Author Topic: Audiolab M-DAC+  (Read 735 times)

Offline Francois

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Audiolab M-DAC+
« on: November 25, 2016, 02:00:02 PM »
The specifications look amazing and winning a LOT of awards.

How was the original MDAC in its day ? I know I always lusted after one  :thumbs:
I was born analog, not digit by digit....

Offline kamikazi

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2016, 02:57:45 PM »
The specifications look amazing and winning a LOT of awards.

How was the original MDAC in its day ? I know I always lusted after one  :thumbs:

The original was quite dry and analytical sounding, but offered a nice selection of connectivity and customisation and the headphone output was actually very decent. Typical Sabre glare present and the sound staging was consistently overblown. Not as clean and dynamic as other Sabre implementations I have heard since. Also prone to oscillator failures which is a known defect that affects a certain percentage of units and the sockets at the back was also prone to coming loose. One of the firmware updates buggered up the USB input by causing pops and skipping as the buffer run empty. Optical input had trouble logging on to jittery transports and would not play nice with an Apple Airport Express. I never understood why it won so many awards... I certainly hope the MDAC+ is a significant improvement!

Offline Drifter

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2016, 06:58:43 PM »
That is a pretty good summary.
Quite bright with some digital glare. I quite liked the overblown soundstage though ....  :giggle:

Offline dcc

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 11:46:55 AM »
Bright with glare? Earplugs & shades and all is well cool :cool:
Actually with the right headphones and the softest filter the MDAC sounds sweet...HD650s soften any glare and sound awesome with it inho. It does have a wiiiiiide soundstage.

Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2016, 11:48:40 AM »
Lasted 2 weeks in a friends rig. 


"If it sounds good, it IS good."
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Offline Air

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2016, 07:43:27 PM »
I lived with an Audiolab 8200DQ unit for a number of months(on loan to fill a gap for a while) and I was very satisfied with the performance of it. My impressions of the unit were that it was sweet and pure, never bright but definitely on the light side. Somehow it reminded me of the small Ayre integrated and thought that in the right system it would  shine as a Dac. Like the Ayre it just has to be matched well to come to its full potential. With a valve amp or a warm sounding speaker, it will thrive. I preferred the shallow slope setting, it sounded more natural even though I thought the steeper slope was probably a bit more accurate but less involving. I think it is one of the better implementations of the Sabre chip in the more affordable band and think the class A output stage is part of the success.

Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2016, 08:14:10 PM »
I lived with an Audiolab 8200DQ unit for a number of months(on loan to fill a gap for a while) and I was very satisfied with the performance of it. My impressions of the unit were that it was sweet and pure, never bright but definitely on the light side. Somehow it reminded me of the small Ayre integrated and thought that in the right system it would  shine as a Dac. Like the Ayre it just has to be matched well to come to its full potential. With a valve amp or a warm sounding speaker, it will thrive. I preferred the shallow slope setting, it sounded more natural even though I thought the steeper slope was probably a bit more accurate but less involving. I think it is one of the better implementations of the Sabre chip in the more affordable band and think the class A output stage is part of the success.


Probably on the money.  I like a bit more flesh on the bone.

Not all HiFi is for everyone.  No matter the provenance or the price. 


"If it sounds good, it IS good."
Duke Ellington
Proprietor of Croak Audio Exploration.
Fair, not crazy, cash paid for turntables and tonearms from Rega, Linn and Thorens.          http://www.croak.co.za

Offline Scubadude

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 03:54:04 PM »
Was reading up on the M-DAC and found this amusing change of stance, but then again I suppose time moves on ...

I think its an excellent DAC and well worth the money. The digital pre-amp and headphone amp are all great additions that add to the total package and ownership. Then there is also the flexibility with the filters and wide range of digital inputs which is great for connecting multiple sources. For the money I don't think you will find another DAC with the same functionality and sound quality wise.

The original was quite dry and analytical sounding, but offered a nice selection of connectivity and customisation and the headphone output was actually very decent. Typical Sabre glare present and the sound staging was consistently overblown. Not as clean and dynamic as other Sabre implementations I have heard since. Also prone to oscillator failures which is a known defect that affects a certain percentage of units and the sockets at the back was also prone to coming loose. One of the firmware updates buggered up the USB input by causing pops and skipping as the buffer run empty. Optical input had trouble logging on to jittery transports and would not play nice with an Apple Airport Express. I never understood why it won so many awards... I certainly hope the MDAC+ is a significant improvement!

I had the original M-DAC on loan for a while and happened to enjoy my time with the unit.  As a hoot the balanced XLR's make a superb sounding headphone amp too ...
"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

Offline colonel66

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2017, 05:06:21 PM »
 :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

Offline kamikazi

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2017, 05:27:30 PM »
Was reading up on the M-DAC and found this amusing change of stance, but then again I suppose time moves on ...

I had the original M-DAC on loan for a while and happened to enjoy my time with the unit.  As a hoot the balanced XLR's make a superb sounding headphone amp too ...

Well context is everything... It was my first standalone DAC after the Asus Essence STX and of course it was a very nice functional unit. Things have moved on quite a bit since then and the Audiolab M-DAC I sold on was one of those that died of oscillator failure...

I'm happy you found it amusing, we could all do with a good cheer now and then!

Online naughty

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2017, 08:44:35 PM »
i am pretty sure that theres been times where we all changed our minds on a piece of equipment - im also pretty sure that i have done it publicly once or twice too, for example i once did not like Integra AVRs because the first few i listened to were all brand new and they sounded bright and harsh and possibly were paired with speakers that had similar characteristics - then eventually i heard one that was a couple of years old with some warmer speakers and i decided that it wasnt all that bad and when the same unit came up for sale .... lets just put it this way .... its now sitting on a rack in my lounge  :nfi:

so yep i think that the idea of doing about turns should be allowed since our initial ideas could originally be a bit biased and when we learn from our mistakes we need to admit those ... ie admit that we initially were in error rather than stubbornly sticking to our guns erroneously

so while Kamikaze could have initially held an opinion i reckon that any experiences he has had with any equipment can allow him to alter that opinion based on any experiences (good or bad) that he has with said equipment .... besides if we all agreed with each other the world would be a pretty boring place with everyone just owning the same things, so thankfully we all have varying opinions
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 08:47:22 PM by naughty »

Offline Nidri

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Re: Audiolab M-DAC+
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2017, 08:27:16 PM »