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Audiolab M-DAC DAC/Digital Preamplifier


Winning a combination of 4 What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision awards in a row, its no secret that the Audiolab M-DAC is one of the best ever sounding DACs ever made.

Alongside the USB input with Asynchronous data processing, there are two each of coaxial and optical digital inputs, and one each of coaxial and optical digital outputs. Audio signal is provided via RCA single-ended and XLR balanced audio outputs. The M-DAC has a built in headphone amplifier.

Adaptable Hi-Res Performance

High-res 24-bit/192kHz music files can be played on the M-DAC via the coaxial input, while optical and USB inputs support 24-bit/96kHz data. While enjoying the high resolution audio via its digital inputs a wide choice of filters are available to optimise your listening experience for a variety of audio formats and personal preferences.

  • Optimal Spectrum: This filter implements sampling theory and is designed for near perfect technical response in the frequency domain.
  • Optimal Transient: This filter exhibits no ringing and the transient nature of the music is preserved. Although exhibiting ‘lesser’ performance in technical measurements, sound from this type of filter has a purity and ‘naturalness’ that more than compensates for the lack of technical specifications. There are three optimal transient folders which produce identical frequency and time domain response but the internal structure of the filter varies for subtle sonic nuances.
  • Sharp Rolloff: This filter typifies industrial standard characteristics (-6dB at 1/2 Fs with significant time-domain ringing) and is included here for comparison purposes.


  • General description: Digital-to-analogue converter
  • DAC: ESS Sabre32 9018 chip
  • Resolution: 32 bits
  • Maximum Sampling Frequency: 84.672MHz
  • Digital input: 2 x 24-bit/192kHz coaxial, 2 x 24-bit/96kHz Toslink optical, 1 x 24-bit/96kHz USB
  • Digital output: 1 x coaxial, 1 x Toslink optical
  • Output voltage RCA: 2.25V RMS,XLR: 4.5V RMS
  • Total Harmonic Distortion RCA: <0.002%, XLR: <0.0008%
  • Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz (± 0.2dB)
  • Dynamic range RCA: >115dB, XLR: >122dB
  • Crosstalk RCA: <-120dB, XLR: <-130dB
  • Dimensions (H x W x D) 59 x 250 x252mm
  • Colour: Black, Silver

In The Box

  • M-DAC DAC/Preamplifier
  • Power cord
  • Remote control handset
  • Batteries
  • User manual
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