Comparing MSB Reference to Select DAC

Jeffy

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I am listening to the Reference Dac with Femto 33 and reference powerbase. Has anyone compared this DAC to the Select? What are the differences ex (more flushed out mids, bigger soundstage, etc.). I know its not apples to oranges because the Select has two power supplies. I am listening to the dac through Ethernet.
 

bryans

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I am listening to the Reference Dac with Femto 33 and reference powerbase. Has anyone compared this DAC to the Select? What are the differences ex (more flushed out mids, bigger soundstage, etc.). I know its not apples to oranges because the Select has two power supplies. I am listening to the dac through Ethernet.
You do have the option of going 2 power supplies with the Reference. I wish I had an answer for you but I'm in the Discrete to Premier camp.
 

bryans

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I am listening to the Reference Dac with Femto 33 and reference powerbase. Has anyone compared this DAC to the Select? What are the differences ex (more flushed out mids, bigger soundstage, etc.). I know its not apples to oranges because the Select has two power supplies. I am listening to the dac through Ethernet.
Any update on your listening session with the Reference? Did you get a chance to compare it to the Select II?
 
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Mike Lavigne

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I am listening to the Reference Dac with Femto 33 and reference powerbase. Has anyone compared this DAC to the Select? What are the differences ex (more flushed out mids, bigger soundstage, etc.). I know its not apples to oranges because the Select has two power supplies. I am listening to the dac through Ethernet.
twice at audio shows (before they were shut down) i did hear both in the same system for a few cuts. can't recall if both had one or two power supplies.

mostly less a sense of reproduced sound. you hear farther into the music......all other things being equal. also a bit more dynamic snap, ease and authority; 4 dac chips per side does develop twice the output. my 4 years with the Select II would then equate it to a higher degree of involvement and desire to listen more. the Reference dac is very good. like a step up in cartridges from the same maker.

these differences between the Ref and Select are not 'poke you in the nose' differences, at this level all the dacs are very good. in my system i want a dac that can hold it's own against my analog. the Select does that.

with MSB the most optimal way to listen is with the Pro USB interface/module and a good USB cable. i have the Renderer v2 and it is also very good, but the USB is better. and most servers are optimized for USB; it's the least compromised interface at the moment.
 
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Audire

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If I'm not mistaken the newer MSB Ref DACs no longer come with the optional separate power base. You can no longer purchase it separately. The second power base comes only (standard) now on the Select II. If you can locate a used Ref they could have the additional power base though ...

This said, we went the EMM Labs DA2 v2 + PRE. For us, it edged out the Select II. However, I'd be satisfied with either in my system.
 

knghifi

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If I'm not mistaken the newer MSB Ref DACs no longer come with the optional separate power base. You can no longer purchase it separately. The second power base comes only (standard) now on the Select II. If you can locate a used Ref they could have the additional power base though ...

This said, we went the EMM Labs DA2 v2 + PRE. For us, it edged out the Select II. However, I'd be satisfied with either in my system.
Have you compared EMM Labs DA2 v2 + PRE to EMM DV2?
 
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Audire

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?? The only difference is DV2 has built in volume control so don't need preamp.

EMM Labs DA2 V2 Update Review


The EMM Labs DA2 V2 DAC and the V2 firmware upgrade for the flagship converter is a large performance upgrade incorporating significant hardware and firmware changes. Literally all major hardware systems in the DA2 are replaced as part of this upgrade. The main update is EMM’s revised DAC and analog systems. The updates include their design of EMM’s discrete 16xDSD DACs as well as a new analog output stage. These upgrades bring greater transparency, a deeper soundstage and increased dynamics to the DA2’s performance. The new analog stage incorporates the optimized HIGH/LOW gain system, which is switchable in software. This new feature allows users to choose an output level that better fits their system.

Following all the hardware changes, the audio signal processing in the MDAT2 DSP has been enhanced in the digital domain. Along with these improvements and refinements, EMM has also added functional upgrades, including MQA support, NS1 Streamer integration, and the newly implemented software selectable gain system.
 
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KeithR

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It's hard to compare Ref vs Select as the models have changed. The new Ref comes with a femto 33, which was a $15k upgrade before and not really done at the Ref dac level.

From what I've heard the new Ref ~ old Select, but of course the mono power supplies/8 dacs on a new Select take it further.
 

divertiti

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If I'm not mistaken the newer MSB Ref DACs no longer come with the optional separate power base. You can no longer purchase it separately. The second power base comes only (standard) now on the Select II. If you can locate a used Ref they could have the additional power base though ...

