Mytek HiFi Manhattan II D/A preamplifier-headphone amplifier

In equipment reports, I use the phrase forward momentum to refer to something a little deeper and more encompassing than what's meant by that well-worn Brit-fi expression pace, rhythm, and timing (PRaT). Pace refers to the speed at which a piece of music is being played, and the accurate reproduction of that speed requires audio sources with good dynamic pitch stability. (Digital folk always lord it over LP clingers for digital's superior pitch stability.)

Rhythm is a sequential pattern of any kind, and pattern is the building block of musical expression. Rhythm is especially important. I define intelligence as pattern recognition; therefore, dancing, foot tapping, and head bobbing are proofs of a high musical IQ. When I know that a pattern exists, but am unable to define it, I call it a mystery. (I like this definition of intelligence: it's pancultural, and probably pangalactic.)

Pace and rhythm are notated on musical scores, but I'm less certain about what the Britfi folk mean by timing. My best guess is they mean tune or melody, and are referring to our ability grasp the design of patterns we observe.

Forward momentum is more difficult to define. I hear it as the invisible driving force behind all music making: the vector sum of pace, rhythm, and melody, a coefficient of musical invigoration. I feel it's what musicians strive for when playing.

A hi-fi system is an engine that converts electrically recorded patterns into compressions and rarefactions of air. A good measure of a hi-fi's effectiveness is the degree to which it helps the listener to recognize sequence and pattern within this field of pulsating energy. When I say that a hi-fi system delivers realistic forward momentum, I mean that the system seems to express the music's patterns with a lifelike quantity of force.

Many digital/analog converters seem to struggle with expressing force, momentum, and power. DACs that do this well are rare. Mytek's Manhattan II ($5995) is one of these.

In my Follow-Up to Jim Austin's inspiring review of Mytek HiFi's Brooklyn DAC–preamplifier–headphone amplifier, I identified Mytek's owner, founder, and chief engineer, Michal Juriewicz, as a Tall Wizard, and told how he'd left Poland (where the Brooklyn and Manhattan DACs are made) for the US, where he worked his way up from recording-studio fix-it man to become a master engineer and designer of ADCs and DACs. Now he's one of the coolest dudes in Brooklyn; his wife makes fine art, and he runs Mytek from a rugged Greenpoint building that was once a church, then a lumberyard.

I first experienced the Manhattan II D/A–preamp–headphone amp in Juriewicz's basement lab and demonstration studio, where we compared MQA and non-MQA files through a pair of vintage Duntech Sovereign speakers. The Manhattan II sat on a table before me, its top off and its circuit board exposed. The room was small and well padded, but the sound was big, hyper-detailed, and powerfully presented.


You know how I rail against high-end audio evolving into little more than green circuit boards inside over-elaborate machined cases. Well, the Manhattan II is pretty much that—except that its circuit board is thick and black, and its box is very shiny, bright, broad (17" wide by 2" high by 10.5" deep) and heavy (17.6 lbs). My review sample had the Gold Silver faceplate; Black Matte or Silver Frost Matte are also available. The Gold Silver is a little Las Vegas, but as the Manhattan II sat on my desk, hooked up to JPS Labs' Abyss AB-1266 Phi headphones, the combination looked hipster cool and outlaw-biker chic.


The Manhattan II is a complete digital and analog service provider: conversion rates up to 32-bit/384kHz, MQA, DXD, and DSD256. On the rear panel is every possible input: USB 2 Class 2, AES/EBU, TosLink/ADAT, two S/PDIF, and SDIF3. There are also two sets of unbalanced analog inputs (RCA): one converts to Phono with the optional phono card ($1495), the other accepts a line-level source. A third line-level input is balanced (XLR). There's also an optional, Roon-ready network/WiFi card ($995) that turns the Manhattan II into a network streamer with maximum throughput of 24/192 and DSD64, compatible with Apple AirPlay, DLNA/UpnP, Spotify Connect, iOS, and Android devices. The outputs comprise one pair each unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (XLR). Also on the rear panel are a three-position headphone gain switch, and two BNC sockets for wordclock input and output.

