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Musiland Dac Review

AV Cables

RB9

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Hi, Pls find below the Musiland Dac's review at Affordable$$Audio May 2008
Thanks RB9

Musiland MD10 USB DAC
By Mark Marcantonio
publisher@affordableaudio.org
Specifications:
24bit System, up to 192kHz Sampling Frequency
BNC, Coax, USB or Toslink inputs
Microcomputer Control, LCD Display, OSD Menu
Line or Earphone Analog Audio Output Interface
Class A Earphone Amplifier
Sampling Frequencies: 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz
88.2kHz, 96kHz, 176.4kHz or, 192kHz
Analog Audio Output Interface: RCA 3.5
mm Phone Socket
CIRRUS CS4398 D/A Chip, Up to 120Db SNR
Dual digital filtering: 102 db or 75 db
Balance Analog Filter class A AMP.
LCD Display Real-time to Show Sampling Rate
Dimensions: (inches) 6.25. w x 8.5d x 2h
Price: $299
Manufacturer: DIYEDEN
Distributor: Pacific Valve & Electric Company Home Page
If 2007 wasnt, then for sure 2008 is the year for music servers. Add-on products are popping up right and left, leading
to a myriad of choices and some definite confusion among music server newbies. One of the most fascinating DAC
units is the multi-purpose Musiland MD10. It has a tremendous feature set for a small form factor unit that looked
quite at home on top of the Underwood modified PS Audio Trio C-100 or the Jolida JD100 cdp.
The Design
The Musiland MD10 is a multipurpose DAC. That allows it to work with USB, Toslink, BSN, and Coax inputs. It offers
two output modes: RCA analog or headphone output with front panel volume control. The headphone output became
a much appreciated way to experience the MD10, as my wife was going through a work schedule that demanded going
to bed a couple of hours earlier than normal.
The aesthetically pleasing front panel is dominated by a blue rectangular LCD screen. Information is displayed on two
horizontal lines, with white lettering approximately one half inch high. a much-appreciated feature for those of us dealing
with middle-age eyesight and bifocals. To the left of the screen is the Power button. On the right are three smaller
buttons in a vertical alignment. These are menu buttons, which, after a 2-3 minute perusal of the manual, worked
quite easily. (Just make sure to select RCA instead of LINEOUT for analog output to your preamplifier, integrated,
or receiver.) The USB input is not designed for mp3 players, and no analog input exists. The MD10 focuses on computer
music servers and CD players with digital output.
Under the hood, one will find a steel wall of a respectable gauge that divides the power section from the electronics
board. Solder connections on the review unit were of a solid width and cleanly done--all in all, a very impressive layout
and execution. The onboard power supply is a welcome respite from the many offboard designs, as is the threeway
power receptacle.
Setup
As mentioned above, one should take a couple of minutes to review the short, but clearly written manual. Using the
menu buttons is fairly similar to many menus for LCD computer monitors, with a center MODE button and separate up
and down buttons that double for volume control when using headphones. The menu screen shows the selected
mode on the top level, i.e., INPUT, and the lower level displays the particular choices one at a time. Once you find the
specific selection, just touch the center button to keep that choice. Once all the selections are completed, sit back and
enjoy.
The true capability of the Musiland MD10 comes in the various menu choices for output. The user can choose to stick
with a 16-bit 44k output, or upsample to one of the following choices: 48k, 88.2k, 176k, or 192k. And that isnt all: the
next menu step involves using either 16- or 24-bit output. Finally, in recognition of AV capabilities, the MD10 offers
stop band audio filtering of 102db for multimedia, or 75db for two-channel fanatics like myself.
A F F O R D A B L E $ $ A U D I O
30
Affordable$$Audio
Listening
My non-headphone listening consisted of my
main rig, flipping between the Underwoodmodified
PS Audio Trio C-100 class D integrated
amplifier, and the Onix SP3 integrated tube amp.
The source unit is a modified Jolida JD100 tube
cdp. The Musiland MD10 performed without flaw
in its short time in my system. I detected no additional
noise being added by the DAC, something
I attribute to the designers choice of placing
a proper-sized power supply onboard rather
than a block on the end of a plug. Of course,
going thru the digital out defeats the need for the
tube section of the cdp, something that Im quite
fond of personally.
In my family room rig, consisting of the vintage Harman Kardon 680i receiver and Onix CD88, a positive difference
was apparent from the get go. The noise floor was lowered slightly. I detected smoother cymbals and piano key
strikes in tracks from Elton Johns Two Low For Zero cd. The MD10 seemed to be a natural extension of the system.
I saved my computer server rig for last, and in a bit of whimsy, decided to move the server to the living room to work in
my main rig. I first ran the server using the trusty Fubar DAC that was a part of the December 2007 DIY server article.
(For just over $150, the Fubar is a fine value, but it doesnt offer the output flexibility of the MD10). The stock external
power supply is its weak link, though an upgraded unit is offered.) After several tracks, I switched over to the Musiland
MD10. The difference is obvious: the extra $150 drops the noise floor. Cymbals ring more clearly and with less grain.
William Ackermans acoustic guitar work from Conferring With The Moon had an airier quality in the higher chords.
So, what about the sampling and bit differences that the Musiland MD10 offers as user options? That is where my
headphone usage paid off. In listening on my different rigs, I found it difficult to detect differences between the various
settings. With the headphones on, I could change settings
without having to worry about getting back into listening position.
This instantaneous switching assisted me in being
able to detect the differences on certain discs. As I moved
from 16bit 44k up to 24bit 192k, it seemed as if the midrange
frequencies broadened the soundstage. Guitars and
female voices benefited most from the upsampling. Sara
McLachlans soothing vocals added a bit resonance in the
song Adia, from her live Mirrorball release. In her opening
chorus, she stretches her vocals to hit the higher notes, yet
some resonance lingers. The same holds true a few tracks
later in the Enya-style song, Fear, an exceptionally wellrecorded
performance. The ability to actually sing live is a
big issue with me in live recordings.
Final Thoughts
The Musiland MD10 offers up a great deal of options. Its
just a couple of items short of being labeled a category killer.
A standard USB output and analogue input would allow
for converting analog signals into digital for uploading into a computer-based music server. Maybe there is a model
MD20 in the works that would offer this capability. In the meantime, if youre a headphone junkie or a regular traveler
looking for a quality DAC unit to use with cans, the Musiland MD10 offers up a space-saving dual capability For music
server fans, the MD10 deserves your attention and consideration. Its rich feature set and quiet power supply make it a
fine value.
Associated Equipment:
Onix SP3, Underwood Modified PS Audio Trio C-100, Modified Jolida JD100, Totem Mites, Polk Audio LSi9, Paradigm
Studio 40v2, Harman Kardon 680i, Onix CD88, Fubar USB DAC, Gateway Profile 3, Audio Art cabling/interconnects
 

