The brand-new MSB M204 mono amplifier ($38,950/pr.) was also introduced. Made in Santa Cruz, the 200W Class A amp has zero negative feedback—a rarity above 50W. Its unique vertical cylindrical design features two large toroidal transformers per side with only two gain stages, and ultra-short signal and power paths—none longer than one inch. A pair powered YG Acoustics Sonja 1.2 speakers ($74.8k) with an MSB Select 2 DAC and universal media transport ($119,990). Sure, I longed for analog, but this system really did elevate Red Book CDs with an impression of openness and dimensionality. Sonny Rollins’ smooth sax had good body and pretty detailed neutrality, but I still wanted some more bloom and richness. Apparently MQA compatibility will be forthcoming, which sounds like a promising development.
T.H.E. SHOW AT NEWPORT: ROBERT HARLEY ON ANALOG AND DIGITAL SOURCES
MSB Technology Universal Media Transport V
I heard one of the show’s best sounds (in many ways, the best sound) in the MSB Technology room. The company was showing its Universal Media Transport V5 ($6995) with the Dual Signature Transport Power Base ($4995) driving the Select DAC II ($89,950), all under the timing control of theFemto 33 Clock ($9950). This digital front end fed MSB’s new M204 monoblock amplifiers and a pair of YG Acoustics Sonja 1.2 loudspeakers. The system had a dimensionality, ease, naturalness, and musical engagement that were lacking in many of the other “hi-fi”-sounding rooms. As its name suggests the Universal Media transport will play any disc format (CD, SACD, DVD-A, Blu-ray) as well as stream or accept USB thumb drives. It’s unique in that the transport is clocked over MSB’s proprietary “Pro I2S” interface by the Femto Clock, including the disc drive and the digital output buffer.
MSB Technology was next at the plate. Up top we had the MSB Signature Universal Media Transport V with Dual Power Supply ($11,990), the MSB Select DAC II with Mono Power Base and Femto 33 Clock options ($129,950), and the M204 class-A mono amplifiers ($39,950/pair). The amps deliver 200Wpc, with no negative feedback. I particularly admired the aesthetics of these hefty amps: with their fluted bases, they look like fragments of a Corinthian column on display at the British Museum. This awesome system was topped off with Analysis Plus Gold interconnects ($11,000) and Gold speaker cable ($22,000, lengths not specified). Listening was via the YG Acoustics Sonya 1.2 loudspeakers ($74,800/pair). I heard Duke Ellington doing “Mood Indigo” along with some unidentified pipe organ music. Both had a very nice dark sound—in a positive sense, the system complementing the sounds of clarinets and muted brass on the Duke and the soft, reedy textures of low organ pipes on the other recording. For me, the upstream system produced the best sound I have heard from these modestly sized and very revealing speakers.
Read more at http://www.stereophile.com/content/sasha-show-part-two#ziQBfXsRXJDTAu7F.99
MSB Technology Platinum M203 Monoblock Amplifier
“MSB has developed power amplifiers from the highest level with their M203 mono’s. They don’t allow any sound coloration and excite you with their tight bass controll, not letting you miss out on any warmth or timbre. The imaging and the level of detail the MSB’s deliver with their musical flow is amongst the best of what I have ever experienced in my listening room. Add the functional and independent design and you have a complete piece of Art.”