The Manhattan II's discrete, high-current headphone amp has a 0.25-ohm output impedance and two independently driven, ¼" headphone jacks on the right side of the front panel. The top jack's output is in phase, for single-ended use; the lower jack is anti-phase. Using both jacks and Mytek's optional XLR-to-dual-¼"-plug adapter ($159), balanced operation is therefore possible. Absolute signal phase is switchable on the front panel, using the menu and switches described below. Also available via the Manhattan II's menu are various user-selectable PCM and DSD filter options—none of which are available during MQA playback, which mandates a single, unique filter. The seven PCM filters are: FRMP (Fast Rolloff, Minimum Phase); SRMP (Slow Rolloff, Minimum Phase); FRLP (Fast Rolloff, Linear Phase); SRLP (Slow Rolloff, Linear Phase); APDZ (Apodizing, fast rolloff, linear phase); HBRD (Hybrid, fast rolloff, minimum phase); and BRCK (Brickwall). The user can also select one of three DSD filters—labeled Lo (47.44kHz IIR), Med (60kHz IIR), and Hi (70kHz IIR)—or an Auto mode in which the appropriate filter is automatically determined by the DSD rate: Lo for DSD64, Med for DSD128, or Hi for DSD256.


On the distinctively sculpted front panel are six controls, five of them fingertip-size and only semivisible. The one you can't miss is the rotary volume control, which is also a pushbutton for navigating and selecting from the Manhattan II's menu. Almost hidden at far left is a round On/Off button. To its right are two triangular buttons pointing in opposite directions: one for Go to Menu, the other for Move in Menu. On either side of the wide, dimmable LED display are square, user-programmable function buttons. In addition to the menu selections, the LEDs display the current sample rate and the volume level in dB. But many Manhattan II owners will never use these controls, or even turn on the display—after they've installed the Manhattan II's OSX or Windows driver, they'll download Mytek's Control Panel app and from then on select all functions from the screen of their computer.

The owner's manual, available online, is well written and illustrated—but, as with the Mytek Brooklyn, even geezers and toddlers will find the Manhattan II's controls and menu intuitively easy to learn.

The Manhattan II has three selectable line-level inputs, and offers the user a choice of digital or analog volume control. I much preferred the open naturalness of the analog control, which I used for 95% of my listening. It was of high enough quality to eliminate the need for and cost of a separate line stage in even the best systems.

Listening with headphones
The beauty of headphones is that they eliminate the dodgy issue of loudspeaker power response: The transducers' output is applied directly and almost entirely to the listener's ear canals.


I continue to use and admire Mytek's Brooklyn DAC, but its headphone amplifier has never inspired me. With most headphones, it sounds slightly dull and emotionally shut down. That was definitely not the case across the East River. The Manhattan II's headphone amp could really dance and sing, its strong points being percussive impact, precise imaging, well-described textures, and deep transparency. I listened to the Manhattan II with a wide variety of headphone models: HiFiMan HE-1000 V2, Sony MDR-Z1R, Audeze LCD-X, and JPS Labs' new Abyss B-1266 Phi. With any of these, the sound of the Manhattan II DAC and headphone amp never failed to be fast and lucid, with a fine, natural-feeling balance of smoothness and punch. Space was always dark, hauntingly quiet, infinitely deep.

With Abyss AB-1266 Phi headphones plugged into the Manhattan II's headphone amp in balanced mode and using the MQA filter (see later), my skull and shoulders could actually feel that forward momentum I've been talking about. I was there with Mississippi Fred McDowell, from Heroes of the Blues: The Very Best of Mississippi Fred McDowell (CD, Shout! Factory DK 30256). His rhythm was hypnotic and tangibly fierce.

Mytek HiFi
148 India Street, First Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(347) 384-2687

tonykaz's picture

it's good to feel like I'm not the only one not paying 'needless' editors for everything I scribble.

People ( I work for ) will typically poke me with a sharp stick for this kind of fun stuff, I tell em that I wonder if they actually read the important content I send em'.

Anyway, thanks for reviewing this significant development in digital source technology.

Now I can confidently own a Polish Feliks Elise and Polish Mytek!

How about some Polish Loudspeakers and/or Headphones ( or are Sennheisers close enough? ).

Tony in Michigan

rt66indierock's picture

Herb you asked a good question. “If you were contemplating the purchase of a new DAC, why would you not want it to include MQA processing?”

You answered this question many years ago. “Choose components that have proven their worth and musical prowess over time.” There aren’t any MQA DACs that have proven their worth or musical prowess over time yet.

