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."



If you’re a software engineer you must know more about this stuff than I do.

But, the laptop I use is a small old ASUS running a Pentium and it works perfectly using JRiver. I have often thought that because it’s cheap and small (running storage much like a thumb drove) it may be quiet. Perhaps you can borrow a small laptop. Then at least you will see definitively where the problem is. Or perhaps buy one cheap second hand.

Alternatively, and very inexpensively, you can try a Raspberry Pi. If it works at all you can add an inexpensive "hat" for improved performance. That might keep you going for a while.

I guess the message is to get it away from your powerful computer if you can, and see if it was the culprit.

A smartphone with a USB adapter of some type is also an inexpensive alternative option for testing. This USB adapter can also come in handy in other scenarios as well.

You may also want to try BW02 or BW03 for PCM to see if that changes things. I generally use BW01 but when I was playing with different sources, I found BW02 and BW03 to be more robust for certain sources.

From the manual: Better sound can be reached if user set DPLL to a lower bandwidth, but this will reduce the signal receiving tolerance.

... from one SW engineer to another.


I use a Lumin U1 as source and a Singxer DDC to run I2S into the 005 and have zero DPLL problems, I can use almost any DPLL setting I want. A/B testing the USB/I2S inputs has me undecided about which I prefer, but I am leaning I2S. The 005 is a bit better than my Hermes DDC/Terminator II stack for most music I listen to, but with vocals it is a very close thing. Regardless the 005 is a fucking insane value, period. Just wish non Chinese manufacturers would produce this kind of quality product for less money than the Weiss, dCS and MSB folks apparently feel they can get away with charging.

@kairosman I completely agree. The 005 has been incredibly impressive, and although the Tambaqui I'm enjoying a lot now, the cost vs diminishing return on this DAC is something most couldn't justify (I'm okay with it to a point).

I have to say though it's nice when you spend a good amount of money on a product and immediately you notice it has a distinct sound which you enjoy.

I've ran into DAC's where I listen and am like "do I even hear anything?", the 005 and Tambaqui are definitely not those kinda DAC's.

And I struggle to rank a Hifi product that I enjoyed as much right out of the box as the 005, but the Technics SU-G700 at $2,700 still has a place in my heart and head that the 005 still can't touch.

Hi, thank you for the help. Unfortunately I need a high end desktop for work, and having built this one myself, I can guarantee its got the best processor, gpu, and motherboard I can afford. Adding a usb card will just add to the total cost of this chain and won't likely fix this issue. I have plenty other DACs at my place, including the old one this unit replaced, the VMV D1se. The VMV DAC is all in all a mediocre dac in comparison, however, it has never once failed me in the many months I've owned it. The 005 DAC is a constant source of disappointment for me. Once again I recorded another video of it just pumping out high pitched ringing sound and barely any music. I sent the video the shenzenaudio to hear what they would say. Every few minutes/hour I have to unplug it to reset it. Super annoying. It begs the question why a 3k$ DAC requires constant reseting and a < 1k$ DAC does not. The sad part is I'm going to have to spend an arm and a leg shipping this back to china. Im trying so hard to fall in love with the 005, but I just can't.