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Thread: MSB Select II

  1. #151

    Re: MSB Select II

    Love the Aurender Conductor (but 90% of my listening is Tidal/Qobuz rather than files on HDD) ... Also, love the play/pause buttons on Aurender and the way volume can fade out/fade in if one so chooses, which makes stopping/starting in the middle of a cut to take a call much more pleasant. Really glad to hear that some have found the Aurender not to be at a sonic disadvantage.
    EMM/Ayre/Aqua/Aurender/MBL/Luxman/W4S/Absolare/AGD/NAD/Classe/Bayz/Fleetwood/Revel/B&W/Audience/Echole/Puritan Audio Labs/Shunyata/AQ/Sablon/FTA/Sony ES/Pioneer Elite/Parasound/Gallo/JL Audio/ASC/Stillpoints/GIK/Vicoustic/Symposium/Acoustic Revive/A/V Room Service [and, sadly, only one pair of ears...]

  2. #152
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Quote Originally Posted by Ritmo View Post
    Hi Battles,

    I will chime in with a perspective regarding regarding the Aurender N30 and the Taiko Extreme. To be fully transparent, I do not own either. However, I did have the opportunity to hear both in the same system during a 3 or so hour session.

    The system consisted of both the Taiko Extreme and the Aurender N30. The DAC was the MSB Select II with Boulder Pre and Power Amps driving a pair of Vivíd G1 Spirits.

    In this particular system, to my ears, my preference was with the Aurender N30. Why? I thought the presentation with the Aurender had better pace , rhythm and realism. Violin strings sound had a wonderful texture that was not present in the Taiko. Piano notes were more realistic. And, I felt the Taiko had a little bit of grain that was not present in the N30’s presentation. Was this a huge problem? No, but doing a back to back listening of the same music highlighted the differences to me.

    Also, this may/may not be important to you but the Aurender seemed easier to use and it has the large screen with album art. We had some challenges getting the Taiko and Roon to work. The Aurender operation was flawless.

    Lastly, this is my perspective as a result of a single session. Clearly, both are top notch machines.
    can you provide some details about this compare? how long ago? was it at a dealer? do they represent both products? which server was resident? which was the visitor? if it was hard to get Roon to work it's logical the Taiko was the visitor.

    was this files? streaming? USB? Ethernet? which interface was used on the MSB Select II? Pro USB? Renderer v2? did the Taiko have the new USB card? i'm assuming there was no listening to the TAS music management system. was streaming Tidal only? Quboz only? or both? MQA?

    assuming the same power cord and Ethernet or USB cable was used for both?

    shelf situation the same for both?

    just trying to understand as set-up with a server is pretty critical. most people involve Taiko remoting into their network for optimal set-up.

    to be clear; your comments stand fine on their own, but any details help me to understand better.

  3. #153
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Mike,

    The listening sessions was held within the last 45 days or so. It was held at a dealer that represents and sells both brands. There was no bias of one brand vs the other.

    The process was pretty straightforward. We listened to the same set of songs on both devices. The source was Qobuz. I can’t recall the brand of the cables used. The connection to the Select II was made via USB; once we finished with the Taiko, we disconnected it and used that same USB cable for the Aurender. All components were set on a Critical Mass rack.

    The Taiko had recently been upgraded with the new USB board and had the latest software level; don’t know the version but was discussed at the dealer.

    I visited this dealer previously, and as you mentioned, a Taiko representative was on the phone and was making some configuration changes by remoting into the Extreme. I was glad to see their engagement with their product to ensure proper setup.

    Thx!
    _______________

    Mike

  4. #154
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Thanks Mike and Jim for your comments on your head-to-head shootout of the Taiko Extreme and the Aurender N30SA. Using both servers on the MSB Select DAC with Pro USB and identical components and cables makes this a very important comparison, which I have not seen before. I look forward to doing the shootout myself.

    Best,
    Ken
    "No summit worth climbing is easily attained."
    --------------------------------------------
    Source: MSB Select II DAC with Two Mono Powerbases and Femto 33 Clock; Renderer V2 Digital Input Module and Roon Nucleus Plus; MSB UMT V Signature Transport
    Amps: Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps; MSB M204 Mono Amps
    Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7 Mk2
    Power: Two AudioQuest Niagara 5000’s with AudioQuest Dragon and Hurricane Power Cords

  5. #155
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Quote Originally Posted by Ritmo View Post
    Mike,

    The listening sessions was held within the last 45 days or so. It was held at a dealer that represents and sells both brands. There was no bias of one brand vs the other.

