The Magic Zone

The Magic Zone

The SELECT DAC II is a very remarkable DAC. It has an insane resolution, super low-noise and the lowest jitter clock in the word. It provides many surprises to the listener. Sound-stage off axis like never heard before and a presence that connects you to the music. Our latest discovery is 'the magic zone'. Here is our report.

For some time Vince, our national sales manager has been talking about a level of realism achieved with the SELECT DAC II that was quite astonishing. He called it the magic zone. I have been constantly amazed at the SELECT and the realism and presence of the music, but I did not know if we were talking about the same thing. I came to the 2016 Newport Show to help him set up and hear the "magic zone" for myself.

We arrived Wednesday afternoon and had the room set up by dinner time. We had the SELECT II with Femto 33 clock, and two power bases, driven by the MSB Universal Media Transport V with a dual power base. Our new M204 mono block AMPs - shown for the first time - were driving our YG Sonja speakers. (The new M204's offer substantially higher system resolution, letting us hear more of what the DAC can do.) We left the system running and came back Thursday morning to dial in the sound.

Well, within a few minutes I felt we had great sound, but Vince was just not happy. The sound was amazing to me, which I was used to from the DAC, but he insisted he had not hit the magic zone - was not even close. We changed power cords, plugged into one side of the room, the other side of the room, etc, etc. Finally in despair he noticed that the Dual Power Base for the UMT had one upgraded Diamond power cable and the other was the stock cable, and the Diamond cable was on the basic operations supply, not the sensitive audio supply. A quick change and we were in the zone!

I can only describe the zone as a level of realism I have not heard before or thought possible. Once in the zone, now we reworked all the other tweaks, moving power and adjusting the speaker location. Now we bounced in and out of the zone as we tried various small changes. Amazing how responsive it is!

So it is not imagination, it is a real case where the source, power and EVERYTHING is correct and the SELECT can take us to a new place, an amazing place. Check out the MSB room at the next show or one of our dealer events. You will discover a new benchmark, a new place to strive for.

I have traveled the world with my SELECT and had great results in systems of every kind, but this was very special, like nothing I have heard before. Now that I have heard it, I will have to redouble my efforts to always require a excellent source, amazing AMPs and clean power. If you own a SELECT, and like me, have been very happy, even crazy about the sound, then just be glad and enjoy it, but know that there is more locked away in those favorite CDs. Carry on the quest and go for the magic zone!

We have not yet developed a perfect recipe for the magic zone. With each setup we are trying to identify the key elements. It is our hope to then be able to improve our products further so that we can find this level of performance any place, any time.

The hardest thing about achieving a new level of performance is believing it is possible. Once you have experienced the 'magic zone' you will have that locked into your very being and will then know when it is again achieved.

Here is what the system we used at Newport contained in order from source to speaker:

  • Universal Media Transport V (UMT V)
  • Dual Transport Power Base
  • Two Diamond Power Cables
  • MSB IsoBase without the ground wire attached
  • MSB PRO I2S Cable
  • Our Favorite standard CDs

  • DAC:
  • SELECT DAC II with Balanced Output, Ground connected to the AMP
  • FEMTO 33 Clock upgrade
  • Power Upgraded to a PAIR of SELECT Power Bases (not required but significant)
  • MSB SELECT XLR Interconnects, 3 M

  • AMPs:
  • MSB M204 Mono Amplifiers, standard XLR mode
  • Plugged Directly into the wall (with Home Depot 10 gauge extension cord)
  • Analysis Plus Gold Speaker Cables (or another good speaker cable)

  • Speakers:
  • Yg Sonja Speakers (or another quality speaker)

Check back with us. We will update this page as we learn more.