Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Dedicated Source Components › DACs › Musiland Monitor 01 US

Musiland Monitor 01 US

Posted

Pros: USB support for up to 24-bit/192 kHz audio; Great build quality; Compact size

Cons: Immature and somewhat cryptic sofware driver

I purchased the Musiland Monitor 01 US from a USA re-seller on Ebay for around $80 shipped.  I have used the 01 US now for about a month and I thought that I would provide a brief review for those of you who are curious about a reasonable USB DAC that handles up to 24/192 audio.

 

The 01 US is a small portable DAC that is housed in an attractive curved gray metal enclosure with quality connectors.  A single USB connector serves as the input while standard RCA analog phono jacks, a 1/8" stereo headphone mini-jack and an optical TOSLINK connector are the output options.  The unit is powered by the PC via the USB connection.

 

The 01 US headphone output is controlled by your PC and player client (I am using Foobar 2000).  The output has adequate power to drive my Beyer DT880s, although I prefer using the RCA high-level outputs to drive my various headphone amps.  Most of my source library material consists of 44.1 FLAC files with some hi-res 24/96 and 24/192 FLAC files obtained from various HD music sites.

 

I have spent quite a bit of time listening with the DT880s and with my slightly modified JVC HA-RX700s (I tweak the high freq response of the RX7000s using Foobar's equalizer). 

 

In short, this little gem delivers.  With 44.1 FLAC files, the 01 US presents a huge soundstage with excellent depth.  Imaging is rock-solid and individual instruments are nicely separated.  Detail abounds and inner resolution is superb.  But, it's the hi-res FLAC files that are the icing on the cake here - they sound wonderful with lovely, shimmering highs and deep, deep lows - analog sounding actually - definitely a step beyond my Esound and Harman Kardon CD players and perhaps even my Clearaudio Emotion turntable.

 

The Musiland driver client is not very sophisticated, however, and in fact is sort of the weak link in the package - the software has crashed several times.  I would suggest keeping the SR Control setting on Auto in the Advance tab.  I played with that setting and it ended-up causing the driver to get out of sync with different res files - the result was dropouts and it took me awhile to realize that I needed to re-boot the unit and the driver software.  So, if you have a 01 US and the sound changes from perfect to well, not so perfect, re-boot the unit and the driver software (and possibly your client), before you start messing with anything else on your PC.  Also, the driver (and accompanying documentation) is somewhat cryptic as the Chinese to English implementation is not exactly 100% intuitive.

 

Nothing's perfect in this world - the driver software is clearly a work in progress, but the Musiland 01 US is a compelling and amazing bargain for $80.

Posted

Pros: cheap

Cons: strange name

i second everything the first reviewer said . this is a great little dac and a super cheap way to get high end sound to your headphones straight from your computer's usb port without any other hardware needed . this little device has many uses and is practically indestructible . i like the fact that it has a toslink optical digital output which isolates the noisy computer interference from my amp . but i also plug my cans directly into the mus mon 01's phone jack and i hear zero background noise . or you can plug your powered speakers into the rca jacks . plus it resolves up to 24/192 - all this for 80 bucks . i have had mine for more than a year now and the drivers have been upgraded four times -- so be sure to check the musiland home page and get the very latest drivers . it may be a tad difficult finding the latest musiland web page because they are not very clear with their english translations - but keep at it !

Posted

(from a discussion thread). 
UPDATE on the Musiland 01 USD (2012 edition)

I just got the usb converter that I settled on and as promised, here are my impressions:

Setup was easy. I just installed the driver that came along with it and after waiting 10sec upon plugging it in it automaticly takes priority as primary sound driver in WIN7. 

I also had to change my output setting in winamp. The only downside so far is that other sound sources (such as youtube) sometimes start without sound (and then I have to wait 10sec), It's as if the first time you use it for a new source, you have to wait for 10sec (the browser being a source). Maybe this can be fixed with settings.

Overall: Easy to use. My old (crappy) USB converter made my DAC lock on and of all the time, but this on stays locked without any effort on my behalf. And yes, 32bit is automaticly selected - no problem. I played 24bit flac and also no problem.


Sound quality

It is a VERY dramatic increase in SQ over my old (10$) USB converter. It is similar to upgrading a DAC I would say. Perhaps it's not quite as big an upgrade as going from Dacmagic-> Benchmark DAC1 with crap usb converter, but it's up there (I don't quite remember acutally, so I couldn't be sure).

I'd describe the upgrade as: Cleaner sound, voices sound much more real, more detail. I didn't notice a change in sound signature - only less distorition.

I can't compare it to any decent usb converter, but it still gets my recommendation for being cheap, easy to use (with an otherwise troubling source), and for being a SUBSTANTIAL improvement over a 10$ usb converter for only 55$. 

Musiland Monitor 01 US
Description:

Compact 24-Bit 192 kHz USB DAC with headphone amp. Volume is controlled by the PC or client software and the unit is powered by the USB port on your PC. The Monitor 01 US has 1 USB input and optical, RCA analog and a 1/8” headphone output.

Details:
DetailValue
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Dedicated Source Components › DACs › Musiland Monitor 01 US