Stereocheck Reviews:

Audiolab M-DAC+: Dac with the absolute highest signal quality

The Audiolab M-DAC+ digital-to-analog converter was released 4 years after the triumphant introduction of the first Audiolab M-DAC model, which earned many awards. Like the -DAC, the M-DAC+ uses the...

Audiolab M-DAC+
Audiolab M-DAC+

The Audiolab M-DAC+ digital-to-analog converter was released 4 years after the triumphant introduction of the first Audiolab M-DAC model, which earned many awards. Like the -DAC, the M-DAC+ uses the reference ES9018 Saber 32-bit DAC chipset, which is one of the best sounding DACs around. It is surrounded by specialized circuitry, such as its own discrete clock generator to minimize jitter, as well as time-domain interference isolation circuitry. The Class A JFET output stage guarantees the highest signal quality after digital-to-analog conversion.

M_DAC.jpg

The Audiolab M-DAC+ can now accept and process data at up to 32-bit/384 kHz resolution from a USB input – far higher specifications than even today’s high-resolution music formats require, making the 8300CD fully compatible with future digital innovations. Ultra-high definition sound.

The USB input now accepts DSD files, offering compatibility with DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256 formats. This is a significant addition, as DSD plays an important role in the development of high-res downloading today.

M_DAC_2.jpg

As audio technology progresses, the role of digital filters that reconstruct an analog signal becomes more and more noticeable. Like the classic Audiolab M-DAC, the new M-DAC+ has a set of user-selectable filters to find the optimal listening experience. These filters select the sound character depending on personal preferences, system configuration, quality of digital files and musical styles. M-DAC+ inherits seven filter options from M-DAC for PCM files and adds four more for DSD playback, allowing the user to optimize the noise floor based on the quality of the source file and the bandwidth of equipment such as amplifiers and speakers.

M_DAC_Inside_14Jy6pCMKe4U5L.jpg

Audiolab M-DAC+ allows you to select one of seven digital filters (for PCM signals). The main mode is “Optimal Transient”, which optimizes the impulse response in the time domain, eliminating unwanted ringing before and after the impulse. This type of filtering provides, according to the manufacturer, the most natural and clear sound. However, Optimal Transient has three internal variants, but the manufacturer no longer communicates the differences between them.

The new, improved power supply is now built into the Audiolab M-DAC+ housing (which is taller and deeper than the M-DAC). The toroidal power transformer has several windings for separate power supply of analog and digital circuits, delivering the required stabilized voltages to each of the DAC sections, minimizing mutual interference. As a result, Audiolab engineers created a unique power supply for the DAC, the contribution of which to improving the sound of the Audiolab M-DAC+ is significant.

Specifications Audiolab M-DAC+

DAC: ESS Saber 32 9018
Sampling frequencies: 24-bit / 192kHz (Optical, Coaxial, AES), 32-bit / 384kHz (USB), 2.8MHz (DSD64), 5.6MHz (DSD128), 11.2MHz (DSD256)
Digital inputs: 2 x Coaxial, 2 x Toslink Optical, 1 x AES/EBU, 1 x USB for PC USB, 1x USB for iPod/iPhone/iPad
Digital outputs: 1 x Coaxial, 1 x Toslink Optical,
Output voltage : Balanced: 4.5Vrms, Unbalanced: 2.25Vrms
Output Impedance: Balanced: 20 Ohms, Unbalanced: 10 Ohms
Distortion THD (1kHz, 0dB, 20Hz – 20kHz, A-weighted): <0.002%
Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20KHz (± 0.2dB)
Signal to Noise Ratio: RCA: > -115dB, XLR: > -120dB
Dynamic Range: RCA: >115dB, XLR >130dB
Crosstalk: RCA: > 120dB, XLR: > 130dB
Dimensions: 114 x 247 x 292 mm , weight: 3.7 kg