The Digital Director - A new MSB product improving everything from the source to the output

Easy Gliders

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Oct 22, 2021
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I don't have a problem with other opinions here. We're all just speculating, with great interest, about a new product that isn't out yet. I did receive a PM last night from another audiophile who said he was under the same impression about MSB.

I think it was significant that MSB said they bifurcated the test, and documented improvement from the fourth chassis with and without the new processing. So perhaps the big question for those without a reference-level server is, which is the better $30k upgrade, server or DD? I can't answer that now. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the D'Ag upgrade into my budget.
Which D'Ag upgrade are you thinking? I think an upgrade to the amplifier or speakers would make a more significant difference in sound. You already have the best server and dac!
 

Armsan

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Jan 28, 2016
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Sure about that? I spent a lot of money on a clock upgrade for mine.
Sorry to tell you but, you and I, we've bought just a clock. But, it is a damn fantastic one :)
 

Easy Gliders

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Oct 22, 2021
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Sorry to tell you but, you and I, we've bought just a clock. But, it is a damn fantastic one :)
I would think that the digital signal from all the input modules (reclocked or not reclocked signal) in the MSB DAC will be clocked (or reclocked, or re-reclocked, etc) in the DAC using the Femto 33 before the digital to analog conversion by the Hybrid DAC chips? Or else why do we need the state of the art Femto 33 clock?
 

pleroma

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Jul 7, 2018
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Which D'Ag upgrade are you thinking? I think an upgrade to the amplifier or speakers would make a more significant difference in sound. You already have the best server and dac!

From what I've read, there is a significant tech trickle down from the D'Ag Relentless to the Momentum in the MxV upgrade.

Mono & Stereo © 2022: New Dan D'Agostino Momentum MxV Amp (monoandstereo.com)

A few have criticized the original Momentums for prioritizing warmth over precision. I never thought that, really liking the pairing of MSB and D'Ag, but the upgrade sounds like it could address that, and more.
 

pleroma

Well-Known Member
Jul 7, 2018
121
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I would think that the digital signal from all the input modules (reclocked or not reclocked signal) in the MSB DAC will be clocked (or reclocked, or re-reclocked, etc) in the DAC using the Femto 33 before the digital to analog conversion by the Hybrid DAC chips? Or else why do we need the state of the art Femto 33 clock?

My understanding was as yours. Interfaces have clocks for a reason. I thought of John Swenson (designer of the EtherREGEN), who articulates these concepts well. I had a great email from him on clocking once, but was only able to find this blog now. See the 9/25/2015 post (or 25/9/2015 for you Europeans ;)

John Swenson's Tech Corner – UpTone Audio
 

MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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...from the MSB site:
"The best solution is to create the lowest jitter clock as close to the DAC as possible."

I don't know the specs on every MSB product, but my Reference dac actually has two different clocks for processing 44.1kHz and 48kHz "family" files, instead of "converting" them.
 

Ian B

Active Member
Oct 20, 2020
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I would think that the digital signal from all the input modules (reclocked or not reclocked signal) in the MSB DAC will be clocked (or reclocked, or re-reclocked, etc) in the DAC using the Femto 33 before the digital to analog conversion by the Hybrid DAC chips? Or else why do we need the state of the art Femto 33 clock?
Every DAC has to have a clock for the DA conversion, and the better the clock, the lower the output jitter and phase noise. What reclockers do is totally within the digital domain, and they perform a different function. According to the theory, you would only need one good clock at the DAC, but by now we know that it helps to have others to clean up the jitter and noise before the DAC.
 
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Germanboxers

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Dec 14, 2015
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At the risk of of being labeled an audiophile heretic, I am interested in whether MSB will develop an HDMI audio extractor and video pass thru module. The Digital Director appears to be a product perfectly suited for this. This would allow those of us with multiple HDMI sources to use a simple HDMI switch to select source and have great, reliable audio through our MSB DACs. They could even partner with a high-end image processing company to offer video enhancements; however, the audio handling (and video pass thru) is the most compelling feature.

Many of us have either a nice TV or a large projection screen in our audio rooms. In addition to early morning music listening, more of our time is spent watching YouTube videos. The sound quality is oftentimes very good, sometimes extremely good. Artists are increasingly leveraging the YouTube platform and putting some fantastic performances on the platform. It seems that the newer tech used to record the videos and audio is very good. The fact video is another distraction for the creator means the audio isn't as likely to get messed with as much.

