Musetec (LKS) MH-DA005 DAC

Some history: I was the OP on a four year old thread about the Chinese LKS MH-DA004 DAC. It achieved an underground buzz. The open architecture of its predecessor MH-DA003 made it the object of a lot of user mods, usually to its analog section, rolling op amps or replacing with discrete. The MH-DA004 with its new ESS chips and JFET analog section was called better then the modified older units. It has two ES9038pro DAC chips deliberately run warm, massive power supply, powered Amanero USB board, JFET section, 3 Crystek femtosecond clocks, Mundorf caps, Cardas connectors, etc., for about $1500. For this vinyl guy any reservation about ESS chips was resolved by the LKS implimentaion, but their revelation of detail was preserved, something that a listener to classic music especially appreciated. I made a list of DACs (many far more expensive) it was compared favorably to in forums. Modifications continued, now to clocks and caps. Components built to a price can be improved by costlier parts and the modifiers wrote glowingly of the SQ they achieved.

Meanwhile, during the 4 years after release of the MH-DA004, LKS (now Musetec) worked on the new MH-DA005 design, also with a pair of ES9038pro chips. This time he used more of the best components available. One torroidal transformer has silver plated copper. Also banks of super capacitors that act like batteries, solid silver hookup wire, 4 femtoclocks each costing multiples of the Crysteks, a revised Amanero board, more of the best European caps and a new partitioned case. I can't say cost NO object, but costs well beyond. A higher price, of course. Details at

The question, surely, is: How does it sound? I'm only going to answer indirectly for the moment. I thought that the MH-DA004 was to be my last DAC, or at least for a very long time. I was persuaded to part with my $$ by research, and by satisfaction with the MH-DA004. Frankly, I have been overwhelmed by the improvement; just didn't think it was possible. Fluidity, clarity, bass extension. A post to another board summed it up better than I can after listening to piano trios: "I have probably attended hundreds of classical concerts (both orchestral and chamber) in my life. I know what live sounds like in a good and bad seat and in a good and mediocre hall. All I can say is HOLY CRAP, this sounds like the real thing from a good seat in a good hall. Not an approximation of reality, but reality."


My unit is likely sufficiently burned in now since that fatigue, I was experiencing in the beginning is now gone. I was listening to some hard rock for most of the day yesterday and I noticed that the bit of fatigue I was experiencing went away near the end of the day. So something changed.

This morning I put on Clockwork Angels by RUSH, which is not a quiet album. I played it over 80 dBs in my small room and had the best sound I ever had from this album. No fatigue.

This is now easily the best DAC I have ever owned. Thanks to the guys who posted on this DAC and also @ricevs who told me that all his customers were getting Musetec DACs. I now understand why.  This previous discussion about rips vs. transport.


I believe it has a lot to do with quality of transport, the less jitter induced here the better. Mark Levinson #37 I previously owned  and died would have given rips a good run for the money.



"This is now easily the best DAC I have ever owned. Thanks to the guys who posted on this DAC and also @ricevs who told me that all his customers were getting Musetec DACs. I now understand why."

I'm happy to hear you're enjoying it. It is gratifying to have helped spread the news along with others especially melm and sns.

Anyone using a Curious usb cable with this dac? Is the usb cable that comes with it any good or would I need to find a better one? Lastly, does this dac benefit from a reclocker or is this superfluous?  Getting ready to pull the trigger...


A distinguishing feature of Curious Cables is that the 5V line is run outside of the cable, presumably so as not to compromise the flow of digital data through the cable.

In the case of the Musetec, and some other fine DACs, the 5V cable is superfluous; it is not used at all. The 5V is provided for internally in the DAC. This is a far better solution. Otherwise a Curious cable is a fine cable. If you have one, it can surely be used.

My personal recommendation is for a solid core cable. These come in copper, silver plated copper and pure silver. I currently use one in copper, but will be experimenting.

As for a reclocker, I’m not sure I understand exactly what you have in mind. Some of us use bridges or streamers or decrapifiers that do have clocks in them.