New DAC with streamer

Hi I'm looking for a DAC to replace a modified PS Audio DirectStream MK1.

I currently use MConnect on a Samsung S20 phone to stream Qobuz.  The preamp is a Spectral DMC-30SV and the amps are Spectral DMA-400 monoblocs.  Speakers are EgglestonWorks Rosa.  


My choice for a new DAC is the Bricasti M21.  It has a built-in streamer for ethernet, and gives you the choice of playing music using a ladder dac, delta sigma dac or 1-bit DSD.


Let me know your thoughts, if you have any experience with Bricasti and if it is worth the price at about $16K.



Bricasti M21 would be a great choice if rest of your system is up to snuff. DAC’s with built-in Ethernet card makes sense if you don’t want the hassle of separate boxes. Some of us would tell you that separates offers more flexibility and elevated performance. 

The price of admission and a component’s worth is very subjective as many here feel a good streamer + DAC setup can be achieved for lot less. I am hoping @audphile1 chime in with his direct experience with Bricasti.

I’ve never read a negative word about Bricasti DACs or using them as streamers so hard to see going wrong at all.  That said, and especially at this price level it really comes down to personal tastes, preferences, and system synergy so the real question is does the M1 produce the sound qualities you’re looking for because there are lots of other great options (most not streamer/DAC combos though).  FWIW.

I have a Bricasti M21 and Lampizator Baltic 3. I also compared the M21 to a Berkeley Ref 3. The Berkeley had greater resolution but could be bright and edgy on some tracks. On the M21 you have four decode paths: PCM ladder; PCM delta sigma; DSD delta sigma and DSD native. I was under whelmed by the DSD native performance but other people like it. I really enjoy the ladder DAC.

At this price point there are lots of great DACS and I believe it comes down to personal preference. The value aspect for the M21 comes in its network interface. On the M21 I did a comparison between USB input from an Arunder N200 and network input from a cheap PC running Roon. I used a fiber optic media converter on the network interface prior to the M21 (cost about 100.00). The media converter eliminates electrical noise being transmitted into the M21 from upstream devices and copper Ethernet cables..

I found the two interfaces to be comparable. There might have been some sonic differences but I found them negligible. So with the M21 you do not have to invest in an expensive streamer to get good sound.

How about a Weiss DAC501 new or used. It makes use of a AES/EBU DIgital Interconnect. Scads of great reviews and more on their website. 501 is a two channel DAC and 502 is four a channel DAC.

Briscati 21 is very good they make a SE version also 

 for alittle more money the new DCS is even,better and is modular for retail 

around $20 k before discounts ,I heard it at a get together even more resolving

and refined then the Bricasti 21.I don’t recall the model .

You might want to consider the Esoteric N-01XD unit as well.  When I upgraded, I was not able to audition Bricasti but did compare to DCS and liked the N-01XD better with my Focal Utopia/Luxman setup.  Their SoundStream app is similar to MConnect but more versatile.

I have never read any negatives on Bricasti.  I think at this level they're all good, it really depends on what sounds best in your setup and your preference on the UI.  

You’re thinking like I was before I started experimenting with new DACs and new server streamers.

Your phone is the weak link in the chain.  The Ps Audio is an ok DAC.  I’ve heard it sound great in $250k systems.  Getting a quality server streamer or just streamer will get you much more bang for the buck.  I tested 4 new server streamers and 4 new DACs when I wanted to upgrade and found the former made a much bigger difference.

+1, @dougthebiker 

It all starts from source, streamer is just as important as your DAC. And equally important to use a high quality noise filtering device between your router and streamer. 

Had the PS Audio DSD Mk1, moved to the Bricasti M3, now PS Audio DSD Mk2 -much more refined in my system. Regarding the network card, unless you are using Roon my strong advice is to get a dedicated streamer. Mconnect is a pain and doesn't sound great in my opinion. 

I have a PS Audio DSD Mk1 and ditched the card for a separate PS Audi AirLens Streamer. Night and day difference.  The card was a pain in the arse- dropping signal and needing to be rebooted all the time. Plus the sound sucked on almost all music. I really like the SP Audio DAC so I threw the dice and bought their new streamer- game changer for sure!  I'm not in a hurry to upgrade my digital front end yet as Moors Law tells me that in 2 years the product offerings will be 2x better and 2x cheaper. 

Now if you have the itch to buy something with some money to burn and don't care about the deprecation buy the Bricasti. 

markmuse, I've been tossing around the idea of either a DSD MK1 or MK2.  I expect the asking price for the older model to drop considerably, esp. after the positive MK2 review in TAS.  In your experience, is there a  significant difference in sonics, build quality, or anything else that would suggest going for the newer model?

