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Musical Fidelity M1 SDAC vs Other ideas

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I'm pretty new to the dedicated headphone amp world, with a higher end-two channel main speaker system being my main focus.   So i am learning.

 

Trying to learn more about the M1 SDAC, and cannot determine with certainty if the unit does digital volume attenuation, or analog.     Pulling down the manual, I see unit has a remote...which I am looking for.   But no mention of the nature of the volume control.  My guess is digital.    If so, would a 32bit design with digital attenuation been too bad?      The Burson doesn't  have this key feature of remote..... since I will be mostly listening before bedtime about 30 ft away from AV bedroom rack.     I would like to keep the price <$1500 at the high end.  Ideas appreciated.

 

Any other ideas on the M1SDAC?  I know it is very new, and doesn't seem to be shipping yet in the US.     I tried the Emotiva XDA-2 and found the sound both weak in the bass, and hi-fi sounding in the midrange/high-end (only listened through headphones).   Maybe unfair because of price-point.        Through my limited experience I haven't been able to enjoy the sound much of any products that use IC op-amps in the output stages.   Not that it is impossible, and I am not closed to the idea.....but for my ears the sound is not musical with what I have tried in thepast.   I am not sure what the M1SDAC uses in this regard either -- discrete output stage?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 9

M1SDAC looks like an upgraded M1DAC and M1HPA combined into one unit?

 

I have M1HPA; great amp. While I've never owned M1DAC, I did own its younger brother - M-DAC II/V-PSU II in the past and the performance was very good as well, so I would guess the performance of M1SDAC should be quite good.

 

Now, being said that, here is a few things for you to consider. 

 

1. What headphones are you using? That should define what amp you should get, IMHO. 

 

2. M1SDAC is a combo unit. Sooner or later, you might find yourself wanting to upgrade either DAC or headphone amp, and then what? On a positive side, no need to buy some good quality interconnects.

 

3. Another idea for you.

My current system is Beyerdynamic T90/Beyerdynamic A1/Arcam rDAC. 

 

A1 outperforms M1HPA by a good margin (not that M1HPA is bad by any means though). With prices being much lover on A1 at this time, it is a steal, IMHO.

 

Arcam rDAC is a special case. For some time, I have been diligently trying to find any flaws in its sonic presentation or sound quality, and I could not. I just love this thing! I kept improving interconnects (currently I use AudioQuest Sydney RCAs) and SQ kept going up - there is just so much potential in this DAC. Also, rDAC has very stable async USB receiver.

post #3 of 9
This looks like an interesting unit. Has it been released?
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks NotAnAngel.....much appreciated........Still wondering what to get, and appreciate your input.   I like the single piece simplicity (and size), but just want the best value and sound per $$ -- while not sacrificing much sonic performance.

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by auee View Post

This looks like an interesting unit. Has it been released?

 

It looks like it is in US already; I just checked it and Audio Advisor has it in stock

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jt25741 View Post

Thanks NotAnAngel.....much appreciated........Still wondering what to get, and appreciate your input.   I like the single piece simplicity (and size), but just want the best value and sound per $$ -- while not sacrificing much sonic performance.

 

Totally with you; I like simplicity too. I recently bought XMOS-based Musical Fidelity V-LINK192 to upgrade my Arcam rDAC USB to 24/192 and I was extremely pleased with the results - a significant upgrade over rDAC's built-in USB. 

 

I would think that M1SDAC uses similar, if not the same 24/192 chip as well, and it that was the case, it would provide very good performance IMO.

 

Another advantage would be having no need to buy a good quality interconnects that can easily run another few hundred bucks. I upgraded AudioQuest Sydney RCA to Kimber Kable Hero and then to Cardas Quadlink 5-C and the performance has improved quite a bit (especially after replacing AQ Sydney RCA that I would not recommend at all, after hearing *any* of the Kimber Kable or Cardas interconnects).

post #6 of 9
post #7 of 9
Although more expensive, the Naim DAC V1 looks very interesting.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by auee View Post

Here is review from What HiFi, http://www.whathifi.com/review/musical-fidelity-m1-sdac

I usually find What HiFi reviews to be quite good and to correlate with my own experience. 

 

One slight deviation was with Musical Fidelity V-DAC II that they rated as 4 stars; I found it to be a very good performer nevertheless. When I tried to compare Arcam rDAC (rated as 5 stars by What HiFi, btw) and MF V-DAC II, I was hard pressed to tell any difference (maybe just a slightly different sound signature). 

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by auee View Post

Although more expensive, the Naim DAC V1 looks very interesting.

Naim V1 has a very dark background, superb dynamic but headphones matching is very crucial. And it is more expensive than both MF SDAC, or M1 DAC+HPA by a few hundred bucks. 


Edited by zackzack - 5/26/13 at 1:41am
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