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Micromega MyDAC DAC Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of Micromega MyDAC audio DAC. It is on kind loan from a member. While it still shows up as a current product, it seems to have been released back in 2013 and is not stocked when I searched. So likely discontinued. The cost at the time was US $400.

The industrial design of the MyDAC is not anything special sans the rotating wheel to select inputs:

Micromega MyDAC USB Review.jpg

In use, it works exceptionally well and has a great feel to it. Not that you would use it often but is a nice touch.

Here is the back panel:

Micromega MyDAC USB Back Panel Review.jpg

This actually points to one of the innovations they tout. Namely, the fact that they designed a custom switching power supply to be included in there. It is a nice touch although as we have seen, there is no need for anything special to get superb performance out of DACs.

DAC Audio Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard:

Micromega MyDAC USB Input Audio Measurements.png


We have nice 2 volt output we like to see. Distortion and noise are kept in check at 101 dB landing the MyDAC in good category of all DACs tested:
Best USB DAC.png


Intermodulation and noise relative to input level shows higher noise but is otherwise good:

Micromega MyDAC USB Input IMD Audio Measurements.png


Linearity falls in similar category:
Micromega MyDAC USB Input Linearity Audio Measurements.png


Frequency response is dead flat:
Micromega MyDAC USB Input Frequency Response Audio Measurements.png


Jitter test shows some interference but nothing notable:
Micromega MyDAC USB Input Jitter Audio Measurements.png


Dynamic range is good too:

Micromega MyDAC USB Input Dynamic Range Audio Measurements.png


The puzzler was distortion+noise relative to frequency:

Micromega MyDAC USB Input THD vs Noise Audio Measurements.png


Diagnosing what occurs requires looking beyond 20 kHz as this uses 90 kHz of bandwidth to capture most of the harmonics. For that, we use a wideband FFT analysis:

Micromega MyDAC USB Input 1 kHz FFT Audio Measurements.png


We see rising noise level starting at 50 kHz. This is a "normal" thing in some DAC as they attempt to push noise out of the audible band into inaudible. That, combined with harmonic distortion and some aliasing causes the THD+N figures to go way higher. Fortunately all of these things are inaudible so not a worry.

Conclusions
The Micromega MyDAC seems to be competently designed. By today's standard, its performance is not competitive, nor is its price. But still, I was pleased to see that "remaking of the wheel" as some higher-end audio companies attempt, did not deter from performance of the unit. I am not going to recommend it because you have so many other choices today. But if you have one, or can get one cheap, it will be good DAC.

Having craving for some sushi! Weather is getting cooler and with, quality of fish improves (they build up tasty reserves of fat to get through winter). Even though I am by myself, it is still going to cost more than hamburgers from fast food restaurants I usually get. So, appreciate you all donating money so I can eat well using : https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Cahudson42

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#2
May I respectfully comment, that while 'historic' (obsolete) equipment is interesting, the time spent on them subtracts from the time Amirm has to evaluate current offerings?

Thus I propose that evaluations going forward focus on products, say 2018 - and later?

There can always be exceptions that have historic significance, but other than that, anything older really needs to be ignored. There are far, far to many newer items that need amirm's scrutiny..
 

LLL

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#3
Thank you @amirm. It's interesting to see that this few year old piece has performance above plenty of newer models. It was certainly price-incompetitive (it's $369 at HiFi Heaven in stock, though competitive used on eBay at under $200); but it really shows that there really is no excuse for manufacturers today to not exceed this level of performance.
 
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#4
May I respectfully comment, that while 'historic' (obsolete) equipment is interesting, the time spent on them subtracts from the time Amirm has to evaluate current offerings?

Thus I propose that evaluations going forward focus on products, say 2018 - and later?

There can always be exceptions that have historic significance, but other than that, anything older really needs to be ignored. There are far, far to many newer items that need amirm's scrutiny..
You don’t know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you came from. I think there is value in these reviews, but definitely in moderation. I think Amir strikes a good balance, primarily reviewing contemporary gear, with the occasional piece of older tech for perspective.
 

scott wurcer

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#5
Having craving for some sushi! Weather is getting cooler and with, quality of fish improves (they build up tasty reserves of fat to get through winter).
Had some o-toro flown in from Fukuoka market yesterday, it was only a small sample but I didn't have to pay.
 

RickSanchez

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#6
Out of curiosity: in 2013 was the $400 price point for this DAC considered "budget"? Or at least "budget adjacent"?
 

amirm

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#7
Had some o-toro flown in from Fukuoka market yesterday, it was only a small sample but I didn't have to pay.
Wow, my mouth is watering just thinking about! :)
 
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#8
May I respectfully comment, that while 'historic' (obsolete) equipment is interesting, the time spent on them subtracts from the time Amirm has to evaluate current offerings?

Thus I propose that evaluations going forward focus on products, say 2018 - and later?

There can always be exceptions that have historic significance, but other than that, anything older really needs to be ignored. There are far, far to many newer items that need amirm's scrutiny..
I don't disagree with this sentiment. But keep in mind that Amir can only review what people send him. So he doesn't have unlimited access to newer items that might be of greatest interest to many of us. He occasionly buys items out of his own pocket, but we have no right to expect this of him.
 