At present, with a cable box and AppleTV only having HDMI out, I need to run both via HDMI into an HDMI switch, then into the Oppo BDP103 BluRay player, then HDMI video out of Oppo to projector with S/PDIF to the MSB Reference DAC. The Oppo is no longer manufactured and was/is the only BluRay player with HDMI input, along with the standard HDMI output. All of the available HDMI switches with audio extraction sound horrible unfortunately. The Oppo sounds pretty decent.

So...Vince/MSB...is an HDMI passthru and audio extractor module in development?
 
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AndrewChen

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Jul 28, 2018
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At the risk of of being labeled an audiophile heretic, I am interested in whether MSB will develop an HDMI audio extractor and video pass thru module. The Digital Director appears to be a product perfectly suited for this.

Why would any purist 2-channel Audio system manufacturer want to pollute they system with the Clocking and support circuitry required for a HDMI extractor??
 

Germanboxers

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Dec 14, 2015
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Why would any purist 2-channel Audio system manufacturer want to pollute they system with the Clocking and support circuitry required for a HDMI extractor??
Hmm...how to answer? Because they realize that the enjoyment of their product could be expanded and that the pollution you speak of is mostly confined to those who are in a deep state of audiophilia nervosa. Furthermore, given the modular architecture of the MSB products, if you don't want it, you don't buy it.

I have been an audiophile for 35 years. For most of that time I have had a dedicated room. I have owned a ridiculous amount of gear and trialed in home considerably more still. I no longer find enjoyment in the neurotic pursuit of the tiniest change in sound quality. The system either allows me to connect emotionally and/or intellectually with the artists or it doesn't. That said, I am interested in meaningful improvement to that connection and an MSB designed HDMI audio extractor module would likely be a meaningful improvement.

If you haven't enjoyed the additional emotional connection one can achieve with a well-recorded video of musicians you love on YouTube, then that is truly a shame. An 11' diagonal screen, top of the line JVC projector and a compellingly musical system (yes, via YouTube and a "polluted" HDMI connection) makes for an incredible experience for friends, family and myself.

An MSB designed HDMI extractor module would fit perfectly in their line up, especially for the Digital Director, and serve the growing number of us who want to enjoy great sound from the growing number of HDMI only connection devices, as well as our tweaked music servers.
 
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Zeotrope

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Feb 12, 2021
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At the risk of of being labeled an audiophile heretic, I am interested in whether MSB will develop an HDMI audio extractor and video pass thru module. The Digital Director appears to be a product perfectly suited for this. This would allow those of us with multiple HDMI sources to use a simple HDMI switch to select source and have great, reliable audio through our MSB DACs. They could even partner with a high-end image processing company to offer video enhancements; however, the audio handling (and video pass thru) is the most compelling feature.

Many of us have either a nice TV or a large projection screen in our audio rooms. In addition to early morning music listening, more of our time is spent watching YouTube videos. The sound quality is oftentimes very good, sometimes extremely good. Artists are increasingly leveraging the YouTube platform and putting some fantastic performances on the platform. It seems that the newer tech used to record the videos and audio is very good. The fact video is another distraction for the creator means the audio isn't as likely to get messed with as much.

At present, with a cable box and AppleTV only having HDMI out, I need to run both via HDMI into an HDMI switch, then into the Oppo BDP103 BluRay player, then HDMI video out of Oppo to projector with S/PDIF to the MSB Reference DAC. The Oppo is no longer manufactured and was/is the only BluRay player with HDMI input, along with the standard HDMI output. All of the available HDMI switches with audio extraction sound horrible unfortunately. The Oppo sounds pretty decent.

So...Vince/MSB...is an HDMI passthru and audio extractor module in development?
You need a Trinnov Altitude - that will take the HDMI input and allow you to output digital (AES or S/PDIF) to your DAC. That’s what I use with my Nagra DAC. The Altitude adds a ton of other features that are basically required for world-class playback of multi-channel video or audio content.
 

Germanboxers

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Dec 14, 2015
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You need a Trinnov Altitude - that will take the HDMI input and allow you to output digital (AES or S/PDIF) to your DAC. That’s what I use with my Nagra DAC. The Altitude adds a ton of other features that are basically required for world-class playback of multi-channel video or audio content.
I had looked at that before. Unless it has since changed, a review in hometheaterhifi in Nov, 2021 shows it only has optical and coax digital outputs. It's a very expensive solution unless you want many channels of analog outputs. With an MSB Reference DAC, and dedicated to 2ch music/video, I can't see it being appreciably better than using an Oppo BR player to do the same. IN fact, even at the incredibly inflated prices for used Oppo BR players on ebay, I'd be better off buying several spare used Oppo's to ensure I have a functional way to cleanly leverage the MSB DAC for audio and video for the future.
Trinnov_Altitude16.JPG
 

Zeotrope

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Feb 12, 2021
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I had looked at that before. Unless it has since changed, a review in hometheaterhifi in Nov, 2021 shows it only has optical and coax digital outputs. It's a very expensive solution unless you want many channels of analog outputs. With an MSB Reference DAC, and dedicated to 2ch music/video, I can't see it being appreciably better than using an Oppo BR player to do the same. IN fact, even at the incredibly inflated prices for used Oppo BR players on ebay, I'd be better off buying several spare used Oppo's to ensure I have a functional way to cleanly leverage the MSB DAC for audio and video for the future.
View attachment 96346

Hi, the Altitude 32 has AES output as well.

