguini Fra D'ablo does not mean you can make Pork Chow fun!
Elliot,

I agree and I find it is difficult even identifying what one’s own personal “ best” preference is , given the difficulties of isolating components in various systems. Moreover, individual listeners have individual preferences and priorities from any given component or system . Having said that , I do think with sufficient exposure to a known component , even with the variables of being heard in other systems and with room differences , some general characteristics can be identified . The aforementioned “ whitish “ sound of the older ARC amplifiers was an identifiable characteristic in virtually every system in which I heard them , albeit more prominent in some systems than others. To some it was a disqualifier, to others, not at all. But it was an identifiable characteristic.

Alan
 
Likes: Elliot G.

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,438
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Marina del Rey, CA
#50
Ok, so let's put it this way. JV stated and I quote again: “ The MSB gear doesn’t sound real in all the same ways that my Walker Proscenium Black Diamond V turntable does ( and vice versa). For one thing, like every other digital source component the MSB DAC doesn’t do bloom or the third dimension like the Walker”.
This statement jives with my opinion on digital. It is NOT a diss against MSB in particular ( Alex), it is a general statement that JV believes is correct in regards to digital--in general. Al M may not agree with it, but I guess neither JV or myself has heard Al M's system...:)
This is approaching a $150k analog rig including cartridge vs a $40k dac. Seriously, lots of apples and oranges on this thread including Ron and I's limited test at Alma. And masterings of analog and digital aren't always the same compounding things. I've done MSB vs Brinkmann swaps in my own system - i'd say its inconclusive at best.

My only point, that Ron thankfully clarified, was that it was digital that serious analog-philes can listen to, not that it was superior or inferior in any way. I have said previously that without a record collection, I wouldn't recommend purchasing a TT rig as its become *that* good. And the sourcing of good LPs has become difficult as the new pressings suck so bad these days.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
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#51
I have said previously that without a record collection, I wouldn't recommend purchasing a TT rig as its become *that* good. And the sourcing of good LPs has become difficult as the new pressings suck so bad these days.
That depends. For example, there are excellent audiophile re-releases of classic 1950s and 1960s jazz out there (also as 45 rpm discs) with great pressings.

But for some music digital is the only source. Classical avant-garde, which I am heavily interested in, is almost exclusively on digital, and more specifically, only on Redbook CD.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#52
That depends. For example, there are excellent audiophile re-releases of classic 1950s and 1960s jazz out there (also as 45 rpm discs) with great pressings.

But for some music digital is the only source. Classical avant-garde, which I am heavily interested in, is almost exclusively on digital, and more specifically, only on Redbook CD.
Many of the reissues are not as good as good digital. Some are better. Thing is you can lose money unless you know which ones to buy. Good originals are much superior, but sourcing them is tough like Keith said. So the actual strategy should be that unless you have tons of money or an existing collection, analog should be focused on fewer top quality pressings of your favorite music while digital should be the volume game.

And since everyone is throwing their favorite dacs in, Larry Toy, who has 15000 original Decca and EMI classical, rips them (his rip set up is quite professional he was helped set it up by some of the reference recordings guys) and plays them back through his Golden gate. People are welcome to ask him how the rip sounds compared to the original.

Dctom has kuzma xl4 and 4p with Lyra atlas and Ypsilon phono. And a GG next to it with 242. People are welcome to go listen instead of arguing.
 
#53
We haven't touched on low frequency noise generated by even top TTs. I noticed Pretty much all the big TT rigs at Munich had the bass speakers hopelessly rendering sub 20hz waffle. I am unsure why there was (in those cases) no frequency cut off?

Then we have the wear rate of vinyl and the dust issues, and the physical challenge of storage of a large vinyl catalogue. And as discussed above the cost of sourcing good pressings.

