• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review and Measurements of Mytek Stereo 192 DSD DAC

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,102
Likes
6,501
Location
Seattle Area
#1
This is a Review and detailed Measurements of Mytek Stereo 192 DSD "mastering grade" DAC. It is on loan from a kind member and was released back in 2012 or so. Its market focus was for mastering engineers and hence that adjective. The retail price was $1,700 at the time. Someone should advise what it goes for used market today.

The unit won't win any beauty contests:

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Review and Measurement.jpg


It screams old school with that 7-segment display. Machining looks hobbyist although the unit is quite heavy.

The unit strangely supports both USB 1.0 and 2.0 using independent inputs. Plugging in the unit didn't result in it working so I had to install its driver package which gave me the ASIO interface I need for my Audio Precision Analyzer to talk to it over USB. Alas, selection of Mytek ASIO driver would lead to the AP software crashing no matter how many times I tried it, or plug and unplug the USB cable, power cycling, etc. Oddly fortuitously, the ASIO4ALL software layer over the Windows driver worked and that is what I used for my testing. If you all want proof of why I hate installing drivers, here is another example.

For all of the measurements to follow, testing was done over USB and balanced output unless noted otherwise. For comparison, I pitted it mostly against Benchmark DAC3 which retails for over $2000. And of course it is a much more modern design.

Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard measurement:
Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Dashboard Measurement.png


This is respectable performance although as noted, I had to dial down the output using its volume control at -3 dB. Otherwise its performance would degrade.

Here is unbalanced output performance with level again reduced to nominal 2.0 volt that is common for that:

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Unbalanced Dashboard Measurement.png


Overall SINAD numbers are pretty good. Here is the comparison to other units tested:

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC SINAD Measurement.png


Let's dig into our 1 kHz response and see what we find as far as distortion and noise:
Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC 1 kHz Noise and Distortion Measurement.png


We see substantially higher second and third harmonic distortions. But then it skips a few and picks back up by 7th harmonic. All of this will either be mostly masked or be below threshold of hearing so audibly is not a concern.

While looking at spectrums, let's see how it does on jitter and noise:
Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Jitter and Noise Measurement.png


We see that the noise floor is a few db higher than DAC3. But we also have fair bit of spikes around our main tone and a pair of symmetric ones likely indicating jitter. So definitely not as clean as it should be.

Next let's drill into harmonic distortion+noise versus frequency:

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC  THD versus Frequency Measurement.png


Low frequency noise or distortion rises which can be improved by dialing down the volume to -3 dB but it is no match for Benchmark DAC3.

The oddest results came in intermodulation distortion:

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC IMD intermodulation distortion Measurement.png


This is quite disappointing. We see a rise in intermodulation distortion at around -40 dB level and stays that way more or less until the output stage starts to saturate at -10 dB and distortion then rises again.

Last but not least is everyone's favorite, linearity test:

Mytek Stereo 192-DSD DAC Linearity Measurement.png


Here, I show both balanced and unbalanced performance. While I would like to see less variations toward the end, performance nonetheless is as good as it gets at -120 dB.

Conclusions
There are some oddities in the performance of Mytek stereo 192-DSD in intermodulation and at full level. Other than that, the measurements are very good and little to complain about. Because of the need for drivers and potential incompatibility with playback software I can't really recommend the unit. Given how old it is, you could face a situation where a future OS requires a driver and Mytek chooses to not provide it. If you are OK with this, I am not going to complain about you buying it. :)

-------------

As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

If you like this review, please consider donating funds for these types of hardware purchases using Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/audiosciencereview), or upgrading your membership here though Paypal (https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...eview-and-measurements.2164/page-3#post-59054).
 

pos

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
128
Likes
65
#2
Thank you for that review Amir!

Did you run any test on the digital inputs?
As the USB driver might become obsolete it would be interesting to see how it fares, especially when it comes to jitter.

Also, IIRC the unit does have internal jumpers and menu settings to set 0dBFS output level.
Those might have an impact on full scale distortion.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,102
Likes
6,501
Location
Seattle Area
#3
I did not. Tell me one measurement you like to see over digital input and I will run it.

On levels, there are settings in the menu but I was not sure if they just provided the attenuation the volume control provided.
 

pos

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
128
Likes
65
#5
I did not. Tell me one measurement you like to see over digital input and I will run it.
Jitter?

