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."



You have a unique set-up so It will be fascinating to read of your impressions.  Just as interesting might be a comparison with the Denafrips Terminator, if you still have it or remember it well.  Welcome to the conversation.

Thanks melm.   I need to put some vibration control on my racks and treat my room to complete my set up.  Hopefully I will accomplish that in the next couple of months.  

It was a truly difficult decision in buying another DAC. I purchased a Gustard X26 Pro and found such an amazing improvement that I thought, hmm.... what am I missing out on with an even better DAC. I was living in a cocoon I guess as I'm a pretty tech savvy guy, or at least I used to be. Regardless, I ended up purchasing the 005 over the May as I felt I could return it with a minimal rental fee if needed.

My ONLY stop gap was this thread. I found the most prevalent people here to be more than evangelists, but rather salesmen. Do some of you get $$$ from Musetec? I post and have questions, but mostly move on to listen to music. I follow forums now to be better informed and try and share info, but found the obsession on some people's parts to be disconcerting. I just found it weird.

So, I got the 005 after PM'ing a few folks that seemed to be a little less intense about it...

My take, yup, the 005 is the real deal. At least for neophyte me. I started with Logitech streamers, Logitech Transporter, Cambridge 200m, then Gustard X26 Pro and 005. A little stop with my Krell Vanguard DAC... I find my subjective opinion to be that I am getting a lot more detail out of, especially, my red book discs than previously wit the 005.

I like the DAC. PM me if you have any questions. However no evangelist here. I apologize, but I found it weird and off putting and almost made me not buy it.

@btscott No one is getting paid or rewarded here to give their opinions on the 005. It is just such a quality DAC for such a reasonable price, I believe the recommendation becomes contagious.

It goes well beyond R2R vs Chip DACs and Western vs Chinese DACs. It's just superb.

The only issue here is Musetec doesn't support it in any way, whereas most other Chinese DACs seem to have quite a bit of representation.

@btscott When it is fully broken in, maybe you can share more details about how you are using it i.e. with a transport, streaming from a laptop or dedicated streamer, etc. Also, which inputs sound best to you? I have shared some of my findings in this thread and still experimenting with different inputs and reclockers. It is truly a great DAC. No relationship with Musetec except as an owner ;)