MSB, EMM DACs

Audire

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This is a shootout between which DAC I prefer the most - MSB Select II or the EMM DA2 V2 Reference Stereo D/A. This is not a matter of the best DAC as they are both SOTA, but the most preferred DAC for my system / room and the type of music I play.

Hopefully later will be some other system changes as well - probably the PRE, Amps, Aurender N30 and Magico M3s. However, I desired to hear both DACs on my present system and then try out a new PRE on both DACs as well... EMM Labs will allow you to experience their DAC and PRE in your own home - either thru your dealer or they fly in and deliver it.

Music will be primarily female vocals (Diana Krall, Sinne Egg, Diana Panton, Elaine Elias, Jacintha, Jane Monheit, Laura Fygi, Nikki Parrot, Norah Jones, Shelby Lynn, Stacey Kent, Victoria Tolstoy, etc.) and soft rock (Albert Hammond, America, Barry Manilow, The Beatles, Bill Withers, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon, Carol King, Celine Dion, Chicago, Deep Purple, The Doors, The Eagles, Earth, Wind and Fire, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, George Benson, Glenn Campbell, James Taylor, The Moody Blues, Neil Diamond, Led Zeppelin, Styx, etc.). I'll also play some jazz like Fourplay and Miles Davis and the gang. I'll use, CDs, SACDs, ripped CDs (ACS10), and Qobuz.

The EMM DA2 V2 Reference Stereo D/A (and EMM PRE) arrived today. It sounds absolutely glorious. My present Magicos have more in them than I ever knew - WOW what a transformation, better base, soundstage, transients, and captivating 3 dimensional music. It engages you - and emotion is present. Goosebump time ...

It's going to be a crazy good weekend.


tempImagebRcfC1.jpg
 

analyzer

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Mmmhhh great opportunity to listen these respected DAC.
You don't mention the amps.... in the photos of seems a Pass' Power amps, (XA.60's monos...Correct?)
Maybe the DA2 has a little bit of superior sinergy if partnered with the superb flagship house preamp (the PRE model).
Hope to read a detailed report...
 
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Audire

VIP/Donor
Jan 19, 2019
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Mmmhhh great opportunity to listen these respected DAC.
You don't mention the amps.... in the photos of seems a Pass' Power amps, (XA.60's monos...Correct?)
Maybe the DA2 has a little bit of superior sinergy if partnered with the superb flagship house preamp (the PRE model).
Hope to read a detailed report...

Many thanks.The present amps are Pass x260.8s. They are Class A to 34 … The amps will be changed soon (not sure what, possibly EMM, but others are being considered …), but for now I desire to see what both of these DACs will do with my present setup.

We listened to the Pass XP-22 with the EMM DAC first. It was definitely an huge improvement. But when we added the EMM PRE it became absolutely magical when it warmed up.

The EMM DAC and PRE together are absolutely amazing. My speakers sound better than ever - I didn’t know they had it in them….. The dealer even asked me do I really need new speakers... I’m kind of wondering that myself now, but I’m sure the M3s will elevate the system even further …
 
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Yuen A.

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2018
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This is a shootout between which DAC I prefer the most - MSB Select II or the EMM DA2 V2 Reference Stereo D/A. This is not a matter of the best DAC as they are both SOTA, but the most preferred DAC for my system / room and the type of music I play.

Hopefully later will be some other system changes as well - probably the PRE, Amps, Aurender N30 and Magico M3s. However, I desired to hear both DACs on my present system and then try out a new PRE on both DACs as well... EMM Labs will allow you to experience their DAC and PRE in your own home - either thru your dealer or they fly in and deliver it.

Music will be primarily female vocals (Diana Krall, Sinne Egg, Diana Panton, Elaine Elias, Jacintha, Jane Monheit, Laura Fygi, Nikki Parrot, Norah Jones, Shelby Lynn, Stacey Kent, Victoria Tolstoy, etc.) and soft rock (Albert Hammond, America, Barry Manilow, The Beatles, Bill Withers, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon, Carol King, Celine Dion, Chicago, Deep Purple, The Doors, The Eagles, Earth, Wind and Fire, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, George Benson, Glenn Campbell, James Taylor, The Moody Blues, Neil Diamond, Led Zeppelin, Styx, etc.). I'll also play some jazz like Fourplay and Miles Davis and the gang. I'll use, CDs, SACDs, ripped CDs (ACS10), and Qobuz.

