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Musical Fidelity V-DAC II Review Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 December 2011
Article Index
Musical Fidelity V-DAC II Review
Set up and Listening
ImageLegendary British HiFi firm, Musical Fidelity, has been at it for about 25 years now. They have been widely praised for decades for their amplifiers, hybrid tube designs, and digital source components. Musical Fidelity’s head honcho, Antony Michaelson, is very well respected as a designer, engineer, and is even a professional musician. It's fair to say that many Musical Fidelity products set new standards of performance and value.

Musical Fidelity has produced products at a wide range of price points, but they have always been known for value. In the last few years, they have produced entry-level products that are well designed, extremely affordable, and by all accounts, perform beautifully. The current crop of products in this category includes the second generation V Series. There is the 24/96 V-Link II USB converter (also available with 192 Khz capability), the V-LPS II phono stage, the V-CAN II headphone amp, and the V-DAC II. Up to three V-Series components can be powered by the V-PSU II power supply.

I was most excited to receive a review sample V-DAC II from the great guys at Tempo, who import and distribute Musical Fidelity in the US. The V-DAC II is priced at $349. The first V-DAC was a big hit, and was well reviewed across the board. According to Musical Fidelity, the design brief for the V-DAC II is as follows:
  1. Improved appearance and finish
  2. Add asynchronous USB input
  3. If possible, improve the technical performance
Musical Fidelity decided to add new features and, as you can see, address the one criticism of the first V-DAC: its rather plain appearance. The V-DAC II is now housed in an attractive silver case, with stylish logo lettering and the marking of inputs and outputs. On the inside, Musical Fidelity says “the V-DAC II improves upon the original V-DAC’s benchmark performance. We have halved the distortion (0.002%) and improved the stereo separation to an incredible –105dB.”

The most interesting change is the addition of an “asynchronous” USB input, the same technology found in the raved-about V-Link SPDIF to USB converter.  The V-Link allows you to use connect your laptop or desktop computer via USB to any DAC using proprietary technology. In including this, Musical Fidelity has really upped the value proposition on what was already a high value product, while only increasing the price modestly from $299 to $349.


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