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  1. #71
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    As I had previously posted I was waiting for my local dealer to have a updated Renderer installed in their Reference DAC so I could perform another A/B comparison with my Vivialdi set-up. I picked up the unit yesterday and as you can see from the photo it has found a place where my turntable normally sits. I hope the SME doesn;t take a tumble off the pre-amp. I will keep the unit 'till next Saturday and hope to have a better idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

    Attachment 25393
    Look forward to your impressions Jim! What a fun time ahead!
    _______________

    Mike

  2. #72
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Ritmo View Post
    Look forward to your impressions Jim! What a fun time ahead!
    Mike, for the most part I enjoy A/B 'ing gear so it should be a good week. Did not get much listening time in so far today as I was engrossed by the Masters.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & 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

  3. #73
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Sounds like good fun, Jim. Look forward to your thoughts.
    Brinkmann Bardo w/ 47 Labs MC Bee cart, MSB Premier DAC --> Music First Baby Reference v2 --> Audio Research Ref 75SE --> DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X

  4. #74
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Hey Jim! Any impressions you can share yet?
    Jeremy

    Speakers: Magico S3 MkII
    Power Amp: VAC 200iQ (stereo)
    Source/DAC/Preamplifier: MSB Reference DAC (Femto 77 / Dual Powerbase)
    Power: Shunyata Triton V3 / Shunyata Typhon QR / AQ NRG 20 Outlet / Dedicated 20 amp circuit
    -------------
    Power Cables: AQ Dragons to components / AQ Hurricane to Typhon QR
    Speaker Cables: MIT Heritage MI 2C3D - Level 1
    Interconnects: MIT Heritage MI 2C3D - Level 1 (XLR)
    Ethernet: AQ Vodka > Aqvox SE > AQ Diamond > MSB Reference DAC
    Racks: Critical Mass Sotto Voce with Black Platinum shelves

  5. #75
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by steinkrieg View Post
    Hey Jim! Any impressions you can share yet?
    I have been putting together some thoughts today. I spent the first five day listening to the MSB alone and have spent today A/B'ing with my Vivaldi.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & 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

  6. #76
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    I have been putting together some thoughts today. I spent the first five day listening to the MSB alone and have spent today A/B'ing with my Vivaldi.
    I'm interested to hear your thoughts too! My Nagra dealer has the DCS stack and my local dealer has MSB.

    Dave
    Speaker: Rockport Avior & Mira, B&W 803 D
    Amp: Nagra HD Monos, McIntosh Mc303 & 601
    Pre: Nagra HD pre
    Source: Esoteric K-01X & G-01, Aurender W20
    Cable: Transparent Ref Gen 5 SC & Ref XL PC
    Grounding: Tripoint Elite, Thor SE, Emperor Mkii

  7. #77
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    How about this Jim, are they strinkinly different or a very subtle hard to tell?
    First Sound Mark3SI preamp, Altec Lansing 1570B modded by Transition Audio Design and myself, Mojo Audio CAT Server running Win Server 2016 AO HQ and Roon, Mojo Audio Mystic 3 DAC, Linear Solution Ethernet Switch, Custom TT with Vertere Arm, Denon 103R Midas with sapphire cantilever line contact diamond, Allnic H1201 phono pre, Pure Audio Project Trio 10 with performance Solen air core chokes and Mundord Supreme oil caps, Power via 10 awg OFC cord from panel to custom distribution strip, Inakustik speaker and interconnect cables, Genesis Interconnect.

  8. #78
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    I'm interested to hear your thoughts too! My Nagra dealer has the DCS stack and my local dealer has MSB.

    Dave
    One dealer here carries Nagra and MSB and others while another carries dCS, Playback Design and others.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & 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

  9. #79
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    As I posted above one of my local dealers loaned me their recently updated MSB Reference DAC with a new Renderer card. Between last Saturday and this morning I only listened to the MSB DAC. I am not sure about others but my music memory is good but not great. When I am comparing gear I often makes notes about specific passages to aid in the comparison.

    I have found it very important over the years to remove a product after a period to insure that any perceived “improvement” was not solely the result of change. I truly believe that we often confuse a change with better. For some reason any change seems to make us listen closer. After listening to a stable system for a lengthly period our ears/brain mask certain aspects of our gear.

    For the first five days I fully enjoyed the MSB Reference DAC in my system. I moved my turntable aside, removed the ethernet cable from my dCS Upsmapler and connected to the back of the unit and Roon almost immediately recognized the unit and configured it automatically. From the first tracks I identified vocals as a strength of the Reference DAC. Vocals seem a bit cleaner without any hit of “sheen” around them.

    During those first five days I wasn’t sure if the bass was any tighter or more accurately portrayed as compared to my dCS set-up but I defiantly enjoyed what I was hearing.

    Based on my memory I felt that the highs may not have been as accurate or extended as what I was getting from my Vivaldi units.

    To summarize the first five day. Day 1. Wow!! This is really good. Day 2. Oops. Where did that initial sound go? Days 3-5. It was constantly enjoyable to listen to the Reference DAC.

    This morning I decided it was time to actually A/B the two units. I inserted a switch just in front of the two units and connected each unit via ethernet to the switch. After a few minutes Roon again identified both units as endpoints. I can easily select the endpoint in Roon and direct the output to my pre-amp where I can chose which device I wanted to hear by selecting the proper input via remote.

    I have been going back and forth between the two units for over five hours as I start to write this. The more I listen the less I care which one is currently playing. In general I would have to give the edge on vocals to the MSB Reference DAC. On most CD’s it sounds a bit more pleasing to the ear assuming that the dCS is not more accurately conveying what is on the recording. The one area where the dCS vocals are better seems to be on MQA recordings. It is possible that the MQA filters developed by dCS account for this.

    I do believe that my Vivaldi might extract a bit more detail on some recordings. Earlier today I was playing “After the Rain” by Melody Gardot. The birds in the background you hear in the first minute are more apparent and defined on the Vivaldi. The Vivaldi also appears to better define highs such as cymbals and brush strokes.

    Which unit I prefer for reproduction of snares, kick drums or stand up bass is less clear. I would cal this a toss up with a possible lean towards MSB on some recordings. This is the area where one’s ability to play with dCS MAP’s, filters and Upsampling could impact ones preferences.

    ADDENDUM

    I have listened to many more tracks since I started this post earlier this afternoon. The more I listen the less I lean towards either set-up. I friend who stopped by today suggested I might want to borrow borrow two pair of common XLR cables so I would have the same on both units for the A/B. The XLR’s on the dCS are “tuned” for that pre-amp dCS connection. I thought I would see what would happen if I put the rather generic XLR I was using on the MSB on the dCS. Well that threw water on some of my earlier thoughts. Now the better bass and low frequency has moved towards the dCS stack.

    I am thinking that the better vocals still favor the MSB set-up with the generic XLR’s but I am going to listen a bit more tomorrow with those on the dCS before moving them back to MSB to conform what I am hearing. I am not trusting my music memory at all right now, Data Overload.

    More to follow.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & 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

  10. Likes Sean, asindc, DrGjerdesmett, SuperDave, Al M. liked this post
  11. #80
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    Re: MSB Reference DAC

    Well that's just great. No clear-cut winner? Now I have to buy both. One to get that last little edge of cripness on instruments and the other for that last breath of ahh on vocals. This is all getting too expensive.

 

 
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