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Bricasti M1SE Stereo DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 113 29.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 139 36.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 112 29.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 17 4.5%

  • Total voters
    381

elberoth

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This product is on sale right now. You can get it with or without the SE revision. So it doesn't matter that the original came out a while ago. it is a current product.
It is not. Original SE version has been been superceded by MDx model a few years back (easy way to tell them apart is the Ethernet input on the later).

What we see here is basicly a 2011 design. The SE model had the SMPS replaced with a linear PSU and USB input added back in 2015, but was identical otherwise.
 

CleanSound

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So, you consider for example an RME ADI-2 DAC for ~1,300$ a scam?
No, but in the world of home audio and what is available on the market, $1,300 raises an eyebrow given performance to value. That does not take preference into account of course.
 

KSTR

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No, but in the world of home audio and what is available on the market, $1,300 raises an eyebrow given performance to value.
Depends on what contributes to one's personal performance notions, I'd say. Besides excellent basic DAC specs, the ADI-2 DAC is a full-featured reliable workhorse which is well-designed and has professional long-term support etc, it is much more than "just a DAC". In that regard, it IMHO has an excellent performance/value ratio.
 

amicusterrae

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attracts attention because in its own way Bricasti is an iconic product.

There is curiosity in understanding how technically high-performance these products are too.

We all come from a world that has lasted for 40 years, made up of hyperbole, mantras and unquestionable truths: if it costs a lot, is heavy, and has a "noble" brand then it necessarily sounds good...

in recent years we have begun to understand that "when there is only one truth, then yes, doubts begin"....

and the doubts have gradually formed a body of objectivity that is difficult to circumvent by various subjective questions...
I remember the magic pens, sprays, and tray mats for cds, as if those 1s and 0s could be improved:) Wasn’t the first play in digital to play on our familiarity with vinyl? Then it was an obsession around jitter that’s been resolved over and over.
 

Axo1989

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I just vote on performance and appearance, not price. So gave top marks as it looks good.

The do a gold version which is so crazy I want one:


Something to tempt the Dartzeel fancier !!

I voted fine for this one (then changed that to great after reading more of the thread, too much dongle-waving). Amir's review is informative as usual and his commentary on point, well done (extra points for covering all those filters :). This particular combination of performance and industrial design works for me. And as @restorer-john notes above, it has delivered those characteristics for perhaps a decade, and will likely do so for another decade or more. The high price is a plus, of course, it keeps out the riff-raff. Including myself. :)
 
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firedog

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It's clear that today, this DAC appears a little 'overrated' with its triple linear power supply, dual mono, and performances ranging from acceptable to good. In any case, the difference with a SOTA dac today 10 times cheaper will be inaudible. But hey, forgive me, but there is nothing scandalous... I find the last Mytek seen here recently much more scandalous, or again, remember the Totaldac seen here a few years ago?" by the way, I would be curious to know the cost of such an aluminum chassis..ok I would never buy such a thing, but I recognize that it is pleasant to watch .
For a piece of equipment like this, that's still sold thru traditional dealer channels, there's a good chance that half or even 70% of the retail price is due to the cosmetics - fancy knob, heavy feet, and the case hand milled from a block of aluminum. You have cost of production, and then markups that triple or quadruple the price till retail.
And people that buy a lot of this stuff want it to look good/expensive and are happy to pay those high prices for the looks. They don't care that a Topping or a Schiit measures better.
 

CleanSound

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Depends on what contributes to one's personal performance notions, I'd say. Besides excellent basic DAC specs, the ADI-2 DAC is a full-featured reliable workhorse which is well-designed and has professional long-term support etc, it is much more than "just a DAC". In that regard, it IMHO has an excellent performance/value ratio.
The use in professional setting is very different and have different use cases and requirements as such I wouldn't compare it to home use. But if for home use, then the value proposition is very different. Again pro vs. home changes the story quite a lot.
 

firedog

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DACS are like onto the toasters of the audio world. For $15 I can buy a perfectly good toaster at Walmart that does the job and looks OK in my kitchen, or I can go to the Cuisinart store and pay $1500 for a chromium plated 4 slice job with 50 settings. Both will make perfectly acceptable toast. In point of fact, no on would ever possibly be able to distinguish the toast made in the $1500 machine from the toast made in the $15 machine.

DAC pricing and performance works exactly the same way.
Not a good example/analogy. Those cheap toasters are DESIGNED to fail after 2-3 years. In addition, many of them don't actually make toast well - they toast unevenly, burn, or undertoast.
Many cheap DACs perform at or near state of the art and last for many years. So different.

A better analogy would be microwaves - they all have pretty much the same parts inside, are made in the same factories, and do exactly the same thing. The differences are features, looks, size, and how many watts they have. The actual performance and cooking quality are identical.
 

3125b

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Comparing this to an RME hardly makes sense.
The ADI-2 Pro, which I think is their first prosumer device with USB, was originally released in 2016 for 1599€. It’s not ancient, but it predates the high-performance Chinese DACs we‘re used to now.
It’s a lot more sophisticated than this is with ADC, DSP, headphone amps, digital I/O, full color LCD, supporting software and so forth.

In 2012 this DAC was up there in terms of performance, and in that capacity it is somewhat justified in its price - but the world has moved on. It doesn‘t make sense now as a used device or their new versions which I understand are basically still the same as this just even more expensive.
 

DLS79

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Don’t disagree, but why are these particular, high priced devices reviewed here? If someone want ls to pay a massive premium for non-audible factors, more power to them, but I don’t see how reviews help the crowd.

It adds another data point to the data set.

