Musician Audio Pegasus

General Information

Official Head-Fi Thread

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Technical highlights
  • Proprietary R2R + DSD structure
  • Really balanced 24BIT R2R + 6BIT DSD (32-step FIR filter)
  • Low noise power supply
  • FIFO buffer
  • Digital signal processing via FPGA
  • DSD1024, PCM1536 support USB and I2S input (Audio source must be compatible with the machine’s interface)
  • Proprietary USB audio solution through MCU based on STM32F446 advanced AMR
  • Thesycon USB driver licensed for Windows platform
  • No driver required on Mac and Linux
DSD
  • All inputs support DSD64-DoP
  • DSD1024 only support USB input
PCM
  • All inputs support 24bits / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192KHz
  • 1536kHz for USB and I2S input
Sampling method
  • Original sampling rate / Sample rate exceeded
Digital input
  • Coaxial * 1, via RCA
  • Optical fiber * 1
  • USB * 1
  • AES / EBU * 1
  • I2S via HDMI LVDS * 1
Analog output
  • RCA is 2.2Vrms,625Ω
  • XLR is 4.4Vrms,1250Ω
Technical Parameters
  • Frequency response: 10Hz ~ 60KHz
  • Total harmonic distortion plus noise: 0.002%
  • Signal to noise ratio: 123dB (A-weighted)
  • Resistance accuracy: 0.005%
  • Dynamic range:> 120dB
  • AC power requirements: 110-240V voltage, 50/60Hz (Global voltage)
  • Power consumption: ≤20W
  • Dimensions: 280 x 250 x 50 mm
  • Package size: 375 x 330 x 115 mm
  • Package Content: DAC only. No power cord and remote control
  • Weight: 3.9 Kg
  • Color: Silver / Black
Product Website
Drivers

Latest reviews

antdroid

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Natural engaging sound
Has option of NOS and OS modes
Bitrates up to PCM1536 and DSD1024
High quality build
Cons: Lacks remote control
Interesting 3-legged design may bother some
Not the most layered/textured DAC around
Not as inciteful in attack as others (this is a preference thing)



The Pegasus is an R-2R Ladder Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) made by Chinese brand Musician. They are a new brand, which some have lumped with Denafrips, but Musician has their own expanding lineup of DACs, amplifiers, and streamers now. The Pegasus was their first product and one I purchased recently at their retail price of $1099 USD.

The Musician Pegasus uses a resistive ladder design instead of typical DAC chips that are found in many popular DACs out there that are normally using ICs from ESS, AKM, Cirrus-Logic, or Texas Instruments/Burr-Brown. This much more complex design requires matching many, many resistors and soldering each onto an intricate circuit board to create the conversion. Many of these DACs can be quite expensive, with some of the flagship products costing well over $10 to $20,000 USD.

In the case of the Pegasus, it is on the lower end of the R-2R market place as it stands today, though many may see that its still priced higher than many traditional DACs from Topping, SMSL, or the rest. The Pegasus does not cheap out on design choices or input/output.

The machined aluminum chassis is very well built and feels very premium with a unique 3-legged foot design and interesting bevels. The back of the unit has a variety of inputs and outputs. It'll output both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR, while taking in USB, Toslink Optical, Digital Coax, and the HDMI-based I2S. In both USB and I2S formats, the Musician Pegasus can take in sample rates of up to 1.536KHz, which is a whopping 32X sample rate, or two to four times more than most DACs on the market. It'll also transcode DSD format as well.





The high sample rate plus the "Non over-sampling", or "NOS", button makes a nice combination for users like me who rely on the third party up-sampling software, HQ Player, to do a lot of the DAC up-sampling, filtering and noise-shaping dirty work. In this case, I was able to up-sample to 32X without a hitch using Sinc-L filter, and I found the results quite pleasant.

On the hardware side, I really wished that Musician had included a remote control feature, and that all inputs were active when on. Each input is disabled when you change to a new input, and without the remote feature, it does require getting up and manually pressing the input button on the front of the device. Not a huge deal for some, but those who use this in a living room set-up or away from your seat of choice, it can be cumbersome if you use a variety of sources.




Sound Impressions​


At the time of purchase, I had been primarily using the Chord Qutest DAC in my main headphones listening station paired with the Bakoon AMP-13R headphone amplifier, and Hifiman Susvara headphones. I also have a Wyrd 4 Sound USB Recovery regenerator in-between the Roon Server PC and the DAC. I also use a variety of other gear such as the Sennheiser HD600 and HD800S, but the majority of my listening time comes with the Susvara.

I haven't had an R-2R DAC sitting in my home before, and the few times I've heard them were at meet-ups. I have owned the Schiit Bifrost 2 previously, which is also a multi-bit DAC, but uses a chip-based implementation and not an R-2R Ladder. I had heard about R-2R's warmer and more natural tuning, so I had some expectations coming in.

Surprisingly, I found the Pegasus to have a very neutral sound signature that had a slightly above neutral low end warmth and a sweet and smooth treble, though slightly rolled-off in NOS mode (without HQ Player) and less so on standard over-sampling mode. This was mostly in comparison with the Qutest, which I found to be very neutral, incisive, but not analytical.

