Audiolabs M-Dac - anyone got one yet?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by FranklinLG, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. FranklinLG

    FranklinLG Member

    Miami, FL
    Audiolabs new M-Dac is being released. What Hi-Fi gave it a product of the year award, ahead of the venerable Rega Dac. I also read that Wadia has it's own low-price dec coming out in January. This is certainly an exciting time for digital audio!

    But back to the topic. Just curious if any forum members have one and can share some thoughts on it.


  2. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Middle Earth, UK.
    There is a long thread on Pink Fish, a UK forum, regarding the Audiolab cd/dacs where the designer contributes.

    and a new one on the Mdac.
  3. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Forum Resident

    I just ordered my M-DAC via audioaffair. The problem is that the initial first batch has been sold out and shipped to those who ordered them in advance. The next big load will drop mid december, so that hopefully my M-DAC will finally arrive in time before christmas. Knock on wood, but I am waiting for that confirmation.

    I am in fact expecting some big things from this DAC.
    Things I personally like with this model esp. vs the other two DAC's I had in mind originally is the full size of a CD-player or amp chassis with remote , good headphone out and a dashboard, that gives you information on the BIT rate and filter type. In other words the DAC gets the same importance, attention / connection inside the rack as your amp or CD player.
    Symmetrical In and Outs, Volume up and down means you can even hook it up directly to power amps.

    Things I found out in the meantime.

    The real sensation and deal breaker though is the type of DAC used with the audiolab. They use the same ESS Sabre Tooth 32 BIT DAC for 30 dollars a piece, you find inside the wonderful Simaudio
    MOON CD/DAC 6500 and 7500.
    I've read a review on that 7500 and this is among the very best digital players on the market.
    Not that I would expect the same sound from the M-DAC, but still the main attraction is this new wonder chip that is in fact 16 DACs in one chip,
    8 Stereo DACS symmetrical and 4 unbalanced, which allows the M-DAC to upsample any incoming file to 48 / 96 / 192 up to 384 khz, while calculating 4 different numbers, each uneven, so that jitter does not stand a chance to get added to the equation as well. Really clever..
    Okay granted both the REGA and Musical fidelity M-DAC look better - still this should be a nice addition for my rack and hopefully good enough to lift my digital files , Satelite Radio and maybe even my PRIMARE CD Player (via optical output(input) on another level.
    I like that line about that "sportsman at the top of his game" from whathifi...
    'The real talking point here is just how good this unit makes your music sound. Like a sportsman at the top of his game, this Audiolab makes the job in hand seem easy. There's bags of detail, stirring dynamics and an exciting agility to the delivery..'This is one of those products that has you reaching to play all your favourite tracks to hear just how good they can sound' (What Hi-Fi Magazine November 2011)

    Maybe one day I can hook it up to one of these chinese wonder amps, sold for an apple & an egg..incredible looks, inside and outside for peanuts..
  4. Theadmans

    Theadmans Well-Known Member

    Hi Baron - not sure it is full size website says it is 250mm width which is only about half size. I find this really annoying as in all other respects I am really interested in this new DAC by genius British designer John Westlake.

    My current DAC is another John Westlake design from the 1990s the Cambridge Audio Dacmagic 2 MK II :-

    This old design was full width and still sounds pretty good to my ears but I am sure it would be bettered by the M-DAC. Just a shame it doesn't come in a full size case (it will give me a real problem installing it in my rig).
  5. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Forum Resident

    I was referring to the upcoming audiolab M Dac not the Cambridge M Dac II
  6. Radiotron

    Radiotron Tube Designer

    Montreal, Canada
    I have purchased this DAC as well. The distributor in North America is offering a nice rebate on pre-orders. Based on what I've been reading on Pink Fish Media, it should be fun.
  7. Theadmans

    Theadmans Well-Known Member

    No you misunderstand - what I was saying is that the new Audiolab M-Dac is not full width size as you said in your original post. My current DAC the Cambridge is full width (this is the only thing stopping me upgrading).
  8. Radiotron

    Radiotron Tube Designer

    Montreal, Canada
    Well, after a 4 1/2 month wait, the M-DAC is finally here. Will keep you posted on my findings.
  9. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    Congrats, Radiotron. Looking forward to hearing your impressions. I'm a longtime Audiolab owner, but my unit is from before the buyout by Tag MacLaren. I haven't heard any of their products since the company's re-birth. . .
  10. FranklinLG

    FranklinLG Member

    Miami, FL
  11. MC Rag

    MC Rag Well-Known Member

    Bristol, UK
    What do you think? Have you tried feeding the Pre-outs to a power amp?
  12. Radiotron

    Radiotron Tube Designer

    Montreal, Canada
    Yes Audiolab is now part of IAG but the M-DAC was designed by John Westlake of DacMagic fame. He was under contract with IAG but I read on the Pink Fish board that he's designing his own DAC at this point.

    Very satisfied so far. Sounds very natural with nice extended frequencies. The real surprise here is the headphone amp. I wasn't expecting this. This is one capable combo! By the way, I'm using it as a straight DAC connected to my PrimaLuna integrated.

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