Winning a combination of 4 What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision awards in a row, its no secret that the Audiolab M-DAC is one of the best ever sounding DACs ever made.
Alongside the USB input with Asynchronous data processing, there are two each of coaxial and optical digital inputs, and one each of coaxial and optical digital outputs. Audio signal is provided via RCA single-ended and XLR balanced audio outputs.
4 In A Row
M-DAC has won What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision awards 4 years in a row, this year winning best DAC £500-£700. Although M-DAC has a vast array of features including USB, optical, and coaxial digital inputs, it's winning feature without doubt its scintillating sound quality.
• 2011: What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision - Product Of The Year
• 2011: What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision - 5* Award
• 2012: Hi-Fi Choice - 5* Award
• 2012: Hi-Fi Choice - Editors Choice
• 2012: What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision - Best Digital Headphone Amp
• 2012: Hi-Fi News - Outstanding Product
• 2013: Hi-Fi Choice - Group Test Winner
• 2013: Hi-Fi Choice - 5 Globe Award
• 2014: What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision - Best DAC £500 - £700
• 2015: What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision - 5* Recommended Laptop System (with Grado SR325E
Adaptable Hi-Res Performance
High-res 24-bit/192kHz music files can be played on the M-DAC via the coaxial input, while optical and USB inputs support 24-bit/96kHz data. While enjoying the high resolution audio via its digital inputs a wide choice of filters are available to optimise your listening experience for a variety of audio formats and personal preferences.
• Optimal Spectrum
This filter implements sampling theory and is designed for near perfect technical response in the frequency domain.
• Optimal Transient
This filter exhibits no ringing and the transient nature of the music is preserved. Although exhibiting ‘lesser’ performance in technical measurements, sound from this type of filter has a purity and ‘naturalness’ that more than compensates for the lack of technical specifications. There are three optimal transient folders which produce identical frequency and time domain response but the internal structure of the filter varies for subtle sonic nuances.
• Sharp Rolloff
This filter typifies industrial standard characteristics (-6dB at 1/2 Fs with significant time-domain ringing) and is included here for comparison purposes.
• Slow Rolloff
The slow rolloff starts rolling off at a lower frequency than the sharp rolloff but has a gentle rate of attenuation and significantly less ‘time domain ringing’
• Minimum Phase
The minimum phase filter has a gentle attenuation slope similar to the slow rolloff option, however it exhibits no pre-ringing in the time domain. It can be likened to an analogue filter applied in the digital domain.
General description Digital-to-analogue converter DAC ESS Sabre32 9018 chip Resolution 32 bits Maximum Sampling Frequency 84.672MHz Digital input 2 x 24-bit/192kHz coaxial
2 x 24-bit/96kHz Toslink optical, 1 x 24-bit/96kHz USB
Digital output 1 x coaxial
1 x Toslink optical
Output voltage RCA: 2.25V RMS,XLR: 4.5V RMS Total Harmonic Distortion RCA: <0.002%
Frequency response 20Hz - 20kHz (± 0.2dB) Dynamic range RCA: >115dB
Crosstalk RCA: <-120dB
Dimensions (H x W x D) 59 x 250 x252mm Colour Black, Silver Standard accessories power cord, remote control handset, batteries, user manual