The input interface can have a significant impact on both the sound quality of the DAC, as well as the overall user experience. Input interfaces are constantly changing and are the main reason why digital equipment becomes obsolete. For this reason, we’ve made our inputs standardized modules that are user replaceable. In each module, we individually design each interface to perform at its absolute peak performance, with minimum noise, jitter, and maximum isolation. While each interface can transfer data to DAC, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The primary difference between each interface is they add different amounts of noise and jitter to the audio system. With each interface,our goal is to have perfectly isolated, bit-perfect, low noise and low jitter data transfer.
MSB input modules are a standardized, swappable design that supports all of our DACs. This allows any module to be moved from one DAC to another for seemless upgradeability. Each module uses a toolless lever lock system for modules that allows simple, quick upgrades and replacements.
Each interface has advantages and disadvantages. Each interface is covered below:
1. Optical/Coaxial Module (S/Pdif)
This module is our S/PDIF interface modules. Around since the eighties, S/PDIF is the universal interface and is sent over optical, coaxial, or differential cabling. This interface is limited in both sample rate, supported data formats, and bit depth. Toslink, Coaxial, and Balanced digital interfaces are most commonly asynchronous unless a separate clock feedback channel is added to the transport or server. In all of our DACs, we provide the best isolation possible the format allows, helping prevent most electrical noise from coupling from the transport.
2. Balanced XLR Module (AES/EBU)
This module is our AES/EBU interface module. This interface is limited in both sample rate, supported data formats, and bit depth. Toslink, Coaxial, and Balanced digital interfaces are most commonly asynchronous unless a separate clock feedback channel is added to the transport or server. In all of our DACs, we provide the best isolation possible the format allows, helping prevent most electrical noise from coupling from the transport.
3. MSB USB Inputs (Not including The ProUSB solution)
Standard USB inputs on DACs are common. What isn’t common is what we do with ours. The entire USB module has a high level of isolation between the USB hardware and the DAC. The USB interface is limited to 384kHz and 4xDSD. Our MQA version also supports full MQA decoding.
4. The MSB Network Renderer V2
There are many renderer interfaces in the industry. We designed and developed our own processing card and software with performance and low noise in mind. Our Renderer V2 interface is MQA and Roon Ready and has a maximum sample rate of 32/768kHz and 4xDSD. The entire renderer solution is galvanically isolated from the DAC, including isolated power. The main advantage of the Renderer Input module is that it turns the DAC into a network endpoint for many current playback software packages and allows computer control of the DAC volume.
5. MSB ProISL Interface
This interface is the highest performance digital audio interface. The interface is glass fiber optic based, making it 100% electrically isolated and allowing for incredible cable lengths with no loss. The unique protocol allows a very low jitter copy of the DAC master clock to be fed back to the source, creating a low jitter clock synchronous with the audio data system. The audio data is encoded and sent to the DAC, where it’s checked for errors and corrected before playback. The ProISL is capable of multi-channel audio and extremely high sample rates (much higher than any current standard). By using fiber, any noise generated in the source (CPU, drive, video processing, etc…) can be prevented from entering the DAC and the rest of the audio system.
6. MSB ProUSB Input
The ProUSB solution is the ultimate solution for computer audio playback. It provides the ease of a USB interface in conjunction with 100% electrical isolation, long cable lengths, data protection and the synchronous interface of the MSB ProISL. By using the ProISL interface, the source can be located physically far away from the system and a single fiber cable can connect to the DAC. The advantage of moving the source far away from the system is much lower electrical noise in your listening room.
7. MSB Dual ProI2S Input
This is our earlier priority interface. We offer this input for legacy products. This interface uses a completely proprietary electrical interface and has no resemblance to common I2S on the cabling. It provides clock feedback and a medium level of isolation between source and DAC.