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Musical Fidelity V90 DAC Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Preamplifiers Stereo Preamps
Written by Andre Marc   
Monday, 03 February 2014
Article Index
Musical Fidelity V90 DAC Review 
Set Up and Listening
Conclusion


High resolution material sounded equally superb and, in most cases, better. The 192 Khz remasters of America’s classic Warner Brothers catalog is simply stunning, tracks like “Tin Man” and “Sandman” sounded punchy and detailed. The 96 Khz remasters of Nick Drake’s three albums are a triumph and a definite step up from the ten-year-old CD remasters, which are quite good themselves. The V90 handled all sample rates up to 192 Khz with no issues via coaxial input, and up to 96 Khz with no issues via optical and USB.  

Getting to the nuts and bolts, all the inputs on the V90 performed equally well, sonically. I normally use an optical connection with my Squeezebox, but for 192 Khz albums, I switched over to coaxial. The USB input also sounded excellent, with a Jriver Media Center 19 equipped HP laptop. The layout of the V90 made it easier to set up than the V-DAC II, with all connections on the back panel.

So how does the new DAC compare to the now discontinued V-DAC II? After extended listening I feel the V90 offers a tad bit more refinement, a slightly larger soundstage, and a slightly sweeter treble. The V-DAC II did not have any notable shortcomings in these parameters, but the V90 just adds a bit more goodness in those areas. The differences were not massive, but clearly perceptible. Pretty neat since the V90 actually costs $50 less than what the V-DAC II sold for.

Musical Fidelity V90-DAC

Conclusion

The V90 DAC is simply a product where listening tells you what you need to know, regardless of what type of DAC chip is used, or claimed measurements. It sounded amazingly true to real life with vocals, which was in overall keeping with my feeling that the V90 exhibited a clean and transparent midrange. The V90 is going to appeal to folks who want a DAC that gets everything right for what is genuinely an unbeatable price.

Look for more reviews here from the V90 series. Companies like Musical Fidelity are providing entry-level audiophiles with a wealth of products to choose from, regardless of preference for digital, vinyl, or even Bluetooth wireless. Stay tuned.


Specifications



Musical Fidelity V90 DAC: $299

Musical Fidelity North America:
Randy Bingham
Tel: (480) 297 4053
Email: randy@musicalfidelity.com


Inputs
●    1x RCA coaxial connector SPDIF 32-192 kbps (16-24 bit stereo PCM)
●    2x TOSLINK optical connector 32-96 kbps (16-24 bit stereo PCM)
●    1x USB type 'B' connector - Asynchronous data stream at up to 24-bit/96kHz (Determined by source file/computer settings)

Outputs
●    1x line level RCA (phono)

General
●    Dimensions - WxHxD (mm): 170 x 47 x 102
●    Weight (unpacked / packed): 600g / 1.1 kg

Supplied Accessories
●    1x 12v 500mA DC power supply


Review System 1


CD Transport: Marantz SA-14S1 SACD player
Server: Squeezebox Touch
DAC:  SIM Neo 308D, Marantz NA-11S1
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MkII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55,
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids, Darwin Ascension (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner, Salamander rack

Review System 2


CD Player: Marantz CD5003
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to, Oppo BDP-105
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity V-DAC II
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh  MA6600, Rogue Sphinx, Clones Audio M25i
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3, Genesis G7c
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB,  DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS






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