New DAC! Meitner MA3, Denafrips Terminator Plus, Holo May KTE, Mola Mola Tambaqui

Currently have an original Schiit yggdrasil.  Thinking about taking another step up or maybe two steps!  Is the Holo May still good?  I know I hear a lot about Denafrips.  Then someone was mentioning Mola Mola. 

I like the idea of the i2s HDMI connection, I believe this is so I could have my DAC decode SACD versus a player. 

Also considering name brands dCS Lina, Meitner MA3, MSB?

Wilson Alexia V

Dan D'Agostino S250

Mac mini running Roon

Is anyone really winning in this space.  Tough for me to demo at home as I'm 2 hours from HiFi Shops and they are kind of limited in the direct to consumer DACs.

Thank you!


@ghdprentice Sorry, didn't intend to lecture. Let me put it this way -- most people, even car enthusiasts, would consider a Toyota Camry a mid-priced car, not a budget car. And virtually anyone would call a top-of-the-line Lexus a luxury car. Both of those are true even though Bentleys exist.

@chauncey I would suggest that you get a streamer/server/dac with I2S and or USB, otherwise you'll have to convert DSD files to DOP.

Another item that is essential is a 10MHz master clock so look for equipment with a 10MHz clock input.

My setup includes an Aurender N20 with a Musetec 005 DAC and MHz master clock.

I store all my CDs, DVD-A and SACDs on the Aurender's SSD.


Can't tell if the MSB Discrete does DSD without the DOP? not sure of it's master clock speed.  

Also is it odd that MSB doesn't have an i2s HDMI input card?

The MSB gives you the choice of having everything in a single box. DAC, Pre-Amp, Streamer; storage is probably through a NAS.

Native DSD is an option if you use the USB input module, native DSD should be possible via NAS.

Everything is clocked internally. I believe by Word Clock 44.1/48KHz.

Earlier models had an I2s input module, I think.

You can also use an external streamer/server.

The Discrete is $12,500 for the basic model without add-ons, the top model is over $100k.

Lots of options.


The MA3 sounds best through its network connection and its inboard streamer. Don’t get hung up on I2s (since there is no real standard). When I owned the MSB Discrete with dual power supplies and pro-usb but I never “bonded” with it. It was fed via an Innuos Zenith Mk3 I had at the time. The MA3 is a real strong performer. Over time I transitioned to a loaded Totaldac D1-Tube-Mk3 dac with inboard streamer and DSD with live power supply. In my opinion and to my ears in my system, I found it more organic than the MSB and the MA3. BUT, the Meitner’s performance over ethernet exceeded that of the Totaldac fed via ethernet. Once I upgrade to the Grimm Audio MU1 server/streamer which feeds directly via AES/EBU, the Totaldac edged the MA3. I have since upgraded my dac to another brand not being discussed so I will avoid “shilling” for it here.


If I could insert anything into this discussion as a meaningful takeaway, it would be to demo and listen to your digital chain as a whole. Dac A being fed directly by server/streamer B requires you to properly match to their strengths. I2S, USB, etc means nothing unless they are optimized for one another. Properly implemented inboard ethernet feeds into the dac typically removes alot of the data variables. My new dac sounds exceptional when fed via ethernet…they did it right. I still happen to prefer the sound, however, via AES/EBU (which is limited to 24/192) from the Grimm feeding the dac directly but the differences are very small.


Try to avoid getting “sticky” with resolutions, PCM vs DSD, I2s, USB, etc because it all depends on the designer and the implementation. Also, the poster who talked about the MSB solution being all in one box obviously hasn’t owned one. While it performs at a very high level, the loaded out Discrete has a couple of external power supplies which requires two power cables, two umbilicals and the prousb module has the fiber umbilical to the external prousb box into which you plug the USB cable. Oh, if you use RCA interconnects then you have to use some XLR to RCA converters since the Discrete only comes stock with XLR. The rechargable remote was cool though.