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High End 2015: MSB

MSB-04258

HE15_Logo_GB_01One of the most anticipated products of this show was MSB’s all new Select DAC. The company made a huge Asian tour before presenting it in the German kermesse, and expectations for what probably is the most expensive DAC currently in production were high.

When entering the first of the two rooms with a “live” Select, I saw Larry Gullman, general manager of MSB, and asked a few quick questions regarding the design principles of this beast. It features 8 newly designed hybrid sign magnitude ladder DAC modules capable of both DSD and PCM playback. It offers an even lower jitter with the new top of the line Femto 33 clock while the chassis is made in-house from a solid billet of aluminum. The most important feature is the 10 year guaranteed upgrade program, which translates into a DAC as future proof as it gets. MSB will provide at cost every single possible upgrade that will come out of the company’s USA headquarters for the next ten years. In order to achieve this MSB created a completely modular DAC with each single input, output or DAC board being modular and easily replaceable. All this starting at $89.950, a price which is hard to swallow (unless someone puts into account cables costing pretty much the same, in which case the Select appears as a bargain).

Out of the two rooms featuring the Select, I preferred the one with the latest Marten Coltrane speakers fitted with the new Accuton woofers and cables by Jorma Design; (the other room featured speakers by Italian companyEventus Audio), and driven by MSB’s 203 platinum amplifiers.

This Select, fed by the MSB Signature transport, sounded truly great, providing big sound in typical MSB fashion but with great delicacy during the Canzonetta from Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto (Julia Fischer on PentaTone SACD). Timbre was analog like natural, dynamic range seemed infinite and depth of stage was impressive, especially considering that all this happened under show conditions. MSB will launch a new Select Transport in the upcoming future; don’t hold your breath though as it will not be cheap.

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About Panagiotis Karavitis (190 Articles)
Doctor and Editor @ Part-Time Audiophile Publisher @ Audiohub.gr