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  1. #1

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    Default SBT DAC versus Musical Fidelity M1-A

    Got myself a Musical Fidelity M1A DAC for Christmas. It is now broken in about 120 hrs. Did extensive A-B testing today with both FLAC and streaming MP3's. I was really hoping for another improvement to my system but I have to say that I am not hearing a big difference between the MF and the SBT DAC . The MF may sound a smidge more detailed. But that may be due to the slightly emphasized high frequency. Bass, soundstage, depth, weight... all very close. Frankly the SBT sounds pretty darn good.

    The MF did not sound great out of the box, and it improved a lot over the last week. But would more break-in improve it all that much more? I'm kind of doubtful. Need to send it back to Audio Advisor soon if I decide not to keep it and at $800 I haven't found a reason to justify keeping it. So should I try another DAC like Rega? Or go a different path like a power supply upgrade on the Touch?

    Any experiences out there with SBT versus outboard DAC's and/or PS?

    Thanks,
    Jet
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  2. #2

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    200 hours is the minimum burn in time for most gear.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  3. #3

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    I use an M1 in one o fmy systems and like it very much.And it definitely needs that burn-in as F1 stated.Mine stayed on for weeks after i got it.Let it go a while and then compare with and w/o and i think you'll hear the improvement.

  4. #4

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    What connection did you use between the Touch and DAC? If coax what type of cable did you use?

    I use a well regulated linear power supply on my Touch instead of the supplied switching PS.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    What connection did you use between the Touch and DAC?
    Connected by Toslink, AQ "cinnamon".
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  6. #6

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    I like the M1, but think there are significantly better options for the money and a couple better options for less money.

    I would highly recommend you try the peachtree dac-it, it's a superb dac at just over half the price of the MF. I did an extensive comparison and write up here a while back if you want to read it. The phrase giant killer gets thrown around too often, but the peachtree just may fit the bill, I've yet to hear a DAC under $1000 that I like better.

    You also really need a power supply upgrade with the Touch though, I'd call that a must. The good thing about the peachtree is that you could afford to do both. A PS upgrade and that dac will easily outperform your current setup, and for the same amount of money or maybe even a littles less. There are no guarantees in audio, but I'm highly confident in that statement.
    Last edited by AsSiMiLaTeD; 01-01-2013 at 08:52 AM.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetmaker737 View Post
    Connected by Toslink, AQ "cinnamon".
    I'm not a fan of Toslink in a two channel system regardless of type of cable used (glass or plastic). Toslink can add more jitter than a coax SPDIF connection has. (For that reason I didn't incluse a Toslink connection on my DIY DAC). I'd try it with a coax cable connection before condemnation occurs. The type of cable used is important as any reflections in that cable or connections results in reduction of SQ. Some folks/manufacturers even use BNC connectors as it is a true 75 Ohm connection where a RCA connector is not.

    Another plus for a linear PS for the Touch. I had scoped the switching supply supplied with my Touch and it was not a steady flat line of power while the linear supply showed up as a clean flat line. Digital loves clean and steady state power.

    If you go with a better PS for the Touch, be leary of Welborne Labs customer service. They have a great product as I assembled and use one of their kits. I know folks that had problems with their service and still read of current problems in various forums.
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 01-01-2013 at 12:02 PM.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
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    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
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  8. #8

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    Yeah, I'd avoid Welbourne labs. I'd go with the CI Audio option.
    Main HT
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  9. #9

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    Well after 200+ hours of break in the MF DAC is just not besting the Touch DAC by very much. In my system they are nearly equivalent in most areas. There was some increased detail in the upper-mids/lower-high frequencies. Also noticed some slight increase in soundstage depth on some tracks. Not a difference worth the $800 price.

    Appreciate your guys' advice. Unfortunately I didn't have time to pick up a coax cable and time has run out on my 30 days. So the MF has been sent back to Audio Advisor. My DAC search continues and I'm considering the DACiT. Also looking at the EE Minimax plus, Rega DAC, and possible the Grant Fidelity offerings.
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  10. #10

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    Hey the beauty of the deal is being able to check it out before purchasing.
    Let us know what you try next.I am curious to hear the W4S DAC 2 and the benchmark someday.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetmaker737 View Post
    Well after 200+ hours of break in the MF DAC is just not besting the Touch DAC by very much. In my system they are nearly equivalent in most areas. There was some increased detail in the upper-mids/lower-high frequencies. Also noticed some slight increase in soundstage depth on some tracks. Not a difference worth the $800 price.

    Appreciate your guys' advice. Unfortunately I didn't have time to pick up a coax cable and time has run out on my 30 days. So the MF has been sent back to Audio Advisor. My DAC search continues and I'm considering the DACiT. Also looking at the EE Minimax plus, Rega DAC, and possible the Grant Fidelity offerings.
    Of those 3, I'd say the Minimax plus is your best bet. Maybe give Cary's Exciter dac a whirl too. Used around 7 bones.

  12. #12

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    just curious if anyone has actually heard the PS Audio DAC?

