MSB Technology DAC Owners (Question)

I own an MSB Discrete DAC, two power supplies, paired with a LUMIN U2 streamer, via AES cable. All upsampling options are turned off on the LUMIN.

MSB Technology staff are out of the office until the new year, January 2024, hence why I am posing my question to all MSB DAC owners.

I noticed when I am playing music with various sample rates, the MSB Discrete display will, intermittently, show two horizontal lines/hyphens, followed by the letter “k”. The DAC does show the different sample rates in the display at times, but it frequently displays the aforementioned, followed by the letter “k”.

MSB owners, have you experienced this, if so, have you determined the cause?

I spoke to an MSB retailer today and they experienced it as well and they think it may be a result of the settings in some streaming services. My buddy who owns an MSB DAC thinks it may be the settings in the streamers or streaming services as well, but he hasn’t experienced this with his MSB DAC.


Thanks in advance!


@ellajeanelle The “k” actually represents kHz (i.e., kilohertz), not kilobits.

To summarize my question, I’m asking MSB owners why is the DAC displaying the sample rate sometimes and when switched to a different sample rate, it frequently fails to display the sample rate, just two horizontal lines followed by the “k” kilohertz?  I understand DACs need a second or two to lock in the different sample rate.  I just wanted to get some feedback from MSB owners or anyone who is familiar with MSB DACs about the matter.


I understood your question. I am aware of what the K represents.  I have many DACs. It can also represent kilobits.  I was referring to segmentation when 2 or more DACs are combined, and not the sample rate.  

@ellajeanelle I didn’t understand what you were trying to convey when you simplified your post to one word, “kilobits”?  That’s why I’m not a fan of written communication because things can be taken out of context.  My apologies if my response offended you!

I have a MSB discrete Dac paired with a Lumia U2 via USB -> MSB Pro ISL.

When playback is started the MSB DAC will show - USB and the sample rate, if I pause the track, the MSB displays the --K as you describe.  This is showing the change from an input signal to none.

This is normal



@sdgron Do you have a preamp in the chain?  I’m asking because I’m using the Discrete as a preamp and my display shows a quick view of the sample rate, then switches back to the volume level.  So, I’m unable to see if the sample rate displays after the volume level populates back on the display.  There is no option to swap the display between the sample rate and volume level, but that wouldn’t be an issue with a preamp in the chain because the DAC isn’t controlling the gain.


Side note, have you compared the AES with the standard USB and your current Pro ISL?  I’d like to get your impressions.

Thanks so much!

@dpt - I do have a preamp in the chain as I listen to vinyl as well.  Even with the preamp in the chain the Discrete will act the same as you state, show a quick view of the sample rate and then switches back the level.  

I did not compare not try the AES to the discrete for a few reasons. you can get up to 8X DSD via the USB which you can't with the AES.  Also the Pro ISL is designed to provide electrical isolation between source and DAC.  There is definitely a difference in reduced noise.

MSB is furthering their isolation in the digital directors that they have introduced for the premier, reference and select dacs.

Hope this helps




@sdgron I’ve been using USB with all the DACs I’ve owned up until now because the MSB Discrete doesn’t come standard with a USB input.  It seems a lot of MSB owners prefer AES.  I plan to demo a USB module to compare before I commit to a purchase.

Thanks for your feedback!

Merry Christmas!