MSB is an unconventional company, so why not make our review page a little unconventional. What follows is a blog style series of reviews, comments and emails that we receive from reviewers, distributors and customers. Last names are removed to protect the privacy of the submitter. Unlike most companies, we do not exclusively on formal reviews, rather depend primarily on word of mouth to spread the news. Any comments printed here are reproduced as received.
See All Reviews See All DAC Reviews See All Transport Reviews See All Amplifier Reviews See All iLink Reviews
November 2015 - MSB Analog DAC - Quad USB Input Review
" Does the Quad USB input improve the sound quality? It sure does! MSB really hit the spot with this upgrade. I never expected this level of improvement with this input. It was like I bought a considerably better DAC. Analog Dac remains the best DAC I've ever tested/reviewed until now. It's always a pleasure and a whole journey when listening to music with it.
- Excellent faster, more detailed and punchier bass
- Superb midrange
- Excellent treble
- Mesmerizing voices
- Amazing soundstage improvement
- Excellent imaging / instrument separation
- Detail monster
- Excellent transient response
- Excellent transparency and pitch black background
- Very engaging and energetic"
Dan-Alexandru Gheorghe, Reviewer,
Headmania, Nov 1, 2015
Full Review in English
July 2015 - The MSB Technology Premium Quad USB2 Module for the Analog DAC
"As I listened to the Premium Quad USB2 / Analog DAC, I soon realized that sonically this was no small modification of the previous USB2 Basic 384. What I heard with the new module was a substantial improvement in sound quality relative to the older unit. The sound of the Premium Quad USB2 was more open sounding without the slight darkness heard with the USB2 Basic 384 module. Transient detail was better rendered with a greater sense of extension at the high end. The midrange of the Premium Quad was far more transparent and revealing compared to the older module with slightly more presence. Also enhanced was the background silence that allowed micro dynamic detail to emerge with greater clarity. I found the sound staging capabilities of the Premium Quad to truly excel. Thanks to the greater silence, orchestral details stood out in a superior front-to-back depth stage that simply seemed more natural than what I was hearing with the USB2 Basic 384. I felt that the older module had a more distant sound with a slight veil overlaying the music. While the bass attack of the former module was quite good, the new module seemed to be better defined and controlled. Quite frankly, after extended listening with the Premium Quad, I felt that I had evaluated a different higher quality DAC."
Steven Plaskin , Reviewer,
AudioStream, July 16, 2015
Full Review in English
April 2014 - MSB Technology Analog
DAC and Analog Power Base
"Conclusion and Au Revoir"
"I started to write up more musical examples, but realized I was just repeating myself. Every comparison with the DACs mentioned above, and a handful of others that passed through my system in the past several months, yielded the same results: a more focused sound with the MSB, coupled with the ability to match the best qualities of any other DAC in the hot seat. There was simply more there. I was sad to have to send another MSB DAC to JA's Brooklyn lab for testing. It notched my system up to a place where almost all digital sources had an organic, natural presence without sacrificing the accuracy and detail present in the best recordings - no small feat."
Jon Iverson , Reviewer,
Stereophile, April 2014
Full Review in English
February 2014 - MSB DAC IV Platinum Plus Converter
"To test the female voices, I chose Beautiful Female Voice in xrcd with many great artists like Emy Fujita, Dominica and Maricel Bedana and many more. Here, I shook for a moment. I've never loved, in digital, the extreme pursuit of detail with an often fake outcome. You analog friends know very well what I'm talking about! Luckily, after a few notes, I realized I was wrong. The DAC IV gives back very natural high notes, rarely tiring or cool, and you want to turn the volume up. "
Francesco Taddei , Reviewer,
REMUSIC, November 2013
Full Review in English
In the latter part of 2013 I contacted you for information on the Total Dac you and your friend had evaluated. The reason was to curtail the continual upgrade path I had been pursuing. I had briefly heard a four-box dCS setup at the recent Melbourne audio show. And it was easy to hear that the heart of the very expensive system was the DAC. $90,000 I think for it. So my thoughts were how good were the DACs in the $10 to 20,000 range compared with the ones I had already checked like the NAD51, Auralic, Hex etc. I evaluated the dCS Debussy which was quite a sonic improvement on the above but the company's new distributor had increased the price by $3,500 over the old one.
