Musiland

Musiland Monitor 01 US / USB DAC

Musiland Monitor 01 US / USB DAC

Budget USB-powered outboard DAC’s seem to be coming all the rage. At a recent meeting with a client at a coffee shop in a rather bohemian-style section of Portland, Oregon I counted four people using such devices. Even before then I would spot one among all the customers using smart phones for personal music. The size of these units goes from that of a memory stick, to the size of a deck of cards. The Musiland Monitor 01 US/USB is equal to the latter.

Specifications:

  • High Speed USB Connection
  • Independent APU MU6010 for 24 bit/192kHz audio processing
  • Optical toslink digital output
  • Stereo RCA, 3.5mm headphone analog output PLUSE high quality digital power management Support 24bit/192kHz digital output
  • Specialized ASIO driver – support Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7
  • Aluminum alloy chassis for minimum interference
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Maximum sampling rate: 24bit/192kHz
  • Digital output: Optical toslink
  • Analog output: Stereo RCA, 3.5mm headphone
  • Digital S/N: 140dB (A-weighted)
  • Digital dynamic range: 140dB (A-weighted)
  • Distributor: Gateshop on Amazon.com
  • Price: $107.99

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A Quick Review Of A Few Entry-Level Dacs

A Quick Review Of A Few Entry-Level Dacs

Publisher’s Note: This comparison originally appeared on the Polk Audio Forum. It appears hear courtesy of the author.

A few months ago I set out on a mission to do a comprehensive comparison of as many entry-level DACs as I could get my hands on. I use the term “entry-level” loosely, as I was looking at models under $500. Many people may not consider $500 an entry level price point for a DAC, and I’d agree that the dollar threshold is debatable. Nonetheless, there were DACs nearing the $500 mark I wanted to include and so I set that as the somewhat arbitrary price limit. read more…

Budget DAC Comparison: Zhaolu D2.5, CityPulse 7.2X, Musiland MD10

Budget DAC Comparison: Zhaolu D2.5, CityPulse 7.2X, Musiland MD10

Being an audiophile certainly has its joys, but the hobby also comes with its share of frustrations. I am sure many of you have made the mistakeof talking to a friend or family member about your system, and instead of focusing only on the music (as you probably should have), you tried to walk them through the various components. Most of the pieces might appear sensible enough to the uninitiated. Speakers, amplifiers…blah blah blah. As long as you stayed away from a discussion of the aftermarket power cords, you should escape unscathed, right?

No. Try to explain a benefit of an external DAC to someone who is just pretending to be interested in your hobby. Instead of connecting the computer/CD player/music server directly to the amplifier (which of course, you can do), you first run the signal to this little box over here (after buying additional jewelry…er, cables), and that makes everything sound better! Even if your victim is paying close attention, you run the risk of him or her noticing that the computer/CD player/music server has its own DAC! Yes, but an external one is usually better, right?

I certainly think so. Despite the debates that rage in audio forms (presumably populated by enthusiasts/converts instead of incredulous friends and relatives of audiophiles), most of us agree that a $250 external DAC can usually provide a substantial improvement in sound quality when connected to the digital output of a computer, budget DVD player, or music streaming device (Squeezebox or Sonos or similar). Even older CD players (or transports to us audio hobbyists) can be given new life by using a good external DAC, saving the trouble and expense of replacing the entire player.

Modifying CD players with replacement parts used to be quite popular before these inexpensive outboard DACs became so common. However, rejuvenating old CD players is not the primary reason why the DAC segment of the audio marketplace is red hot right now. Instead, it has been fueled by the emergence of good music serving hardware and software. Perhaps even more interesting than the DAC market itself is a subcategory of DAC that is becoming increasingly popular. DAC/preamp combinations that add a volume control (and possibility input switching) to the party make for a real revolution. Allowing the user to bridge the gap between digital sources and a poweramp buys tremendous flexibility, and can be a really inexpensive way to build a very musical system.

And that brings us to this mini-shootout between three similarly priced, similarly endowed DACs; the Zhaolu D2.5 (it is apparently pronounced “Chow-loo”), the CityPulse 7.2X, and the Musiland MD-10 (previously reviewed by A$$A’s Mark Marcantonio in issue 29 last May). All three units upsample, accommodate multiple digital inputs and provide both line-level and variable analogue output to headphones and power amplifiers, effectively making them DAC/ preamp (or more accurately but less colloquially, DAC/linestage) combinations. All three of the little boxes hail from China, all three are available in North America through on-line retailers, and all three are also readily available on eBay directly from China. read more…

Musiland MD10 USB DAC

Musiland MD10 USB DAC

If 2007 wasn’t, then for sure 2008 is the year for music servers. Add-on products are popping up right and left, leading to a myriad of choices and some definite confusion among music server newbies. One of the most fascinating DAC units is the multi-purpose Musiland MD10. It has a tremendous feature set for a small form factor unit that looked quite at home on top of the Underwood modified PS Audio Trio C-100 or the Jolida JD100 cdp.

Specifications:

  • 24bit System, up to 192kHz Sampling Frequency
  • BNC, Coax, USB or Toslink inputs
  • Microcomputer Control, LCD Display, OSD Menu Line or Earphone Analog Audio Output Interface Class A Earphone Amplifier
  • Sampling Frequencies: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz
  • 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz or, 192kHz Analog Audio Output Interface: RCA 3.5 mm Phone Socket
  • CIRRUS CS4398 D/A Chip, Up to 120Db SNR Dual digital filtering: 102 db or 75 db
  • Balance Analog Filter class A AMP.
  • LCD Display Real-time to Show Sampling Rate
  • Dimensions: (inches) 6.25. w x 8.5d x 2h
  • Price: $299
  • Manufacturer: DIYEDEN

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