On levels, there are settings in the menu but I was not sure if they just provided the attenuation the volume control provided.
I think these act on the analog output stage.
The internal jumpers definitely do.

The retail price was $1,700 at the time. Someone should advise what it goes for used market today.
These seem to go for the same kind of price as a new DX7S go.
 

soundArgument

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
507
Likes
243
Location
New York
#6
Jitter?


I think these act on the analog output stage.
The internal jumpers definitely do.


These seem to go for the same kind of price as a new DX7S go.
I've seen factory refurbished units recently selling for $800-900.
 

soundArgument

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
507
Likes
243
Location
New York
#7
I did not. Tell me one measurement you like to see over digital input and I will run it.

On levels, there are settings in the menu but I was not sure if they just provided the attenuation the volume control provided.
Any plans to measure headphone output impedance?
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,102
Likes
6,501
Location
Seattle Area
#9
Here you go. In green is the AES balanced digital input overlayed on top of red for USB:

1534110881898.png


The one jitter component is gone but it is replaced with a few new ones around the main tone.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,102
Likes
6,501
Location
Seattle Area
#10
Any plans to measure headphone output impedance?
Here you go:

1534111190006.png


The output is very anemic by the way. Only 1 volt at 300 ohm. That is just 3 milliwatts of power. So doesn't look like much attention was put behind the headphone stage.
 

restorer-john

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
680
Likes
647
Location
Gold Coast, Quuensland, Australia
#12
This is respectable performance although as noted, I had to dial down the output using its volume control at -3 dB. Otherwise its performance would degrade.
The volume control is a digital attenuator ahead of the D/A or after as an analogue control? So we have yet another D/A converter that has issues at or near 0dBFS?

PS, You are clearly a sailor/boat person. Port and Starboard colours on your AP channels. Incidentally, my Dad's old Empire turntable RCA leads have the red/green, port/starboard, L/R designation popular in the 1960s before the strange (Japanese?) White/Red reversed it.
 
Last edited:

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,102
Likes
6,501
Location
Seattle Area
#13
The volume control is a digital attenuator ahead of the D/A or after as an analogue control? So we have yet another D/A converter that has issues at or near 0dBFS?
It can be either analog or digital. I left it in digital state. But yes, the last Mytek I tested clipped at 0 dBFS. Company designer said that was because of the MQA pipeline they had added (even though I was not testing MQA content).
 

MPA1

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2018
Messages
2
Likes
0
#14
Thank you very much for this review Amir!
I still really enjoy this dac and still after 6 years I couldn’t part with it.

About the future of this dac: it is still very much useable through FireWire which is imo the best sounding input. USB is a nightmare indeed:rolleyes:.
I currently use it with a butchered fanless first gen intel Mac mini as naa through FireWire.

Is it possible to test the FireWire input?
 

soundArgument

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
507
Likes
243
Location
New York
#16
Thank you very much for this review Amir!
I still really enjoy this dac and still after 6 years I couldn’t part with it.

About the future of this dac: it is still very much useable through FireWire which is imo the best sounding input. USB is a nightmare indeed:rolleyes:.
I currently use it with a butchered fanless first gen intel Mac mini as naa through FireWire.

Is it possible to test the FireWire input?
No because Amir kindly sent the DAC back already, and I doubt he has a computer with FireWire out anyway
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,102
Likes
6,501
Location
Seattle Area
#17
No because Amir kindly sent the DAC back already, and I doubt he has a computer with FireWire out anyway
I actually have a firewire card in my desktop machine. I use it to capture video from my older Sony camcorders.
 

soundArgument

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
507
Likes
243
Location
New York
#18
I bought a FireWire card myself, when I was convinced that FireWire might "sound" better. Sadly, the Mytek's Windows FireWire drivers are almost as unstable as its Windows USB drivers.
 

MPA1

New Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2018
Messages
2
Likes
0
#20
I think I sent it back already.
oh that's too bad, thanks anyway. unfortunately I found you're review two weeks too late, wouldn't have thought I would find a review 6 years after its introduction. but better late than never:)


I bought a FireWire card myself, when I was convinced that FireWire might "sound" better. Sadly, the Mytek's Windows FireWire drivers are almost as unstable as its Windows USB drivers.
oh wow now I would be really interested in the outcome, im very sorry for you that you had that experience:rolleyes:.
I never had any problems with firewire, but then again I use a Mac that has them straight on the mobo. edit: which has nothing to do with your problems.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom