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Musical Fidelity V90-DAC - New 32-bit DAC with USB, optical and coax

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I think this is the press release below. V90-DAC will sell for 199£ and seems to be replacing V-DAC II. Available in July 2013.
 
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Introduction
Everybody knows that high performance, high end components have high prices. We asked ourselves, ‘Why are these pieces of equipment so expensive?’ To answer the question, we analysed a number of products to see what proportion of the cost was in electronics, front panels and general packaging.
 
Most high end products, and DACs in particular, have, at the most, five per cent of their cost in the electronic components that define the performance. In our view, manufacturers have a duty to give their customers value for money – and putting just five per cent of the product cost is not acceptable.
 
Most high end products offer little more than glamorous (or not) packaging, with the same stuff inside.
 
We feel that it is wrong for a manufacturer to charge vast prices for products that offer expensive boxes of air (most of it hot!) and almost nothing extra in performance. It is this fervent belief that has driven the development of the V90-DAC.
 
The V90-DAC
At the heart of the V90-DAC are state-of-the-art DACs and filters of the same types used in expensive products. These components define the performance potential. The purpose of every other part of the DAC is to extract the maximum performance (and from our point of view, cost as little as possible) from these state-of-the-art components.
 
The V90-DAC is small and compact. This means that it uses less metal and thus saves freight and packaging costs. Its small case houses a small printed circuit board (pcb), saving plenty of cost.
 
The amount of componentry on the V90-DAC’s pcb is no different to the heart of any state-of-the-art DAC. It is small because we do not spread the components out to fill up an unnecessarily large pcb area.
 
V90-DAC Inputs      
The V90-DAC has inputs for coax, 2 x optical and USB (24bit 96kHz Asynchronous). It will accept inputs up to 24-bits and 192kHz. As a result, the V90-DAC can be used with a vast variety of digital sources. All inputs are upsampled to 192kHz.
 
Technical Performance
The technical performance of the V90-DAC is on a par with any other DAC at any price. Jitter is about 12pps, s/n ratio is -116dB (‘A’ weighted), linearity is +0.2dB at -116dB, stereo separation is -104dB at 1kHz, frequency response is ruler flat and distortion is 0.00025% at 1kHz and 0.0003% at 20kHz.
 
These technical figures are state-of-the-art. They demonstrate that our implementation is almost perfect. This ensures completely neutral and accurate digital-to-analog conversion of any digital input.
 
Build Quality
The V90-DAC has beautiful looks and has excellent build quality.  The front panel and cover are custom made fine line extrusions.  The finish is crystal bead shot blast, fine texture moonstone.  The overall fit and finish gives the impression of an expensive high-end product.
 
Taken as a whole the V90-DAC gives cutting edge technical performance in a beautiful high quality package.
 
And the price is astonishing
Despite its high value electronics, excellent build quality and superlative performance the V90-DAC is modestly priced. Some manufacturers charge many thousands of pounds for such performance, but not Musical Fidelity. The V90-DAC will retail in the UK for about £199.
 
The V90-DAC is rather like an F1 racing car. There is no unnecessary flab, no excess packaging, no excess anything, anywhere. It is just pure, unadulterated, state-of-the-art performance.
 

 

 

 

 

 

----------------

 
Later on we will see additional products in the V90 series. 
- V90-LPS Phonostage in August
- V90-PWR which is a 20W amp in November
- V90-BLU Bluetooth interface in November
post #2 of 24
32 bit on the box, but no mention of it in the write up? USB should be 24/192 to be class leading these days.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 24

Not a bad thing, especially when you on budget, would be interesting to read some about the performance.

 

THX

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
post #6 of 24

It seems like a very nice DAC. I'll definitely keep an eye on this. Good review btw.

post #7 of 24

I don't think highly of Ken Rockwell, especially because he literally knows nothing about cameras. Anyway, are there pictures of the innards floating around yet?

post #8 of 24

Thanks for the link, looks like a very nice DAC with MSRP EUR 275 only, make it very obtainable, especially as second system in the office or at home. Hopefully, we will read more reviews soon, just wonder how it will complete against say Metrum Octave II with its USB performance, or in general, as it is also Asynchronous USB, which is very good.

 

THX

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
V90 got 5/5 Stars in latest issue of Hi-Fi choice.
post #10 of 24
How does this compare to the V-Dac II?
post #11 of 24

Looks interesting.

 

OT, but how important are balanced outputs?


Edited by dclaz - 9/21/13 at 12:32am
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Most high end products, and DACs in particular, have, at the most, five per cent of their cost in the electronic components that define the performance. In our view, manufacturers have a duty to give their customers value for money – and putting just five per cent of the product cost is not acceptable.
 
Most high end products offer little more than glamorous (or not) packaging, with the same stuff inside.
 
We feel that it is wrong for a manufacturer to charge vast prices for products that offer expensive boxes of air (most of it hot!) and almost nothing extra in performance. It is this fervent belief that has driven the development of the V90-DAC.

 

I think this is absolutely hilarious coming from Musical Fidelity. A company who built their reputation in part on the gorgeously machined metal enclosures they designed for their products. Just look at their Tri-Vista range, for example. Hard to believe that a considerable part of the costs of the products didn't go into manufacturing those enclosures.

 

Still, interesting to see that they have 'seen the error of their ways', or, more likely, simply decided on a different business model.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by reiserFS View Post
 

I don't think highly of Ken Rockwell, especially because he literally knows nothing about cameras. Anyway, are there pictures of the innards floating around yet?

 

It was at least interesting to read that it measures well (on the whole). As to his opinions on the sound (or the sound of any DAC), I guess the objective thing would be to say that, just like people expecting to hear differences between dacs will hear differences, people expecting not to hear differences won't hear them. :wink_face:

 

Here are some pictures of the innards from this Dutch review:

 

 

 

The conclusion of the Dutch review reads:

 

Quote:
Musical Fidelity's V90 is a fine little DAC. The sound isn't very exciting, but it's a versatile, honest and well-built product. And that goes both for the outside and the parts within. (On the 32-bit part: although the DA chip is 32 bit, the rest of the DAC is actually 24 bit.) But the main thing is, it plays well. People looking for something that's actually exciting in sound and imaging should try the Micromega MyDac. That DAC offers a lot more in those areas.

Edited by Drosera - 9/21/13 at 5:53am
post #14 of 24

doesn't really matter that the 'rest' of the DAC is 24 bit right? What 32 source/media is there?

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dclaz View Post
 

doesn't really matter that the 'rest' of the DAC is 24 bit right? What 32 source/media is there?

 

I agree. But when MF says:  "The heart of the V90-DAC is its 32 bit DAC circuit." and advertise it as a 32 bit DAC, it could be seen as misleading that they neglect to tell you that you can't actually feed it those 32bits.

 

Personally, I don't care, all my music is 16 bit and I don't see that changing anytime in the near future.

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