I then looked at MSB as they are distributed locally by SGR Audio whose amp and equipment stands 6moons have tested. The owner and electronic engineer Stuart Ralston was very helpful and able to give me a home demo of three models - the Analog, Platinum and Signature DACs. On evaluation I found huge sonic improvements in all areas. This was of course relevant to each one's cost and a good step-up in each case. The model I picked was the Platinum which has the Femto clock. I have spent a lot of years upgrading my digital front end with small improvements. This is an upgrade I have never before experienced. The improvement is huge. The separation of voices, instruments and the soundstaging are beautiful and with wonderful musicality. My conclusion is that anyone looking to upgrade amps, speakers etc. should seriously look at the digital front end first. That's where it all starts. "
Brian Livingston , Customer letter, 6moons,
January 2014 - MSB Technology Analog DAC
"On Alex de Grassi's album ... the cut 'Shenandoah' exhibited exceptionally detailed guitar sound. The Analog DAC really showed how realistic a recording of solo guitar engineer Cookie Marenco had captured.
Piano recordings were spectacular. On Thomas Gunther's performance of Schubert's Piano Sonata in A minor, the Analog DAC reproduced the piano's complete harmonic structure with a combination of delicacy and explosive power rarely heard on recordings. THe sense of the hammers striking the piano's strings was captured superbly. It's odd that I noticed this particular detail on several piano recordings.
... Pigeon's voice in particular, had a "reach-out-and-touch-it" quality, creating the illusion of someone standing in front of me singing. Instrumental accompaniment was equally detailed, especially the stand-up bass. "
Vade Forrester , Reviewer,
The Absolute Sound, January 2014
Full Review in English
December 2013 - Analog Digital
"I like this product a lot. It has first class sound quality, is easy to operate, looks great, and is very well made indeed.
Images remain remarkably stable, even when the music is very demanding and lots of information need resolving - an ability well beyond many DACs, even expensive ones. The soundstage itself is spacious with fine levels of depth and width, and therefore it's very good at revealing the space in which the recording was made.
... the fidelity of the Analog DAC's volume controls proved a fine match for an Audio Research Reference 5 in the system context. Feeding the Analog DAC's analogue input from other high end sources proved most rewarding. This volume control stage is exceptionally transparent, and only extraordinary pre-amplifiers will prove comparable. The addition of this optional extra is clearly very good value for money "
Chris Bryant , Reviewer,
HiFi Critic, December 2013
Full Review in English
December 2013 - MSB Analog DAC
"Smooth and well-differentiated is the sound of The Analog DAC ... it was extremely natural"
Wojciech Pacula , Reviewer,
High Fidelity, December 2013
Full Review in Polish
August 2013 - MSB The Analog DAC
"The sound of this converter is extremely pleasant, it has a medium range, a bit forward. Maybe it is thanks to this detail that the emotion that springs from the Analog DAC reproduction has no equal. Not in any of the many peers of the MSB we've had the chance to listen to in many years of reviewing activity.
The price is high but if compared to competition it's not so high. If you have in mind to buy a DAC, listen to this MSB or you may regret it for a long, long time. "
Angelo Jasparro , Editor,
Audioreview, Audio-Activity.com August 2013
Full Review in English
Full Review in Italian
July 2013 - MSB Technology Analog Power Base
"I was very enthusiastic about the sonic characteristics of The Analog DAC with the standard Desktop Power Supply. But I feel that the Analog Power Base takes The Analog DAC's performance to an even higher level.
Images were now more forward in their presentation. Voices and instruments in the soundstage now had more weight and body. While the soundstage width and depth seemed very similar to that with the Desktop Power supply, the Analog Power Base produced superior focus and resolution within the soundstage.
