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User Review: M51 Direct Digital DAC - M51 is a fantastic DAC

August 29, 2012

Products: M51 Direct Digital DAC

The M51 is truly a wonderful DAC. It is a major league improvement in sound over any other DAC I have heard in its price range. It manages to achieve the holy grail in DAC performance---incredible detail with musicality but NO digital harshness and glare. Bass performance is amazing--detailed, tight, nuanced and very clean. Imaging is excellent. And instruments and voices really do seem to come alive. I feel like I am listening to my cd collection for the first time. You will be amazed at how easy it is to hear the words in many rock songs that you only guessed at before. I auditioned other dacs and really found I easily prefer this one over them. True, it is not a low cost DAC but it gives real audiophile sound. Playing it through my maggies has been amazing. I should note that I also spent time comparing it to the C390DD combined dac and digital amplifier. There is a dedicated dac preamp output which sounds nearly as good as the M51--although I found the M51's sound to be more detailed and nuanced. Still one could be happy with either dac output. However, I was less happy with the C390DD power amplifier output which sounded great at the low frequencies but I found it a bit harsh at the higher frequencies. That was a deciding factor between the two units for me. Note, that you will need to send the M51's output to good quality linear power amplifier output to get the most from its performance. And, of course, the synergy between that power amp and your speakers as well as the M51 is key. Honestly, if you can afford it, the M51, at least for me, is a no-brainer slam dunk!

Jon - USA

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