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."


finally the long awaited MH-DA005 DAC has arrived.
soon I will publish photos and listening tests


@boxer12 "So I've been going through some of you guys posts & have ordered the following:

  • D-Link DGS105 (shipped but not received)
  • AQ Pearl Ethernet cables (received)
  • Fiber Patch Cable (received)
  • 2 Ethernet to Fiber converters (received)

Really liking the results so far. Hopefully the D-link will be delivered tomorrow. "


How did it go?

Hey dbb,

The D-Link has been hooked up. It's a bigger change to sound quality than the "Fiber cable & switches". However, I suspect that is because they are working very well together. Next step... Going to try a longer fiber cable to eliminate 100' of "generic" cat 6. 

As far as the DA005, it has approx. 80 hours on it now, so still breaking in. It's a great DAC that I wouldn't have known about without your thread & melm's.

Really enjoying it. 

I report the first brief report below, I hope to please:

first start up: more than two minutes of loading, DAC setting in line with the manufacturer's recommendations: DPLL BW01, NO DEENPHASIS.

first listening: when I switch on the device I detect bad audio quality for at least an hour, as the DAC warms up the quality improves but it is not yet decent (medium frequencies are not very audible); after three hours the three-dimensionality of the sound begins to be built, the soundstage is wide both in width and in depth, the instruments are clearly distinguishable, the medium frequencies are still at a low level.

already like this, with only three hours of running in it is already superior to the DAC Topping DX7 Pro ... the sound of the Topping in comparison is completely two-dimensional, it loses depth and the instruments are not as distinguishable.

I can't imagine how the MUSETEC can sound after the recommended 200 hours of running in ... I'm full of expectations

@boxer12 @americanspirit You need to run your system 24hrs on a loop or play an internet radio station with your preamp muted or your poweramp switched off.

It’s going to take 500-800 hours or thereabouts to break-in, but it’s really worth it.