I also experienced superior dynamic contrasts with the Analog Power Base. While the Desktop Power Supply was good in both macro and micro dynamic changes, the Analog Power Base was simply superior. Instruments and voices seemed more "real" with the upgraded power supply and more musically involving. The Analog Power Base seems more "alive" in its musical presentation. "
Steven Plaskin, Reviewer,
AudioStream Magazine, July 2013
August 2013 - MSB Analog DAC
"The Analog Dac is the best DAC I have yet tested and heard properly. I just fell in love with it:
With it, I got transposed inside the music. I forgot about myself, what I was doing, where I was and after the song finished got out of the wonderful journey it took me, and felt like I was waking up from a long sleep, not knowing where I was and who I was for the first second, and I am not kidding about this. "
HeadMania, August 2013
July 2013 - MSB Technology Diamond DAC IV Plus
"The sound of 2.8 MHz DSD data coming from Diamond DAC IV Plus was truly impressive. I believed the result of 5.6 MHz DSD would be even more glorious. Therefore, I pulled up 'Harm Organ'
AudioTechnique, Issue 379
Full Review in Chinese
June 2013 - MSB Technology The Analog DAC Follow Up
"The Analog DAC does not sound digital and that is a very good thing. Music played through it sounds relaxed and natural with an overwhelming sense of ease. Music flows smoothly and sweetly nearly pouring out of your speakers. There's an uncanny sense of space, a layering of sound from front-to-back that the Analog DAC just nails to an extent I have not heard before in my humble abode. This layering also accounts for a nearly 3-dimensional quality to the sounds of music, pulling you into the performance as opposed to being kept at a distance by a flattened, less natural-sounding sound image.
The Analog DAC is also finely detailed and wonderfully textured. You get the feeling of an instrument's complete voice, of hearing things as they were originally captured in performance. This holds regardless of your music's complexity.With the MSB DAC, I get more of a sense of hearing into the performance, of a finer grained level of reproduction while avoiding any kind of harshness, edginess, or etch endemic of digital playback.
I've also had the opportunity to hear the Analog DAC at a few hi-fi shows and even though we're talking very different room and system contexts, I would say that the Analog DAC's main traits travel with it. That is to say it has always sounded smooth, detailed, and completely natural. It is very easy to like and very easy to listen to over long periods of time as I found myself never tiring of listening to music through it regardless of how much time I had already spent just listening. So people who find themselves concerned with digital replay's tendency to sound overly etched, bright, and ultimately fatiguing can rest assured that The Analog DAC has done away with digital's unnaturally hard edges and replaced them with a natural sounding ease and an easy musical flow. "
Michael Lavorgna, Editor,
AudioStream Magazine, June 2013
April 2013 - MSB Analog DAC
"For those of us that have enjoyed this hobby over many years, there are a few products that come along in one's audiophile life that leave a lasting impression on the listener. The Analog DAC is one of those products. It not only reproduces music with excellent detail and focus, but is one of the most natural sounding DACs I have ever heard. This DAC purges the digital artifacts that create listening fatigue and loss of interest in the music. While auditioning the Analog DAC, I also listened to other DACs at my house. In each case, I missed the beautiful bloom and ease that the Analog DAC puts out in spades. The soundstage was one of the best I have heard as was the ability of this DAC to unravel complex musical passages. Dynamic changes were well reproduced with a variety of music. I think that those of you that enjoy acoustic music, be it classical, jazz, or vocal, will simply love The Analog DAC. I know that I did."
Steven Plaskin, Reviewer,
AudioStream Magazine, April 2013
February 2013 - MSB Analog DAC
"In the two years since the Platinum DAC IV review, no other DAC to my knowledge approaches its performance. So I was ready to test a little lower quality product, but I was surprised because the Analog DAC sounds at least equal, or even better, than Platinum DAC IV that I reviewed before."
" So it happens that in the meantime, MSB released a a new clock technology named 'Femto 140 Clock', that is able to deliver 140 femtosecond jitter precision. In effect I'm really convinced that the key for good digital sound is the clock precision. What is surprising is that the gap between MSB and the competitors remains unaltered: MSB seems to have a higher gear."
"About measurements, the Analog DAC is at least as good if not even better than the Platinum IV. In short, MSB has evidently made the center again, reinforcing its position as the undisputed champion."
Marco Benedetti, Reviewer,
Fabrizio Montanucci, Measurements
AudioReview Magazine, Italy, February 2013 Issue
Full Review (in Italian)
November 2012 - Diamond DAC IV and Universal Media Transport
"The sound of this DAC is so effortless; so natural; so invisible - that the old cliche "there are simply no words..." is perhaps the most honest thing I can say."
"I suspect that the most impressive thing I can say about this DAC is that since becoming an owner, I have been going to concerts far less frequently - It is truly that good!"
"If you are serious about state-of-the-art sound and are looking for a no-holds-barred top-end DAC, then the MSB line deserves your highest consideration."
