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Bricasti M1SE Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 112 29.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 138 36.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 113 29.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 17 4.5%

  • Total voters
    380
OP
amirm

amirm

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Just a note that these companies have very high overhead. For example, i see them at every audio show. This is expensive. They are also sold through dealers which would not touch a product unless they make significant amount of margin (to pay for their own high overhead of commissions, rent, taxes, etc.). Also, quantities sold is small so production costs are high. Selling 500 of something is so different than selling 50,000.
 

Cbdb2

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I don't think so. Around 1999, dacs with similar performance used to cost 10k$ with todays dollars.


~1999
~R-2R
~-110db highest distortion spike / 20 bits linearity, 105db DR.
1999 was 24 years ago not 12. A lot advanced with digital audio in the 12 years after 1999.
 

Cbdb2

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Because they don't need or want them, they ignore that fact that others might.
Nobody needs them and nobody's ignoring the fact others might want them. Mostly we are saying there over priced and underperforming.
 

Cbdb2

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I saw that Steve Nutten burger is having more than 250,000 blind sheeps following him. No matter how loud we bark, its gonna echo only in this glorious cave we are in, unfortunately.
I disagree, this single thread has already been looked at over 25,000 times. Some of those blind sheep are staring to see, its a miracle!
 

Cbdb2

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The design looks clean and all these compartments/walls give you a feel of good isolation between the boards. But from a technical (and environmental) point of view, this milled box is sad to look at: a waste of aluminum and time for CNC machining just to justify the 10K price tag. Unfortunately, they don't use feed-trough capacitors or filters, so all the noise from one compartment is picked up by the cables and transferred to the neighboring one.
Theres gaps for the cable runs so the isolation is not that good.
 

Blockader

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1999 was 24 years ago not 12. A lot advanced with digital audio in the 12 years after 1999.
I don't know what you are talking about. There were similar performing dacs in 1999 which costs 12500~ with todays dollars. My point was that there is nothing that makes Bricasti that makes special for 2010~2011.

Separately from that discussion, it's important to note a distinct aspect regarding the Bricasti's chip choice. The primary reason Bricasti utilized the AD DAC chip around 2008 was its unique feature that allowed designers to bypass the chip's inherent reconstruction filters, enabling them to design their own. This was a significant differentiator at that time.
 

Docmoggy

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This review confirms the axiom that the true performance of audio equipment is the ability to reproduce "musical" fidelity without added distortion ( even if this product is slightly dated)..

As Amir states, a huge volume of equipment costing 5% of the price of this piece of retro abstractness can actually outperform it. It was a hard lesson to learn personally, but I've never looked back. I've stopped having those audiophile fantasies of owning D'Agostino this, Acoustic Research that and lust after the dCs Rossini range (their dac is over $30K - wouldn't mind seeing measurement results for that stuff). However, I can understand the argument that if you have fancy cars, house etc, then maybe fancy hifi is a good side order. However, maybe it just confirms the familiar expression "more money than sense". Which it is of course.

So, I'm pretty convinced that audio hardware should be a noiseless datum. Then what we hear after that is our problem.

We have clearly achieved SOTA with DACS and AMPS costing less than $500. Therefore, there isn't a problem reproducing music because we know the noise from cables and power sources is a myth using modern equipment, The focus is now on speakers. Again, we have a massive range of speakers and we are seeing measurements that blast claims made from the expensive side of things. Maybe, we need a set of baseline measurement specs, like those issued with DACs from SMSL, Topping etc, where consumers can make good purchasing decisions instead of associating brand power with performance - which is the traditional route of self inflicted harm to the audiophile.
 
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Palladium

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Nobody needs them and nobody's ignoring the fact others might want them. Mostly we are saying there over priced and underperforming.


This M-Audio sound card is <$200 new in 2001 and performs better than this DAC, so what's the excuse again?


Just a note that these companies have very high overhead. For example, i see them at every audio show. This is expensive. They are also sold through dealers which would not touch a product unless they make significant amount of margin (to pay for their own high overhead of commissions, rent, taxes, etc.). Also, quantities sold is small so production costs are high. Selling 500 of something is so different than selling 50,000.

I'm not shedding a tear over this. This is merely capitalism working and they aren't providing any goods of necessity.
 

