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."


I wish there’s a way to measure sound quality instead of all this measurements B…..S going on

I will never ever buy any audio equipments base on measurements  

may 2022 and still some people think measurements is way to go can’t believe especially here in Audiogon 


Generally speaking a computer, like your Dell, is a noise machine and running USB straight out to a DAC is never advised. Sound will definitely be compromised. Some special "audio" computers (or mother boards) are offered (as recently by SOtM) and there are programmatic fixes that purport to quiet a computer down by shutting off most of its services. Otherwise, and for most people, there are ways of cleaning up the digital signal as it leaves the computer (which we sometimes refer to as "decrapifiers"). Other ways of, effectively, getting the music out of the computer can either use DLNA as I do, or use some kind of mini-computer device such as a unit incorporating a Raspberry Pi or similar board and divorcing the sound from the computer. They may, for ex., have ethernet in and USB out. just like your computer.

This goes beyond digital, but a good preamp should not be viewed as a compromise, IMO. I’ll call upon other contributors to this thread to elaborate. I think some have tried using a DAC (including this DAC) straight through and have found the addition of a preamp to enhance SQ, as well as giving more control over what you hear. Plus it restores full dynamics.

As for getting your computer out of the direct digital chain to your DACs, there are as many solutions as there are audiophiles. I know this thread is very long, but all through it folks have written about their set-ups. I use an SOtM unit as a DLNA device because I like using JRiver on my computer, but it could also be used as a stand alone with the Roon Ready or Squeezelight programs within. Again, perhaps others will chime in with advice here.

The better your digital system and your system in general, the better you will be able to hear differences among the various DACs that you have, and the Musetec that is on its way.

@lordrootman I think @melm  put it very well in a nut shell: If measurements don't correspond to what people hear, then the wrong things are being measured.


thanks for the advice, to eliminate interference as much as possible I intend to buy a Nucleus by Roon Labs or alternatively a Roon Optimized Core Kit with Roon Optimized Core Kit (ROCK) installed.

what do you think about it?