We are in the WBF Newsletter special for the Digital Director. Here is the same data set here:
The DAC reimagined
The Discrete, Premier, Reference and Select DACs have been acclaimed in reviews and audiophile forums for many years. Even now, their industry leading sound continues to make big impressions and shocking experienced audiophiles, new dealers and industry insiders. With the naturalness of the presentation, the concept of hunting for a particular “audiophile flavor” goes away. Natural music and the recorded space are clearly laid before us as intended. With the multiyear legacy of the current DACs, we are often asked when prospective buyers can expect a new DAC architecture from MSB. The answer is not relying on a new DAC, incurring huge upgrade costs, but empowering the existing MSB DAC models to their maximum potential with the Digital Director. With our future proof DAC designs, we realized the systems surrounding the conversion process are the weakest link and currently require the most attention. The Digital Director is the culmination of a three year project to augment and improve the Premier, Reference and Select DACs to a new level of performance. The Digital Director fulfills another of our long term commitments to allow our customers to retain the full value of their existing DACs by offering upgrades when new technologies are available. No need to sell your current DAC for a fraction of its value because there is a new model coming. The Digital Director will add many years to MSB’s current DAC lineup. This approach not only retains, but improves the pure performance from existing MSB DAC models by splitting the DAC into two separate components. The DAC chassis retains its extraordinary core D to A conversion engine while the Digital Director adds vastly superior digital filtering, physical isolation, and advanced optical electrical isolation from source and environmental noises.
To best explain, it is necessary to talk about MSB’s leading edge technologies in the existing DACs.
It is important to know that all ladder DACs are not created equal. MSB’s existing DAC modules are the culmination of 22 years of experience and evolution in ladder DAC concept and design. The DAC modules no longer resemble conventional R2R ladder DACs with the newest design featuring very proprietary topologies and performance goals. These ladder modules are capable of 6 MHz for PCM and 50 MHz for DSD! It is very doubtful these speeds will ever be needed by any format now or in the future. While these speeds were not a specific design goal, the capabilities are a result of the extraordinary precision at many levels within the ladder DAC design. The absolute resolution and noise floors available from these ladder DAC modules are better than what is needed for the best possible audio. They feature true aerospace precision.
Working in conjunction with the conversion ladders, our industry leading femto clock hardware was designed and created in-house from the ground up. Each clock module is actually two clock channels. One is 44.1 kHz and it’s multiples, the other is 48 kHz and it’s multiples. These dual femto clocks cover all formats and all sample rates required. MSB clocks produce true femtosecond accuracy. The Hybrid and Prime DACs combined with the ultra precision femto clocks create a core digital conversion engine able to convert any sample rate, format, or future formats that do not even exist yet! In summary, MSB’s current DAC models with their extraordinary ladder DAC/Femto clock core conversion engine will be at the leading edge for years to come.
The Digital Director
To improve upon the existing DACs, MSB has utilized newly designed semiconductors with massive increases to their processing potential. Preceding the core ladder/clock engine in the signal chain, the Digital Director design has taken the opportunity to offload the noisy high frequency processing into a separate chassis, fully isolated from the conversion process. With the advances in these processors, newly created digital filters that exceed our wildest dreams have more than eight times the resolution of our existing filters. While MSB is able to measure hardware performance down to extraordinary and vanishing levels of precision, digital filter creation will always be a bit of a black art. Luckily, we have more than 17 years experience writing digital filters which now have a stage to shine on. If this new vastly superior signal processing were the only improvement the Digital Director contributed it would be a very worthwhile addition. But there is more!
If a bit-perfect media player is used then the data from the first bit to the last bit of the song file is necessarily identical. Yes, bits are bits! Why do sources sound so different? The answer is electrical noise. Electrical noise can be powerful and intrusive. It is not necessarily an audible audio noise. Electrical noise generally plays havoc with DAC clocks, analog signal grounds, and other processes in any DAC or server. The Digital Director is designed to isolate this noise in an outboard chassis away from the DAC. With this design goal sources that we might consider to be lesser quality but are still bit-perfect are intended to be greatly improved. Indeed our best sources will also be greatly improved due to the superior isolation and greatly advanced signal processing of the Digital Director.
Input quality leveling
Input quality leveling is closely associated with source improvements by virtue of the same technologies. If the data is all the same then why do different inputs sound different? It is a similar answer. Jitter and noise that varies depending on the type of input such as Toslink, RCA, XLR, USB and Renderer connections vary in their ability to transmit the data along with noise and jitter. Using multiple approaches the new Digital Director design goal is to isolate the data sent by these inputs and ignore the jitter and noise further improving the performance between all digital input connections and raising the performance of those connections as never before.
Noise intrusion affects the DAC clocks, signal grounds and other processes. There can be significant sonic improvements when incoming noise is reduced. Noise can affect jitter anywhere in the digital chain. Zero jitter would mean the sample to sample data/clock pulses would be perfectly in time with zero variation in time between pulses. A creative solution to the problem is to have no audio master clocks in the Digital Director. One of the Director design goals is to isolate and read the data effectively isolating the data and ignoring the bombardment of noise from local ethernet modems, routers, switches, etc. The ethernet itself may be induced with Gigahertz frequencies from cell towers, TV and radio stations etc. Using MSB’s extraordinary Femtosecond clock in the DAC, the Digital Director is clocked by the Femto clock over the ProISL laser fiber optic system isolating the noise assuring very high precision clocking for all of the new Digital Director processes. This system yields extraordinarily low jitter which yields easily audible benefits.