High End 2017 • Hot Product

MSB has completely revised the casework of its Reference DAC ($40,000) to bring it in line with the scale and styling of the flagship Select DAC. Costs have been reduced by using flat, rather than curved, tops, but the machined-from-billet construction remains the same.

The watchword with the two-box Reference is flexibility. Both inputs and outputs are modular, which means you can customize to your precise requirements and update as you need to. Fundamentally, the Reference is a native quad-DSD converter with an onboard network renderer, MQA support and four of MSB’s well-regarded ladder DAC modules. It has femtosecond clocks, which can be upgraded, as can the power supply, albeit the standard power supply is in a different league to that of the majority of the competitors. But as MSB points out, “The importance of a clean power supply can’t be underestimated,” and anyone who has experimented with upgrades and tweaks in this area will appreciate this.

The Reference can also function as a preamplifier for both digital and analog sources. A constant-impedance passive volume control and up to four outputs for multi-amping mean the Reference DAC will fit into almost any system.

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