David Solomon, Reviewer,
Headphones.com, November 2012
October 2012 - Platinum Data CD and Diamond DAC IV
" I tried one of my favorite torture-test albums, Propellerheads' Decksanddrumsandrockandroll (CD, DreamWorks SKG 50031), and was surprised at how smooth its previously harsh upper midrange had become. Detail and bass galore, with pinpoint imaging and depth. "
"I had a goofy smile across my face as I pondered that if the MSB stack sounded this good after only 15 minutes, I was in for a real treat in the coming weeks. "
"The next day I talked to Michael Fremer, who had a similar MSB stack on loan, also fronted by a Meridian Sooloos Control 14. 'It's ironic that I'm starting a new analog website (www.analogplanet.com) when I've finally found great digital!' he exclaimed. We agreed that our first impressions of the Sooloos-MSB combo were exceedingly positive. MF said that it was the best digital sound he'd heard. "
"(But) Bruce noted that the MSB had better focused imaging, and I felt it brought us a generation or two closer to the original master. "
"We listened to 'Ram On' and 'Heart of the Country' back and forth a dozen times, marveling at the MSBs ability to hang each instrument and voice in space. "
"Switching gears, we also pulled up a set of remixes of Mono's trip-hop noir classic 'Life in Mono,' as well as 'Bilbao Song,' from Gil Evans's Out of the Cool. Same results. Images were better defined and appeared more naturally in space with the MSB compared with dCs. "
"The MSB stack gave me the best digital sound I've ever heard in my system. I know it's a cliche, but I was digging out music from all corners of my collection, just to hear it 'real' before the MSBs had to go back. The best recordings were a sheer pleasure to listen to. I spent many long nights going from track to track, feeling closer to the truth of each recording than I had previously imagined possible. "
" In most ways, MSB Technology's Diamond Platinum DAC IV offers the best measured performance in the digital domain that I have encountered. " --John Atkinson
Jon Iverson, Reviewer,
John Atkinson, Measurements
Stereophile Magazine, October 2012 Issue
October 2012 - MSB Platinum DAC IV and Power Base
" The Platinum DAC IV (including Platinum Power Base) reviewed here cost a smidgin over $15,000 and delivers performance that's as good--or better--than any other high-end DAC I have ever heard, even models selling at twice the price and more."
" ...as you'll see from the graphs, even the DAC IVs 'worst case' results are so exceptionally good -- in most cases better than any other DAC I've ever seen -- that this just won't be an issue.
To conclude, I have to say that I was gob-smacked by the incredibly high level of performance from the DAC: it truly and very effectively represents the state-of-the-art in digital-to-analogue conversion technology. "
Greg Borrowman, Reviewer,
Steve Holding, Measurements,
Australia HiFi Magazine, October 2012 Issue
Sept 2012 - Impressions of an MSB System
" Now that I have lived with my MSB digital front end for the past 6 months, I wanted to give you a view of what I have been hearing. My complete MSB digital front end configuration consists of the following:
1. MSB Signature CD IV Transport
2. MSB Signature Transport Power Base
3. MSB UMT Transport
4. MSB Diamond DAC with FemtoSecond Galaxy clock and Pro I2s input board
5. MSB Diamond Power Base
The CD IV transport is powered by the Signature Transport Power Base and is connected to the Diamond DAC via the Pro I2s interface. The UMT is powered by the Diamond power base and is connected to the Diamond DAC via the MSB Network interface.
I went through a long auditioning process of digital front ends trying to find a digital front end that I could enjoy listening to as much as I enjoy listening to my analog front end. My previous digital front end, the Esoteric P03 transport, D03 DAC and G0s word clock was very good and served me well for almost 4 years, but once I added an analog front end and the more I listened to my analog front end, I found it hard to go back to listen to my Esoteric digital front end. So, I started on my quest to upgrade my digital and I was fortunate enough to be able to listen in my room to the MSB Diamond DAC with the FemtoSecond Galaxy clock powered by the Diamond power base partnered with the MSB Signature Data CD IV powered by the Signature Transport Power Base. I also auditioned in my room the ARC DAC8 (driven by a Windows based music server) and the EMM Labs XDS1. I also have had the opportunity to listen on many occasions to the DCS Scarlatti 4 box digital stack in a friends system.