BeamZappa

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I think you have to be careful to separate ‘myth’ and fact, I remember comparing one of his DaCapo dacs to a Meridian and the DaCapo was very audibly poorer.
The DaCapo was I believe highly thought of at the time.
Amir has measured the Dacmagic.

Keith
Haha yeah absolutely agree, Richer Sounds buying CA was an immense publicity opportunity! I always thought it more a price vs performance thing, I've never heard a DaCapo so have zero reference for the main comparison made, but I remember it being a £2000?? price tag (Don't quote me) and the Dacmagic £150, so it was potentially 7.5% the price of the Triangle! I replaced a JW Dac3 with an 1990 Orelle DA180, don't remember it being a giant, or a hefty price, though defiantly sounded superior!

Sweet, thanks for the link!
 

Cbdb2

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I don't know what you are talking about. There were similar performing dacs in 1999 which costs 12500~ with todays dollars. My point was that there is nothing that makes Bricasti that makes special for 2010~2011.

Separately from that discussion, it's important to note a distinct aspect regarding the Bricasti's chip choice. The primary reason Bricasti utilized the AD DAC chip around 2008 was its unique feature that allowed designers to bypass the chip's inherent reconstruction filters, enabling them to design their own. This was a significant differentiator at that time.
So you don't think digital audio has advanced after 1999? Thats what I said.
 

Blockader

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So you don't think digital audio has advanced after 1999? Thats what I said.
Both dacs are transparent. Dacs and amps are solved problems since long time. Advancements in dac technology have made them more affordable, while improvements in amp technology have not only reduced costs but also significantly increased their efficiency. While listening at 85db, second order distortion of M1SE is at -30db. -30db is the sound of water flowing inside the pipes of your neighbours bathroom. You can't hear that.

Hypothetically, if you're superhuman and can actually hear -30dB, there's an important detail to consider. If there's any loud sound in the music within a 50ms window around the frequency where the second-order distortion occurs, it will mask that distortion, rendering it inaudible. This is due to auditory masking, a feature of human hearing that makes detecting distortion quite challenging. Check auditory masking in youtube for more information.
 
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Billy Budapest

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Voted “fine.” I would have liked to have voted “not terrible” due to its high price and poor value proposition, but as I usually do, I am rating on measured performance only.
Thinking about this further, ten or fifteen years ago this would have been a SOTA design. Even today, the filters are extremely well implemented. But the performance for the price you are paying does not make sense when better performance can be had for 1/20th the price.
 

Blockader

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Thinking about this further, ten or fifteen years ago this would have been a SOTA design. Even today, the filters are extremely well implemented. But the performance for the price you are paying does not make sense when better performance can be had for 1/20th the price.
That's true, this is an extraordinary dac for something that was designed in 2008.
That said, today professionals are turning to dacs like the Merging Anubis or Neumann MT48, which have incredibly amount of features. These include FPGA-based DSP for minimal latency, as well as comprehensive monitor calibration tools, bass management, room correction, and downmix capabilities for formats from mono to immersive 22.2 setups. They have pro tools inside like reverb tools, DEESSER, digital mixer, mic preamp... and beyond these are numerous additional features I am bored to list here. Basically you can see how obsolete these old pro dacs are compared to the pro dacs available right now.
 
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AaronJ

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Just a note that these companies have very high overhead. For example, i see them at every audio show. This is expensive. They are also sold through dealers which would not touch a product unless they make significant amount of margin (to pay for their own high overhead of commissions, rent, taxes, etc.). Also, quantities sold is small so production costs are high. Selling 500 of something is so different than selling 50,000.
This is such an important point for people to be mindful of when considering cost vs. performance. The person buying this DAC is paying for Bricasti's marketing and dealer margin, markups which no doubt cause the production quantity to be low which further increases the manufacturing cost. It's just funneling money from one pocket to another with little to no service being provided. Such is the fee for joining the club.
 

d3l

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Those measurements make me wonder what it actually sounds like?

The design, the spec, the measurements, the sound - they're what they wanted them to be.

There's a part of me that says Bricasti knows more than I do.

Their dacs are also used in mastering studios besides hifi. They simply sound very good and the bricasti support and upgrade paths for their products is top notch.
I own one of their reverb units and allrhough its pure dsp, there is simply nothing like it on the market.
 
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