IMO you have to be dedicated to run a TT system, but I can appreciate there are those who are willing to put the effort in, so respect for that. It is a step to far for me personally, I jumped ship 20 years ago. Having said that it has taken me almost 20 years to find a DAC I truly enjoy. This hobby is so complicated!
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#54
"Dedicated" goes hand in hand with being an audiophile. Once you start digging in, it is just choosing which tunnel you want to dig yourself in. Analog is a great tunnel journey with loads of light at the end, and the tunnel has a lot of fun rides, London dungeon like
 
May 30, 2010
14,956
403
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Portugal
#55
(...) And since everyone is throwing their favorite dacs in, Larry Toy, who has 15000 original Decca and EMI classical, rips them (his rip set up is quite professional he was helped set it up by some of the reference recordings guys) and plays them back through his Golden gate. People are welcome to ask him how the rip sounds compared to the original. (...)
An useless question - we can't expect that such rips will sound better than the analog original LPs. However I am sure than most of us would love to get a few tracks of his rips to listen in our systems. Do you have more details on how these recordings were ripped?

Anyway people should remember that most of the time the vinyl masters are not the original master tapes. Unless we just interested in the transparency of the digital process, the proper test is comparing the LP with a digital copy of the master, listening to which we prefer, not for the differences as much people do.

Sometime ago I have read that recording companies owning great recordings do not release DXD copies of the master tapes because they are too close to the original and they prefer selling lower quality "fancy" versions of them, with slight differences for each commemoration. Releasing a too perfect copy of the master tape would reduce its value, killing the golden egg chicken.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#56
An useless question - we can't expect that such rips will sound better than the analog original LPs. However I am sure than most of us would love to get a few tracks of his rips to listen in our systems. Do you have more details on how these recordings were ripped?

Anyway people should remember that most of the time the vinyl masters are not the original master tapes. Unless we just interested in the transparency of the digital process, the proper test is comparing the LP with a digital copy of the master, listening to which we prefer, not for the differences as much people do.

Sometime ago I have read that recording companies owning great recordings do not release DXD copies of the master tapes because they are too close to the original and they prefer selling lower quality "fancy" versions of them, with slight differences for each commemoration. Releasing a too perfect copy of the master tape would reduce its value, killing the golden egg chicken.
Useless question to you maybe. Lampi has more flow and can better match gain to the preamp than many phono chains. So you can take the source file, and then play it back with more energy than it was being played through the analog chain.

He hasn't rolled all valves on his GG though, he is already excited and getting Pacific (though I prefer GG to Pac)
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,021
488
83
UK
#57
We have crap for digital sources.......quote me on that.

When you buy a record you are buying the same thing every other person does who buys the records from the same batch. The records are not stored in digital, sent over wires or wireless or put on a CD and sent to you. You have a very pure version of what the master tape did. Not so, for digital.

Digital is a bunch of super high speed analog pulses representing ones and zeros. Whatever you do to those very high speed analog pulses affects the sound. Any slight imperfection of the timing of these pulses.........and bingo, there goes the reality. Do you realize how bad CD is as a source? I sand the outer and inner edge, use an opaque black marker on the entire top and edges and on the bottom around the hole. I use a super disc fluid (Ultrabit Platinum Plus), use the Herbies small CD mat, and de-static the CD with the Ionoclast. The Ionclast makes it way more transparent and real.....however, the effects only last around 7 minutes. If I do not do all these things, my CDs sound like digital....with all these things done they can sound amazing. So, when you are burning CDs into your computer you must do all these same things to the CD or you will just have the ordinary sound of a CD on your computer.

All computers, cables, connectors, power supplies, clocks, etc. all change the sound of digital. If your modem is not run off batteries or super power supply, on a non resonant stand, and have its LEDs removed (leds add distortion) you are not getting what can be had. Whatever cable you use from you modem to your computer will effect the sound. Steve at Empirical Audio and others have talked about these issues. Just now noticed a thread on battery supplies for the modem on the computer forum on this site.

Here is an experience I had years ago. I downloaded Tea for the Tillerman at 24/192. This was a transfer using the original master tape and the $35K MSB A2D converter. I had never downloaded anything so this was my first time. I figured this would be way good. I bought a couple of usb sticks so I could play them on my modded Oppo 95. I downloaded it and burned the files to a usb stick and plugged it into the front usb port. It sounded horrible....like a 1970 transistor radio. So I plugged it into the rear usb port which was nearer the main processor and did not have a cable connected to it. Better sound......maybe a 1970 tubed radio. I noticed that the usb stick had this red plastic case that was loose and also it had this LED that was blinking on and off. So I took the other usb stick that I had and broke the plastic case off and removed the led. I put this usb stick into the computer and ran some constrained layer damping material down the side of the usb stick and onto the computer so it would be damped in the socket. After burning files to the usb stick I mounted it in the rear of the Oppo with the same damping material holding it securely to the player.......WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! way, way better sound. Certainly better than CD at that point.

