MSB Technology Analog Power Base

Device Type: Power Supply for The Analog DAC
Dimensions (H x W x D): 1” plus feet x 17.5” x 13”
Weight: 16 pounds
Availability: Authorized Dealers
Price: $2,995 with upgraded power connector

The Analog Power Base is a $2,995 upgrade power supply for the MSB Technology Analog DAC. My recent review of The Analog DAC (see review) was going to include the Analog Power Base, but MSB Technologies’ recent move to a new factory delayed this evaluation. The Analog DAC comes with an outboard Desktop Power Supply that is housed in an aluminum case with two transformers. This power supply is linear with separate supplies for digital processing and the analog circuits of The Analog DAC.

Description of the Analog Power Base
The Analog Power Base is housed in a CNC milled aluminum case that is similar in appearance to The Analog DAC and allows it to be placed beneath the DAC. Like The Analog DAC, the Analog Power Base has sharp coned feet. The Analog Power base is a linear supply that has 5 transformers for complete isolation of digital processing, clocks and analog DAC modules. The beautiful aluminum case with its coned feet allow for increased isolation control and shielding. A small LED power switch is found on the back of the Analog Power Base along with a 12 V power trigger for remote operation. MSB Technology also states that the Analog Power Base comes with an upgraded umbilical power connector with cast shells and silver plated pins for connection to The Analog DAC.

The Sound
I was very enthusiastic about the sonic characteristics of The Analog DAC with the standard Desktop Power Supply. But I feel that the Analog Power Base takes The Analog DAC’s performance to an even higher level.

The best way to describe the sound of The Analog DAC with the Desktop Power Supply compared to The Analog Power Base is “polite”. Images were slightly placed back into the soundstage with good focus and definition. The Desktop Power Supply was revealing, but seemed to lack the dynamic contrasts and ultimate focus of the best DACs (more expensive) I have heard.

Listening to the Analog Power Base changed my opinion. Images were now more forward in their presentation. Voices and instruments in the soundstage now had more weight and body. While the soundstage width and depth seemed very similar to that with the Desktop Power supply, the Analog Power Base produced superior focus and resolution within the soundstage.

I also experienced superior dynamic contrasts with the Analog Power Base. While the Desktop Power Supply was good in both macro and micro dynamic changes, the Analog Power Base was simply superior. Instruments and voices seemed more “real” with the upgraded power supply and more musically involving. The Analog Power Base seems more “alive” in its musical presentation.

A Thrilling Experience
Blue Coast Records has just released the Mahler 2nd Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and The San Francisco Symphony in native DSD .dsf files.

I have heard this recording many times with the PCM 24/96 files sold by HDtracks. The native DSD files have proven to be something else. The Analog DAC / Analog Power Base reproduced explosive dynamic contrasts that the 24/96 version never came close to. The background silence was striking with this recording as was the reproduction of the immense soundstage. Given that the volume control on my preamp was “wide open”, the chorus and orchestra were well differentiated in the loud passages with no sense of strain or break-up. The quiet passages were beautifully reproduced with a deep black silence. This was one of the most exciting orchestral recordings I have yet heard, and an outstanding example of what the Analog Power Base can do with complex musical passages.

Preservation of Special Qualities
The special qualities I previously identified in the Analog DAC with the Desktop Power Supply were preserved with the Analog Power Base. The grain-free musical presentations with the excellent bloom of soundstage were still heard with the Analog Power Base.

For those of you considering purchase of The Analog DAC, be sure to listen to the DAC with the Analog Power Base. If your budget allows it, I believe you will be quite impressed with this upgrade.

Associated Equipment

silvertone's picture

Thanks for the review, Steven.  I thought you were working on the Calyx Femto review, I'm looking forward to your comparisons between that dac and the MSB analog.

Happy listening....

Steven Plaskin's picture

I am working on the Calyx Femto. I had a big problem when one of my Levinson 33 H amps died. I immediately ordered a pair of Ayre MX-R amps. But all of this burned up 4 weeks. I then had to allow the amps to break in and understand their particular sound. More time lost. 

The next review will be the rest of the Synergistic Research equipment; the Element C.T.S. Digital AC cable. The Calyx Audio Femto DAC will follow.

I have an Ayre KX-R preamp on order to match the MX-Rs.

I appreciate your interest and patience with my minor setback. But I'm back on the job.

silvertone's picture

No worries, Steven smiley

That Ayre gear you're getting should be a very nice upgrade over the Levinsons you're replacing.  I have heard the MX-R and KX-R partnered with Revel Salon 2's a couple of years ago, to this date I have yet to hear a better system in that price range.