MSB SELECT DAC

MSB SELECT DAC

The Best Sound We Can Make

  • Includes new and sometimes experimental features and parts
  • Includes eight of our new MSB Hybrid DAC modules
  • Includes our famous Galaxy Clock or optional new Femto 33 Clock
  • Includes 2 Input and 1 Output modules - others are available
  • Includes higher power rated connectors and cable
  • Includes a DUAL SELECT Power Base with the Isolation Base built-in (no transport supply)
  • Each Chassis 17.5" square x 2.7" thick (stack height 3.5"), 40 lbs (18 kg)
  • Includes a 10 year replacement warranty
  • Includes an upgrade guarantee for 10 years (you only pay the difference in price)
  • Fully burned in at MSB
  • Stock Colors are Matte Black with Gold trim or Matte White with Stainless Trim
  • Includes all new MSB preamp
  • Custom Color available (no charge but may requires up to 6 weeks lead time).

The SELECT DAC is more or less like a blend of the best of the Analog DAC and the best of the DAC V. It combines the Analog DAC construction, user interface and modularity with the DAC V's upgradability and refined sound taken to a whole new level. It offers the most life-like sound possible. It has a level of realism never heard before.

Both the DAC and Power Base are milled from a solid billet of aluminum in our own shop. Both inputs and outputs are modular and user replaceable. It features our new MSB Hybrid DAC modules, the amazing Galaxy clock, a whole new digital architecture, new volume technology and a new direct coupled output stage.

The select model started life as a fully loaded Diamond DAC IV in which all the options are included as well as an exciting 10 year warranty and upgrade guarantee. But that was just the beginning. Each month we added new improvements but quite frankly, ran out of room. We had plenty of great new ideas but the box was full. So we made the decision to start over with a new much bigger chassis, new architecture, new DAC modules, etc. The DAC V is the culmination of all we could do with that old form factor. It was time to start over for the SELECT.

The SELECT Program

The SELECT DAC is MSB's reference DAC for the future. It is all new and promises great potential for continued development and improvements. Right out of the box it exceeds dramatically all we have done to date, and it is still new and developing. But don't worry, you can upgrade as often as you want, so you will never be left behind. The SELECT model comes with a 10 year warranty and upgrade guarantee so as we make improvements, you can return your DAC and get the latest performance without having to worry about selling the old model and buying the new one. These upgrades are simply the difference in cost between what you paid for your DAC and the current SELECT DAC for the remaining years. Guaranteed, no questions asked. Upgrade as often as you like.

The other area we addressed with the new chassis was the sensitivity of the previous SELECT to environment. We attacked this problem at many levels and feel we have made great progress, and that we can expect excellent results in a wide range of listening environments.

What can I say about the sound?

The SELECT DAC has amazing resolution. In fact, for the first time ever we can just barely hear the quantization noise of a CD, a noise that disappears with 24 bit sources. It is still new and has not been heard in all situations but I can give you a hint at what you may expect.

We have blind A/B tested this new SELECT with the DAC V for Audiophiles and non-Audiophiles alike and the results were surprising. For the first time in all our years of testing, non-Audiophiles picked up on major improvements. Subjects who NEVER heard a difference in all the many tests we perform heard a clear improvement and were quite amazed. They primarily caught the greatly increased sound stage and clarity. These are not subtle improvements only for golden ears. These are changes that are noticeable by all.

"The MSB Select DAC's sonic rendition feels like waking from a lucid dream and experiencing the reality."    Matej Isak, Mono and Stereo, June 2016
"I heard the Select II for 10 minutes yesterday (as the customer wanted us to check it before it ships out). I am stunned at what it is doing and it brought a 10 foot smile as I was listening to music I was familiar with, but nothing sounded familiar. What you and your team at MSB have done is sheer magic. I applaud you all."    Sanjiv Chona, Audio Vision, December 2015

We have carried this DAC around the world and listened in all kinds of system, with horns, tubes and a great range of systems and in all cases, the fantastic clarity of this DAC was obvious. But Vince has found that the SELECT can even go further. He calls it the 'magic zone'. I investigated the 'magic zone' at the Newport Show.

Measurements

The clarity and the absence of any texture "between the notes", that "dark background" are all attributes ascribed to this DAC. Many say you cannot measure the differences you hear but I think you can if you can build a sensitive enough test system. We had to build a new test system just to measure the SELECT. Here are some results.

Here we have measured 5 DACs in the same system. (MSB Measurement Systems) The first is a typical high-end DAC which uses a commercial Delta Sigma DAC chip. It is not the best of the best but very much average. Next we purchased and measured our closest competition, a well respected, popular discrete delta sigma DAC with a great reputation. Then we measured our three DAC families. Finally we measured nothing to assess the capability of our measurement system.

Just looking at the level of noise gives you a clear idea of what is going on. Remember that the dB scale is a logarithmic scale so each 6 dB is equal to a doubling of the actual level! Since we are always talking about how many bits of resolution music has in different formats, an interesting way to look at DAC performance is to evaluate the noise and distortion when playing a simple test tone and calculate the effective number of bits the DACs performance is equivalent to.

Up until now, only the Diamond DAC V produced a full 24 bit resolution on the output of the DAC. The SELECT DAC II creates 4 more bits! This is unprecedented. Remember, we are not talking about a theoretical performance of a chip, but the overall performance of the DAC itself with all its parts - input, digital filtering, DAC conversion and output. Look it up for yourself. Nothing else even comes close!

Out of band noise is an interesting measurement. There is no agreement on its importance or role in the playback of music. We do know a few things. Audiophiles can hear the impact of sounds beyond their direct hearing. Is this some kind of sub-conscience sense or is the effect of the high frequency sound on the rest of the system or on objects around the listener? We also know that adding ultrasonic noise to an environment makes a point source sound like it is coming from all over. It gives a false sense of space. This is a useful technique but has no place in a high-end system, where we work hard to present the truth.

Simplicity and Performance

Both the DAC and Power Base are milled from a solid billet of aluminum in our own shop. All the circuit boards are assembled in-house. Both inputs and outputs are modular and user replaceable. We have created a huge easy to read low noise display. We have incorporated multiple power supplies (from our success with the UMT). We have added even more DAC resolution. The list goes on and on.

Select Power Base

The Select Power Base is quite remarkable. It contains two independent supplies. One for the digital and one for the analog. It also has a small stand-by supply to turn the system on and off remotely. The power base includes the same level of isolation and noise rejection as the MSB Isolation Base (including the ground connection to the Amplifier) and has much bigger transformers than any previous MSB power base. Each is in its own milled out pocket.

For the ultimate performance we have developed an even higher performance option. We have created a single supply of higher power, lower noise and faster devices. Two of these are used, one for the digital side and one for the analog side. The difference is clearly measured and easily heard.

"We just received the Select with 2 power supplies and listened.    It is amazing sound, 2 power supplies make super great sound!!!    I just wanted tell you our listening impression."    Toshio, Axiss Corporation, July 2016

SELECT DAC REGISTRATION