“I have no interest in and zero knowledge of the business aspects of MQA,”
I understand that. No audio journalist would want to talk about the MQA website receiving about 13,500 views in the last 28 days. A pretty good indication nobody cares about MQA.

Charles Hansen's picture

“If you were contemplating the purchase of a new DAC, why would you not want it to include MQA processing?” A few reasons:

1) Increased costs due to licensing fees and royalties at all post-production steps, none of which is passed on to the artist. All of this is detailed at:

2) Very limited number of titles from essentially only one provider. Real-world opinions range from MQA is clearly superior (to what?) to true high-res is superior to Redbook is superior. This is unsurprising as MQA reduces the file size through lossy techniques. Resolution is reduced to roughly 17 bits (the noise shaping used give a non-flat noise floor, so that the resolution varies in the audio band). The easiest place to hear this loss of resolution is in the infamous "whisper overdub" by Jim Morrison on The Doors track "Riders on the Storm". With the original 96/24 file transferred by Bruce Botnick several years ago for The Doors' box set, the whisper overdub is clearly distinguishable on a good system. On the MQA version it is more difficult to make out.

3) The original MQA comparisons were versus MP3. Recent comparisons *seem* to have become more reasonable, yet it has been proven that the MQA and normal releases of Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly" on Tidal have come from two different masters. Who knows what other kind of manipulations have been used in the MQA comparisons?

4) Closed, proprietary system that (if successful) puts an end to all future advances in digital filters.

5) Built in DRM (copy protection). Please see the case study from German security firm Utimaco at:

"A pretty good indication nobody cares about MQA." Yes. Which brings up the question - why are the two major US audio print magazines constantly promoting MQA?

John Atkinson's picture
Charles Hansen wrote:
why are the two major US audio print magazines constantly promoting MQA?

Oooh, I know the answer to that question, Charley, at least as far as Stereophile is concerned. It is because all of us at the magazine who have auditioned MQA recordings have been impressed by the sound quality.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Gumbo2000's picture

Gee John, you don't even have the slightest pretense of being impartial about this do you!

I hear the pasture calling you and it is not garbled by MQA.

John Atkinson's picture
Gumbo2000 wrote:
Gee John, you don't even have the slightest pretense of being impartial about this do you!

We report what we hear with MQA, just as we do with everything we write about. Why do think that means we are not impartial? What did you hear in your comparisons of MQA files with the original PCM files?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

tonykaz's picture

I think you make valid points, as does that Linn person as well as a good many other industry folks.


the Listening public are anxious for a good solution to Digital.

The listening public are the 6 Billion who don't read comments from Industry insiders but buy iPhones and love music, who wouldn't even realize that they're listening to MP3 or Redbook or MQA.

I can make a solid argument for Mono !

Why do we need two identical Audio Systems to play music?


The Stereo philosophy dominates to the harm of the Vast majority who don't own a music system that images worth a hoot. How much added expense do they incur to have this useless feature? Imaging is a contrived quality that mostly doesn't exist in Live Music. ( I certainly don't feel it's the important quality of listening to a "Live" String Quartet ).

I get the impression that Mr.JA considers you to be a man of integrity, what you have to say carries weight but I doubt that you will ever sway the course of music reproduction's decision makers who think that Lincoln SUV buyers are far more significant customers than our little (tiny) Audiophile Sphere ( who still cling-to [and manufacture] 40 year old Vinyl stuff ).

Tony in Michigan

ps. if you're the Ayre people, congratulations for getting an A+ from JA.

RichT's picture

Why? Because they think it sounds very good, and I have to agree. On your point 5, authentication is different from DRM. There is no copy protection in what Ultimaco describe, merely tamper prevention.

Btw, whereabouts in the track is the 'whisper overdub'? I'd like to try that comparison.

RichT's picture

I read up about the overdub. I tried a Qobuz 24/96 download vs tidal. I agree that the 'whisper' is clearer in the 24/96 download, but on the other hand, the rain at the beginning is so realistic on the MQA version (on phones) that I instinctively had a powerful feeling 'it's raining' in reality - which the 24/96 version did not give me atall. I found the electric piano during the intro more realistic on the MQA version too, with greater percussiveness. But of course, I don't know if these are the same master or not.

