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Universal Media Transport

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MSB Technology Leadership

MSB has lead the industry for years with the perfection of new playback technologies. We produced the first high-end CD player using Ladder DAC technology in the 1980s. Then the first AC3 player and first THX approved laser disc player in the 90s. Our XPORT upgrade finally gave access to SACD and high resolution music on discs and our groundbreaking iLink digital iPod system was introduced in 2007. Now the MSB Universal Media Transport is an amazing player for almost any media. It sends perfected, jitter-free digital audio data from its solid state memory to any Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC).

How we did it!

We started out by looking for the very best disc reading technology available. There is just no competition to the core technology of the OPPO BDP-93. This amazing player is loaded with features and plays a mind boggling range of media.

The Drive - Lets start with the drive. MSB makes use of the OPPO Blu Ray drive without modification. Drives are mechanical and will fail in time. Using a stock OPPO drive makes replacement quick, easy and inexpensive. This assures that this keystone of your system will not be put out of commission for lack of a replacement drive.

The Video - Video has become synonymous with formats, decoding, and security. Even for a 2 channel audio system, video is required to browse music files and select formats. Video is constantly changing and so we wanted a way to keep our video up to date. Again there was a major advantage to using the superb OPPO video processing without modification. Firmware updates are released often and can be instantly installed because we have made no superficial modifications to customize the OPPO process (like replacing the OPPO logo with an MSB logo on the OSD). With stock OPPO firmware you have all the advantages of the latest updates and OPPOs customer support. So we took the OPPO video processing and perfectly integrated it with our long proven audio technology and low noise power supply to create the ultimate transport.

The Audio - At this point we leave the OPPO behind and the transport becomes all MSB. We start out by processing the raw audio and storing it in memory. Some formats such as SACD require very processor intensive decimation, which is accomplished with proprietary MSB software with stellar results. Others just need to be read bit-perfect, without resampling or watermarking. The stored musical information is then played back via two paths. First, it is output on the S/PDIF digital outputs. As PCM is limited to 24 bits, formats over 24 bits are processed and the best quality 24 bit signal is provided. These PCM outputs can be attached to any DAC. Four digital outputs are provided in every possible connector type. Alternatively, full resolution jitter-free outputs are provided via the Pro I2S Input Option , the proprietary MSB connection method between all our products. This output can be connected to any MSB DAC with the upgrade installed with perfect timing, no noisy ground connection and extremely low jitter. Just as with our iLink transport technology, there is no connection between the input and the output of the transport. Unlike a traditional CD transport, you are never listening directly to the data from the optical disc. Instead the data is pulled from the media source, stored, rebuilt and clocked back out using a highly stable clock.

The DSD option - MSB offers a very special mode for the UMT. By installing special DSD mode firmware, native DSD will be output when a SACD is played. This DSD stream can be connected to a DSD ready DAC like the MSB DAC IV or can be saved on your computer to add to your playlist.

The Power Supply - The Universal Media Transport uses an external DC power supply. That keeps all the ugly byproducts of AC power and its conversion away from the important clocks and timing of the audio transport. The DC is again filtered and regulated within the transport providing ultra-clean power for each part of the circuits.

The Package - As usual with MSB products, it is simple to use, without unnecessarily fancy menus and gimmicky features and provides solid accurate playback in a great looking package. The Platinum Family design is simple and elegant. It has much needed integral heat sinks - video processing is a hot business. It also utilizes our amazing MSB Isorack Damping Feet which provide fantastic mechanical damping and vibration control.

The Results

The results are remarkable. Based on comparisons with any standard technology SACD, high res music or computer based system, the Universal Media Transport produces remarkably better sound quality for any listener on any system. This transport unlocks all the musical magic stored on your media sources and hidden from you up until now.

In short, the MSB Universal Media Transport is a unique integration of the best of the best. Its most exciting feature is the ability to read such an amazing range of media sources, without the use of a computer. Not just common formats, but a whole range of formats, ALL output digitally at FULL resolution! NO other transport in the world does this!

Here are all the media types you can play!

USB Memory Stick

Music files in almost any format can be played bit-perfect directly from a USB memory device.

External HDD

Music files up to 192 kHz in almost any format can be played bit-perfect directly from an external hard drive either via USB or eSata interface.

Network Streamer

Music files up to 192 kHz in almost any format can be played bit-perfect directly from any computer on your network. This is an amazing way to access music bit-perfect without having to worry about operating systems, applications or system settings.

All kinds of discs

SACD, DVD Audio, CD, Data Files on DVD or Blu-ray. All will play on this universal player. Two channel or multi-channel discs will play. Dolby Digital HD and DTS HD Music discs will play as well as all the movie formats.

