High End 2017: MSB introduces a new Reference DAC

MSB always puts on a great room, and we’ve been hypnotized in the Newport Show 2016 MSB Room and at CES 2017 MSB rooms.

MSB to date has products on both ends of the spectrum.  On the ultra high end you have MSB Select DAC. On the almost come down to earth side, you have the MSB Analog DAC which provides a marvel of performance at its price.

At the High End 2017, MSB announced a new little brother to the MSB Select DAC, known as the MSB Reference DAC.

MSB Reference DAC

The MSB Reference DAC is a completely modular design that takes many cues from the flagship MSB Select DAC.  One of the key elements is the Four Hybrid DACs. As detailed from the MSB website:

The Reference DAC is equipped with MSB’s new Hybrid DAC technology.  Originated in the Select DAC, we’ve pushed the technology further, making it more compact and robust and above all – affordable.  Unlike the Select’s eight-module design, the Reference DAC only needs four modules to anchor eight high-powered channels for an unrivaled output.  The Hybrid module can be reconfigured to accommodate PCM or native DSD, ensuring it’s the most dynamic DAC on the market.

The modular design allows customers to choose various clocks, and input & output modules.

MSB Reference DAC modules

All of this fits into a CNC billet chassis that starts out with a 65lb plate that is machined down over 4 hours to a 18lb finished product.

High End 2017 coverage is brought to you by VPI Industries

MSB Reference DAC Specifications: 

  • 4X hybrid DAC Modules
  • Network Renderer
  • Native Quadrate DSD
  • MQA support
  • Isolated power supply design
  • Femtosecond clocks
  • Billet CNC aluminum chassis
  • Fully discrete LED display
  • 5 Year warranty
  • Made in the USA (California)
  • $39,500 USD

Mohammed Samji

On Tidal and MSB

This was yet another room featuring Tidal speakers, the “entry level” G2 Piano which is as far from being an entry level as the Ferrari 488 is an entry level proposition. Paired with the MSB’s power amps and the aforementioned Reference DAC they produced a perfectly time aligned response, extremely cohesive sound through out the spectrum with all kinds of music. If your room is not colossal chances are this is all the speaker you’ll ever need and if your wallet is colossal the Reference DAC should be on top of your list.

– Panagiotis Karavitis