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MSB Full Nelson Link III with P1000 power base.

 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3186
Registered: Jun-07
http://www.sound4sale.com/products/nelson.php

http://www.stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/276/index.html

Picking this ugly, yet beautiful pair up this Saturday. It is the full upgraded version with dedicated USB, Nelson upgrade and power base. Originally came out 10 years ago in 2000 and is still sold today. Going heads up vs the Bryston and DacMagic all weekend. Stay tuned.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3977
Registered: May-05
Every time I see/hear the phrase "Full Nelson" I think of an old joke...

A group of kids are at wrestling practice. The coach puts a guy in a half-Nelson and asks the kids what it is. They say "that's a half-Nelson"
Then he puts a kid in a full-Nelson and asks what it's called, as he accidently slips and rubs his hips against the kid, looking like a humping motion. All the kids say "That's Father Nelson."

Never gets old. It's a lot better with the person telling it using visuals. It's all in the delivery.

Looks like a good DAC.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3188
Registered: Jun-07
lol that was the first thing that popped into my mind too when my dealer gave me the name.

Yeah I am hoping it is a stand up DAC. From what I am hearing it is amazing if you have the 500 dollar Full Nelson upgrade. Plus the external PSU. I am trying to find a sub 1000 dollar DAC that competes with the big dog( Bryston ). With the PSU this one runs in at around 1400 but I just picked it up gently used for the same price as the DACMagic. Can't wait to pick it up Saturday.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15371
Registered: Dec-04
What have you found so far Nick??
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3191
Registered: Jun-07
Absolutely incredible. The music seems so fast compared to the DACMagic. The highs are better, more extended and clearer, while the Midrange and bottom end are both tighter. Hands down smashes the DacMagic, as it should. I would say almost on par with the Bryston, which I have not A/B'd against it yet. Doubt it will overall top the Bryston, but for the price I purchased it for I would probably say I would pick the MSB. I could be coming to too quick of a conclusion as well. Definitely more listening is needed.

When I first plugged in the MSB I was certainly worried off the hoper. It sounded very cold. I knew that the guy hadn't used it for quite some time so I left it playing at low levels for a day. That same afternoon it sounded like a totally different piece of gear. Completely opened up with some good warm up time. The next morning, again, even better.

Out of the box you could feel and see the definite build quality. It weighs around 18 pounds I believe and is pretty big. About the size of the Media Center wide and long but only two inches tall. It does not have USB ( I don't care) but has Coax, Optical, Balanced In, and Out as well as RCA. It fully upconverts, and has a toggle switch on the back to turn it off and on. The PSU alone is 15 pounds and is the same size.

I have it set right now to 44.1/24 clocking from the Media Center. Allowing the DAC to clock with upsample sounds similar but I think I like the Upsample turned off better.

I believe I have had at least a dozen different DAC's run through my two channel system now. Ranging from 150 dollars to the 2000 dollar Bryston. I understand everyone would have different results giving musical taste, gear, room and listening preferences. This MSB DAC simply goes down for the best sound I have had in ANY source (including CDP's) for the money. Probably one of the best investments I have made in this hobby besides the actual music. I do not know if it would top the Bryston. Probably not in the long haul. But it is damn close, and considering it can be purchased new in the USA for around 800 shipped with the USB (PSU upgrade 400 extra) makes it my new favorite DAC under a Grand. 1500 with the PSU, but I have the regular supplied PSU and even with it the sound is incredible. Unlike other DAC's, I wont be selling this one for quite some time.

Bryston / MSB comparison starting tonight.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13129
Registered: Feb-05
Looking forward to the comparison.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3194
Registered: Jun-07
Wow, is it close.

So close in fact that by the time it takes me to get the cables switched over I can not remember the characteristics the other DAC provided compared to the other. This usually does not happen, as going from the Cambridge to the Bryston or MSB was night and day. After hours and hours of listening I find the Bryston has a slight edge perhaps. This could be due to the fact that the rest of my system is also Bryston. The Bryston seems to have a bit more air around the instruments. The soundstage on the bryston is also a bit wider and provides a larger sweet spot in my system than the MSB. The highs and detail both DAC's bring are right on par, with perhaps the MSB edging the Bryston for insane volumes of detail. Almost so much detail, that compared to the Bryston it sounds a bit more analytical. So far, I am not a huge fan of the MSB upsampling. Bryston does a better job in Upsampling mode. However, I prefer both DAC's not upsampling at all, and play both at 44.1/24 via Optical cable from the Media Center.

