@Muski, I would love to hear your feedback on the Brooklyn DAC. Sound quality/signature, with vs without MQA, how it sounds with Roon. Please make sure you mention what you are using as your source and Roon Core. Thanks!
Muski - I just received my Brooklyn DAC a week ago, so a little early for a thorough review, but I can offer initial impressions.
First off it is working just fine with Roon. I have Roon Core running on a headless I5 Mac Mini with 500GB SD internal drive. The music files reside on a Synology NAS. The Mac Mini and Synology are all connected to central router via standard ethernet cable. The Brooklyn hangs off the Mac Mini’s USB port.
I’m doing my listening thus far with Audeze LCD XC headphones.
The Brooklyn menu interface takes a little getting used to but I’m sure with more time it will become second nature.
So far I’ve listened to both 16x44 and 24x96 formats. Sorry but haven’t gotten my hands on any MQA sources yet. I’ve had zero problems, no dropouts, no files I cannot play through the chain, etc.
With only a week of listening I’d describe the overall sound as being neutral, not bright, not dark, not warm. Very neutral. Sound stage has a lot of depth to it and I’m getting good stage width too.
I really can’t give you any comparisons at this point (Brooklyn vs other DACs). Hope this helps - at least I can safely report it works just fine w/ Roon.
@Adeeb — I agree with rayski. It’s very detailed and transparent. For headphone playback, I have a very slight preference for my Chord Mojo as it’s a little more relaxed sounding. But there’s very little in it and I don’t hesitate to recommend it. I love that it plays absolutely every music format under the sun (short of DSD512, but really now…)
I have a couple of MQA albums and have to say I’m very, very impressed. MQA is very vinyl-like with remarkable detail and a great soundstage. It’s especially remarkable given how small the files are—some fabulous math. It will certainly revolutionize streaming audio. Just need more MQA content now.
I’m feeding it via USB from my iMac. Works very well with Roon, esp. with MQA files.
A bunch of people are noticing improvement from using an external liner power supply with their Brooklyn. And I’d like to try some alternate sources/inputs besides USB.
My only caveat is that Mytek is notoriously slow in fulfilling orders. I was a little annoyed when they charged my credit card $2k and then didn’t deliver the Brooklyn for six weeks, but it all was fine in the end.
Maybe Mytek was backed up when you ordered your Brooklyn. I received mine in 10 days from ordering online which was done after 11PM (US East coast) on a Friday night. So not bad. I will say though that when I called the number on their website’s Contact Us page it was a crap shoot if anyone answer from day to day.
Thanks for the feedback – neutrality is what I am looking for. Is there any noticeable strength/weakness in different formats of audio files – DSD vs PCM? I’m interested in knowing where the strengths and weaknesses are as I will be building up my hi-res library.
Great feedback – excited to hear that you had such a positive reaction to the MQA files. Did they sound artificial though? Did you even had a slimmer of a doubt that this is not the way the music was supposed to sound? Also, I am still trying to understand the availability of MQA music – will their be cd quality MQA and hi-res MQA? If so, will they be clearly labeled? Which MQA source/quality did you try?
As for the comparison with the Mojo, which headphones do you use? And are you running them in balanced mode on the Brooklyn?
Finally, same question I asked rayski – did you feel that the Brooklyn did better with certain file types than others?
EDIT: Any comparisons to other DACs during your audition process apart from the Mojo?
Adeeb - I haven’t had the Mytek long enough to give you a fair review - just over a week and I have a 3 yr old at home that leaves me little free time. I have no DSD formatted music, just PCM 16/44 and 24/96. I hope to get my hands on some MQA over the next couple of weeks. MQA was the primary driver for selecting the Brooklyn, plus it offered more options than the Meridian in terms of format.
Further slowing me down is a faulty headphone cable that came with my Audeze LCD-XC headphones. Audeze is rushing me out a replacement. So there is that too which I believe could be impacting the sound (highly likely it is).
So at this point I don’t want to give you any early listening impressions.
All that said, I am enjoying the sound very much so far - when I get the wiggle just right on my headphone cables and both channels are played.
No problem. Take your time. Enjoy your family… And your music when you have the time.
The MQA files are very, very natural sounding. No harshness, no digital graininess, just lots of detail and spaciousness. So much better than redbook audio. Beyond resolution, there are additional benefits to be heard with their time domain accuracy. Of course, the quality of the recording really matters in MQA.
My MQA files decode into 352.8kHz/24-bit. I got them from 2L. If I play the exact same file from Roon to my non-MQA Devialet DAC they decode fine into 44.1/24 bit.
I listen with Fostex TH-900 Mk2 headphones, single-ended on both the Mojo and Brooklyn. I also use the Mytek as a preamp for some powered Dynaudio BM5 Mk2 monitors + BM9s sub. Works really well in that setup too.
I didn’t notice any difference in file types on the Brooklyn—equally good with 192/24 FLACs and DSD64.
