MSB was showing their now-MQA-endowed Select DAC ($89,950) with the Femto 33 Clock option ($9950) powered by the Single SELECT Power Bases ($19,950). Amplification was delivered by MSB's Platinum Mono 204 Amplifiers (39,950/pair) which drove a pair of YG Acoustics Sonja 1.3 speakers ($106,800/pair).

apologies for another one of my early-first-day screwed up photos

MSB's Vince Galbo introduced us to the Select DAC and MQA and I made note of this statment which Vince made right before the listening began in reference to what he feels is one quality MQA brings to the listening table:

"the believability factor [with MQA] is high"
I like that.

We listened to a few tracks, two of which featured piano, and I felt the believability factor was high.

Denis de Montréal's picture

... for a high believability factor !!!
At that price one can buy a Ferrari AND a very decent sound system.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...that a person who spends $200k+ on a hi-fi cannot also buy a Ferrari?


soundman45's picture

What makes this funny is that most mastering suites that acutally make major records don't have 90 grand invested in their converters and clocking, unless were talking about multiroom facilities.

Denis de Montréal's picture

...a blonde firecracker on the passenger seat.

Denis de Montréal's picture

IMO a 90 000 $ price tag for a DAC means high profit margins or not very clever engineering. This product is aimed at the 1%, like Rolex watches and exotic cars. Someone has to take care of those people's ears and MSB does.
Letting the common man appreciate the "high believability factor" at an audio show is fair enough. Fortunately MSB produces more affordable DACs (still on the expensive side) that some audiophiles can afford.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Nor is it egalitarian for that matter.

I should explain my point further -- the idea that something costs too much is purely subjective and there is no ethical component related to how much someone spends on their hobby.

You can ask 10 people what's too much and you're likely to get 10 different answers especially if these 10 people have wildly different levels of income/wealth.

The fact that things exist which we find ridiculously expensive is simply a reflection of our price sensitivity, sans morals. I can round up a couple of stadium-sized groups of people who feel that spending *anything* on hi-fi is silly.

soundman45's picture

Please audiophiles. Do your homework I've been in the pro audio industry for 30 years now. The people that actually make the great music that you actually hear don't use this gear that these guys peddle, They have trusted manufacturers that actually invented the technology. I've been on both sides because I was a kid who was brought up in hi-fi era. It wasn't until I became an engineer and started making music and seeing what gear was available in pro industry that I understood that everything has a trickle down effect. But a great thing for consumers now is that it's a global market and they can literally have any gear they want. So my question to audiophile types is why do you have to look to some audiophile company who makes 10,000 or more percent profit to buy something that was invented and exists by some company in the pro market? The answer is you don't have to.

joelha's picture

I own a recently upgraded Berkeley Alpha Reference DAC version 2. It retails for $19,500.

Please tell me the DAC which matches it's performance from the pro side of the industry which sells for considerably less money. I'll be happy to sell my DAC (seriously), buy a new, equally performing pro DAC for less money and pocket the difference.

Looking forward to your informed recommendation.


solarophile's picture

There are many DACs in the pro world that perform marvellously, sound great, and won't cost over $19k.

For example the Lynx Hilo for <$2500 or Weiss DAC1 (around $9k). Just make sure you use balanced cables and maybe AES/EBU inputs.

Of course you don't need to pay that much for excellent DACs. If it's just about sound quality, a person could just do a blind test and listen to make sure it's actually the sound quality being assessed. When the name brand is hidden, it's amazing how hard it is to hear differences.

soundman45's picture

I have not heard the Berkley Alpha. I'm sure it sounds great. My point was to check out some of the pro audio websites like Vintage King Audio. They have a few that DAC's that they sell that are not even 10 grand. Another thing I would do is to call some of the Mastering houses Like Gateway in Maine, Bernie Grundman's place in L.A.or Sterling Sound in NYC. Yes These places use high end DAC's that I know are modded but they might be able to tell you what manufacturers build their converters. My point was that there are a lot of companies that pro audio industries use that you never hear about when just checking in the audiophile market.

joelha's picture

Thanks a lot for the suggestions.


joelha's picture

I'm assuming then that you've never heard the Berkeley Alpha Reference DAC. If I'm right, then you're only supposing.

I've heard the Weiss and Lynx so I've made a comparison you haven't.

And believe me, if I could save the kind of money you're talking about between these brands and the Berkeley, I would have.

The argument isn't over excellent DAC's, it's over whether a more expensive DAC can buy you significantly better performance.

In my experience the answer is a resounding "yes".

I don't need a blind test to do my buying. My ears (minus any kind of blind testing) have done pretty well for me.