MSB Discrete vs Premier

Anyone have any experience between these two DAC?  Also considering the different power supply options on the Discrete one power supply, two power supplies or the Premier power supply.

Thank you! 


I suggest you investigate the MSB Director that is an update to the MSB Premiere DAC. The MSB Director costs $14,000 and adds a third box to your stack (DAC and power supply) plus additional cables.

See MSB Director Link for more info:

"This is a DAC Upgrade. This works with all existing Discrete, Premier, Reference, and Select DACs. Any version of the digital director works with any version of our DACs. It is an additional product chassis that marries with the DAC to do extraordinary things. New firmware will be required for the DAC. Current input modules are removed from the DAC and installed into the Digital Director. With the Pro ISL and Optical control link providing two way communication will allow the DAC display and controls to operate the Digital Director as a seamless experience. This will not work as an independent product. The Reference and Select level Digital Directors have integrated linear power supplies, whereas the Premier Digital Director has an integrated switching power supply".

The MSB web site says “ In keeping with MSB’s core design principles, the Digital Director seamlessly supports and augments all current DACs”.

I suggest you call your MSB retailer and ask.   

I have owned the discrete and currently own the premier Dac. I found that with the premier the background became even more black. The soundstage also expanded and everything had more definition. With this move I have actually decided to go full MSB for my front end and sold my D’Agostino momentum m400 monos and he pre. I bought the s202 for the time being and do not find that I have lost anything in the sound. It did allow me to put money back in my pocket though. 

here is a incredible synergy when you pair their dacs with the amps. They are simply made to work together. I also was able to shed the streamer with the use of the renderer module for input with a gigafoil and lps. My dealer friend who also sells Innuos tested the gigafoil with renderer vs the Innuos statement with the pro-usb input. He too preferred the renderer gigafoil combo. This is nice as it cuts out close to $20k from a system too. 

If you can swing it I would go for the premier. 

Interesting. I own a Premier DAC too and I’m very happy streaming from an Innuos Statement Next Gen via ProUSB-ProISL module, I love Sense App that I prefer over Roon.

Premier with PowerBase and Femto93 is amazing.

I had the opportunity to have a home audition of the S202, here you can find my review on WTB forum:

If you can afford the Premier, go for it, you’ll be surprised.

Well my budget for digital right now is a little less as I'm also looking to upgrade my turntable.  

If I were only going to purchase one module should I just do a renderer and gigafoil and use the discrete as a Roon endpoint for now.  Keep the budget down.  Then I can always upgrade down the road.  Or would you go usb module and use my mac mini going into it.  

Thank you!

Ok just didn't know if there was a consensus.  I assume it also depends on your player/streamer so the mac mini via USB might not win over the renderer but an Innuos via USB might.  

I wish they had an SFP renderer to get network straight from my network switch.  But it sounds like Gigafoilv4 might provide good isolation.  

Discrete owner here.  For sure two Discrete PSU over one.  I added the second one a few months later and was floored by the improvements.  Hard to justify the $7k cost of the power base with the Discrete.  At that point it's too close to the cost of the Premier to justify, unless your dealer has a generous upgrade policy.

Love my Discrete!  Compared to dCS Bartok, Lumin X1, and Mola Mola Tambaqui I owned, it's the clear winner for me.

@creditingkarma I use the Renderer and am going to have to try the Gigafoil now!

@eugene81 I agree with you on the discrete. I moved from bartok to the discrete Dac and found the move to be for the better. As far as upgrade policies go MSB actually has a great upgrade policy. They give you back 100% of retail towards the new upgrade. 

@creditingkarma Wow, that is a great upgrade policy, so maybe it's worth going with the Powerbase for Discrete if you're planning to stay with MSB and upgrade.

+1, If you can afford the Premier, go for it.  It is very good.  

+1, You should try both of them at your home. Let your ears judge. My bet is you will prefer the MSB Premiere with the power base.  

As I posted above, I suggest you also investigate the MSB Director that is an update to the MSB Premiere DAC. The MSB Director costs $14,000 and adds a third box to your stack (DAC and power supply) plus additional cables.   Current input modules are removed from the DAC and installed into the Digital Director. Please see the MSB Web site for more info on the MSB Director. 

DISCLAIMER: I decided to move my Bricasti M21 DAC to my main audio system and compare it to my MSB Premier DAC. After some time, I decided my Bricasti DAC sounded better so I sold my MSB Premier DAC. I also like that the Bricasti DAC has a 24-bit delta sigma DAC, a 20-bit ladder DAC and true 1 bit DSD for DSD content. It includes an Ethernet connection so the M21 is recognized as a DNLA device and becomes a powerful media renderer (I am using this feature).

As an example of great product support, my Bricasti DAC was upgraded for $1,000. Their MDx Board replaced the existing board in the DAC. The next Bricasti upgrade was a free firmware chip program that needed to be inserted into the DAC to complete the upgrade. Both upgrades greatly improved the DAC for a very reasonable cost. This is an example of a company supporting it customers.

My MSB Premier DAC was excellent, but I was VERY concerned about their recent product upgrade strategy. MSB released their $14,000 Director product that moves all inputs to another box. They also added additional processing functions in the Director that, I was told, substantially improves the sound quality. I decided that I did not want to spend another $14,000 for another box, to my existing 2 boxes (DAC and power-base) and more cables.

Maybe you should audition the Bricasti M21 DAC.

My experience:  moved from The Discrete to the Premiere, and then added the Director.  Each move was significant, and not incremental.  Adding the Director was as much of an improvement as going from the Discrete to the Premiere.  Not cheap by any means, but well worth it in my opinion.