    The process was pretty straightforward. We listened to the same set of songs on both devices. The source was Qobuz. I can’t recall the brand of the cables used. The connection to the Select II was made via USB; once we finished with the Taiko, we disconnected it and used that same USB cable for the Aurender. All components were set on a Critical Mass rack.

    The Taiko had recently been upgraded with the new USB board and had the latest software level; don’t know the version but was discussed at the dealer.

    I visited this dealer previously, and as you mentioned, a Taiko representative was on the phone and was making some configuration changes by remoting into the Extreme. I was glad to see their engagement with their product to ensure proper setup.

    Thx!
    Yep, as Mike noted it was almost exactly 4 weeks ago. All in all a very straight forward comparison If there was any bias going in I would have to say I in the past I was never a fan of Aurrender.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & HD Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Vivaldi DAC, Clock & Upsampler
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects & Opus Power Cords
    Power Cords on Digital: Shunyata
    Power Conditioner - Shunyata Everest

  6. #156

    Re: MSB Select II

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsrule View Post
    It looks like what I read about Optimized was incorrect. Why isn't the above in the owners manual and on the MSB website? And why doesn't MSB give this info to the MSB reviewers? (If they do, my apologies but it would be incumbent on them to make sure Optimized vs. Native is understood and reported correctly)
    Hello Fellow MSB Owners:

    It's been a while, but this was one of the first places I came to get info about MSB. It's still my favorite piece(s), my favorite manufacturer, and dare I say Michael is my favorite dealer :O

    Regarding the above question, I researched this last year, and based on all I could find, including a somewhat generalized response from MSB, I concluded "Optimized" was an internal PCM conversion. But now having read @DSMSB here, I like his elaboration. In retrospect, I think the answer is MSB doesn't want us to know exactly what's going on, but just to have the options.

    In my system, Native DSD sounds great, but PCM is just fabulous. Being a lover of classical music, with so many Asian sources invested in DSD, DSD is something I continue to use heavily. The few quad DSD I have sound fantastic. One thing I haven't done is compare DSD256 and DXD, but I suspect the MSB would favor DXD.

    EDIT: now for the real reason I'm here, Aurender v. Taiko. Very interesting! I read the manufacturer write-up on the N30SA, and they've done some very cool engineering. I like the less bulky, two-chassis configuration. The only downside I see is paying for things I don't need. I think the real breakthrough for MSB owners would be if someone could make a server expansion card with the proprietary ISL interface, ridding us of the universal interface altogether.
    Source: DIY Server w/Euphony Stylus, JCAT USB XE card
    DAC: MSB Select II w/Femto 33, Mono Powerbases, Pro-USB
    Amps: D'Agostino M400
    Speakers: Wilson Alexia 2
    Cable: Shunyata Sigma 2
    Power: Shunyata Everest

  7. #157
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    Re: MSB Select II

    It sounds like Roon was used on the Taiko. However, the Taiko player is reported to sound much batter than Roon. Innuous now has their own player as well and it is also supposed to sound much batter than Roon. Aurender has always had their own app.

  8. #158
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Quote Originally Posted by Backpacker View Post
    It sounds like Roon was used on the Taiko. However, the Taiko player is reported to sound much batter than Roon. Innuous now has their own player as well and it is also supposed to sound much batter than Roon. Aurender has always had their own app.
    See post #150 for clarification.


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  9. #159
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Quote Originally Posted by Backpacker View Post
    It sounds like Roon was used on the Taiko. However, the Taiko player is reported to sound much batter than Roon. Innuous now has their own player as well and it is also supposed to sound much batter than Roon. Aurender has always had their own app.
    Nope, although I prefer to use Roon it was not used in this comparison.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & HD Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Vivaldi DAC, Clock & Upsampler
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects & Opus Power Cords
    Power Cords on Digital: Shunyata
    Power Conditioner - Shunyata Everest

  10. #160
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Hi Mike Lavigne,

    I always wanted to ask you, what do you consider to be the anchor component of your system? In other words, if you could keep only one component, which one would you choose to build a new system around?

