Newport 2012: YG, MSB

MSB showed here at Newport with YG, pairing up their electronics to the much-appreciate (by me) $75,000 Anat III Studio.

MSB is known for their distinctive look and their extraordinary electronics. Personally, only one of those works for me, but then, no one really asked me. In fact, there’s a rather long list of manufacturers that don’t ask me a damn thing before worrying about their products, their design or their aesthetic. Maybe they’re on to something, there.

Anyway, today’s surprises included the $14,995 S200, no negative feedback, Class A, 200wpc stereo Amplifier. This box looked almost identical to the $24,990 Diamond DAC IV — here fitted out with the optional Femto Clock ($9,950!!!), Diamond Volume Control ($2,995) and Pro I2S input board ($995). A similar-looking stack included the $3,995 Data CD IV Transport with its optional $3,495 Signature Transport Power Base.

I’ve said it before and I’ll undoubtedly repeat it until I’m proven wrong, but if you happen to ask me, I’ll happily spout off something akin to “digital is clocking”. That is, in DACs or transports, the most important thing to get right is the timing of the data being fed into the converter chips. The converter itself can matter quite a bit, but not as much as timing. Get the timing wrong, and the best DACs sound like ass. Get the timing right, and even the most average of converters can sound quite fine. After timing, I think everything else (sonically, that is) moves over to the analog output stage … but that’s another story.

Here, in an MSB DAC, the digital tech is really quite impressive. One of the things I find most impressive is their clocks. Modular? Oh yeah! So, when you’re ready to upgrade your MSB DAC, you can just pop in the Femtosecond Galaxy Clock.

How long is a femtosecond? It is one millionth of one billionth of a second. Visible light oscillates with a period of about 2 femtoseconds.

This clock wanders deep into territory where it’s almost required to have a debate about the epistemological underpinnings of that very debate. Femtosecond? Really? How can you even measure that?

Well, apparently one way to measure that is with a strap stuffed with Ben Franklins.

While the propeller heads have their conclave and come to fisticuffs, here’s a graph of what this clock is supposed to do to the jitter. All I can say is, if they’re right, it looks like they’ve just established a new benchmark.


  1. How does this compare to the Calyx Femto DAC? I heard the Femto DAC and what I heard is the closest that any DAC has come to the finest analog reproduction. The Femto DAC costs under $7,000 which is just the price the MSB Galaxy Femtosecond Clock which would make it an incredible deal. Also I thought 1000 Femto Seconds make 1 Picosecond so if the MSB clock claims to have 77 Femto seconds that would be expressed as 0.0077 picosecons, right?

  2. Well, if you are ever heading down to Texas, let me know. I have the Rockport Arrakis (the most recent version – active version with the Rockport external active crossover) as well as the top of the line MSB Diamond Dac with the Femto clock and top of the line MSB transport using their Pro I2s interface. Of course, full analog rig as well (with Lyra Olympos cartridge). Dedicated room, with plenty of space to optimize Arrakis, etc. Let me know. Its pretty stunning sound.

  3. This room, to me, was damn near perfect. I was only there for a few minutes, but I didn’t notice anything to criticize. The first time I heard a YG (other than the Carmel) that I liked. Tight, punchy bass/lower mid; dynamic; powerful; clean, smooth highs; a nice even sound. Bass, mids, highs all in equal proportion.

    Did you catch: were they using Crystal Cable?

    • I didn’t pick up on the cabling … but I agree with you on the sound.

  4. The femto clock costs 9995,-
    The YG speaker is the flagship model Anat Studio, not the Kipod.
    How did it sound?

    • Thanks for keeping me honest. Changes = made.

      The sound was quite fine, but I wasn’t able to get a long listen — the room was setup a bit oddly, so there weren’t a lot of seats as I remember — and they were all filled. By dudes. With their eyes closed. Like they were channeling. It creeped me out so I didn’t hang around. But what I did hear was quite fine.

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