About Multi-channel and Play Modes

This transport is designed for 2 channel playback. (A multi-channel product is under development). In this stereo version, our most intensive processing and highest quality sound is presented on the front two channels. There three operating modes available as selected by a toggle switch on the rear panel:

  • Switch UP - Audio Mode = The first mode is for use with the MSB DAC. It provides a bit-perfect output with no upsampling or intersample harshness correction as this is accomplished within our DAC. It is the best quality audio but you may have lip sync issues if you watch video sources.
  • Switch MIDDLE - Movie Mode = Same as Audio Mode but DVD has reduced delay and reduced sound quality. Also for use with MSB DAC.
  • Switch DOWN - Hi-Res Video Mode = All media has reduced delay and reduced sound quality for best lip sync matching. We do this by disabling the 'memory player' feature. This buffering causes a delay and would put the audio out of sync with the video. The sound quality is not as good in this mode, although still excellent.

Here is some extra information on Lip Sync Issues . For those users with a home theater system sharing the same room with their audio system, standard digital surround sound outputs are also provided. There are a number of very effective ways to integrate this product and the DAC IV family into high-end home theater systems.

Just what kind of files can be played?

Network Streaming - Goodbye Server

The problem with using a computer to play music can be summed up with the word software. Almost every application and many parts of the operating system have made it their business to get involved with deciding how audio files will be played. They adjust levels, give you a soft start and stop, do some equalization and particularly like to resample the audio to another sample rate.

No matter how much care is made in setting up the computer, software upgrades and new applications being installed will change it and you will have to go through the whole learning curve again.

We at MSB have seen many "high-end" music serving systems put together by customers and dealers alike, and literally 100% of those systems where not bit-perfect, and were not doing what the user thought they were doing.

The solution to this thorny problem is Network Streaming. For those who have not run across products like the Logitech Squeezebox, this class of product is a physical music player, that rather than storing any music onboard, finds music files on other computers and plays them. And plays them the way the streamer is set up to play them regardless of how the host computer is set up.

You can see the advantages immediately.

  • You will never outgrow the storage space of the streamer. More computers and more drives can be added anytime.
  • The quality of the music played is not dependent in any way on the quality of the source computer.
  • Computers can be added to your network and removed anytime without effecting your ability to listen.
  • Music can be stored on Apple and PC computers without issue.
  • All music will be played bit-perfect every time. Thats the big one.
  • You do not have to have a computer in your listening room. In fact your music can be stored on many computers anywhere you happen to have computers.
  • Nothing related to computers is easy to set up, but a streamer is much easier to set up than a music server.

For you technical users, here are the details. The UMT is UPnP/DLNA compatible. Digital media can be streamed from most UPnP/DLNA capable media server running on your computer. DLNA DMR is not supported so media cannot be "pushed" to the UMT.

About the Outputs

This transport has been designed for optimum performance using the MSB Network connection to any MSB DAC. An MSB Network input is provided as well, so another MSB source can be connected which loops through when the Universal Media Transport is not in use. But not only would this source loop through, it is also decoded and output on the standard PCM digital outputs. The 32 bit MSB network interface is the best to use with an MSB DAC as high-resolution sources such as SACD will take advantage of the full 32 bit capability of the network.

The S/PDIF digital outputs are also optimized for use with other DACs. They are re-clocked for the lowest possible jitter.

About the OPPO 

There is no point in reinventing the wheel. The design team at OPPO did an amazing job bringing a truly universal player to market with remarkable video. The BDP-93 incorporates Marvell's Kyoto-G2 video processor with the second generation Qdeo technology. We left this part of the technology alone, so as OPPO releases firmware upgrades, you will be able to take advantage of them immediately. So we use the OPPO drive and video processing board modified only with cleaner power, better vibration control and better thermal management. We provided a new power supply and of course provide all the audio processing.

About the Power Base 

The Universal Media Transport requires an outboard 12V power supply. Where rack space is limited, this supply can be in the form of a desktop supply (below), or the transport can be ordered with the MSB Platinum Power Base. The required supply is also included in the DAC IV Platinum Power Base allowing the transport and DAC to be powered by the same base (shown above).

Universal Media Transport Specifications

Audio Outputs:
Coaxial, Toslink, Balanced AES/EBU and MSB Network (32 bit)

RCA Outputs:
3.6V RMS (10V pp)

Balanced Outputs:
7.5V RMS (20V pp)

Sampling Frequency:
up to 192 kHz

Output Jitter:
2 psec

Surround Outputs:
Coaxial and Toslink for connection to a surround processor

Video Outputs:
Two HDMI v1.4a up to 1080p, Coaxial, Composite and component analog video (1 Vpp)
3D and Deep Color modes supported

Control Features:
Back-lit Remote

17.5" wide
12.5" deep
2.5" tall each (including feet)
43 LBS with Power Base

Power Supply Options:

  • Desktop Supply
  • Use with DAC IV Power Base
  • Separate Platinum Power Base

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