That has real world benefits to all consumers even if they don't know it. A trusted 3rd party reviewer (what ASR is) can apply pressure to manufactures in multiple ways. They have to be honest in their advertising, and they to have realistic pricing.
DACs above some much lower $ threshold are just not worth the bandwidth, as the threshold of audibility and state of the art already are well established.

The owner sent it in, and @amirm tested it. @amirm tests what forum members and some company's send him. If you want to see $10k speakers tested then you need to convince a member or a company to send him one to test.

The most expensive speaker he tested was $15k and it did not do well.
 

Blockader

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10k indeed is a bit tough, but please consider:
- designed (and hand-built) in USA by very experienced pro-audio engineers (former Lexicon staff)
- designed for long service life and sustainability, with modules that can be replaced and options that can be added. It tells something that this product is still sold and receives updates after a decade.
- excellent implementation, especially the filters, It may well sound better than your $100 "throw-away" DAC.
- professional documentation.

That's why I voted "fine".
I would like to understand why the impact of slow filters is more noticeable than, say, that of -60dB distortion.

Is it because slow filters cause high IMD spikes in the audible band?
Is it because filters that can't attenuate HF information well result large IMD spikes?
Is it because filters introduce significant phase shifts, resulting in group delay, around their cutoff frequency? I believe these phase shifts should not be audible, as they typically occur outside the audible range. Additionally, Phase shifts above 5-6khz are not easily audible.
 

Blumlein 88

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The use in professional setting is very different and have different use cases and requirements as such I wouldn't compare it to home use. But if for home use, then the value proposition is very different. Again pro vs. home changes the story quite a lot.
I think a reasonable DAC that is not dirt cheap is the Okto Research stereo DAC. $1300 or so. Lots of inputs, double outputs, nicely made, nice display, full size, can be used streaming. For some people I don't consider that a rip-off. It provides SOTA performance which you might match for $300, but it won't be as nicely done. It still isn't as good a price/value proposition as the RME in pure performance terms, but it isn't crazy.

No matter the build quality I don't see how this Bricasti is a good value. Even if the newer one also had SOTA performance. Sure this one is 10 years old, and likely will be good another 10 years. I'd feel safe the Okto or the RME will be running in 10 years. If it were to last only 5 years, given the new cost now of a Bricasti one could buy one every 5 years for 50 years before you spent that amount of money. For what the Bricasti cost you could buy a 30 year bond, and interest payments would pay you twice the cost of an Okto or RME every 5 years. Plus you'll get that money back at the end of the line.

Also the extra electrical consumption of the Bricasti will cost you half the cost of an Okto or RME over 5 years time @15 cents/kwh. Just nothing about it is a good value other than as a Veblen product.
 
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IamJF

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At least a design with linear power supply and no residuals of the mains frequencies! :p
That's actual not that easy, so they know how to design good analog electronics. They propably chose their DAC for a reason ... great measurements and top notch performance wasn't the reason obviously ...
 

KSTR

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Is it because slow filters cause high IMD spikes in the audible band?
Is it because filters that can't attenuate HF information well result large IMD spikes?
Is it because filters introduce significant phase shifts, resulting in group delay, around their cutoff frequency? I believe these phase shifts should not be audible, as they typically occur outside the audible range. Additionally, Phase shifts above 5-6khz are not easily audible.
Probably a mix of all of the above, to different amounts.

It's definitely individual and young well-trained ears in good condition are more likely to experience a (slight!) difference.

My ears are old and have seen some abuse so I don't hear much difference, if any, for the typical filters, provided the pass band is not drooping too early (like for NOS and some "slow rolloff" filters. I recently did experiments and had to reduce sample to 32kHz to easily pinpoint differences.
While sounding practically identical with random noise wrt to frequency response, some filters add some "glassiness" (sometimes pleasant, sometimes not) with music tracks while others don't, or tend to have more/less "see-through" properties in reverb tails, things like that.
 

Rhamnetin

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I think a reasonable DAC that is not dirt cheap is the Okto Research stereo DAC. $1300 or so. Lots of inputs, double outputs, nicely made, nice display, full size, can be used streaming. For some people I don't consider that a rip-off. It provides SOTA performance which you might match for $300, but it won't be as nicely done. It still isn't as good a price/value proposition as the RME in pure performance terms, but it isn't crazy.

I like the miniDSP SHD in that price range. Sure it's outperformed technically (and inaudibly) by the SMSL SU-1 in terms of pure DAC performance, but it gives you powerful DSP including the Dirac Live suite, subwoofer management, and it's a streamer (an extremely limited streamer though).
 

Blumlein 88

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I like the miniDSP SHD in that price range. Sure it's outperformed technically (and inaudibly) by the SMSL SU-1 in terms of pure DAC performance, but it gives you powerful DSP including the Dirac Live suite, subwoofer management, and it's a streamer (an extremely limited streamer though).
Yes, and that too is reasonable based on features you want or need. This Bricasti is not reasonable. Nothing wrong with it in use, but it is a poor value.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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It is not. Original SE version has been been superceded by MDx model a few years back (easy way to tell them apart is the Ethernet input on the later).
It is absolutely being sold. Both the M1 and with upgrades for SE, MDx, etc.

1709771118213.png


Regardless, the new version has identical specs so it makes no difference.
 

Rhamnetin

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It is absolutely being sold. Both the M1 and with upgrades for SE, MDx, etc.

View attachment 354640

Regardless, the new version has identical specs so it makes no difference.

I'm not sure if the other person was saying you can no longer buy the M1 SE as configured in this review (only with the MDx upgrade), but indeed that's not even an objective sonic upgrade.

M1 Series II seems like mostly just an aesthetics upgrade, since it's the same DACs, topology, and output voltage range (still requiring you to engage an internal jumper).
 
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