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Bricasti M1SE Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 117 30.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 140 36.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 113 29.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 17 4.4%

  • Total voters
    387
These tests were done blind or is this just your opinion? As you noted, this is a science based audio forum and opinions and imagination are not science.
But opinions and imagination can be explained scientifically... :)
 
Performance measurements are important to know and understand. Particularly how they potentially will affect the sound. Some are more critical than others. There are a lot of performance numbers that are so high that they are outside of making a significant impact and actually could be lower without taking away from the final sound.

How one piece of gear matches up with the other pieces of hardware within the system is critical and cannot be measured. Some basic measurements can let on if it will be a true mismatch but if the numbers fall within the range in which the various pieces will play nice then how nice they work with each comes down to listening and determining if the sound you are hearing is what you feel is correct to your ears.

A piece of equipment like the Briscasti M1 is a piece that needs to be installed in the configuration that one will be using it in before one can truly say it’s worth the price or not.

Yes it is very expensive but yes it is also valued to be a fair price by a lot of folks who are purchasing it for more than its looks or the brand name. Most of the folks buying the M1 have equipment that also match the Briscasti’s price point.

One does not have to buy the M1 for its new full price, a lot of audiophiles put together wonderful systems by buying used.

Briscasti is a fantastic company in terms of their build quality, engineering, honesty in numbers, support of older gear and upgrade pathways at very reasonable prices with quick turnaround times. You call their support number and someone answers right away. You email and you receive a response the next day. These are all qualities that justify a high initial cost in my mind. Not to mention that their sales numbers in the home audio area are no where near some other brands and therefore to pay all the expenses a small company has to their prices need to be higher.

As I mentioned the M1 is very expensive and no one is forcing anyone to buy one. There are alternative ways to own a current M1 Series II without dropping $12K or whatever the current price may be which is through the used market and their upgrade program.

This is a piece of equipment that can stay with you through years of DAC development and improvements due to how affordable their upgrade program is. One reason the box in which all the pieces are assembled into is so robust.

I own the M1 and it has gone through three major upgrades. The original was bought at a fraction of what a new would have cost.

I’ve had DAC/Streamers from Bryston, Auralic and TEAC to name a few. All of these were fantastic units and worked really well within my system, however when I auditioned the M1 at home there was no comparison to my ears. Immediately I knew this was a major improvement. Luckily I found a unit used at a very affordable price. Based on how good the unit sounded I fully understand why someone who could afford to pay full price would.

The Briscasti M1 Series 2 is a truly a world class streaming DAC which integrates wonderfully with Roon.

I have never heard a Streaming DAC that creates as wonderful of a soundstage which is wide, tall and deep along with producing crystal clear sound that is not etched but extended at both ends. The unit is capable of producing truly realistic sounding music. In my opinion it does not have a house sound, it reproduces the music as it was recorded and mixed. I believe this is why they have a large presence in the recording industry. There is a reason it is valued by many people who know music and equipment.

Like all equipment it may not be for you for any number of reasons but trashing it because it’s expensive or because the numbers when put on a bench are not at the top compared to other similar DACs says to me some folks don’t fully understand why this unit might be worth it’s price. I would venture the same folks have the same attitude towards other pieces of equipment that are also very expensive.
 
Yes, it can all me measured. Interpretation of those measurements is another topic, but almost certainly it would end in no audible difference identified.
 
How one piece of gear matches up with the other pieces of hardware within the system is critical and cannot be measured.
DACs have a very easy situation in your system. Usually they face high impedance loads that barely cause any effort for them to drive. But even if you subject them to unusually low impedance, I test for that:

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That is a 600 ohm load which is an order of magnitude lower impedance than even low impedance pre-amp/amplifiers.

Net, net, we absolutely can and are measuring any likely variation in systems you may use. Devices basically don't care and shouldn't.

If you mean the folklore of "system synergy," well, that doesn't exist as a general matter. It is a made up concept by audiophiles to justify not being wrong. If they say something sounds great and another person says it does not, they can blame it on system synergy. This is the fallacy of subjective testing which fundamentally is unreliable.
 
Like all equipment it may not be for you for any number of reasons but trashing it because it’s expensive or because the numbers when put on a bench are not at the top compared to other similar DACs says to me some folks don’t fully understand why this unit might be worth it’s price. I would venture the same folks have the same attitude towards other pieces of equipment that are also very expensive.
if I went into a shop to buy a banana and the man said 'That's fifty pounds please' I wouldn't pay it because I know I can get a banana in the shop just down the road for fifty pence.

