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The MSB CASCADE DAC

Sale price$95,000.00

Introducing the MSB Cascade DAC, a pinnacle of audio excellence born from MSB Technologies' unwavering dedication to innovation and in-house craftsmanship. The Cascade DAC marks a new era, reimagining DAC architecture from the ground up. Its design divides the conversion process into three specialized chassis: the Cascade Digital Director, the Cascade Analog Converter, and the Cascade Powerbase. 

The Cascade Digital Director handles all processing, sources, and interfaces, isolating electrically noisy components. The Cascade Analog Converter houses critical low-noise analog electronics, ensuring pure signal transmission. The Cascade Powerbase supplies stable power, further enhancing sound quality. This ideal component separation allows the MSB Cascade DAC to deliver unparalleled analog playback in any system or listening environment. Audiophiles will appreciate the precision and clarity this DAC brings, making it an essential addition to any high-end audio setup.

Experience the MSB Cascade DAC and elevate your listening sessions with sublime sound quality and innovative design.


THE CASCADE DAC




The Cascade DAC was born of an unwavering dedication to perfecting our craft, enabled by our enthusiasm for in-house design and vertically integrated manufacturing. This starts a new era—one built on twin foundations of innovation and experience. We began by reimagining the fundamentals of known DAC architectures from the ground up. Critical to the success of the Cascade DAC has been dividing the conversion process into three dedicated chassis and functions. First, all of the processing, sources, and interfaces that are necessary, but electrically noisy, have been concentrated in the Cascade Digital Director. Next, all of the critical low noise analog electronics have been housed in the Cascade Analog Converter. Finally, all of the analog power supplies have been moved to the dedicated Cascade Powerbase. This ideal component division enables sublime analog playback in nearly any system and listening environment. Let’s dive deeper into these building blocks to explore the industry leading technologies involved.



Part 1: The Digital Director



The Digital Director is the brain of the Cascade system, handling all the digital processes. It acts as an intermediary between digital players, transports, renderers, servers, computers, and the analog domain. It is able to identify, configure and process nearly any digital format with advanced new algorithms for faithful reproduction. It features a low noise linear power supply, elegant user controls, and a high visibility discrete LED display, along with user installable digital input modules. It then outputs a conversion ready signal over the fully isolated optical Cascade-Link to the Cascade Analog Converter. This allows you to easily place the Digital Director anywhere in your system with the reassurance that the analog processes are free of digital interference.



Recovering the recording


In order to push our audio technology even further, the Digital Director uses two high-performance DSPs, each capable of sustaining 12 billion operations per second that work in tandem with two dedicated FPGAs. This is more than 4x the power of our previous generation of DACs. But that’s not all: advanced new digital filters, born from decades of research and development and tailored specifically for the Cascade DACs hardware, ensure that the Cascade DAC offers a superior, authentic reconstruction of the original analog signal. This increased processing headroom allows for a more expansive soundstage with even more beautiful textures from complex performances such as massed horns, vocals, close mic’d pianos, large ensembles, and full orchestras, regardless of the format. What emerges is the most natural and emotional presentation we’ve ever created.



The Cascade-Link


With modern digital technologies, such as servers, WiFi networks and LED lighting, it’s nearly impossible to create analog signals that are not only accurate, but also unpolluted and low noise. MSB developed many unique technologies in-house to make precision analog performances possible in any music playback setting. One of those vital and unique technologies is the Cascade-Link. Based on modern diode laser fiber optics, the Cascade-Link is a noise free, high bandwidth data river specifically designed to feed the insatiable hunger of the Hybrid DAC MKII’s in the Analog Converter without conducting any upstream electrical noise. It carries the raw, uncompressed data directly to the converter modules. This allows the Cascade DAC to produce an unmatched level of analog purity regardless of the environment it finds itself in. This is an industry-first technology that we believe will change the way digital and analog systems are designed hereafter.



A display for the listening chair


Equipped with high-visibility and a wide viewing angle, the display is both stunning and easy-to-read. This attention to detail demonstrates our love for functional and intuitive features. The LED display, which is slaved to the audio clock, is refreshed using the Femto Clock as the time reference, ensuring that your analog system is not polluted with any harmful digital noise created by the display. The in-house discrete design is then enclosed into its own shielded CNC pocket for optimal EMI isolation. Sit back and be immersed.




Part 2: The Analog Converter



If the Digital Director is the brain behind the Cascade System, the Analog Converter is the beating heart. With 8 New Hybrid DAC MKII modules, a Femto 33 MKIII Clock, passive analog stages, and 75 ohm volume controls, the Analog Converter makes the music come alive. Freed from the burden of any brute force digital processing, the Analog Converter is supremely adapted for the task of meticulous analog conversion. Digital music flows over the noise free Cascade-Link directly to the hybrid DACs, while stunning analog performances are received by the integrated analog inputs. All formats are carefully converted to MSBs unique fully balanced, constant impedance analog format. This enables an optimal connection directly to your power amplifier.