Charles Hansen's picture

There is some good information (which it sounds llike you already found) on the "whisper" overdub at:

The difficulty in hearing the "whisper" in the MQA version is simply due to the loss of resolution from 24 bits in the original file to roughly 17 bits in the MQA version. ("Roughly" must be used because the noise floor of MQA files varies with frequency.) Once you hear the audible effects of MQA's measurable loss of resolution, one is left wondering "What other details am I missing on MQA fiels?"

All of other sonic difference you hear are due to the digital filters used, either when processing the file, or in the playback DAC (the "rendering" stage). Many DACs use the standard digital filters built into the DAC chips used, as this is the easiest, least expensive solution. At least a dozen manufacturers have developed custom digital filters that can achieve the same exact results as MQA's filters (should they choose), but they don't require a closed, proprietary system with licensing and royalty fees at multiple stages along the way.

As you point out, it is possible that different masters were used. They weren't in the file comparison I heard of The Doors' track, but one of the latest MQA releases is Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly". This is available on Tidal in "normal" and MQA format, but a different master was used for the MQA. Looking at track 2:

The sample rates differ, 44.1 kHz vs 48 kHz for the MQA version.
The MQA version is 7 seconds longer.
The MQA version is 2 dB louder, even clipping a few times.
The polarity of the MQA version is inverted.
The actual speeds don't quite match. In other words, they are not simply different digital downsamples from a common source.
The speed difference fluctuates throughout the track.

More at:

including an in-depth discussion of how the recording was made and how various transfers were made from the original recording.

As far as people "preferring" the MQA version of a track, it is well known that level differences of a fraction of a dB will create surprisingly strong preferences for the louder version, even for otherwise identical tracks. Obviously I think there is far more to sound quality than simple level matching, but a 2dB difference can hardly be considered a fair comparison, let alone using entirely different masters.

JL77's picture

"a 2dB difference can hardly be considered a fair comparison"

So true. When A/B'ing audio, anyone (including myself) can be fooled into thinking "B" is better than "A" simply by making "B" 0.2 - 0.3dB louder than "A" (known in audio as a "just noticeable difference"). If MQA performs any sort of level or loudness pre-manipulation whatsoever, or if MQA "A/B" tests are not properly matched with the original source (less than 0.1dB difference), then the test is psychoacoustically weighted in favor or MQA. I would not participate in an A/B test that I hadn't (1) first vetted for absolute level consistency and (2) assured "A" and "B" used the same (bit-accurate) source.

Herb Reichert's picture

...for reading my scribbles so carefully. I endevor to make statements that will not embarrass me too much in the future. Therefore, I thought and listened long and carefully before I made any public statements about MQA. I encourage every audiophile to do the same.

Meanwhile, I am compelled to ask, what DACs HAVE proven their worth and musical prowess over time?

peace and crickets
herb in Brooklyn

rt66indierock's picture

Your scribble like the “Search for Audio Tranquility” is very good summary of about a dozen sources of mine. But yours is better because it contains warnings about the damage bad audio decisions do to a person’s emotional well-being.

I’ll accept you have thought long and hard about MQA. But one of most interesting parts of the MQA launch is the difference between MQA Limited’s interpretations of who is a key opinion maker and who is an opinion leader. The theory of Diffusion of Innovation (how an innovation is adopted) has opinion leaders who are not seen as forcing something on people the way media or others selling a product are.

Once the media is seen as pushing a concept on people the media will be less influential. All the key opinion makers in the music industry pushing MQA are seen as having an agenda and therefore don’t have the expected influence. So a commonly used theory in business explains why MQA Ltd is having a hard time getting traction in the market. You can really have a problem if enough opinion leaders are against MQA. No matter what MQA sounds like it’s still about business.

Since you are compelled to ask if I think any DACs have proven their worth over time I don’t think so. There is too much change coming. But if you don’t like green circuit boards you really aren’t going to like it.