I can afford it but I still wouldn't pay it, because it's not good value for money. That's exactly the same situation with this DAC. It isn't worth its price.

If they knocked a zero off the price to $1200 it would still be expensive for a DAC but then you could argue that you like the looks, you like the build quality, you like the after sales service, and those things are worth the premium. But are they really worth ten times that amount?
 
How one piece of gear matches up with the other pieces of hardware within the system is critical and cannot be measured.

It's critical yes, but it's also very standardized and easy to get right. Also, definitely can be measured.

You only need two things in line level gear; Input/output impedances that are high/low enough to ensure proper bridging, and signal amplitudes + gains with enough margin to avoid clipping. Both are standardized.

The only example I can think of that comes even close to the fabled "synergy", is when you pair an amp, that has funky load dependencies, with speakers that have an equally funky impedance curve. I would probably classify that more as "asking for trouble" than "synergy" :D
 
if I went into a shop to buy a banana and the man said 'That's fifty pounds please' I wouldn't pay it because I know I can get a banana in the shop just down the road for fifty pence.

I can afford it but I still wouldn't pay it, because it's not good value for money. That's exactly the same situation with this DAC. It isn't worth its price.

If they knocked a zero off the price to $1200 it would still be expensive for a DAC but then you could argue that you like the looks, you like the build quality, you like the after sales service, and those things are worth the premium. But are they really worth ten times that amount?
But if that £50 banana came in a smart cardboard box?
Keith
 
But if that £50 banana came in a smart cardboard box?
Keith
And with a back story. But it would need to be one hell of a back story. Maybe if they said they were 'Passionate' about bananas that would sway me.
 
Banana is one thing,a Yubari King melon is another.
There's room for everyone.
 
''Whereas in many Western cultures apples and oranges are prized for their nutritional value, the Japanese see fruit in almost spiritual terms, regularly offering it to the gods on their butsudan – or home altars – and Buddhist steps.

For this reason, high-end fruit has come to be viewed as an important symbol of respect.''


This could be the new way forward for high-end audio.
 
All of these were fantastic units and worked really well within my system, however when I auditioned the M1 at home there was no comparison to my ears.

Have you done any of your listening comparisons with any effort to control for bias?

Maybe give it a try.

 
I would venture the same folks have the same attitude towards other pieces of equipment that are also very expensive.
Your right , my attitude towards expensive gear that doesn't perform as well as gear a tenth the price is that its a big rip off. And all your biased uninformed opinions won't change my mind.
 
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I appreciate all the bananas chiming in including the top banana. Trying to stick with the banana theme someone brought up and I liked it.

I understand looking at measurements to assure all pieces within a setup work well with each other. From what I’ve experienced there are differences in how well measured equipment sounds from each other. Yes, upgrading one’s system or fine tuning a system to your ears is what I am trying to say has a lot of value, maybe more than measurements alone. This is what I was trying to convey with play together more nicely.

Is it the belief on this forum that once the specs are all up to a certain level then the playing field is level and it is only the speakers to worry about, is this what the bunch thinks? Buy based on the specs as long as the quality is good then that’s it!

My personal belief is most pieces of equipment, including speakers are tuned to some engineer's ears after hitting the quality / price point the pieces must be sold at to make a profit. I can already hear the responses about how certain so called “high end” equipment is well overpriced but for a moment put that aside. I assume that is the case. I’ve already had some nasty responses from folks, I’ll just write that off to what’s called the “jealousy factor”. So what if high end equipment is overpriced the real issue is how does it sound and can you justify to yourself and partner if it’s worth that high price.

Are we in agreement that pieces of equipment, particularly more boutique equipment or from companies that are smaller, are tuned to someone’s ear and specs? If so then I believe that is the difference that people search out when building a system. And this is what leads people to more expensive equipment that is higher priced than it ought to be but it hits the ear-brain pleasure zone and justifies their purchase. Let’s not respond about these people just want status symbols or are just lemmings followinf an reviewer off the cliff blindly. I assume some are but that is with everything in life. Almost all equipment made today by reputable companies have specs that are darn good and those not showing the highest levels is not something you will hear as “off”.

I also believe that many of those people who do purchase what the average person considers overpriced equipment do so for valid reasons as opposed to status. As I said I’m sure there is a group that purchase for status but that is their issue and I try not to judge them for it, like I feel some folks here do based on the responses.

