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."


@boxer12 I'm using the Zen Stream with the 005 as well. I mostly listen to files from my hard drive via JRiver. I think the quality is excellent. Based on Digital forum advice here, I run it with a switch and an optical cable in the chain.

@lordmelton ​​@dbb Thanks... Even though it's breaking in, I already know it's a keeper. Listening to the Grateful Dead's "Road Trips Vol.1 No.4" last night was sublime. Never been moved by digital like this. 

DBB, What "switch" are you using?  

@Boxer12 It’s a D-Link DSG105. It is available on eBay for a bargain price. It was recommended by a manufacturer.

A while back, I needed a long electric cable run for my amp. At the suggestion of a cable guru on another site I bought a long length of Viborg VP1606 5N OFC cable which was then available only as unterminated. I bought some good connectors and made up the cable and the improvement over a pretty good Supra cable was clear. I thought of making up some shorter cables for components, but the first cable was quite a trial as the cable is very thick. A suggestion at a Chinese review of the Musetec DAC to use a better electric cable for it was in the back of my mind when I ran across the availability of the same Viborg cable, but terminated and at no-brainer prices on Amazon. A 1.5 meter cable for $61.72 if you have Prime. Other sizes too. In Amazon search on "Viborg MBU1606 Hi-End Power Cable 5N OFC 6mm2 /Core, 16MM Copper Shielding +2 Layers Foil US HiFi Power Cord with Pure Red Copper US Power Plug+IEC C13 Connector". The detail of the raw cable is here. Scroll down for details.

The cable gives me a little of what I think a better (than I have) power conditioner might offer. A bit of smoothness, and better consistency over time, you know, good days and not quite so good days. I am quite pleased with cable even though it is thick and stiff. After a while bought a second for my preamp. Of course, YMMV, but if you want to try it I believe you can return it to Amazon with no shipping cost either way.

Any other suggestions for electric cable or conditioner that have worked well for this DAC?