A customer of mine had been exclusively using the front usb port on his Oppo 95 and I told him of my experience. He doubted everything I said as he always just had a CD player and never even experienced what different digital cables do. After a few day, I get this email.....and tells me, yes, I was right and the rear port sounds better and that his all steel usb stick sounds steely and his rubber coated one sounds rubbery.......Welcome to the real world....he he.

What if you could order a custom one off copy of an original digital file on a SD card.......and you have a great SD reader to play it on (of course, you damp the SD card into the player). No downloading, no plastic spinning disc, no streaming but a physical copy right from the original computer it was recorded on......OMG....OMG....OMG. You would die, it would be so good. I can take my $229 Sony portable recorder and record live music at 24/96 and it sounds outrageous played directly out of the player. The $900 one from Sony that also records DSD is suppose to be better. Those that have transferred a master tape at double or quad speed DSD and played back the file (not sent it to someone) directly from the recorder say it sounds the same as the analog master. But as soon as you store it/transfer it to several devices, move it around, fool with the original file, stream it to someone through their noisy modem, etc.....you lose the magic.

Yes, a better DAC will always be better, just like a better turntable, phono stage, reel to reel or whatever. However, if you could get your hands on a "pure" digital file......OMG.....even a moderately priced DAC would knock your socks off.

Does anyone here have the experience of listening in their home to a digital file off the original recorder? Not downloaded......the actual file on the original recorder or at least close to the original file. A record or master tape copy is a super close clone of the original.....not so with digital. Any tiny thing you do to digital files corrupts them. This I know from experience over and over again.

By the way, I used the word crap to get your attention. They are not crap. I listen to them everyday. They are good.......but much crappier than what is possible.
Hi Ric,

Yes I have the Tascam DA3000 - i can listen to vinyl rips in double dsd.
 
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caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,118
57
48
#58
Gentlemen, for those of us who are not "audiophiles" and are not familiar with audiophile vocabulary, can someone please define "bloom"? When I take my precious time to listen, I try not to analyze and think of the audiophile vocabulary.

Also, what is the difference between "three-dimensional imaging" and "depth of image"?

Furthermore, isn't the Chord DAVE DAC's positioning statement that it is unique in its ability to generate soundstage depth unlike anything else, via its bazillion "taps" (whatever those are)?
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,118
57
48
#59
Amazing thing about MSB is that over the last few years one of the rooms one was absolutely certain to get great sound at an audio show was to visit the MSB room. The MSB marketing guy, Vince, is a setup genius, as I have never heard either YG or MSB alone sound as good as Vince has made them sound together.

Yet to great disappointment at this year's RMAF, some fukking idiot made the decision to pair MSB with Magico M3. Instead of a place to find a bit of heaven in a place where most systems suck, the MSB - Magico system sounded "meh" on a few recordings, and like a total abortion on most songs. Poor Vince looked like he was embarrased. What is wrong with these people? Why mess around with a GREAT thing?
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,118
57
48
#60
Many of the reissues are not as good as good digital. Some are better. Thing is you can lose money unless you know which ones to buy. Good originals are much superior, but sourcing them is tough like Keith said. So the actual strategy should be that unless you have tons of money or an existing collection, analog should be focused on fewer top quality pressings of your favorite music while digital should be the volume game.

And since everyone is throwing their favorite dacs in, Larry Toy, who has 15000 original Decca and EMI classical, rips them (his rip set up is quite professional he was helped set it up by some of the reference recordings guys) and plays them back through his Golden gate. People are welcome to ask him how the rip sounds compared to the original.

Dctom has kuzma xl4 and 4p with Lyra atlas and Ypsilon phono. And a GG next to it with 242. People are welcome to go listen instead of arguing.
Hi Bonzo,

Great post. Have you done a compare of a vinyl rip to the original vinyl?

I happen to prefer the vinyl rips because of eliminated stylus microphonics (when done professionally). And the great thing is the professionally done rips sound great on a $3K DAC. Obviously they sound even better on a $20K DAC, but one doesn't need to spend that money on a DAC if one listens to good or great recordings.
 

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