Yes I’ve gone to peoples homes and listened to expensive systems and thought to myself junk. These people were swindled or just have hearing that is so far off from mine, but I don’t rub their noses in it. On the other hand I’ve gone to other peoples homes with equally expensive equipment and felt like a oh my this is incredible. Finally I’ve gone to homes with moderate priced equipment and said to myself this stuff sounds incredible they found all the hidden gems, but it did not sound as good as some of the holy crab this stuff is expensive but sounds up there with the best I’ve heard.

I’ve even built systems off Amazon that cost next to nothing and have enjoyed them a lot. Certainly I wouldn’t critically listen or play it at any volume but for the little I paid it gave me lots of enjoyment. No I am not saying more expensive equipment gives more enjoyment just that we hear with our ears and should not let numbers alone corrupt our enjoyment or ability to hear a piece of equipment that doesn’t measure the absolute highest as inferior.

Rooms certainly play a huge part in the listening enjoyment, as does the seating and will break or make someone’s system.

I don’t have overly expensive cables, power cords, never changed out a fuse, have very inexpensive sound isolation feet under some equipment, not all, and place my mono blocks on cutting boards I painted black and added some pointy feet underneath.

I have spent time and money in converting a sitting room into a dedicated music room. Sound absorbing and diffusing panels along with minimal furniture which is only used for listening and holding a drink and remotes. Both speaker are equal distance from front and side walls with no obstructions. I however feel that after basic measurements are met the more important element in rating a piece of equipment is putting it into my system and listening for a couple of weeks to determine if it is an upgrade or not. I try to use my ears in my room for the final equipment evaluation. If I can’t hear an easily discernible difference then I don’t value it as an upgrade.

This all leads me back to the Briscasti with it flaws and all, it is a really stand out streaming DAC and to me well worth its price. Yes it could and maybe should be less expensive. If that is what might hold someone back I don’t dispute that reason. I also say you can find the M1 on the used market and it is much more affordable there, and it’s been broken in for you.

Last point, I am sure your $200 streaming DAC, that measures perfect, is a great addition to your system. I hope you enjoy the heck out of it. It certainly saved you a lot of money that you now can use elsewhere, but it really is a tell when people make snide comments directed at people who spend more even if it seems like a waste of money to YOU!
 
You could have used your time more profitably and conducted a controlled level matched, unsighted comparison with an inexpensive yet fine measuring dac.
Keith
 
My personal belief is most pieces of equipment, including speakers are tuned to some engineer's ears after hitting the quality / price point the pieces must be sold at to make a profit.
Believe all the BS you want, dosnt make it true.
 
We all have our points of view that we come to this hobby with. For me it’s a hobby. I appreciate this forums point of view concerning the power of measurements. If stopping there is where you feel comfortable great and I respect you for what is paramount in your decision making. Doesn’t mean I need to follow the dials solely nor do I need equipment to balance the levels, a curtain to hide the equipment and someone with lightening quick reflexes to switch between equipment being evaluated. I don’t disagree this would be one way for an A/B comparison. I’m just not set up to do that nor do I care to. A few weeks with a piece listening to a variety of music switching back and forth ever so often is fine for me. Picking up a spec sheet looking through it and an internet search where I read more technical evaluations all play a role.

I do appreciate both the kind thought full and digging comments, those I find amusing. I appreciate points of view that differ from mine. That is how we learn, keep an open mind. As I said, I have come to this site often when considering equipment to gain some insight.

Happens this is the first time I have actually owned a piece of equipment that has been evaluated. I found it extremely informative. I love the thoroughness and thoughtful approach of the moderator. Science based very important. I will continue to visit and if I have experience with a piece of equipment I will chime in.

Concerning the Briscasti M1 Series II, I hope my experience as expressed will help someone who might be considering it. Think of me as the counterpoint opinion concerning this streaming DAC. It’s a really fine piece of equipment and how it handles and converts digital to analog is marvelous. Certainly one of the finer pieces available. Even if some measurements are not at the very top.

As pointed out if you want to spend at this price point even if there are areas in which it does not measure at the very top I believe you will be pleasantly surprised and so very satisfied. Believe me you won’t notice where it doesn’t measure at the very top. What you will notice is how much enjoyment you will receive when listening to digital music. To me that is what truly matters.

I hope everyone finds the streamer or DAC that they really appreciate and enjoy no matter where it places in the numbers competition. It’s what sounds best to you that matters most, all the rest is interesting.
 
quick reflexes to switch between equipment being evaluated. I don’t disagree this would be one way for an A/B comparison. I’m just not set up to do that nor do I care to.
Then you don't care to know the truth. And I really don't care what you believe, but I do care when people try to spread there BS.
 
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