This said, we went the EMM Labs DA2 v2 + PRE. For us, it edged out the Select II. However, I'd be satisfied with either in my system.
Do you think the decision to take dual mono power supply option away from Reference is to stop it from being too close to the Select? Like Porsche purposely holding back the Cayman to preserve the 911
 
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Audire

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Do you think the decision to take dual mono power supply option away from Reference is to stop it from being too close to the Select? Like Porsche purposely holding back the Cayman to preserve the 911

From what I was told, MSB is tooling back and offering less options. A dealer told me the previous MSB Ref with two power supplies equals app 80% of a Select II, which now only comes with two power bases. I personally think it is much closer, however I haven’t heard both units in the same system. May be someone who has heard both in the same system will speak up,

So, I tend to agree with you. If you desire better sound with a MSB then you have to have two mono power bases. This leaves you essentially one choice … unless you go with another brand. I tested the Select II against the EMM DA2 v2 + EMM PRE and choose the EMM combo. However, I would have been satisfied with either as a final destination DAC.
 
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bryans

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I asked my dealer if MSB had an option for dual Premier powerbase and he replied with a capital NO! I was hoping to consider a Reference in the future and was keen on the dual PS.
 
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divertiti

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From what I was told, MSB is tooling back and offering less options. A dealer told me the previous MSB Ref with two power supplies equals app 80% of a Select II, which now only comes with two power bases. I personally think it is much closer, however I haven’t heard both units in the same system. May be someone who has heard both in the same system will speak up,

So, I tend to agree with you. If you desire better sound with a MSB then you have to have two mono power bases. This leaves you essentially one choice … unless you go with another brand. I tested the Select II against the EMM DA2 v2 + EMM PRE and choose the EMM combo. However, I would have been satisfied with either as a final destination DAC.
That's interesting, do you know when the dealer said MSB Ref w/ dual mono power supplies = 80% of Select II, he's referring to Select II w/ the dual mono power supplies as well? What would you say the DA2 + Pre did better than the Select in your system?

I asked my dealer if MSB had an option for dual Premier powerbase and he replied with a capital NO! I was hoping to consider a Reference in the future and was keen on the dual PS.
Did your dealer mention the possibility of dual mono PS for the Ref by chance?
 
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Audire

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That's interesting, do you know when the dealer said MSB Ref w/ dual mono power supplies = 80% of Select II, he's referring to Select II w/ the dual mono power supplies as well? What would you say the DA2 + Pre did better than the Select in your system?


Did your dealer mention the possibility of dual mono PS for the Ref by chance?

The 80% comment was 6 weeks or maybe 2 months back... I felt as if the dealer was being sincere and he had definitely heard the Select II and Ref more than I had. But to my ears they still sounded closer.

As to EMM - see my posts here - MSB, EMM DACs. I've only had the EMM DA2 v2 and DAC for a few weeks, but it is already divine. Still have more break-in time though. From what I understand the Aurender N30 that we purchased at the same time takes app 500 hours for full break-in. So, I have a few weeks to go until I hear everything ... by then the new speakers will arrive. So I get to begin all over. A good problem to have. :)
 
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Elberoth

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Who told you DA2 V2 is any different to DV2? (apart from the VC)

I have discussed this topic at lenght with the distributor, who in turn have discussed this with EMM.

FYI - I had DV2 at home for 6 months. I also had the Select II dAC. For me there was no contest - MSB was vastly superior sounding.
 
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bryans

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Did your dealer mention the possibility of dual mono PS for the Ref by chance?
Sorry I didn't ask my dealer about the dual mono PS for the Ref. Honestly I just assumed it was an option like always. My plan was to eventually try and move up the line from the Premier to the Reference single PS then dual PS.
 

MarkusBarkus

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...the comments made to me were that MSB has configured each model as they intend it to be heard...the "best" version of each model. I'm paraphrasing a dealer and MSB person there. This was approximately two months ago when I purchased a Reference.

I do like the concept of two separate power supplies: the main board(s) and the clock supplies (over-simplifying). I have previously used that configuration to good effect deconstructing the Dave and a Buffalo switch.

That said, even a single external ps (like the Reference) is a net-plus, in my opinion. The Reference sounds terrific, BTW. FWIW/posted previously/elsewhere, the Premiere was pretty close to the deconstructed Dave. The Reference is "better" to me/my system.
 

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