The M6x DAC benefits from Musical Fidelity’s knowledge and experience with ESS Sabre DAC chips. Featuring two ES9038 Q2M chips in dual-differential mode, the rest of the electronic layout employs a dual-mono design principle. The inclusion of a Time Domain Jitter Eliminator results in superb technical measurements and low noise with an unbelievably detailed transient response. There is also a new re-clocking and upsampling section, where the upsampling process can be manually turned on or off.
To effectively manage such a sophisticated digital stage, the M6x DAC features 16-core XMOS and CPLD MAX II Altera processors ensure there is always enough headroom for these operations. This over-specification also allows the DAC to effectively support its new digital filters and MQA processing.
The M6x DAC can support high-resolution PCM files up-to 32-bit / 768kHz over USB (24-bit / 192kHz over other connections). It can also support DSD256 stereo DoP signals and DSD512 in stereo native. To suit modern trends, it is also a full MQA decoder and supports MQA signals over any of its inputs for absolute system flexibility. It is also Roon Tested, for simple plug-and-play operation in Roon. To fully customise the sound, there are then seven digital filters available to try, or you can choose to select “Oversampling Bypass” to disable them and listen only to the original recording.
Elsewhere in the electrical layout, the M6x DAC has been optimised for first-class audio performance. Straight from when the power signal arrives, it is delivered through an industrial-grade power socket that is coupled to an EMI filter and DC blocker to stop interferences. The encapsulated toroidal transformer has extremely low electromagnetic radiation and is optimised for audio applications. The rest of the layout is then purpose-designed to tackle the unique requirements and challenges when managing both digital and analogue circuits.
Further connection of the M6x DAC is customisable to suit different system set-ups. The built-in headphone amplifier‘s current-feedback AB architecture delivers high bandwidth, extremely low noise, and up to 128dB of dynamic range. This high-fidelity design prevents odd-order distortion anomalies, delivers current-on-demand during demanding music tracks without introducing noise, and delivers a wide frequency range whether listening at quiet or loud levels.
When a pair of headphones is connected, the balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) outputs on the rear panel are muted. But when headphones are not connected, these outputs can be set to fixed or variable – allowing you to use the M6x DAC as a fixed-level source or as a pre-amplifier for direct connection to active speakers or a power amplifier. The RCA and XLR outputs each have their own output buffer. Both output stages deliver superior audio quality, exhibit exceptionally low noise, large output voltage swing and high current drive. The excellent gain bandwidth and very fast slew rate produce exceptionally low distortion to achieve that iconic Musical Fidelity sound.
The M6x DAC is built into a chassis that shares the same aesthetic as other Musical Fidelity M-Series products and provides good electromagnetic isolation and a sturdy housing for the internals. Control is effortlessly simple via the clearly marked front-panel controls or using the supplied remote control (which also controls other Musical Fidelity devices).
Once plugged-in and installed correctly, the M6x DAC will immediately sing like nothing else you have experienced. The whole sound is sweet and clear; the treble is completely grain free and extended. The bottom end sounds endless with tactile bass dynamics.
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