- Apr 1, 2021
Interested in what you hear, as I have the deconstructed Dave now
Ken, I did go ahead and purchased the Select and it is fantastic. It's so good that I am spending more time with it than my analog. Don't get me wrong the analog is better, but I enjoy listening to the Select.I have owned the Select for several years and have listened to the Select and Reference in the exact same system but in different locations. Both models employ the same hybrid DACs, the main difference being that the Select has 8 hybrid DACs and the Reference has 4 hybrid DACs. The main difference sonically is greater and more effortless dynamics with the Select than the Reference. But the sonic signature is very similar. If you go with the Reference, you will get that same analog-like presentation as the Select, very similar to listening to master reel to reel tapes but without the noise. If the Reference is all that’s in the budget, you won’t be disappointed, unless you spend all day comparing the two head to head. Any model below the Reference results in a significant drop off in performance as this is where the compromises begin.
Hi Jeffy,Ken, I did go ahead and purchased the Select and it is fantastic. It's so good that I am spending more time with it than my analog. Don't get me wrong the analog is better, but I enjoy listening to the Select.
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.
fair enough.Not in my experience it's not, AES has repeatedly been better in my set up, having used 3 server/players at this point in the time I've owned my Dac. I agree with your point overall, said differently, most people identify with USB for obvious reasons therefore they think it's the best. MSB also will tell you over and over the Pro USB is the greatest thing ever, but all you have to do is look at the very nature of the connection what they developed for it to sound good with all sorts of augmentation. Separate box/galvanic isolation, fiber etc..USB is Async, two way, has power rails as opposed to the synchronous path of AES and SPDIF and overall more robust connection of AES.
Yes, USB does DSD, I don't listen to it, mainly because it sounds awful to me. Yeah USB is the universally adopted connection but I have literally TRIED to like the Pro USB because like you, MSB told me it was the best. Again, I disagree 100% after hours of listening to both over the course of months and months. Same for their renderer module, my k50 player sounds MUCH better than the MSB renderer module, which again makes sense for obvious reasons.
I am a huge MSB fan for better or worse, and by no means saying the Pro USB and Renderer are bad, they're some of the best (quasi) onbaord implementations I've listened to in a DAC. But they are definitely not the optimal way to listen to their DACs, people need to know this so they experiment with the other wonderful inputs in MSB Dacs. Wish I saved the money and didn't pay the extra $2k for it quite honestly AES is audibly better by a decent margin.
i would point out that you list the MSB Discrete dac in your signature, which could mean you did not spend your "hours of listening" with the MSB Select 2 which is what i did. the USB and Renderer performance of the Select 2 might be superior to the Discrete. it's a question we don't know the answer to. and the other side of things, the server side, might also change the equation, my Taiko Extreme compared to your Antipodes K50.
i think it's good to get an alternate viewpoint, but i don't really agree. but i have never considered the AES since it's got limited bandwidth. a non starter for me as i love dxd files.
finally, i have moved on from my much loved MSB.
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