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."



what you do or what you have has no value for me, what you are has value for me.

the way you speak shows only ignorance, presumption and a huge ego. I tell you to Socrates, you should simply understand one thing, the more you know the more you know you don't know ...

for the record, at the present time the Wadax is considered the best DAC on the world hi-end market


too bad the recent entries in this thread have become such a bore

anyhow, hope you are still enjoying the 005

i suppose in sum total it is a good thing this thread has continuing participation, so that more folks coming here can learn about the dac and the good value in represents in higher end dacs

Just replaced my Audioquest Pearl USB cable with a WireWorld Starlight Platinum 8. Liking the added detail & ambiance of this cable.   

As compared to other DACS I have used, the Musetec seems to have what I would call a fuller treble that’s a bit hard to describe. It’s not a tipped up top end, but rather a fullness that has the effect of filling out the overtones of instruments. I wrote about its ultimate effects here.

Nice that you have found a USB cable that works for you. I have experimented with cables of all sorts. The DAC seems to respond to cables: the power cable, the XLR cable and the USB cable. I have used silver cables with success on other DACs, but I have found that at the moment copper cables are the most natural sounding with the Musetec. I continue to use Pearl USB. I went to a chamber orchestra concert last weekend so my ears are calibrated. What happens when I substitute a silver cable (either USB or XLR) is that a couple of my very best recordings sound extra specially good. I’m coming to think of that as a super pleasant (euphonic) surreal effect. However many, many of my recordings then seem a bit strident. Back to copper and everything is back to comfort--back to natural. I know it’s all extremely system dependent and especially due to my close listening space, roughly an 8 foot equilateral triangle--speakers facing forward. I keep looking for something that might add just a tiny bit of that silver magic while maintaining the natural quality and the great sound stage of the Audioquest. However I am aware that solid silver USB cables have worked very well for others here.

I confess to having contributed to the boredom. The good doctor is happy with the Topping and we shall move on.