BillG

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#9
There can always be exceptions that have historic significance, but other than that, anything older really needs to be ignored.
I'm going to differ with you here as we do have members who shop the used market quite often. And as someone else just wrote, Amir can only test what people send him. So if you're primarily focused on the latest, someone is going to have to pay for that, and it's unreasonable to expect Amir to keep forking out money regardless of his own finances.
 
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#10
I usually buy used gear, but there's an even bigger factor here: this review covers a brand we haven't seen before. There's obvious value in reviewing the new releases, but I feel we already have a pretty good handle on, say, Schiit or Topping. Before this review, I had NO idea if Micromega gear deserved any attention.
 

theshakomaster

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#11
You don’t know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you came from. I think there is value in these reviews, but definitely in moderation. I think Amir strikes a good balance, primarily reviewing contemporary gear, with the occasional piece of older tech for perspective.
I just sent Amir a Schiit Modi 1 for this very reason. It’s interesting to see the history of where some vendors have started and gone to. Also, I’d personally be interested in some vintage gear to see what a subset of people claim “things used to be better” like old (70’s-80s) PS Audio/Rotel/Marantz gear or DAC‘s with Burr Brown chips or old R2R implementations, etc.
 
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#12
May I respectfully comment, that while 'historic' (obsolete) equipment is interesting, the time spent on them subtracts from the time Amirm has to evaluate current offerings?

Thus I propose that evaluations going forward focus on products, say 2018 - and later?

There can always be exceptions that have historic significance, but other than that, anything older really needs to be ignored. There are far, far to many newer items that need amirm's scrutiny..
Let me play devil's advocate here. I disagree. Here's why:
  • There is a huge amount of "obsolete" hardware out there. Absolutely huge. Why should I spend $500 for a mid-range amplifier when I could own a $3,000-MSRP, 20-year-old TOTL amplifier for the same amount? Amir is providing us valuable data proving one way or the other. Looking on eBay, one of these MyDACs recently sold for ~$70. Does the performance of this DAC equal or exceed a new $70 DAC based on data on here? I would say "Yeah, sure." Used equipment usually is not harder to get than new equipment thanks to eBay and other online auction/sales platforms.
  • As mentioned before, many people reference the "golden age of audio" being the 70's, 80's, & (sometimes) 90's. Is this true? I don't think we have enough examples here to decide that. Sure, technology has changed & evolved but can we generalize that? I don't think we can. We can look at old measurements too...but the old test devices are likely (definitely?) not as sensitive as modern AP equipment. It's nice to compare new & old equipment on a level playing field and prove/disprove this theory.
  • If Amir's results prove that it is worth my while to buy an older piece of equipment, I can feel good knowing that I'm hunting down a device that I am potentially saving from a landfill which would otherwise poison our environment.
  • I'd still like to know if old Sony ES equipment with the hardwood sides truly performed better than the poorly-engineered modern Sony-baloney I've seen on here. :) If this website has proved anything, its that build-quality means very little. It's all about the circuit design, baby. Computer-accelerated PCB layout software has certainly improved certain aspects of product design, but I don't see it helping the big names in audio that have way more $$$ to spend on R&D than many of the mom & pop folks on here that are absolutely destroying them.
  • Its honestly lazy to assume anything on here. I thought the point of this website is to disprove all levels of audiofoolery, no matter which side of the spectrum you land on.
I like the happy medium between new & not-so-new that Amir has been walking lately. No real reason not to keep it up, in my opinion.
 
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soundwave76

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#14
May I respectfully comment, that while 'historic' (obsolete) equipment is interesting, the time spent on them subtracts from the time Amirm has to evaluate current offerings?

Thus I propose that evaluations going forward focus on products, say 2018 - and later?

There can always be exceptions that have historic significance, but other than that, anything older really needs to be ignored. There are far, far to many newer items that need amirm's scrutiny..
Hear hear! These reviews of old gear are not interesting, unless they are expensive high end devices.
 

JJB70

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#15
I remember Micromega from decades ago when they were tweaking Phillips CD players, the Stage 1, 2 and 3. They were highly regarded at the time.

I like to see older equipment reviewed. I find it if anything more interesting than most new gear. Especially in the case of DACs where despite certain manufacturers trying to pretend that it is a cutting edge technology and we should stick to models less than a year old the reality is that the performance of many older models is perfectly fine in audible terms.
 

Ceburaska

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#18
I almost never buy new, and if 2013 is considered too old to be of interest, I can’t imagine what my gear from the early eighties would count as. So I respectfully ask to continue testing a variety of gear.
I’ve never owned Micromega, but they’ve always been on my radar as a company making interesting items. So it’s good to see, for once, that seems an accurate impression (based on a sample of one!).
 

amirm

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#19
I remember Micromega from decades ago when they were tweaking Phillips CD players, the Stage 1, 2 and 3. They were highly regarded at the time.
I thought I remembered the name from a long time ago and that was it!
 

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