The conclusion that I came to after this lengthy process, is that the sound of most of the digital playback front ends that I was able to audition is fundamentally a variation on a similar theme and were very much in the same family of sound as my Esoteric front end with the exception of the MSB digital front end. Other than the MSB, none of the the other digital front ends would allow me to really relax and enjoy listening to music the way that I wanted to.
To my ears in my system, the MSB digital front end presents an extremely low noise floor, a very harmonically dense and rich sound, with deep, powerful and textured bass. Overall, the MSB digital front end presents a very high resolution sound but it presents all of the musical detail and subtle nuances that are in a recording in a very natural and coherent fashion. It does all of this better than any of the other digital front ends that I have had the opportunity to audition. When I combined the sound that I was hearing, with the ability to play both redbook CD's as well as high resolution PCM from a DVD all via the Pro I2s interface, the MSB digital was an easy decision for me. But as you know, there was still more. I needed the ability to play back SACD's.
To playback my SACD's, I decided to use the MSB UMT transport, powered from the transport power supply section from the Diamond power base and connected to the Diamond DAC via the MSB Network input. After using the UMT for the past 6 months for SACD playback, I found it to be a good SACD solution but I always felt MSB could do better given what I hear from PCM playback via the Signature CD IV. So in early August, I happened to be looking at the MSB web site and I noticed that they had posted some firmware updates regarding DSD. I read through what those were and I immediately did the upgrades to my Diamond DAC and UMT transport. I warmed up my system, popped in an SACD, pressed play and I was startled by what I heard. SACD now sounded magnificent. The sound had all of the wonderful attributes that I hear from the best redbook CD's from the Signature CD IV but with the much more natural and relaxed sound that I have been expecting from the best mastered SACD's. With the UMT now feeding the native DSD data stream to the Diamond DAC there is absolutely no comparison to the previous sound that I was hearing with SACD.
The bottom line to me is that I now feel I have the best possible digital playback sound for all formats - Redbook CD, High Resolution PCM and SACD/DSD. Now, all I want for Christmas from MSB is a 'Signature level UMT!' "
Arnie (Austin Texas)
Sept 2012 - DSD Firmware Upgrade 4.1 Letter
" I wanted to drop you a note about the recent DSD firmware update for the DAC IV series. First, general digital playback thru my Signature DAC IV is the best I've ever heard. For reference, I've owned or heard (in my own system) the following: Weiss DAC 202, Esoteric D-05 with G-03X clock, PS Audio Perfectwave DAC (version 1) with Bridge, Playback Designs MPS-5, and Meitner MA-1. Only the Meitner produced a musical flow that I could have lived with, but its lack of features was a non-starter for me.
With the DSD update, the DAC IV has taken another leap forward. Via USB, the clarity and realism of DSD files is astounding. Listening to Bluecoast Records' complimentary DSD downloads from the California Audio Show is eye (and ear)-opening. Many of these are solo acoustic tracks, and you can almost reach out and touch the performers. 2L's classical DSD samples demonstrate how well massed strings and piano are reproduced. Instruments and voices both have the same 'air' around them you experience in a live performance.
For me, another noticeable albeit subtle improvement occurs when I switch from USB to my Sonore USB to MSB Network converter. The background becomes blacker, and clarity improves yet again.
Kudos to the MSB team for this update. Frankly, I'm still trying to get my analog front-end to sound as good as my MSB digital.
Thanks, Bob "
April 2012 - MSB Platinum DAC and Universal Media Player - Symphony from the New World
" This high-tech digital combo creates a new hi-fi world. You can stream music, play Blu-rays and upsample to dizzying heights. STEREO has taken it on a trip across the formats and discovered a fascinating sonic cosmos.
The Ideal High-bit Combination
... with the software update to version 4.0.2., the Platinum DAC IV had great detail, was extremely and fantastically open, authentic and moving, but also blessed with a rich range of warmth between tones. From the depth of the room each instrument has its place. This control dominates the MSB from the inside out.
With the lightest hand it conducts complex music, down to the smallest nuance and detail, yet maintains a credible whole... Like no other D / A converter the MSB is then able to present the promise of high-bit files. But normal files - whether from CD, USB device or streamed offer tight bass without any fat, and differentiate detail like fine powdered sugar. "
Matthias Bode, Editor-in-chief of Stereo
Full Review (In German)
Feb 2012 - MSB System at CES 2012
"One of the biggest surprises - and Best Sounds - at this year's CES came when I entered into the Volent room and heard their new VL-3 Loudspeakers ($11k). Driven by a slew of MSB electronics, I was absolutely astonished at the incredibly high resolution - coupled by a natural and vivid presentation - this system had going for it."