If I were to really dig into the weeds, I'd say that the Qutest takes transients with a slightly edgier attack, while the Pegasus is more rounded, with a smoother finish. The Qutest excites with detail because of this, while the Pegasus still has all the detail but transitions gentler.

Without HQ Player, I did find the Qutest had a bit more depth, maybe an extra layer of detail. When I added HQ Player to my chain and upsampled to 1.536KHz to a NOS-enabled Pegasus, it really shined. The HQ Player's up-sampling, filtering, and noise shaping scheme added a noticeable rise in resolution, depth, and a slightly added mass to many of my tracks that really gave the Pegasus an even more natural and refined sound.

In my combination of headphones, amplifier, HQ Player/Roon settings, and DAC inputs, I decided to keep the Musician Pegasus in my system. It gave a different, but more natural and softer sound to my Susvara than the Qutest and I actually ended up appreciating that over the faster and edgier sound of the Qutest.

This review was a copied over from: https://www.audiodiscourse.com/2021/11/musician-pegasus-r2r-dac-impressions.html
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Comments

]eep

1000+ Head-Fier
just for the record: this is an almost exact copy of the Denafrips Ares II at a higher price.
The differences are
- the more elaborate case (nice but costly),
- different kind of inputs (this could be usefull if you need just that different input)
and what I consider negatives:
- the powered (active) output stage (more dynamic but less refined and natural)
- and the simplified power input capacitance (they claim 2 big caps are better but it's just cheaper to make than the large array of fast small caps which is Denafrips signature solution).

There are almost no comparisons around which is rather strange. It seems like all reviews are made under NDA and follow the press release to the letter. Personally I really don't like this marketing strategy. Just put a few side by side and you will see. There is one YouTube video that does acknowledge the big elephant in the room and it isn't favorable to the Musician Pegasus. Looking at the inside with my experience in R2R dacs it is very probably the honest truth.

Both are very fine units. The Ares is the better one IMO but can sound rounded and layd back if you are used to pumped up overly (artificially) detailed sigma delta dacs. The Pegasus is a big step towards more 'analogish' sound but loses fine detail and ambiance because of the added electronics in the output stage.

Do the research and make your own conclusion.
 

LowBeat

New Head-Fier
just for the record: this is an almost exact copy of the Denafrips Ares II at a higher price.
The differences are
- the more elaborate case (nice but costly),
- different kind of inputs (this could be usefull if you need just that different input)
and what I consider negatives:
- the powered (active) output stage (more dynamic but less refined and natural)
- and the simplified power input capacitance (they claim 2 big caps are better but it's just cheaper to make than the large array of fast small caps which is Denafrips signature solution).

There are almost no comparisons around which is rather strange. It seems like all reviews are made under NDA and follow the press release to the letter. Personally I really don't like this marketing strategy. Just put a few side by side and you will see. There is one YouTube video that does acknowledge the big elephant in the room and it isn't favorable to the Musician Pegasus. Looking at the inside with my experience in R2R dacs it is very probably the honest truth.

Both are very fine units. The Ares is the better one IMO but can sound rounded and layd back if you are used to pumped up overly (artificially) detailed sigma delta dacs. The Pegasus is a big step towards more 'analogish' sound but loses fine detail and ambiance because of the added electronics in the output stage.

Do the research and make your own conclusion.

No one has ask you
 

ceverson70

New Head-Fier
just for the record: this is an almost exact copy of the Denafrips Ares II at a higher price.
The differences are
- the more elaborate case (nice but costly),
- different kind of inputs (this could be usefull if you need just that different input)
and what I consider negatives:
- the powered (active) output stage (more dynamic but less refined and natural)
- and the simplified power input capacitance (they claim 2 big caps are better but it's just cheaper to make than the large array of fast small caps which is Denafrips signature solution).

There are almost no comparisons around which is rather strange. It seems like all reviews are made under NDA and follow the press release to the letter. Personally I really don't like this marketing strategy. Just put a few side by side and you will see. There is one YouTube video that does acknowledge the big elephant in the room and it isn't favorable to the Musician Pegasus. Looking at the inside with my experience in R2R dacs it is very probably the honest truth.

Both are very fine units. The Ares is the better one IMO but can sound rounded and layd back if you are used to pumped up overly (artificially) detailed sigma delta dacs. The Pegasus is a big step towards more 'analogish' sound but loses fine detail and ambiance because of the added electronics in the output stage.

Do the research and make your own conclusion.
Denafrap ares is missing an input so they aren’t the same
 

]eep

1000+ Head-Fier
No one has ask you
Since when is it forbidden to supply some extra information on a forum so you can widen your scope? Or is narrow mindedness the norm these days? I would really prefer more transparency in communication and marketing (~= profesional lying) from Musician Audio.

As an addition to what I wrote; Iwii reviews (whom I regard highly) just did a review of the Pegasus and he was very positive about it. He already sold his Ares but... he is only the second one who did mention the Ares in a review! And unlike Jay's iyagi (the first one) he liked the Pegasus better. Just have a look on YouTube (I assume y'all can find it yourselves). And make your own conclusions.

I remember a news channel that carries the slogan: "question more". If you know which one it is then you know what happens to free speech... 🤔
 
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