Finally here’s to growing crickets in Brooklyn. I was there last month but prefer the lightening bugs around Prospect Park. Take care

Herb Reichert's picture

That the world of digital is still evolving (after 35 years) is a very interesting point. (At least it's getting better.) Because analogue too is still evolving – except! By 1972, only 25 years after the invention of the LP, there were already many turntables that were declared “classics” by customers and cognoscenti. The majority of these classic record players remain highly regarded (and in service) and can play along with the best contemporary decks. The Thorens TD-124, the Garrard 301, the Technics SP-10, the EMT 927, and (of course) the Linn Sondek LP-12 are still making music in countless homes and studios (including mine). Can anyone name even one CD player or DAC that may be regarded as a “classic” – offering its owner the warm feeling of 'no need to upgrade'? Or is planned Obsolescence part of the digital marketing program? (Are there any 30-year old CD players I can still buy a transport mechanism for?)

michaelavorgna's picture

In my experience, and on a personal note, the totaldacs offer "the warm feeling of 'no need to upgrade'". I've also found that the importance of things like file resolution are diminished to the point of being beside the point when the DAC is musically satisfying. To put it another way, the greater the perceived difference between CD-quality and hi-rez on a given DAC, the less satisfying the DAC. Generally speaking.

I've never seen experience discounted with such silly 'explanations' as we've seen with MQA. But I'm relatively young ;-)

Michael Lavorgna

Herb Reichert's picture

Michael I am with you: "the greater the perceived difference between CD-quality and hi-rez on a given DAC, the less satisfying the DAC."

seems totally true to me too

Herb Reichert's picture

rt66indierock quotes me, You answered this question many years ago. “Choose components that have proven their worth and musical prowess over time.” There aren’t any MQA DACs that have proven their worth or musical prowess over time yet.

I ask now, what non-MQA DACs have proven their worth and musical prowess over time? Can we name any?

tonykaz's picture

JA and Stereophile's Staff have been rather consistent in demonstrating Integrity, haven't they?

Isn't that what it all comes down to ?, isn't it why we all read these people ?

Offffffff Course we can challenge their position and/or their thinking or what we may think of as their bias.

I've been around Consumer Audio since the early 1950s, Stereophile today is the best that Audio Journalism has ever been.

I read a wide range of Journalism, Stereophile passes the "Smell-Test" more consistently than most any Magazine/News Paper we're likely to find at our local Libraries ( including the NYTimes ).

Stereophile should be at all the Barber Shops in America!!

Tony in Michigan

ps. Jana's Video work is getting pretty darn good, that Analog Planet guy could take a lesson from her and hopefully get rid of his "Jiggle Camera" set-up.

Zwingli's picture

I wondered if you had a chance to use this as a preamp into your PrimaLuna power amp or Bel Canto monoblocks? I wonder if the magic is gone without the tube PrimaLuna preamp?


Herb Reichert's picture

has its own magic - I have loved it with every amp in the house but it can put 15V into an amplifier input so the Mytek's gain must be adjusted carefully in every application.

tonykaz's picture

Stoddard reports, on HeadFi, that Schiit will soon release a Record Player and also reports that he's never owned one personally. hmm.

Follow-up comments from readership are pointing out HR's thoughts about this Mytek DAC and it's desirability compared to the much vaulted Yggy ( which I've heard [Jude Mansela's] and don't think much of ).

Anyway, Schiit is trying to launch a Mechanical Device.

Seems wrong somehow, they're not a Mechanical type outfit.

Betcha they're buying something from Project or Rega.

Buying a Complete Analog System from a guy thats never owned a Vinyl System doesn't quite Pass the Smell test.

Or does it?

Reading the Schiit Story Page and all their "Followers" regular comments reveals a Cult type truth emerging : Schiit Followers are buying into the entire "Experience" they are evolving into "Shiit-Heads" & proud of it!

They need an entire line of Clothing & Accessories.

They're becoming ( or have become ) Alt-Audios: Making Analog Great Again!

Tony in Michigan

Charles Hansen's picture

I'm not following you Tony. The only connection I can see with the Mytek Manhaattan review is that HR liked both the Manhattan and the much less expensive Yggdrasil. You apparently are unimpressed with the Yggdrasil. Are we to then conclude that you would likely be equally unimpressed with the Mytek? Otherwise, why bring up a discussion of Schiit Audio's product plans in the comments for the Mytek Manhattan review?

tonykaz's picture

My point is satire.

The Schiit people are up in arms over HR liking the Manhattan more than the Yggy!

I personally own Schiit stuff and don't like their DACs.

I may have an incorrect view of DACs as I think they shouldn't make a contribution to the sound of the System. DACs are transducers not musical instruments. ( perhaps a fantasy concept )


DACs are being Sold as "sounding good".


