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Musical Fidelity M1DAC

Stereo digital-to-analog converter

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  • Musical Fidelity M1DAC

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Item #: 778M1DACB
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Musical Fidelity M1DAC

by Dave Bar

A little DAC will do wonders for your digital music

DAC is short for digital-to-analog converter, a device that translates digital music files or streams into analog signals that go to your headphones or your amp and speakers. You'll hear a huge difference between the sound you get from a separate hi-fi DAC and the sound of the low-quality DAC (and noisy audio circuitry) built into your computer, video game console, network music player, or other gadget.

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Stunning realism from your digital music sources

When was the last time an audio component transformed the sound of your system? This one will! Simply connect Musical Fidelity's M1DAC digital-to-analog converter between your digital music source or computer and your receiver or amp, then sit back to experience a sonic thrill ride. This little beast of an outboard DAC (digital-to-analog converter) takes the place of the DAC inside your player or PC, and precisely transforms those digital zeroes and ones into rich, densely layered sound. Your music will emerge from a dead-silent background with startling realism. Instruments gain harmonic complexity and vocals spring to life with the dynamics of a live performance. In other words, this thing sounds huge. How did Musical Fidelity achieve such a feat? Good old fashioned engineering and plenty of experience.


A beefy build for better sound

Musical Fidelity was one of the first companies ever to make outboard DACs, so they know what it takes to create a great one. The M1DAC's thick, extruded aluminum faceplate and heavy-gauge steel casework provide a strong frame to help eliminate vibrations that can adversely affect sound quality. Its state-of-the-art circuit design uses top-quality components carefully laid out to maximize performance and minimize interference. A filter-choke regulated power supply on the DAC's main power input blocks out unwanted noise from the AC line. All of this goodness is contained in a beautifully built half-width component you'll be proud to display on your shelf.

Advanced circuitry ensures precise detail

The M1DAC upsamples all incoming digital audio to a 192kHz/24-bit signal to resolve extremely fine detail, even from compressed music sources. Its digital-to-analog converters are used in a dual differential configuration to cancel out noise and distortion while providing excellent stereo imaging. The end result is reduced distortion, ruler flat frequency response, an extremely low noise floor, and dramatically improved sound from every digital source in your system.

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The M1DAC sports multiple inputs to handle your digital sources.

Versatile connections for your system

The M1DAC gives you four ways to connect your digital source components to your home audio system:

  • coaxial digital input is ideal for connecting a CD or DVD player, Logitech Squeezebox™ Touch, Sonos® ZonePlayer™ 90, or any other digital audio component with coax out, and taking advantage of the M1DAC's high-performance processor for better sound.
  • optical digital is ready to take on a set-top box, HDTV, game console, Apple TV, or other digital sources with optical digital output, and feed a high-quality audio signal into your stereo system.
  • Type B USB jack feeds the output of your computer into the M1DAC's onboard digital-to-analog converter, bypassing your computer's sound card to yield much higher quality sound with stored music files and Internet radio.
  • balanced digital XLR input provides a pro-quality, ultra-low noise connection from a compatible high-end CD transport.

A pair of gold-plated RCA outputs lets you connect the M1DAC to your home audio system's amp or receiver. You can also feed a set of amplified speakers or headphone amp for a compact, high-end desktop stereo. Musical Fidelity includes a pair of balanced XLR outputs for an even higher-quality hookup with compatible audio components.


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Highlights:

  • 192kHz/24-bit Delta-Sigma digital-to-analog converter in dual differential mode for precise stereo imaging and low noise
  • all incoming signals upsampled to 192kHz/24-bit for smoother, more detailed sound
  • high-quality built-in power supply with choke filtration reduces unwanted AC noise for a low noise floor and greater dynamic range
  • incoming sampling rate indicator 32kHz/44.1kHz/48kHz/88.2kHz/96kHz/192kHz helps verify source quality
  • 4 digital audio inputs: optical, coaxial, USB (Type B), and XLR (AES)
  • supported sample rates:
    • USB: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, and 48kHz (16 bit)
    • optical: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, and 96kHz (16-24 bit)
    • coaxial: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz (16-24-bit)
    • XLR: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz, and 192kHz (16-24-bit)
  • RCA and balanced XLR audio outputs
  • built-in driver for USB connection
  • frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz (-0.1 dB)
  • THD: less than 0.0025% (10-20,000Hz)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: greater than 119 dB (A weighted)
  • channel separation: greater than 105 db
  • total correlated jitter: 12 picoseconds peak to peak
  • weight: 7.5 lbs. (without power supply)
  • 8-11/16"W x 3-15/16"H x 13-5/8"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Frequency Response
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10-20k Hz
THD
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0.025%
Signal-to-Noise Ratio
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119
Remote Control
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No
USB DAC Number of Bits
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16
USB DAC Maximum Sampling Frequency
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48 kHz
Inputs and Outputs
Total Number of Inputs
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---
USB
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Type B
Coaxial Digital Input
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1
Optical Digital Inputs
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1
3.5mm Digital Inputs
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None
Other Inputs
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AES
Stereo RCA Outputs
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1
Coaxial Digital Outputs
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None
Optical Digital Outputs
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None
Headphone Size
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None
Other Outputs
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XLR
Dimensions
Width (inches)
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8-11/16
Height (inches)
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3-15/16
Depth (inches)
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13-5/8
Warranty
Parts Warranty
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1 Year
Labor Warranty
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1 Year
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • External DAC (digital-to-analog converter)
  • 7' AC power cord
  • Instructions
  • "Thank You" letter

