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."


As always a reasoned post by melm. I  for one have learned a valuable lesson. I do not feel bad for having given the dac to asr for review, Jason had no problem with sending to asr. I was not trying to pull a fast one and ambush musetec, Jason and I both assumed it would pass with flying colors. Oops it had some issues, ones I’m sure that will be addressed. If I ever do this again I would remain anonymous. I,ve been into audio for over 40 years and have bought owned and sold enough gear to last 2 lifetimes. It’s just stereo equipment people. I’m not a shill for anyone. I for the life of me can’t figure some peoples reaction to the review.  I’m glad Jason and jinbo were stand up guys and I would not hesitate to deal with him again. By the way Lordmelton I really liked my holo audio spring kte. I traded it in for the 005 and kept the 004 .I think Jason is gonna send it back to me. So back to were I started from. I would love to have someone send their 005 off to be tasted by someone else. That would make for some interesting reading, here and at asr.  Play some good music people and relax.

why has none of those who consider themselves scientists ever plugged one of their DACs into an audio system of the highest level (costing more than 2 million euros)?

it's the only way to "feel" the differences from one device to another.
the measurements lose their effectiveness because they do not take into account the overall electrical circuit, they are limited only to a single component which, moreover, does not reproduce our beloved music but an unspeakable surrogate.


I think of this audio hobby as a means to enjoy music. It is hard for me to relate to the objectivism school. I don’t understand why you didn’t listen to it. Do you feel it possible that you are biased by measurements? I’m not belittling or criticizing your aproach. It is just something I cannot relate to. It’s sort of like collecting cars and not driving them. I respect your approach but, again, I just can’t understand.

We can go around and around chasing our tails but to be honest how many car and bike manufacturers publish HP at the crank and not the rear wheel/s.

Musetec couldn't give a monkey's what ASR thinks he's got 1.5 billion punters on his doorstep, who will listen. Truly if you haven't heard this DAC fully broken in in a decent system you are really missing out. My system isn't a cheapo but I put it in a $500k system to make sure it could run with the big boys and it did.

I'm really, really enjoying the I2s RJ45 input, best music I've ever heard.

Dbb. Since the dac was on the other side of the country auditioning dac presented some logistical issues that I nor Jason wanted to deal with. At that point we all decided that returning the dac to us based seller was the easiest path for everyone’s satisfaction. Would I have liked to have listened to it in my system? Yes I would have but after all the commotion we all felt this was the best path. We were all ready to put an end to the contentious chatter.  Please everyone enjoy what they have.  I do.