I'm a little disappointed in Schiit going back to introduce Vinyl playback while clever digital people are surging forward into the 21st. Century with designs like the Kii Three.

Hence Schiit Satire from:

Tony in Michigan

ps. their Amplification is good

Charles Hansen's picture

You don't like the Yggdrasil, yet HR did. Is it then safe to assume that you would also not like the Mytek Manhattan? Or does that mean you generally don't agree with HR's reviews because you have different listening priorities? If the latter is the case I would assume that you pretty much don't trust his reviews and therefore would not trust his take on MQA either. Or am I missing something?

John Atkinson's picture
Charles Hansen wrote:
Or does that mean you generally don't agree with HR's reviews because you have different listening priorities? If the latter is the case I would assume that you pretty much don't trust his reviews and therefore would not trust his take on MQA either. Or am I missing something?

Herb did like the Schiit Yggdrasil, Charley, but he had not at that time auditioned either the Mytek Manhattan DAC or decoded MQA files. (He had auditioned the Mytek Brooklyn DAC and compared it with the Schiit in his review—see—but not with MQA files.) I think it fair to suggest that his tastes had evolved as a result of the subsequent experience.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

tonykaz's picture

You probably aren't missing something,

I didn't like Jude's Yggy, which might not have been run-in properly, might've been Cold or any other range of things wrong with it, I did love the Valhalla 2 sitting right next door ( Russian Tubes ).

Most folks write about loving the Yggy but not the one at that Ann Arbor Headphone Meet.

On HR, I like his storytelling. If I were still manufacturing Audio gear I'd love to have HR plugging my stuff into his world and him telling stories about his experiences. I'd be bragging about having my stuff in his system, who wouldn't ?, he's like Audio's Casey Neistat, he & Jana make wonderful video stuff.

I don't know if I'd like the Mytek stuff ( I'm listing heavily to gear like Genelec & Kii ) but thanks to HR & the Feliks folks on HeadFi and PrimaLuna's Kevin Deal I'm finally realizing that tubes are the easy way to great sounding amplification.

And now, JA gives Ayre an A+ for a little digital box, phew.

How are any of us supposed to properly audition this stuff?

In 1985, my Esoteric Audio had 9 Competing HighEnd Shops to hear stuff, today we have only a Best Buy Magnolia that mostly sells 4k Monitors and 5.1 !

On Trust

I've been in love with Meridian since 1982, I admire their Design Team and the Solutions they provide. I've also loved Electrocompaniet and ProAc loudspeakers, MH-750 Speaker Cables, Monster Cable's Product Line, Paul & Stan's PS Audio stuff, Art Ferris and Audible Illusions stuff, Thiel Loudspeakers and now I kinda love Schiit's Amplification ( Asgard2,Valhalla2 ). I trust Sennheiser.

And I trust that someone like Ayre will be supplying the world's 6 Billion population with quality music thru some download service and a pocketable HighEnd Music system that enables 'Everyman' the capability of enjoying Lang Lang's interpretation of Liszt Concertos.

Out of Civilization's 10,000 years of existence, we've had audio reproduction gear about 50 years.

We're just starting, we're just getting a bit of traction, we're just figuring out what we need and we're only beginning to figure out how to make it happen.

A hundred years from now they'll be say'n that in 2020 we were just coming out of the 'Dark Ages' , that we were storing our music in 'Oil', for gods sake!!!

On Sound Quality

I'll take a well done Recording in preference to A+ gear. Great sounding gear is a nice 'life' bonus!!

On Ayre

Thanks for being there and contributing, I hear that you are 'moving the needle' in things Audio. I hope to find your gear somewhere that I happen to be.

Tony in Michigan

Staxguy's picture

Really loving these guys speakers (Duntech Sovereign's) has me continually looking at the MyTek Brooklyn and Manhattan.

They really look beautiful, a bit of a cross between the gorgeous finish of Jeff Rowland and April Music's Eximus line. Great case!

Perhaps what I'm really wishing is that it had ADC's in-her, and included Earthworks's 1024 as well - with the screen, I'm really expecting an ADC device. :)

Reading the review on the new version, and the included Femto clocks, it has me excited: MSB's Femto 140 is $4,995, 77 $9,950, or 33 $19,900, so this MyTek really screams bargain.

And yet, when are DAC's going to have their "Manhattan Moment" and actually, commonly play 24-bit to full-specification?