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features
Specifications

Features

Overview: The Musical Fidelity M1DAC is an external digital-to-analog convertor with true 24-bits/192kHz up-sampling. The Music Fidelity M1DAC has vanishingly low distortion (typically less than 0.005%), ruler-flat frequency response, extremely low jitter, and high signal-to-noise ratio. The M1DAC digital-to-analog convertor will make substantial sonic improvements to almost any CD player, computer, or other digital source. Simply connect the M1DAC between your digital audio device (via optical, coaxial, AES, or USB) and your home stereo receiver (via analog stereo RCA or XLR).

State-of-the-Art Circuit Design and PCB Layout: The Musical Fidelity M1DAC's state-of-the-art circuit design and PCB (printed circuit board) layout with the use of top-quality digital components gives high-end, audiophile-grade performance.

24-bit/192kHz DAC: The Musical Fidelity M1DAC features a 24-bit/192kHz Delta-Sigma digital-to-analog converter in dual differential mode for precise stereo imaging and low noise. All incoming digital signals are up-sampled to 24-bit/192kHz for a smoother, more realistic sound. The M1DAC provides lower noise, better linearity, a ruler-flat frequency response, excellent stereo separation, ultra-low distortion, and incredibly low jitter compared to most integrated DACs found in today's CD/DVD players, game consoles, computers, and other digital audio sources.

Low Jitter: Jitter blurs the timing information of reproduced audio signals between your digital audio source and your amplifier (especially music stored on a computer) resulting in degraded audio quality. The Musical Fidelity M1DAC virtually eliminates jitter by re-clocking the audio data from your digital audio source to your amplifier. As a result, your music sounds warmer, precise, and more realistic - without the harshness and distortion caused from jitter.

USB Port: The Musical Fidelity M1DAC external digital-to-analog convertor features a rear-panel USB (type-B) port for the connection of your Windows PC or Mac computer, so you can listen to your stored compressed music files (CD, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC) with high-quality sound. The M1DAC's USB port supports 32, 44.1, and 48 kbps sampling rates (16-bit). The M1DAC lets your compressed music files sound like a high-quality CD player.

Note: The M1DAC's USB (type-B) port supports Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7; as well as MAC OS X.

Digital Inputs (optical/coaxial): The Musical Fidelity M1DAC is equipped with a optical and coaxial digital input for connecting your CD player, DVD player, game system, or other digital audio device. The M1DAC's surpasses most digital-to-analog convertors found in your digital audio source device. The M1DAC's digital inputs supports 32-192kHz sampling rates (16-24 bit).

  • Optical: supports sample rates of 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96kHz
  • Coaxial: supports sample rates of 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, and 192kHz

AES Balanced Digital Input: The M1DAC's AES balanced digital input lets you connect a high-end digital audio source, such as a SACD player, via XLR. The M1DAC's AES balanced digital input supports 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, and 192kHz sampling rates (16-24 bit).

Balanced & Unbalanced Outputs: The Music Fidelity M1DAC is equipped with both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) audio outputs to connect your home receiver or amplifier. These audio outputs are located on the rear-panel.

  • Unbalanced RCA Outputs: The M1DAC is equipped with a gold-plated, unbalanced stereo RCA output for connecting the device to your home stereo receiver.
  • Balanced XLR Outputs: The M1DAC features true balanced XLR analog audio outputs to connect high-end home receivers and amplifiers. XLR is a higher-quality output that can reject noise and interference with equipment with balanced inputs.

High-Quality Power Supply: The M1DAC features a high-quality built-in power supply with choke filtration to reduce unwanted AC noise for more consistent performance and outstanding reliability.

Specifications

Output:

  • Impedance: 47 Ohms
  • Digital 0dB Level: 2.2V (RCA), 4.4V (XLR)

DAC:

  • Circuit: 24-bit Delta-Sigma (big-stream) dual differential 8x over-sampling to 192kHz
  • Total Correlated Jitter: <12 picoseconds peak-to-peak
  • Linearity: <0.1dB down to -96dB
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 20,000Hz (-0.1dB max)
  • Channel Separation: >105dB @ 20Hz-20kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >119dB "A"-weighted
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.0025% @10Hz-20kHz

Power Requirements:

  • Voltage: 90-250V AC, 50/60Hz
  • Consumption: 10 Watts maximum

Dimensions: 8.6875" (w) x 3.9375" (h) x 13.625"

Weight: 9 lbs

 
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Musical Fidelity M1DAC Reviews

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5 out of 5

Musical Fidelity M1DAC

Written By MarkM, Aspen Hill Md. on Thursday, June 30, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Wonderful piece of equipment!Transforms the sound of all my cds.For the price,it is a bargain!Tightens up the bass and reveals the delicate mids and upper range.Satifaction plus.A keeper.
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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