Dec 2011 - MSB Femtosecond Galaxy Clock
"Honestly, I have heard this system with many recordings, but never a performance like this. It kind of surprised me. This is the first time I have clearly heard every instrument with the correct tone and perfect positioning. The amazing resolving power of the Femtosecond Galaxy clock is clearly news"
Full Review (In Chinese)
Dec 2011 - MSB Signature DAC IV and Data CD IV
"I often listen to the Telarc CD 'Braggin in Brass' (CD-80249), and it is a great test CD. The brilliance of brass can often sound very harsh as this CD usually does. With the MSB system the brass was light, and charming, not at all harsh, kind of easy like the artist playing in the street, it sounded so true...
With the brass sounding so good I wondered about strings and percussion. I pulled out RR's 'First Sampling' (RRS1CD) to test. This CD is a long time favorite I know very well, and with the MSB system, again I was surprised. The big strong bass, the warm broad mids, and the highs are not thin, but nicely rounded. Such an orchestral performance I have never heard before. Oh God, I am becoming overjoyed with MSB!
Then I listen to the piano. I heard Saint-Saens Piano Concerto first, second, third number (Decca Charles Dutoit conductor, Pascal Roge steel Piano). Hey, the mood sounds very pleasant, the original orchestral sounds are so appealing, piano wood is there, the texture is so real I can reach out and touch the keys...
Next, I want to hear woodwind and piano so I chose to play the piano in Tianguang Zai, Jeffrey Tate directed the English Chamber Orchestra Mozha Special 'No. 22, Piano Concerto No. 26' (Philips UCCP 7064). What I heard was the 'round' sound of the wooden tube in particular instead of the 'flat' sound I normally hear. This is one of the charming characteristics of the MSB and in this CD it was clear...
There is no doubt, MSB's Platinum Signature DAC 4/Data CD 4 / Signature Power Base is the best digital systems I have heard in the world. Why? Because everyone likes the sound even if not exactly the same characteristics. But many people still find this system among their 'best'. I believe you and I would agree that this system is the best one. Yeah!"
Full Review (In Chinese)
Oct 2011 - MSB Technology Signature DAC IV and Data CD IV Transport
"...the MSB Technology Platinum Data CD IV Transport and Platinum Signature DAC IV sound as good as digital gets.
Dynamics were better straight-in than with my Parasound JC-2 preamp in the chain.
While listening to 176.4-kHz/24-bit hires music from Reference Recordings' HRx Sampler 2011 DVD-ROM disc, the sound was nothing less than astounding.
The MSBs let me hear more low-level (quiet) sounds in my CDs. Reverb, whether natural or added in the mix, seemed newly apparent in recordings I'd heard hundreds of times. It's always been there, but no digital playback system I've had at home boasted the resolution to reveal it. Having worked on a number of Chesky Records sessions, including dozens recorded at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in NYC, I can state for certain that the MSB Transport and DAC resurrected more of the 173-year-old building's sound than I've ever heard from the CDs, SACDs, or DVD-As."
Full Review (In English)
Oct 2011 - MSB Technology Diamond DAC IV
"This DAC will never be mass produced and will never be affordable, but for those who want and can afford the best, MSB has set a new benchmark of performance."
Hi Fi Review, Hong Kong
Full Review (In Chinese)
Sept 2011 - Signature DAC IV and Data CD IV with Signature Power Base, UMT and M202 Amplifier
"The MSB system - consisting of the Signature Platinum DAC IV Platinum Data CD IV, the Universal Media Transport and the Signature Power Base - is so far the only digital source system that has managed to give me weeks of listening without languishing for my favorite LPs. A greater compliment I can not give a digital source. Even without the CD player the DAC creates a reference level set that can handle all the existing digital formats. The modularity and the ability to download new software updates makes a guarantee for the future that sets a very high standard. I'd almost forgotten them, the mono amplifiers from MSB. Probably because they, like their digital relatives, completely disappeared when the music sounds."