At $1,400.00 USD, Hegel's HD12 has a noise floor of -145 dB, which would do it!

I'm not expecting a 32-bit noise floor or dynamic range, today, despite DAC's advertising themselves as being 32-bit, but a 24-bit one...

Ok, even my beloved Earthworks ZDT 1024 EIN (equivalent input noise) is a paltry - 132 dB or - 143 dB (like a Hegel SUPER DAC / Headphone Amp) at 20 dB and 60 dB of gain.

That's so 23.75 bit, but where is the MyTek? (MSB: -173 dB)

Just my 25c.

John Atkinson's picture
Staxguy wrote:
When are DACs going to have their "Manhattan Moment" and actually, commonly play 24-bit to full-specification? At $1,400.00 USD, Hegel's HD12 has a noise floor of -145dB, which would do it!

I very much doubt that the Hegel has a noisefloor at -145dB. I think that they are referring to the fact that the bins in an FFT-derived spectrum lie at -145dB. But this isn't the actual level of the noise. which is actual the RMS sum of those bins, which will be significantly higher in level.

For example, spectral analysis of a perfect 16-bit system's noisefloor results in FTT bins that each lie around -133dB. But the RMS sum of those bins gives the well-known figure for 16-bit PCM of -96dB.

The DACs that have the best dynamic range these days, like the Benchmark DAC2, have noisefloors around the 21-bit level.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

absolutperception's picture

Just took possession of the Mytek Manhattan ll after having a very good 8 month-long relation with the Brooklyn Dac and Tidal and their MQA masters.
Almost without any burn-in the MII delivers a superlative pleasure which is maximally heightened by the sudden appearance this weekend of a fairly large batch of favorite Universal titles in Tidal Masters.
The pro and cons of MQA have been much discussed, but when you hear it like this,throug a great DAC (and not a Meridian Explorer!) there is no doubt that it sounds wonderfully lifelike.
All the toxic sour grape sentiments from various worried DAC manufaturers can be understood in a commercial perspective. But have they really heard MQA?
In my practical reality Tidal, MQA and high resolution streaming has completed a revolution in the listening room. The very expensive vinyl rig can't really compete anymore with the steady inflow of limitless amounts of wonderful rich sounding music from Tidal with or without MQA.

Doctor Fine's picture

The impression I am getting from various reviewers who listen all day long to good gear is this:
MQA is like Dolby Noise Reduction for digital. It adds fidelity by working with the limitations of the medium (which in Dolby NRs case was the cassette format if you still remember those). And it IMPROVES the results by manipulating the parameters using what it has to work with.
Sort of like a COMPANDER used to do back in the stone age.
You know, EXPAND during playback that which was COMPRESSED during recording so that you wound up with a more EVEN fidelity in the playback chain. And increased liveliness was the result.
MQA sounds like one of these blindingly obvious ways to improve the RESULTS of digital.
As first implimented digital really drops the ball on anything that is less than loud as heck because these notes are not recorded at 16 bits because they are not LOUD enough.
They get maybe five bits.
On playback what would you EXPECT?
Dicital sound bleached out and wimpy compared to say---analog.
So here come MQA with a means to bring detail to low passages and improve the dynamic fidelity of all digital by increasing the contrast to a richer state.
What is wrong with you people that think this is not worth pursuing?
If it works even in a half arsed manner it just might add a ton of enjoyment to digital that was missing before.
Put me down for a Brookly product one or another whatever I decide to try out.

Gnib's picture

I would have loved to hear about the Manhattan as a preamp, e.g. directly connected to your Belcantos.

Reggy's picture

It doesn't take long to trust your gut on why this review spells bullshit, I can tell the reviewer is a little mad about the Yggy's comparisons left right and center on value-performance considerations across the audio world.

This guy says it all concerning the motives of this review if anyone would like to cross reference the validity here: ** ***

gpdavis2's picture

Many interesting comments (the 'silly' one preceding mine, notwithstanding). However, its is worth noting that MQA is always compared to other digital formats. How about the reviewers, who, I believe, all listen to vinyl, comparing MQA to same? Does MQA (or any digital format) best/equal vinyl? That ask, I see a Manhattan II (or very similar) in my future, even though I feel MQA is being "forced" on us. If folks at Stereophile show any bias, it is to things British. Unfortunately, MQA is.