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Musical Fidelity has been in the game of high-end audio for decades, and as a matter of fact, they are also pioneers in digital playback. They brought to market one of the first outboard DAC units, and their disc players have always been cutting edge. The V Series is clearly a resounding success, and has allowed budget audiophiles to experience true high-end sound. Musical Fidelity has done this by dispensing with fancy casework and luxury features, which has allowed them to focus on parts quality and circuit design.
I had heard through the grapevine that the V-DAC II was a great sounding DAC, but it actually surpassed my expectations, and then some. All three inputs performed superbly, and quite frankly, it brought my Squeezebox Touch up to the level of a really fine CD player or computer audio set up. I don’t see any other product on the market at the $350 price point that is offering asynchronous USB, upsampling to 192 Khz and 24 bits on all inputs, and has the V-DAC II's measurement specs. For tweakers, Musical Fidelity offers the V-PSU II external power supply upgrade as well. There is also a third party power supply available from Audio Advisor.
I hope to review more Musical Fidelity products in the future. If they are as fun, great sounding, and as easy to integrate as the V-DAC II, it will hardly be work. Musical Fidelity has already begun to establish itself in what most in the audiophile community consider to be the future of music playback: streaming audio. Their new M1 CLiC digital hub looks incredibly interesting, and we can only guess what else is coming down the pike. As for the V-DAC II, it would be a steal at double the price, and can only bettered by spending four or five times as much.
Highly recommended, and a candidate for audio product of the year in my book.
Musical Fidelity V-DAC II
● Asynchronous USB Input Filter
● 24 bit/192 kHz Upsampling
● Burr Brown DSP 1796 Chipset
● Upgraded Power Supply
● Inputs: RCA Coaxial, Toslink, USB
● US Importer and Distributor: Tempo
● Price: $349
CD Transport: bel canto CD3t
Server: Squeezebox Touch with CIA VDC-SB power supply
DAC: Bryston BDA-1
Preamp: Audio Research SP16
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55
Integrated Amplifier; McIntosh MA6600
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables: Stager Silver Solids, DH Labs Revelation (IC), Kimber KCTG (IC), Transparent MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Element Cable Element Cord, (AC) Shunyata Venom (AC) Pangea AC-9 (AC) Audience powerChord e.(AC)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Sound Anchors stands, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner, Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Salamander rack
CD Player: Marantz 5003
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch, Marantz NA7004
DAC: CIA VDA-2 with VAC-1 Power Supply, Lindemann 192 Khz
Computer: Dell netbook running Windows XP
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Integrated Amplifier: Maratnz PM6004
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3
Cables: Kimber/QED/Transparant/Shunyata(AC)/PS Audio, Pangea Audio (AC), DH Labs (digital)