I didn’t really listen to a lot of other discreet DACs. My old system and benchmark for headphone listening was a Logitech Transporter + Headroom Max Balanced Amp which I had for eight years. I thought it was a very strong combination and only bested in the past couple of years. It amazes me that the teeny-tiny Mojo sounds better (way better!) than this massive combined rig.
My main living room system is a Devialet D800 which drives some Wilson Audio Watt Puppies. Since it’s an integrated DAC+amp, I can’t make a fair comparison to the Mytek. But the Devialet sound is utterly phenomenal (esp playing DSD64)—truly in a league by itself. Let’s hope they add MQA support one day!
Hope that helps.
Thanks for all of your feedback.
Sounds like you have some amazing options to enjoy your music! The Devialet 800 must be amazing to listen to. Enjoy!
Adeeb I’ve had more listening time with the Brooklyn. Overall I couldn’t be more pleased with one minor complaint. I wish the headphone balanced output was traditional XLR rather than the provided dual single ended plugs. Mytek provides a converter but at $160 I’ll pass. I’ve been having a tough time finding other headphone cable providers to make me a straight through balanced configuration (single ended to single ended). So for now I’ve only listened to single ended.
I’ve had a chance to do quite a bit of listening over the last month in 24x96, 24x176; 24x192; DSD64 and MQA. Overall the Brooklyn and Roon connection has been flawless. I had some minor issues getting DSD64 to get to the Brooklyn but after reading some posts on this site I found the right settings and it has been perfect since.
So which is the preferred format? All of them. Really it still and always comes back to the production process. I’ve had listened to amazing 24x192 and some that left me somewhat disappointed. Same for the other formats. Listening to the Rolling Stones Let it Bleed in DSD64 is just amazing as is Muddy Waters Folk Singer in 24x192 and Norah Jones Come Away with Me in 24x192. But the Allman Brothers Eat a Peach in 24x192 had some fuzziness around guitars that I don’t hear on the same Redbook CD.
All my MQA came from 2L. The best I found to be Magnificat and Beethoven vol 2 (Fossheim). I bought 5 MQA albums from 2L, none of them disappointed but those two stood out. But did the MQA floor me or make me see the future? Don’t think so. I found the Stones, Waters and Jones titles listed above to be just as good and involving. The real test is hearing these titles in the different formats, but even then you’re still a victim of the production work for each format.
Bottom line is they all sounded great at their best and average at their worse. MQA, DSD, 24x192, etc, the engineer reigns king and not necessarily the format. The Brooklyn-Roon combo handled everything perfectly. Ultimately it is all lots of fun to listen to my old music in this new era.
Once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right. (Hunter)
Thank you for posting your additional thoughts on the Brooklyn.
I was wondering if there were other dual single ended cable adapters available or if the Mytek supplied cable was the only option. I will need to look at that before/if I buy.
I really appreciate you listening notes and impressions on the different formats. I agree that the production process is the most important aspect of the overall quality (aside from the actual music of course). It would be great if there was a website where people remarked on and rated the quality of specific recording/mixing/format combinations so that we could have more confidence as to where we should invest our money when buying digital music. But of course, that is a completely different topic.
One of the reasons that I was attracted to the Brooklyn was it’s flexibility and support for the various formats. It would be more more accommodating for experimentation in sound formats, especially as I am in the beginning stages of building a hi-res digital music library. I’m glad that you did not identify any specific (obvious) weaknesses in any of the formats and that it seems to work well with Roon.
Btw, the other DACs I was considering were the Ayre Codex (which is in a similar price range but with less flexibility), and the Exasound E22 (which is almost double the price). Since I still see the DAC technology being very much in flux, I will most likely buy the Brooklyn for it’s lower price and greater flexibility. So thanks for your input.
I’m also keeping an eye on the Ayre QX-5 Twenty. It sounds like it will be great, but it is outside of my budget. I’d rather spend the money on the music itself.
I looked into a few options for building the Brooklyn friendly balanced cables, but the vendors needed more than just “dual single ended plugs” as they suspected possible something special was happening to make it work in balanced, so they required pin-outs diagrams for the cables. I’ve emailed Mytek and have yet to receive a response.
Absolute Sound does a brief piece in each issue titled “Download Round-up”. Here they will discuss different formats for the same album - spoiler alert - they don’t always side with the version with the highest resolution. Unfortunately though they only do a handful of reviews each issue.
The primary reason I went with the Brooklyn was because it supported MQA. I had read so much about it, however never got to listen to it, but felt if I’m laying out $2K then I want MQA supported. That severely narrowed my choices. I’m not disappointed in MQA (it does sound good), but like I originally said I don’t hear it as nirvana and with so little available, having DSD and HiRes PCM was a must - something Meridian didn’t offer.
Thanks for letting me know about it – I’ll take a look.
Concerning the diagram, Mytek provides this: