MSB REFERENCE or SELECT II - SEEKING AMP SUGGESTION

Kingsrule

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2011
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Why do I think the best setup with the SII is no preamp but using Totaldac d1 drivers?
I use the SII with M500's, no preamp. But no way to try d1 drivers.....
Just a gut hunch on the d1's
 

koalakoala

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2017
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I am using Select + S500, no preamp and very happy about it.
A year ago, the local Nagra agent in Hong Kong offered me the much vaulted HD Pre at some usd55000 - I declined politely. No I' m not spending that (plus accessory cost usd20000?) for loss of transparency and gain in dynamics...
 

Centralnature

New Member
Dec 16, 2020
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There are pros and cons in omitting the preamp for MSB Select/Ref DACs, even if pairing them with MSB's own poweramps.

I did test the MSB poweramp with and without preamp :
1. Select DAC direct
2. Reference DAC via a Nagra HD Preamp

Although the comparison was not in the same syatem nor with the same dac, I got a glimpse of the effect of both of the ways.

I personally prefer using a preamp : the sound got better dynamics/authority/stability.
If without preamp, there was more transparency.

Therefore I use my Select DAC with a Bespoke Ultimate Silver passive preamp and a pair of Totaldac D1-Driver xlr version.
:)
When you use the preamp, do you bypass the MSB volume ?
or set the volume to the max (100)(and still use the remote volume function) ?
Thank you !:)
 
Last edited:

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
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A Select DAC owner friend and I tested the effect of different Select DAC volume levels when using a preamp with it.

We found that vol level of 100 didn't give the best sound.
Levels of 9x were better.
My personal preference is 93.
YMMV. :)
 

chuck

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2011
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San Diego
I suggest you strike the Boulder 2160 off your list. You apparently favor the tube sound in your amplifiers, and want a more "natural/organic" sound to replicate the real "thing." The Boulder does not have any of that. I have owned Boulder amps for over 10 years, now a 3060 driving YG Sonja XV speakers. The local dealer, Alma, would have DAG, Luxman, MSB, Gryphon or Audio Research amps on their YG Sonja 2.2 speakers, they even had XVs for a short while -- always with MSB DAC. I recently auditioned T+A M40HV amps on my XVs. All had an immediately noticeable "organic/natural" sound to varying degrees no matter what recording was playing. The T+A has a switch so you can vary that sound.
 
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Centralnature

New Member
Dec 16, 2020
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A Select DAC owner friend and I tested the effect of different Select DAC volume levels when using a preamp with it.

We found that vol level of 100 didn't give the best sound.
Levels of 9x were better.
My personal preference is 93.
YMMV. :)
Thank you very much for your reply, your thoughts and experience is very helpful!
May I ask if you adjust the volume level via your preamp mostly ,and the MSB volume remain at 93 ?
I’m experimenting
1) Dac direct to amp (Burmester 909mk5) (MSB as pre)
2) Bypass MSB pre with preamp (Burmester 077)
3) Use both MSB pre & 077

As you said , there are pros and cons in omitting the preamp for MSB Select. MSB pre is a very nice module, especially its price compared to 077. However I feel singers seems to sing much more emotionally and with skill with 077.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
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May I ask if you adjust the volume level via your preamp mostly ,and the MSB volume remain at 93 ?
Yes, that's what I am doing.

With diff preamps such as your 077, the effect can vary.
Please share with us your experience.
Thanks!
 
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koalakoala

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2017
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Curiously, the early version of the Select manual (2015) stated that 94 would be the optimal level when using external preamp...
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
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Curiously, the early version of the Select manual (2015) stated that 94 would be the optimal level when using external preamp...
I know ah, but ...
 
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Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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Last year in Munich Show, MSB used Select direct to M500 driving a pair of Magico M6.

I sat down and listened for some time, 15 minutes or so which was quite a lot of time given there were some many rooms to go to. My impression at the time was very detailed sound but rather plain and gentle. Dynamic could certainly be better. I use a pair of Magico M6 in my home, so I have a good idea of what M6 can do.

A good preamp will certainly enhance the dynamic.
Its quite an achievement to get it to sound anything like good in those show environments, with feeble, noisy mains, poor earths, EMI soup, high ambient noise, lots of seismic vibration, ever changing room acoustics and speaker positioning designed to sound good for a larger audience. Challenging, to the point its not really possible to overcome all the problems effectively. Compare in your mind that environment to a fully optimized listening room and you can imagine the scale of the improvements / deficits. Magicos in an optimised environment will sound truly stunning, but its not the MSBs that are at fault. Hotel rooms during show time are positively torture chambers for highly resolving equipment, testing their abilities to sound good under extremely adverse conditions.
 

gds7368

Well-Known Member
Jan 9, 2015
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Just ordered a Bryston 14B SST3 stereo amplifier for my theater, but I think I'll also try it for the M6 speakers to compare its sonic signature to the MSB S500. I know that might not be a typical pairing price-wise, but all I care about is how something sounds ... I'll report back (assuming I can move it upstairs by myself) but this will take a while (needs to be delivered, burn in, etc).
 

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