It has a much better linear power supply than the Oppo (I own an Oppo player as well), but more importantly, you get a lot of variables to calibrate the audio signal (EQ, phase, timing, levels).

My system is focused on 2 channel too, but I have low cost in-wall surrounds (4 channels). There is no need for a centre channel. It’s great for multi-channel movies.

What many don’t realize is that more speakers are worse than fewer speakers. Whenever I see these home theatres in small rooms with 10+ channels, I cringe. They would have much better sound if they put 95% of their audio budget into the main channels and added 2 rear and 1-2 overhead speakers. But that’s another topic…

In your case, if you never listen to or watch more than 2 channel content, than I suppose the Trinnov is overkill.
 

CKKeung

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Jun 18, 2011
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I attended the Hong Kong Hi-end Audio Visual Show 2022 just now.

IMG_20220807_141501.jpg

The room of Pacific Audio, the HK dealer of MSB was very good.
Great dynamics and extremely musical.
The 202 stereo poweramp is really something!

IMG_20220806_142111.jpg

IMG_20220806_142249.jpg

However it's a bit disappointing that MSB doesn't have a functional Digital Director to demo at the Show.

The HK dealer only received the chassis of the Premier Digital Director.
IMG_20220806_142135.jpg
IMG_20220806_142212.jpg

I very much hope that the manufacture of Digital Directors can be faster.
:rolleyes:
 
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MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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...I was told August, but they seem to have "softened" on that timeframe in more recent conversations at the dealer.
 

RdW

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Apr 8, 2018
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Actually, wondering if the AES/EBU should also be moved to the DR, and if such a DR also improves the SQ of this AES/EBU digital connection. I have a N20 connected to u my Discrete DAC and have, to my ears, the best result with AES/EBU (Shunyata Omega). The USB is also connected for the higher resolutions files, if I choose such a file might be better sounding through USB.
 

Easy Gliders

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Oct 22, 2021
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Actually, wondering if the AES/EBU should also be moved to the DR, and if such a DR also improves the SQ of this AES/EBU digital connection. I have a N20 connected to u my Discrete DAC and have, to my ears, the best result with AES/EBU (Shunyata Omega). The USB is also connected for the higher resolutions files, if I choose such a file might be better sounding through USB.
According to the MSB's Digital Director information, all the inputs that were previously installed on the MSB DAC should be moved to the DD, including the AES and Pro USB-ISL inputs. Are you using the Pro USB or Quad USB module?
 

MarkusBarkus

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...from the pics I have seen, it looks to me that if you are already running the ProISL/USB solution, the module you have is redundant, as the fiber cable can be seen to input directly into the DD. That is, the module that plugs into the dac currently.

You would still need the small external (5v) converter for USB=>Fiber (then fiber into "hardwired" SFP in DD).

If the above is correct, the topic of a redundant module has not been mentioned, that I recall.

So, existing power base continues to power your dac. DD has its own internal power supply, so you'll need a cable there.

DD "Super Computer" does the crunching and outputs basic info via optical connection to dac. Dac does the dac thing and outputs to your pre/amp per existing.

That's how it looks to me. It had been mentioned (to me) that all of the DD modules were the same, except casework, but the content on the site differentiates between a linear and SM ps by model hierarchy, which makes more sense to me.

Anxiously awaiting more info from MSB honchos...and a demo!
 
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Easy Gliders

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Oct 22, 2021
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Based on the info Vince posted when you purchase a Digital Director you get a ProISL Input module for the DAC.

  • Complete source isolation from the DAC engine
    • One Pro ISL Input module and Control Link Module included to connect with existing DACs.
    • Two-way communication shares DAC display, controls, and remote functions.
As @bryans posted above the info from Vince that a Digital Director will come with a ProISL input module and Control Link module for plugging into the DAC. The Digital Director already has the "hard-wired" ProISL output and Control Link (Toslink) for connecting to the DAC's ProISL and Control Link. Please see in the attached picture the "hard-wired" ProISL output on the DD.
Screenshot_20220807-184330_Outlook.jpg
 
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