    Thanks,
    Ken
    "No summit worth climbing is easily attained."
    --------------------------------------------
    Source: MSB Select II DAC with Two Mono Powerbases and Femto 33 Clock; Renderer V2 Digital Input Module and Roon Nucleus Plus; MSB UMT V Signature Transport
    Amps: Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps; MSB M204 Mono Amps
    Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7 Mk2
    Power: Two AudioQuest Niagara 5000’s with AudioQuest Dragon and Hurricane Power Cords

  11. #161
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpinist View Post
    Hi Mike Lavigne,

    I always wanted to ask you, what do you consider to be the anchor component of your system? In other words, if you could keep only one component, which one would you choose to build a new system around?

    Thanks,
    Ken
    hi Ken,

    read your question, and thought about it, thought about it some more, trying to decide. there are a couple of choices.....depending on where i started. it's hard to imagine starting anywhere but in my current room. if we were re-booting on the room, then i might go a different path.

    in my current room the speaker <-> room relationship trumps all other things. so it would start there. Evolution Acoustics MM7's. i've put so much sweat-equity into room tuning. that would be the one thing to retain and build upon.

    the dart 468 mono-blocks are the heart of the system, and would likely be most essential if i were starting from scratch in a new dedicated room. there is just nothing like them. they would work great with any sources, in any room and with any speakers.

    lastly if i were to downsize to a smaller home, maybe with a single 'great room' shared with my wife, then it might be digital only with the MSB Select II as the center piece. could even be headphones. the Select would be outstanding in any space. could still have vinyl with the Select II as it has the analog inputs.

    btw; as i near retirement and dream about my priorities all these scenarios have crossed my mind.

  12. #162
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    Re: MSB Select II

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    hi Ken,

    read your question, and thought about it, thought about it some more, trying to decide. there are a couple of choices.....depending on where i started. it's hard to imagine starting anywhere but in my current room. if we were re-booting on the room, then i might go a different path.

    in my current room the speaker <-> room relationship trumps all other things. so it would start there. Evolution Acoustics MM7's. i've put so much sweat-equity into room tuning. that would be the one thing to retain and build upon.

    the dart 468 mono-blocks are the heart of the system, and would likely be most essential if i were starting from scratch in a new dedicated room. there is just nothing like them. they would work great with any sources, in any room and with any speakers.

    lastly if i were to downsize to a smaller home, maybe with a single 'great room' shared with my wife, then it might be digital only with the MSB Select II as the center piece. could even be headphones. the Select would be outstanding in any space.
    Great and well thought out answer Mike, thanks!
    "No summit worth climbing is easily attained."
    --------------------------------------------
    Source: MSB Select II DAC with Two Mono Powerbases and Femto 33 Clock; Renderer V2 Digital Input Module and Roon Nucleus Plus; MSB UMT V Signature Transport
    Amps: Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps; MSB M204 Mono Amps
    Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7 Mk2
    Power: Two AudioQuest Niagara 5000’s with AudioQuest Dragon and Hurricane Power Cords

  13. #163

    Re: MSB Select II

    Having had the good fortune to hear Mike’s rig, I can understand the speaker <-> room component, and if it were in another space I can appreciate the DartZeel point-of-view. I had the good fortune to have the Dart NHB-108 v2 in my system for a couple weeks, and it is an amazing sound. It played very, very well into both Diesis and Alsyvox. I can appreciate anyone’s affinity to DartZeel. Awesome components!
    —Bob V.

    West Coast Remote Listening Room (Portland, OR) for Rhapsody Audio (NYC) providing private auditions of: Pilium Alexander Pre & Achilles stereo amp, Alsyvox Boticcelli X, Diesis Roma, & Bayz Courante 2.0 speakers
    My system: Etsuro Gold cartridge , AMG v12 turntable with ‘12JT turbo’ tonearm, bespoke LFD phono cable, CS Port C3EQ, dCS Rossini, Transparent Ref MM2 & Gen5 signal cables, Shunyata SigmaNR v2, Sigma XC v2, AlphaNR v2, Venom v12 NR power cables. Shunyata Hydra Triton v3. HRS. Acoustic environment optimized by Dr. Bonnie Schnitta of SoundSense.

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