Audiolab M-DAC+ DAC/Preamp

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Priced from $1,975.00 (Normally Regular Price $2,199.00 )

Compact Size, Great Sound, Hi-Res ESS DAC

Support For PCM 32bit/384kHz & DSD256 Files

Optical, Coaxial, AES/EBU & USB B Inputs

USB A Input For Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod

6.35mm Headphone, RCA & XLR Outputs

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About The Audiolab M-DAC+

The Audiolab M-DAC+ is a quality digital to analogue convertor and an upscale balanced preamp all in one compact chassis. It offers Optical, Coaxial & USB B digital inputs as well as a rarely seen AES/EBU balanced digital input. It also caters to Apple fans with a USB A input specifically for iPhones, iPads & iPods.

So, its versatility is a given, but over and above that, Audiolab’s creative genius’ have paid such care and attention to all aspects of digital and analogue design that it also performs at a much higher level than most DAC/Preamps on the market. We think it’s a steal at the price.

Audiolab M-DAC+ Stereo Preamplifier

The M-DAC+ is a high-performance, multi-purpose audio DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) for home use, designed to sit on a desk or table, or integrate into a hi-fi system. It incorporates a highly specified, audiophile-quality digital preamplifier and Class A output stage for connection to a power amp and speakers (the output can be fixed for those who wish to use an existing preamp or integrated amp), in addition to a high-quality output for headphone use.

Redefining A Classic: The new M-DAC+ is based firmly on the classic M-DAC, with carefully targeted improvements in key areas – a logical move, given the original model’s sustained popularity over the last few years. The M-DAC built a peerless reputation with press and public alike since its launch,  scooping multiple Product of the Year Awards from the likes of What Hi-Fi?, Hi-Fi Choice and EISA to make it arguably the most critically acclaimed DAC component ever made. “The Audiolab M-DAC+ gets an awful lot right – so much, in fact, it comfortably justifies its ‘+’ designation”. ~ What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision.

The Finest DAC Circuitry: The M-DAC+ incorporates the ES9018 Sabre Reference 32-bit DAC chipset, widely regarded as one of the finest available. This is surrounded by exceptionally well-specified circuitry that puts other similarly priced DACs to shame, including a proprietary, discrete master clock to minimise jitter, coupled with extensive time domain isolation. A JFET Class A output stage ensures that the audio signal, following conversion from the digital domain to analogue, is of the highest quality.

High Performance With DSD: Under the hood lie a number of performance-related enhancements. The M-DAC+ now processes audio data up to 32-bit/384kHz via USB; this is a far higher specification than that required by current hi-res music formats, ensuring this premium-quality addition to the M-DAC family is fully equipped for future advances in ultra-high-definition digital sound.

The USB input now also accepts DSD files (the digital audio system originally developed for Super Audio CD), offering compatibility with DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256. This is a significant addition, as DSD has an important role to play in the developing high-resolution digital download scene.

Adjustable Sound For All Sources & Tastes: As digital audio technology has progressed, the importance of the characteristics of reconstruction digital filters has become more appreciated. The M-DAC+ features user-selectable filters for optimal listening and measurement modes, in addition to more conventional types for easy comparison. These filter settings allow the user to tune performance to suit his or her preference, depending on system configuration, digital file quality and musical taste. The M-DAC+ has seven filter settings for PCM files and another four for DSD playback, allowing the user to optimise the noise floor to suit the performance of the source file and the bandwidth of associated equipment such as amps and speakers.

Enhanced Sonic Performance: Another important change relates to the power supply, which has been upgraded and is now incorporated within the M-DAC+’s chassis. A precision-wound toroidal transformer uses multiple windings to feed separate analogue and digital rectification stages. From there, multiple power supply sections feed the necessary voltages to each area of the DAC, keeping any crossover interference to a minimum. The result is the highest performance power supply Audiolab engineers have yet specified for a DAC, and its contribution to the M-DAC+’s enhanced sonic performance is significant.

