To gain more detail out of MDAC, you could try these settings.
Filter: Optimum spectrum
D3E: unmodified (some prefered full supression but on my ipad as transport, unmodified has more dynamics)
Those with a Ipad, just upload your song in MP3 320mbps or lostless acc with camera connection kit and usb cable, you are ready to try out the MDAC.
MDAC mid will be fuller than CDQ due to its cross output stage (MDAC)
I am in the same boat. I've been researching and wanting to buy a DAC for over 2 years ! Other "toys" kept getting in the way of the DAC, but now is the right time for me and I don't really want to wait until the end of the year or longer to see what the Schiit statement will be about. The Anedio D2 is very high on my list of wants, but the MDAC is cheaper and said to be quite good indeed.
Last Friday I went in to a local shop and listened to the Audiolab 8200CD and 8200DQ to get a feel for the sound of ESS. Both those units apparently have the same DAC chips, but the MDAC is supposed to be "tweaked" to sound better, that's what I was told anyways. I compared both units agains each other, against a new TEAC DAC and the WeissD2 unit.
Bottom line, the Audiolab gear sounds very nice to me and in line with what others have said ie: detailed, excellent sound stage both in width and depth, excellent bass, great dynamics etc..I did however find the vocals somewhat recessed and overall mids slightly dark, but still very enjoyable. Of note is that with different cables, they sounded different from each other, but with the same cables they sounded exactly the same.
The WeissD2 was remarkable in that it reached deeper and pulled up more detail, more information, it extracted every bit of sound that was there. It was a little lighter in Bass than the AL units, but I sitll preferred the overall sound of the Weiss, I just don't have the budget for it !
The TEAC was decent for the price, but no where near the same SQ as the AL and obviously not even close to the WeissD2. But on a thight budget, it's woth a listen with other DACs in same price point.
One issue I have with the MDAC is availability !.. it's currently back ordered until mid May possibly longer.. and because they sell out even before they are in stock, there is no demo on the shelf to listen to. Like he told me, they are all sold before they even reach the store..so no need to have one out on the shelf at this point.
P.S has anyone seen any internal pictures of the MDAC ? I can't find any.. and it would be nice to see the insides..