Full Review (In Dutch)
August 2011 - Signature DAC IV and Data CD IV with Signature Power Base and M202 Amplifier
"The MSB system shows a very natural sense of the whole, whether chamber music or symphony, with a clear account of each instrument and its location. On a whole, the listening experience is very similar to a concert hall. The overall three dimensional sound field and character is very close to the top vinyl system with all the ‘digital sound’ disappearing without a trace. The MSB system took me into another realm."
Tao Zhonghao ,
Audio Art, Taiwan, Issue #275
Full Review (In Chinese)
April 2011 - Platinum DAC IV and Data CD IV with Platinum Power Base
"For digitally oriented audiophiles, who seek a complete digital package, MSB is the indisputable choice. This sonic combination tested is the best available on the market today, and with its inexhaustible choices for upgrades and devoted development gives the user a unique opportunity to enjoy high resolution music, and a perfect platform with which to follow the direction digital audio technology will go in the future. In any case, this MSB combination represents one of the best and most complete digital sources which I had the chance to listen."
HiFi Media, Croatia, Issue #85
Full Review (In Croatian)
March 2011 - Signature DAC IV with Signature Power Base
"I was extremely surprised by the sonic performance of MSB’s M200 monoblock amplifier (HIFICRITIC Vol2 No6), which hinted that the company was capable of producing some of the best audio products on the planet, but I’m even more amazed by this DAC. It doesn’t sound ‘hi-fi impressive’; it’s far too subtle for that. It just sounds more like live music than any other digital source that I have ever heard."
"The bass is powerful and very well structured, It has excellent weight, and reveals detail that I hadn’t heard before even on well known recordings. The midrange sounds natural and the electronics create very little coloration: there are none of the ‘hard edges’ one has come to expect from digital audio; it just plays more convincingly what the recording engineer put on the disc."
Chris Bryant and Martin Colloms,
HiFi Critic, England, March 2011 Issue
March 2011 - DAC IV with Signature Power Base
"Just to be clear, it is a very rare event: that the measurements find a clear confirmation in the listening session... we can't hesitate facing such of performance: I think this DAC exceeded all our labs records."
"The MSB DAC IV has features that put it directly among the products that define the state of the art, and in several areas, we can safely say that at this date it is absolutely the best one."
Marco Benedetti, Reviewer,
Fabrizio Montanucci, Measurements
Roberto Lucchesi, Reviewer and Director, AudioReview Magazine, Italy, March 2011 Issue
Full Review (in Italian)
February 2011 Data CD Transport and DAC IV
" This is an uncannily revealing player that exposes the vast differences between recordings like no other digital source I've encountered."
"I very much enjoyed the way you can follow individual instruments within a mix."
Jason Kennedy, HiFi+ Magazine, UK, UK, Issue 78
January 15, 2011
I heard a lot of good sound at the 2011 CES and T.H.E. Show. But my joint best sound must go to the room at the Venetian where Convergent Audio Technology was demming the new Ken Stevens Statement tube monoblocks with a CAT SL1 Legend preamp, Vandersteen 5A loudspeakers and MSB digital front-end, with cabling from Stealth and AC supplied by The Essence Reference system.
John Atkinson, Stereophile Magazine, CES 2011 Report
January 13, 2011
What a sound reproduction, or I should say, 'recreation' of the musical event...!!! Congratulations to MSB, and thank you for giving us the unique opportunity for a unique experience!
Leonidas, Obscure Audio, Greece
January 3, 2011
This year I bought a Data CD IV/DAC IV Diamond (Monster ethernet link between the 2 units). This system is really fantastic and I enjoy hearing music like 'live music' (I told you that I go often to concert, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week). The DAC IV Diamond is huge in terms of musicality Yesterday, I ordered the 'volume option' to get rid of my Lamm L2 Ref preamp and I intend to replace my Lamm M2.2 with your Platinum 202 mono amps. Bravo and best wishes for 2011.
Philippe - Paris/France
December 16, 2010
Dear MSB, I send an email to tell you that I recently bought a Platinum DAC 3, I have never heard one dac so excellent! Thank you for your attention and I thank you to Luca (Mondo Audio) for your great professionalism.
November 29, 2010
Good morning Mr. Gullman,
The DAC III is now in my house, driving directly my Pass Labs amplifier( the DAC III has the passive internal volume control). The result it's incredible, I'm very happy with your product.
October 25, 2010
I've owned my MSB Platinum IV DAC (std) for a few months now and have to commend you guys on a truly outstanding product. I tried many DAC's before the MSB and the search came to a sudden halt once the MSB was in place!