The PSAudio DirectStream DAC Mk 2 is significantly better than the Mk 1, and about half the price of the Bricasti. If you go with PSA you can probably trade in your Mk 1 and/or maybe get an AirLens too in a package deal. Future developments for DACs and for streamers are almost certain, so be forward-looking and stick with separates and shop them separately (More fun, too)..


I think Condosound has your answer. For me, the only drawback with the Airlens is the lack of dedicated software. Roon would be a good solution.

I just recently purchased and have been using for the past 3 weeks a Bricasti M1 SE with network card with Qobuz and Audirvana. Very pleased, also helped by a GREAT deal!  Enjoy

I've found that my Amazon Fire tablet works well as a streamer when it's used with a good stand alone dac like my Schiit Modius.  And on sale the Fire HD10 plus was only a bit over $100.

If you like the PS Audio DSD, my customers usually move to one of three brands depending on budget.  Meitner MA3, Playback Designs or Bricasti.  The M1 has been a popular choice but the M21 is awesome in that it is an M1 S2 AND it has the R2R.

regarding the streamer card, this outperforms most streamers/DACs and does this because it is solidly made and is connected internally via I2S.  I2S is advantageous as it connects the clocks in a superior way and leads to better sound due to reduced jitter.  

the MA3 is a step up from the DSD as well and is modestly priced compared to Playback or Bricasti with a list at $10.5k.  The Playback MPD-6 is amazing but with card, is $18k.  

full disclosure. I am a dealer for all three brands but have personally owned the DSD, had multiple DSDs in on trade for direct compare.

Regarding other recos in this thread that I have owned and spent time with, as wonderful as the Weiss 501/502 is, the unit is a bit brighter than what you are used to.  The Weiss Helios is smoother sounding but is a big step up in price to $22k.  I find dCS and Lumin also to be noticeably brighter than what you are used to.  

I just hooked up the Esoteric N-01XD a few minutes ago and I have not put it through its paces yet but reminds me of the Weiss Helios tonally.  It is neutral and pleasant sounding. I only listened to a few tracks but this might be a good fit as well.  

full disclosure. I am a dealer for all three brands


So, I heard the Bricasti not too long ago and noted that it didn't sound any better than my Denafrips Venus or the Yggdrasil.  I opened it and noted that the build quality wasn't any better either. I wondered why and pondered it deeply. "Why didn't I get what I paid for??" 

And occurred to me.

16 k Brici  --> subtract dealer's cut of 8k

----> Subtract another 4k (Just keepin the good ol' boys more honest in life cut)

Now, the resultant pice is about in the same ballpark as the Denafrips or the Schiit. Is that why it didn't sound any better Verdant? What do you think?

@deep_333 I am unfamiliar with Denafrips, Shiit or Bricastis’s P&L.  I do not know their margins, expenses or cost structures beyond the prices they charge me.  You are correct that many consumer direct companies and Chinese manufacturers offer less expensive products due to the elimination of dealer margin, cheap labor, Chinese sourced parts, and other lower costs.   

Obviously, you have your POV on what Bricasti delivers in terms of value and you do not feel the price is justified.  Others have a different POV and experience and feel it is a great product.  I certainly have had very positive experiences with their products as a retailer and consumer.  I disagree with you but your opinion is certainly valid as it reflects your experience.  I would hope that you extend the same courtesy to me and to others fans of Bricasti Designs.  Not saying you haven’t, merely saying I hope you do.

@verdantaudio  I also got to compare the Bricasti to my TAD D-1000, but, it is not essentially an apples-apples comparison as the TAD is also a top notch SACD player (price is justified). On the same note, I also audited the Playback Designs DAC that the OCD Hifi dealer dude is always talking about on his channel and that DAC did feel like a step up. It retained its composure in more complex passages/tracks and was able to retain separation and spatial nuance better than the Venus & Yggdrasil. It took 3 guys, listening to the test tracks over and and a whole lotta back and forth to definitively say that. Diminishing returns are expected, of course, but, at the least, i see the justification for the playback designs in its price bracket. The Bricasti certainly didn't measure up. 

So, i suppose it's good that you carry Playback Design as well. It again confirms what i've felt for ages "Ya don't get what you paid for in all cases!!". There is maybe a small percentage of items in the 'high end' where the price can be justified . In many other cases, it is just a whole lot of fluff. 

Have you had a chance to listen to the Cary Audio DMS800PV Dual Mono DAC/Streamer. Plays Tidal and Qobuz as well as other.  Built in Crystek Oscillator Clock and other goodies.  Very hard to beat in the price point you are looking at and it is built like a tank.

One of my audio friends just bought the Eversolo A6 and its really good.

When you consider the price its insanely good. His other DAC is an AudioNote DAC3 w the Black Gates and updated Digital Power Suppliers. The Eversolo is close in performance and does DSD as well.

Lots of glowing reviews and they hype seems justified.