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"Distinguished Audio With Superb Detail Retrieval"
Musical Fidelity was one of the first audiophile companies to offer a DAC. Since then, the company has established a solid tradition of creating top performing, top value digital products. A perfect case in the point is the brand new M1 DAC, which is the culmination of over 23 years of experience design superb sounding DACs.
The M1 gives you plenty of input format choices with four digital inputs: coax, optical, balanced, and USB. Versatility accompanies the connectivity. The M1 DAC will lock on to any S/PDIF signal at 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88 kHz, 96 kHz, or 192 kHz. The input sampling frequency is displayed on the front panel.
"Consider the Bar Raised"
"Unlike budget components of yore, where pleasant 'grayish' sound was the best you could reasonably expect, the M1 is musical, arresting, and involving in the way a good audio component should be, regardless of price," reports Steven Stone in The Absolute Sound magazine for May/June 2011. "Consider the bar raised."
"Explicit Sound""The M1 DAC's explicit sound should certainly breathe new life into aging CD players," notes John Bamford in his October 2010 review for England's Hi-Fi News magazine. "It delivers distinguished audio with superb detail retrieval and a broad, deep soundstage."
"It has been nearly six years since I enjoyed a Musical Fidelity system as much as the M1DAC, M1HPA, and V-Link," observes a ComputerAudiophile.com review for January 22, 2011. "In an industry with six and seven figure audio systems it's hard to believe three zeros can be removed from the end of the price tag and still allow someone to put together a really good system."
Oversampling 24-Bit DAC
The M1 DAC consists of a top quality over sampling 24-bit digital-to-analog converter circuit which upsamples all incoming data rates to 192 kHz. This is genuine true upsampling and moves the digital artifacts to well outside the audio band, allowing their easy removal without detriment to the top end of the audio band.
The well-tuned filtering circuit results in immeasurably small jitter, noise, and distortion, allowing astounding imaging, detail, and transparency, to deliver all music types exactly as the artist originally intended.
The M1 DAC has been carefully designed to be partnered with M1 series, and also matches well with M3 and M6 series products. These combinations will yield one of the best high-fidelity systems available at any price.
Performance Rivals Any DAC
According to Musical Fidelity's Founder and Managing Director Antony Michaelson, "The M1's technical performance is, pretty well, as good as any at any price. We know this sounds like an incredible claim but it's true." And the company has the track record to back him up!
Musical Fidelity's state-of-the-art circuit design and PCB layout with the use of premium quality digital components gives state-of-the-art performance. "Unsurprisingly, the result is state-of-the-art performance," says Antony. "It's just that the price is competitive so many people find it hard to believe."
Vanishingly Low Distortion
The M1 DAC has vanishingly low distortion, typically less than 0.005% across the band. Frequency response is ruler flat. Jitter is extremely low. The noise ratio is outstanding, making it one of the quietest DACs in the world regardless of price. "Looking at the M1 DAC's total measurements and comparing them to any DAC up to ten times its price you will see that, on balance, the M1 DAC is equal to or better than any," Antony concludes.
Choke-Regulated Power Supply
The M1 DAC has a high quality power supply featuring choke filtration on the mains input. This effectively acts as a an AC line conditioner which increases the performance and value of the M1 to even greater heights.
The choke regulation is derived from the massive Titan power amp and is used throughout the M6 and M3 product lines. As far as we know, the use of a choke filter is unique in a DAC. It filters out unwanted noise from the mains and allows the M1 to work properly, regardless of AC power line irregularities. It makes a huge difference in the sound quality.
Typical choke designs can end up causing as many difficulties as they solve, because they create a magnetic field that has deleterious effects on the musical signal. But the bifilar choke regulation system used by Musical Fidelity cancels out the magnetic fields that other styles of chokes generate. The circuit takes advantage of a tried and true design. The company has been using this technology since 1987.
"When I finally discovered low little they cost… I was more than pleasantly surprised. Practically anyone who can afford a Mac Mini can probably also spring for an M1 DAC and V-Link, creating a playback system that will enthrall all who give it a listen."
"The Musical Fidelity V-Link and M1 DAC certainly changed my opinion of what level of performance can be expected from a budget DAC and converter box…"
"Unlike budget components of yore, where pleasant 'grayish' sound was the best you could reasonably expect, the M1 is musical, arresting, and involving in the way a good audio component should be, regardless of price. Even if you can afford to pay more, maybe even a lot more, I strongly advise you to listen to and live with the Musical Fidelity M1 DAC and V-Link converter for a week in your system. Consider the bar raised."
- Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound, May/June 2011
"The M1 DAC's explicit sound should certainly breathe new life into aging CD players."
"It delivers distinguished audio, with superb detail retrieval and a broad, deep soundstage. Moreover you'll have the benefit of gaining extra digital inputs for other sources - such as that rough-sounding TV set top box, perhaps."
"Finally, out of sheer curiosity, I hooked up the MF to the optical S/PDIF output of the Sky TV receiver. The [M1] transformed the sound. The orchestra during a BBC Proms concert marking the 80th birthday of the American composer Stephen Sondheim now sounded full-bodied and vibrant."
- John Bamford, Hi-Fi News, October 2010
"It has been nearly six years since I enjoyed a Musical Fidelity system as much as the M1DAC, M1HPA, and V-Link… In an industry with six and seven figure audio systems it's hard to believe three zeros can be removed from the end of the price tag and still allow someone to put together a really good system. I applaud Musical Fidelity for producing such good sound at such good prices. I can easily recommend all three Musical Fidelity pieces and sleep very sound at night."
- ComputerAudiophile.com, January 22, 2011
Audio Advisor Review - Musical Fidelity M1 DAC