Audiolab M-DAC+ Reviews

“The Audiolab M-DAC+ gets an awful lot right – so much, in fact, it comfortably justifies its ‘+’ designation. Lavishly detailed, fastidiously organised and elegantly straight-edged in its sound, it absolutely demands an audition.” What Hi-Fi?

“This is a clear step forward from the original M-DAC, and makes the original look rather average value for money. The Plus is way more sophisticated operationally, and has a usefully smoother and more subtle sound that pushes it one rung up the ladder. The only regret is the display, which isn’t as informative as its predecessor. Superb in pretty much every other respect for its price, this new DAC is an essential audition.” Hi-Fi Choice

“It seems evident that over the years, DAC quality has really improved a lot, especially at the more affordable end.  There still are and probably always will be audible differences between DACs, and there will always be the high end segment providing ever wider perspectives. But the M-DAC+ just offers great value for money and clearly shows that near-reference quality articulation, transparency and resolution can be had at an extremely reasonable price.” Hi-Fi Advice

“On balance, the Audiolab M-DAC+ offers owners a lot of sound value. Build quality is beyond reproach, and the emerging sound field is splendid, Flexible options for inputs and outputs are endless. The ability to resolve DSD streams makes the availability of hi-res audiophile downloads a real possibility. Finally, the menu driven internal filters offer the user extensive flexibility to tailor sound to their immediate circumstance or preference, a fantastic benefit. Kudos must therefore go out to Audiolab for designing and manufacturing this fine piece of equipment.” Wall Of Sound

Our Take On The Audiolab M-DAC+

Small and perfectly formed the Audiolab M-DAC+ is the audiophile DAC for music lovers. It has everything you need and nothing you don’t with multiple digital inputs including two optical and two coaxial plus a rarely seen AES/EBU balanced digital input to connect to high class source components. It also offers a USB A input designed for Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod playback and a USB B input that can play up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM & DSD256 files. It also has a superb preamplifier section so you can connect the M-DAC+ directly to a power amplifier for a simple, yet powerful system. It even has balanced XLR outputs which allow it to run long cables, noise free, to suitable power amps like the Audiolab 8300MB mono blocks. In its class, there’s nothing else quite like it.

Main Features & Specifications

  • Design: Compact DAC/Preamp with Hi-Res PCM & DSD capability
  • DAC: ESS Sabre32 9018 Chip
  • Digital Filters: Seven selectable for PCM & four selectable for DSD playback
  • Sampling Rates
    • Optical, Coaxial, AES/EBU: PCM 24-bit / 192kHz
    • USB B: PCM 32-bit / 384kHz, DSD64 (2.8MHz), DSD128 (5.6MHz), DSD256 (11.2MHz)
  • Connections
    • Digital Inputs: 2 x Coaxial, 2 x Toslink Optical, 1 x AES/EBU, 1 x USB B for PC USB, 1 x USB A for iPod/iPhone/iPad
    • Digital Output: 1 x Coaxial, 1 x Toslink Optical
    • Analogue Outputs: Stereo Single Ended RCA, Stereo Balanced XLR, 6.35mm Headphone Jack
    • Other Connections: IR In, 12V Trigger A & B
  • Output Voltages
    • Balanced: 4.5V RMS
    • Unbalanced: 2.25V RMS
  • Output Impedances
    • Balanced: 20Ω
    • Unbalanced: 10Ω
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <0.002% (1kHz 0dB 20Hz - 20kHz A wtd)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz To 20kHz (±0.2dB)
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: RCA: > -115dB, XLR: > -120dB
  • Dynamic Range: RCA: > 115dB, XLR: > 120dB
  • Crosstalk: RCA: > 120dB, XLR: > 130dB
  • Remote Control included
  • Available Finishes: Black & Silver
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 247 x 114 x 292mm
  • Weight: 3.7kg
  • Manufacturer's Warranty: 2 Years

Note: Features & Specifications Subject To Change Without Notice. E&OE.

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