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."


Thank you for the valuable input! I have thought long and hard (for about 20 minutes, which is my upper limit nowadays it seems :)) about it and based on what I'm hearing it will be hard to justify spending an extra $2k+ on Holo Audio May. I like the fact that Shenezen Audio provides a 30-day return policy. So not much to lose if I don't ed up liking it. I'm going to purchase a 005 next month. I'm assuming they accept Paypal.



Also, since I'm using a tube integrated amp anyways (Audio Hungary Qualiton a20i), I think the 005 will provide the perfect yin for my yang :)


I agree with you that the 005 is probably at or near sota. In terms of comparing current sota to live music, I think we have a long way to go. On a 10 point scale, I suspect we are at a 5. There’s something about live music that doesn’t even let you apply sustained audiophile analysis. For me it is like the sound is entering your brain from a different door. Many times I have closed my eyes during a live concert and asked myself how is this different from the best reproduced music I have heard. I just don’t have a complete answer, but it is different and usually better (not always) is many ways, most of which I don’t even think I could articulate.

@arafiq -"Also, since I'm using a tube integrated amp anyways (Audio Hungary Qualiton a20i), I think the 005 will provide the perfect yin for my yang :)"

I have a tube based system and you are spot-on.

@arafiq We had a DAC in common in the past, which we both liked. The 005 is a different animal. Incredible sound, it just keeps sounding better with more hours. I must be around 200 now. Give it a much burn-in as possible in your 30-day trial. I noticed it was a great DAC at under 100 hours but it does sound even better now, especially the bass.