On Tragically Hips Fiddlers Green on the Best Yer Of album, on the MSB you can hear the pick slap each string on the guitar. As well as the hand rub up and down the neck of the guitar. So much detail.

Overall, the benefits I mentioned above on both are slim at best in my system. In a system with better gear than mine, it may reveal a bigger difference in sound characteristics.

Both DACS come in on par in build quality, while the Bryston comes with a 5 year warranty and the MSB only a One year warranty. The MSB with PSU and Nelson upgrade comes in at around 1299.99 while the Bryston can be had for 1899.99. I am not very good at writing these reviews, I just know what I hear. To sum it up, the MSB FUll Nelson is the best source I have heard under 1500, while the Bryston is still the best source I have heard under 2. Cheers.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15381
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks, Nick!

I had a buddy over yesterday, and we ended up running straight redbook all the way through, with great results.
Sometimes all the extra gizmos just get in the way.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 13145
Registered: Feb-05
Good job, Nick!
 

Silver Member
Username: Ezntn

Greeneville, TN

Post Number: 192
Registered: Apr-09
Nick, appears you've managed the grand slam with the Full Nelson & your MC.
Not that I tire of changing out CD's, but an MC or streaming the music out of the iMac via Airport into a DAC certainly provides for limitless hours of audio entertainment.
Your review of the Nelson certainly provides an economical alternative with no compromise on quality to the Bryston.
Keep up with the reviews, we enjoy your style of unbiased critiques.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3195
Registered: Jun-07
Thanks guys!

Yeah Bryan, the Full Nelson MSB Link III is fantastic. I am keeping it for a good while. A bonus, it looks much better in person than in the pictures in the reviews.lol. Funny you mention the IMac. I just built an Media Center for a gent who lives in a very large home and he has a few rooms with Ibook's and IMac's and a ton of Apple lossless files. Anyways he really liked my Movies management so he bought a MC for his theater. After a few weeks I remote into his machine to setup some Networking for him and saw he had all five Apple computers streaming all their music to the Media Center's music management. Brilliant. Who says Windows and Apple cant coexist and work off each other in one household. lol Love it.

In the meantime, I am going to let the MSB DAC exist in my two channel system for quit some time. If you guys knew how much I paid for the whole MSB set, you will want to throat punch me.lol.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4243
Registered: Feb-07
You have become our resident DAC expert Nick.

I'm looking forward to you checking out the Wyred DACs someday soon ;-)
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15386
Registered: Dec-04
Suffice to say that you got a substantial discount, Nick, as a frequent flyer at your dealer. Nothing wrong with that at all!
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3198
Registered: Jun-07
Thanks David. I have a Wyred on its way. Should be here by end of next week. I gotta get my pictures up of all the dac's soon.

Nuck - True. If I knew that I could get the sound that the MSB is providing me for a mer 425 dollars, lightly used, I probably would of saved the difference the Bryston cost me and bought more music.lol. But now that I have the Bryston, its impossible to let it go.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4256
Registered: Feb-07
Cool Nick. I'd be very interested to hear your impressions of the Wyred. Which version did you order?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3200
Registered: Jun-07
W4S DAC-1. Comes in at around the same price as the MSB Full Nelson Link III. Very sexy looking. Looks promising.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4257
Registered: Feb-07
You don't think it's worth the extra 500 for the async USB the II offers?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 3201
Registered: Jun-07
To be honest David, I have no experience yet with Async USB. All I know is that it better be a heck of a lot better than traditional USB to warrant the extra 500 dollars. Based on the technology behind the Async, I can fully understand why the substantial price difference though. In case I have to turn around the DAC-1 quickly I wanted to go with the cheapest model. Most audiophiles want record players let alone a DAC. lol
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4264
Registered: Feb-07
I'm kicking around the idea of selling off some gear and pickup up the DAC-1 too. I'll wait to hear your thoughts on it before I order.
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