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=1PSDL3
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  13. #13

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    What about the new PS audio Nu Wave Dac?

    http://www.psaudio.com/shop/nuwave-dac/
    Linn AV5140 fronts
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  14. #14

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    What about the new PS audio Nu Wave Dac?

    http://www.psaudio.com/shop/nuwave-dac/
    Linn AV5140 fronts
    Linn AV5120 Center
    Linn AV5140 Rears
    M&K MX-70 Sub for Music
    Odyssey Mono-Blocs
    SVS Ultra-13 Gloss Black:D

  15. #15

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    Other suggestions from my end:

    W4S DAC1 ($1000), Schiit Gungnir ($849).

    I own both and after burn in, both have been awesome DACs. the Schiit DAC sounds more natural to me and has better bass. But the W4S has an edge in revealing details / flaws.
    ALL BOXED UP for a while until I save up for a new place :(

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    KEF Q900s / MIT Shotgun S3 / MIT CVT2 ICs | KEF Q600C | Polk FXi5 | BJC Wire | Signal / AQ ICs | Shunyata / Pangea PCs | Pioneer Elite SC 57 | Parasound NC2100 Pre | NAD M25 | Marantz SA8001 | Schiit Gungnir DAC | SB Touch

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  16. #16
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    I'm glad you were able to listen to the DAC and decide it was not for you, as that's what this hobby is about. I've heard DACs best the internal DAC in my SBT, but it doesn't matter if you don't heard the difference with a specific piece of equipment and can't justify the money. The Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 is still available and gets good reviews for $350, and Audio-GD builds great DACs in may price ranges with may chip sets as well.

  17. #17

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    Been thinking about my DAC comparison results and am beginning to think maybe my system isn't resolving enough to hear the DAC differences. Looking at my main system specs I think I've got a decent pre and amp so I've started looking in the direction of new speakers. That's a discussion for another section of the forum, but that's my line of thinking right now.
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  18. #18

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    Hey Jet, are you playing lossless files that were accurately ripped with your SBT? If you aren't using excellent source material, then some of the subtle benefits of a different DAC will be lost.

    I have used a MF M1, and I thought it sounded very good; however, it was a little laid back compared to other DACs I tried, so it could be that the M1 is just not a good match or your already laid back LSi's. Something more forward sounding, like the Benchmark DAC1, may be a better match for your speakers.

    I compared an M1 and a DAC1 at the same time. I felt they were comparable in terms of quality, but had different sound signatures that would end up being a personal prefernce type thing. I also compared both of those DACs to the Audio GD NFB-7. The NFB-7 blew them away, which is why I'm still using it! The dynamics, separation, and realism are what set it apart.

    The LSi's are definitely resolving enough to hear differences between DAC's. What other speakers are you looking at? Price range?
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  19. #19

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    I'm running FLAC files ripped from CD with dBpoweramp. Also have a few HDTracks albums as well (some of which are outstanding). I've almost pulled the trigger a couple times on the Rega DAC, and the Audio-GD stuff looks good too but I'm a little leery of the direct purchase from China. The EE Minimax Plus looks good too and can be purchased through Morningstar. As far as speakers I've only just begun looking into it but if I'm going to make a change it needs to be a big step up to surpass the LSi's. So I've been eyeing the PSB Synchrony One's, Joseph Audio RM25XL, as well as some Aerial Acoustic, Focal/JM Labs, and Dynaudio models. Perhaps even some electrostats.
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetmaker737 View Post
    ...the Audio-GD stuff looks good too but I'm a little leery of the direct purchase from China...
    Dont' be. Excellent customer service, albeit in broken Engish!

    I've been eyeing the PSB Synchrony One's, Joseph Audio RM25XL, as well as some Aerial Acoustic, Focal/JM Labs, and Dynaudio models. Perhaps even some electrostats.
    Don't forget Magnepan!
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Dont' be. Excellent customer service, albeit in broken Engish!
    I can agree with this for two different orders.

  22. #22

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    Any experience with the "smaller" Audio-GD DAC's NFB-2.2 and NFB-3.2?
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  23. #23

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    this is a great thread, I am also looking into a DAC and there are so many choices and more every month it seems. was looking at the MF but now maybe not. Anyone try the AQ Dragonfly yet?

  24. #24

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    I too recently bought Musical Fidelity M1 DAC.
    I have no other DAC's to compare it to, but I will say I am impressed with it.
    The main reason I bought this particular unit is because it has true 24bit input capability.
    I have done some comparisons between 16bit and 24bit and some different sample rates at 16 & 24 bit.
    There is a night and day difference between 16bit and 24bit.
    At 16bit with a sample rate below 256kbps it sounds just horrible.
    At 16bit with a sample rate of 320kbps and above, that's where it gets impressive.
    Then take the step to 24bit, the music has a much greater soundstage.
    Imaging is much more pronounced, music is well outside the speaker cabinets.