spirovious

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Review abt SQ is not detail.
Durability not known.
Does connecting pendrive to USB work?
 

robot

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Review abt SQ is not detail.
Durability not known.
Does connecting pendrive to USB work?

I have the same Dac & im very happy with the performance. Its good VFM product its been only approx one month its been with me so cant comment on the durability. Im sure we all do experiment and we do gamble by buying imported stuff from gray market or directly buy from out side India and bringing them here without even thinking of service support ! My uncle bought his component music system : starting as early as 1975 & did lots of addition later on (which never ends) ! Point here is people do this purely for their passion where for someone thinks wrong & someone thinks right !
Connecting pen drive to usb dac will not work as you need a system to play files like laptop or desk top or dvd player. Same as we need cd player to play CD, we cant play cd by putting cd on the interconnect !!
:):)
 

RB9

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I have the same Dac & im very happy with the performance. Its good VFM product its been only approx one month its been with me so cant comment on the durability. Im sure we all do experiment and we do gamble by buying imported stuff from gray market or directly buy from out side India and bringing them here without even thinking of service support ! My uncle bought his component music system : starting as early as 1975 & did lots of addition later on (which never ends) ! Point here is people do this purely for their passion where for someone thinks wrong & someone thinks right !
Connecting pen drive to usb dac will not work as you need a system to play files like laptop or desk top or dvd player. Same as we need cd player to play CD, we cant play cd by putting cd on the interconnect !!
:):)

Hi Robot, i also agree to the points mentioned by you.
Thanx RB9
 

venkatcr

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"better than Xonar Essence STX", "almost as good as CA 840C" and so on head-fi. Anyone heard this? Anyone have any idea?

Psychotropic, in our eagerness to get a inexpensive DAC, we must not forget that it takes quite some time and expensive research to get a good DAC design. I doubt a Chinese company can put together something using some well know chip that can come any where near the Xonar or CA 840C.

The other major issue I have with Chinese audio products is that what kind of music do they use for testing? Do they have knowledge and the ears to understand and appreciate good western music, forget about other genres completely?

Cheers
 

psychotropic

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hey venkat, the feedback i am speaking of is from head-fi-ers, including chaps who have like 2500+ posts, who are pretty categorical that it's superior to the Xonar. Do check it out if you can. Musiland has been making some DACs for some time if i am not mistaken, so they're not yet another fly-by-night chinese operator. I know forum feedback is only as good as any individual's opinion, but it looked interesting. I wouldn't intrinsically dismiss the ability of a chinese company to put together a good DAC though :) Would be interesting to know if anyone here has heard this thing or plans to try it out.

Psychotropic, in our eagerness to get a inexpensive DAC, we must not forget that it takes quite some time and expensive research to get a good DAC design. I doubt a Chinese company can put together something using some well know chip that can come any where near the Xonar or CA 840C.

The other major issue I have with Chinese audio products is that what kind of music do they use for testing? Do they have knowledge and the ears to understand and appreciate good western music, forget about other genres completely?

Cheers
 

thevortex

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hey venkat, the feedback i am speaking of is from head-fi-ers, including chaps who have like 2500+ posts, who are pretty categorical that it's superior to the Xonar. Do check it out if you can. Musiland has been making some DACs for some time if i am not mistaken, so they're not yet another fly-by-night chinese operator. I know forum feedback is only as good as any individual's opinion, but it looked interesting. I wouldn't intrinsically dismiss the ability of a chinese company to put together a good DAC though :) Would be interesting to know if anyone here has heard this thing or plans to try it out.

I had a chance of getting a used Musiland DAC and read quite a few reviews - a year back I think.

But finally I did not end up getting that because there was nothing conclusive as to whether it was a big step up from my Xonar sound card.
 

cooltoad

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Not a personal review of the member but a cut and paste. such reviews from dime a dozen to the most expensive dacs are available all over the net. First hand reviews will be appreciated.

Failed to see the initial date of posting. More than one year, the member has not given his personal opinion.
 
Last edited:

psychotropic

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affordable audio is a reasonably credible source, but the DAC that i mentioned is supposed to be better than the one reviewed in the first post. Which is why I am trying to get personal views if any. If it does what it says on the tin, it's a steal for 150 dollars shipped.

Not a personal review of the member but a cut and paste. such reviews from dime a dozen to the most expensive dacs are available all over the net. First hand reviews will be appreciated.

Failed to see the initial date of posting. More than one year, the member has not given his personal opinion.
 
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