I'm now thinking about upgrading the unit and the first thing i would like to experiment with is the filter suite, especially the mp filter as it's been highly recommended by a fellow DAC IV owner. Would it be possible to demo the filter suite? I'm in Scotland so if you can provide a direct download/email file that would be fantastic.
Doug, United Kingdom
Oct 10, 2008
The review was made by Riccardo Mozzi for the magazine Fedeltą del Suono n. 154, October 2008.
Please find the highlights in English, translated by Luca at MondoAudio:
'... the performance is absolutely stunning. This DAC approach the Music better than other products recently appeared in my listening room'
'...the soundstage is proposed in an extraordinary way: all the players stay in the right place, very stables, correctly defined and placed in a board completely released from the speakers. (...) is quite its uncommon deep that amazes, with the soundstage width that definitely exceeds the speakers width. (...) there is more air around the players, and it's more clear than my reference (...) The music genres that have great breath is correctly reproduced with proper reverberation time (...) all is reproduced in the right way that you don't need to point out some other characteristics like dynamics, contrast and speed.'
'... without any doubts the Platinum DAC III deserves a commercial success due to its highest qualities: to buy and to hold for a long time.'
Feb 21, 2006
Ever since the Platinum DAC got volume control it has replaced my preamp.
As Einstein supposedly remarked: 'Keep everything as simple as possible, and as complex as needed'. I agree wholeheartedly. Sound in digital form (ie numbers) has to be brought along from a storage medium, be it CD or PC or you name it, to the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), where it's converted to the voltage that eventually moves your speaker membranes.
This has to be done error free, but today's technology is quite capable of producing stored numbers correctly - otherwise you'd had little chance running your computer software reliably, which consists of numbers that have to be correct!
The DAC is the crucial point where one can spoil efficiently the reconstruction of the original music signal. Remember: The stored numbers of a sine wave are just points taken EXACTLY on the sine wave, at certain intervals.
Interlude: Here you see btw, that when generating these numbers from the microphone voltage when recording it's essential to have the very best ADC (Analog to Digital converter) - otherwise even the ultimate DAC (Digital to Analog converter) will regenerate perfectly only the wrong voltages corresponding to the inaccurate numbers ... Hence a new CD made with state-of-the-art ADCs and professional master tapes will probably sound much more like the original music than old DDD recordings (done with ADCs of earlier less accurate technology).
So let's assume the stored numbers on a CD DO represent faithfully the music signal, because a perfect ADC process generated them; let's assume furthermore the numbers have been brought without error to the DAC's input - then the DAC's task of 'repainting' the sine wave or the music signal in general can be tackled.
Think of a picture of a sine wave with some dots on the curve - these are the points represented by the stored numbers. If these points are inaccurate, say moved to the right or left from where they should be (that means jitter in the DAC clock) then you get an indented sine wave - bad! Distortion (graphically and audibly) results. Or the points may be perfect in horizontal position, but slightly off vertically - again distortion, this time caused by a DAC that is not outputting the correct voltage.
So: what you want is a DAC that runs off a perfect stable clock (NOT from the usual CD laser pickup derived clock, that jitters as a result of the principally analogue laser working ? NOT from an inherently jittery SAT radio signal) that instantly generates perfectly correct voltages... Then your reconstructed dots lie exactly where they should be on the music signal curve - and that means: the original audio signal can be truthfully restored from the stored numbers.
That is exactly where the folks of MSB technology laid their focus on. They designed a DAC that cares utmostly about these requirements... and little wonder, listening to the sound from a Platinum Signature DAC to a state-of-the-art amplifier with neutral speakers (you might want to try LINN 320A active speakers or LINN Solo amps with KOMRI speakers) will just make you smile...
Sure, people have listening habits, and that's just fine, and in High End Audio there is a range of possibilities for personal preferences; but if you are just into faithful reproduction of music (which may sadly often sound as bad as it was recorded!), then you will educate your ear to like the music as it was originally produced.
If you do this, you'll end up treasuring a Platinum Signature DAC.
Sure, you'll notice all those horrible recordings that float around; but you'll start to enjoy the craftsmanship of true audio recording engineers that produced wonderful honest recordings. Thanks to the MSB people I for my part can enjoy a live concert recording easily at home. I just can't go to every good concert in persona!