    Curious to know what you are using for the source into your MF M1 DAC?
    The input rate and source have huge affects on how it sounds.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tegucigalpa View Post
    Curious to know what you are using for the source into your MF M1 DAC?
    The input rate and source have huge affects on how it sounds.
    Using squeezebox touch with mostly CD's ripped to FLAC and several Hi rez HDTracks downloads at 24 bit/88kHz.
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tegucigalpa View Post
    I too recently bought Musical Fidelity M1 DAC.
    I have no other DAC's to compare it to, but I will say I am impressed with it.
    The main reason I bought this particular unit is because it has true 24bit input capability.
    I have done some comparisons between 16bit and 24bit and some different sample rates at 16 & 24 bit.
    There is a night and day difference between 16bit and 24bit.
    At 16bit with a sample rate below 256kbps it sounds just horrible.

    At 16bit with a sample rate of 320kbps and above, that's where it gets impressive.
    Then take the step to 24bit, the music has a much greater soundstage.
    Imaging is much more pronounced, music is well outside the speaker cabinets.

    Curious to know what you are using for the source into your MF M1 DAC?
    The input rate and source have huge affects on how it sounds.
    Yes and no. When it comes to digital, I think the sweet spot is 24/96. When it comes to physical media as in CD's, the recording itself has more to do with it. Not that crappy recordings can't be had in digital 24/96 either. Some redbook 16/44 can sound fantastic depending on the recording in cd form. Unfortunately, be it physical media or digital, quality recordings are hard to come by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Yes and no. When it comes to digital, I think the sweet spot is 24/96. When it comes to physical media as in CD's, the recording itself has more to do with it. Not that crappy recordings can't be had in digital 24/96 either. Some redbook 16/44 can sound fantastic depending on the recording in cd form. Unfortunately, be it physical media or digital, quality recordings are hard to come by.
    Yes you are right.
    If I transfer some music from a cheesy cassette with all kinds of tape hiss onto some form of digital media it will sound just as bad as the original.
    I've also got some reservations as to ripping cd's.
    Computers are inherently noisy devices.
    I'm not a computer engineer but I have heard that transfering, ripping and converting all introduce some kind of 'noise' into the recording.
    That being said, start with a good recording from the get-go and you'll have some pure listening pleasure.
    And that holds true for digital AND analog.

  28. #28

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    Your spot on about a computer being a noise haven. Couple that with the noisy volume controls on digital devices such as a SB or Sonos and it's pretty audible. There are ways around it or to correct it so at least we are not stuck with all that noise. Being the old fart I am, I cringed when vinyl was replaced with cd's. I further cringed at the thought of MP3's replacing the cd. More distain yet for computer audio in the mp3 format trying to play on your home stereo. Until audiophiles got a hold of things and made SQ more important again. Now I can dig streaming a file, and life is good once again.

  29. #29

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    I guess this is as close to a Squeezebox thread as I have seen here being a new guy on this board, but I have been a SB user for the better part of 7 years. Having 3 Classic 3's, A Touch and the grand pobar Transporter I may have a few insights to share. I do not use a DAC on any of my systems as the two Classics (both coax) that I still use are on small bedroom system. The Transporter is connected via Toslink and the Touch is analog (in my 2 ch setup). What I have found over the years is what was said earlier about the source. You can have bad 24/96 recordings just as you can have great 16/44 and what comes into play is the recording engineers desires. The main musical style I listen to is Jazz and for the most part the redbook/CD recordings are consistant in quality of sound. In 2011 I went to the Grammys and heard Esperanza Spaulding and Trombone Shorty at the pre telcast show and they were great. I return home and ordered their CD's and could not wait to ripped them to my system. I sat back and listened to each CD first and felt something was wrong with the Esperanza CD compared to the other. Esperanza CD was very soft sounding. The music was still good and I may not have notice the differance as much if the other CD was not recording at such high levels. I read an article a few months back regarding this same issue within the industy, where studio engineers are pushed by exces to make albums more in your face using compression methods to fill/boost the sound. A DAC can make improvements in small ways and you would have need to been trained to listen for those differences, along with the type of audio gear you have to have that can reproduce those differences. Then again we all sometimes fall into the new toy sydrome and make oursleves believe there is a defference. I have learn to just enjoy the music.
    Family Room HT 7.1:
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    Living room 2ch:
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    Upstaris media room:
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    Master bedroom:
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  30. #30

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    Welcome to the forum recoveryone. There are quite a few threads about the Squeezebox's here. They were not all pulled into the Going Digital forum when it was created.

    Odd about noise with digital volume, usually it is dead quiet. Analog volume can be noisy. I use the digital volume built into my DAC chip and no noise or SQ penalty. My Touch volume isn't noisy either.

    True dat about music quality. I believe our music lives would be limiting if we just listened to well recorded music. I also have two listening modes, anything goes or just quality recordings.

    Galvanic isolation via transformer or chip keeps any 'putie noise out. Isolation can/does add jitter, and the best solutions reclock afterwards.
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 02-17-2013 at 01:22 PM.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

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