The EMM DA2 V2 Reference Stereo D/A (and EMM PRE) arrived today. It sounds absolutely glorious. My present Magicos have more in them than I ever knew - WOW what a transformation, better base, soundstage, transients, and captivating 3 dimensional music. It engages you - and emotion is present. Goosebump time ...

It's going to be a crazy good weekend.


View attachment 82074
Hi,

When you said that the EMM Labs DA2 V2 has better bass, soundstage, transient, etc, which DAC were you comparing it with? Thanks!
 

Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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Hi,

When you said that the EMM Labs DA2 V2 has better bass, soundstage, transient, etc, which DAC were you comparing it with? Thanks!
Sorry, I can see where that would be confusing. Right now my comparison is to the Luxman d-08u. It is a very good DAC, analogue sounding, but IMO not in the same league as EMM. a friend is bringing over his MSB tomorrow.
 
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Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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i owned EMM Labs dacs for 5 years back in the day (2001-2005). and now own the MSB Select II. i will look forward to your report tomorrow.

i have a suggestion to include some instrumental classical or vocals in your test tracks. maybe especially classical piano recordings where you get lots of decay, overtones, complex textures, harmonics, scale, space, ease, weight and micro/macro dynamics. sense of effortlessness? we sometimes see how an oversampling dac and a bit perfect dac handle these recordings differently. large scale piano tends to help to separate the levels of performance. no place to hide.

have fun with your compare!
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Sorry, I can see where that would be confusing. Right now my comparison is to the Luxman d-08u. It is a very good DAC, analogue sounding, but IMO not in the same league as EMM. a friend is bringing over his MSB tomorrow.
Hi,

Many thanks for the clarification!

I noticed that you stack the Pre on top of the DA2. Doing so will affect the performance of both components. Based on my own experience, the Pre and the DA2 would also perform better if they rest on high performance resonance control footers.
 
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Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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i owned EMM Labs dacs for 5 years back in the day (2001-2005). and now own the MSB Select II. i will look forward to your report tomorrow.

i have a suggestion to include some instrumental classical or vocals in your test tracks. maybe especially classical piano recordings where you get lots of decay, overtones, complex textures, harmonics, scale, space, ease, weight and micro/macro dynamics. sense of effortlessness? we sometimes see how an oversampling dac and a bit perfect dac handle these recordings differently. large scale piano tends to help to separate the levels of performance. no place to hide.

have fun with your compare!
Hi Mike,

I absolutely agree with you on the recommendations!

Based on my daily listening experience, the DA2 /DV2 can certainly reproduced the overtones, texture, decay, etc of a well-recorded grand piano, just like the real thing in a concert hall setting.
 

Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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Hi,

Many thanks for the clarification!

I noticed that you stack the Pre on top of the DA2. Doing so will affect the performance of both components. Based on my own experience, the Pre and the DA2 would also perform better if they rest on high performance resonance control footers.
Yes, I prefer everything on separate shelves. If I purchase the Select II each unit will be on a separate shelf as well. If EMM is the direction I go, then I'll have to check into getting some other footers.

Space was limited yesterday. I have some more shelves in the attic that we are bringing down this morning. So all three units, EMM PRE, DAC and MSB will all be in their own shelf. The MSB will be stacked upon itself though (not ideal, but this works in several systems). So, this should still give us enough of an idea of which one we prefer most.

My room isn't the best either - far from it. It's not a dedicated room, but the Great Room. But ultimately this is where the system will be. We will make the best with what we have been blessed with ...
 
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Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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I'm getting great results running my EMM DV2 with an Audioquest Dragon HC power cord and Stillpoint mini footers.
Good luck!
That's awesome. It does sounds really right for me as well. However, we will no more in a comparison to the MSB in app 30 minutes ... I hope to report back our findings later today or tomorrow.
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Looking forward to hearing the results!
 
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jeromelang

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Dec 26, 2011
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How do you play SACDs into the DA2v2?
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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I'm getting great results running my EMM DV2 with an Audioquest Dragon HC power cord and Stillpoint mini footers.
Good luck!
Hi,

May I suggest that you replaced Stillpoint mini with Stillpoint Ultra 6. The improvements will be dramatic (as per Fred Crowder). Previously, I used Critical Mass Systems footers (but not the Center Stage 2) and Stillpoint Ultra SS but currently using Ansuz Acoustic d-tc resonance control footers and the benefits of the change are tremendous!
 
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sbnx

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Mar 28, 2017
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Looking forward to the conclusion. Guessing you are having to spend a bit of time going back and forth trying to decide what you like best about each dac.
 
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