 

The Hybrid DAC MKII


A new generation of Hybrid DACs allow the Digital Director to extract the maximum resolution from all of your music files and from all data formats. As a fully balanced, ultra-high precision, discrete ladder DAC architecture, it reproduces all of the musicality, soundstage, and texture of the original performance. With 4X the DATA bandwidth of our previous generation, the Cascade DAC brings you reduced noise and improved resolution and linearity, ensuring that all the finest analog musical details are faithfully reproduced—bringing the artist to you.


Femto Clock MKIII


Our industry-leading Femto 33’s new Mark III configuration has been optimized for maximum performance with the Cascade DAC. Featuring two hand-tuned, ultra-low phase noise, oven controlled crystals that yield the lowest jitter for both the 44.1kHz and 48kHz digital format families. Our clock module architecture is built with the customer in mind—we’ve made the clock module user-upgradable, ensuring future updates are simple and streamlined.



Unrivaled analog performance


The moment an analog signal is created, it becomes vulnerable to irreversible degradation. To combat this, we have designed our analog stages to minimally affect the fragile analog signals they create. Balanced signals from the Hybrid DAC modules are passed directly to a completely passive, 75 ohm, constant impedance analog stage. They are passively attenuated and then immediately exit the XLRs without ever touching an amplifier of any kind. This preserves signal purity to the utmost degree while still enabling any cable, amplifier, or preamp to be optimally driven. Selection of each volume step is done by precious metal contact, latching relays whose coils are switched to ground when not active to avoid any signal corruption. Volume attenuation is done with distributed components so that no one precision part has too much power dissipation, thereby preserving the maximum linearity of the signal. The signal path is fully balanced and differential to prevent any ground currents from polluting the delicate signals.



Maximized analog versatility


Analog inputs include two balanced XLR and two single-ended RCA inputs—essential tools for maximum versatility. The analog inputs are completely disconnected and isolated from the rest of the circuitry when not in use. Even the cable ground is lifted when that input is not currently selected to reduce crosstalk potential. Each analog input is carefully buffered with an ultra-low noise, low-distortion buffer with an optional 0dB or +6dB of gain. It’s then switched into the same 75 ohm constant impedance output stage used by the hybrid DACs. Because the Analog Converter lacks digital processing, there is no interference added to the delicate signals, just like a dedicated preamp. The result is the ultimate analog signal purity from any source, digital or analog.



Part 3: The Powerbase



The analog performance is only as good as the power supplies that support it, that’s why we have completely overhauled our powerbase technologies for the Cascade system. The Cascade includes smart power controls, like our 12V trigger system, for a unified power experience.



The Summit Cable


We have worked directly with Swiss company Fischer Connectors to create the ultimate umbilical connection: The Summit Cable. This provides the highest quality connection between the Powerbase and the Analog Converter, elevating the performance to new heights.


A clean source


The Cascade Powerbase builds on our extensive experience with power supplies for critical analog circuitry. AC power is often polluted with interference from local computers, lighting, and appliances. This is why we have added an additional layer of protection with internal AC filtering that acts to significantly reduce this interference. To increase performance, we have three higher VA custom wound transformers that are electrically and magnetically shielded. After being converted to DC by discrete silicon carbide rectifiers, the raw power is then filtered by new optimized banks of inductors and capacitors to remove the majority of the residual noise from the raw DC. This is then regulated by our discrete, ultra-low noise linear power supplies. The five individual power rails are output for use by the Cascade Analog Converter.



Innovative modular design


MSB thrives off the innovation required to meet consumer demands. We’re constantly improving digital input modules to stay at the forefront of the high-end audio industry, ensuring you’re always equipped with the most current digital file formats and interfaces. Focusing on our network renderer and USB inputs, your audio tech will be on the cutting edge. Put simply, your DAC is ready for the future. Paired with performance increases, our modular design ethos increases flexibility for future updates and product support, guaranteeing a long-term product investment. As you pursue even higher levels of playback, an MSB upgrade path is always available to help drive your own desire for innovation. Whether it’s a software update or a leading-edge modular component, we’re here to help.



Handcrafted in California


We take great pride in the people behind our products and in our vertically-integrated manufacturing facilities based here in California. This closed-design feedback loop is an essential contributor to our breakthrough designs. Because we prioritize quality above all else, we are able to leverage the equipment being used to the greatest effect possible. Using the following link, we would love for you to explore a behind-the-scenes look at how every MSB product is handmade right here.



Unibody design


Starting with a 70 lb ‘Kaiser Select Precision Plate,’ material is machined in our in-house CNC shop. After five hours of machining, 75% of the aluminum is removed, resulting in a 17 lb finished product. The integration of our CNC shop allows for design optimization to create the best possible product. We use the high-quality premium metals, giving us the best anodized finishes on the market. There are no shortcuts taken with the Cascade DAC.



Advanced robotics


Leveraging new and advanced machine automation solutions, we are able to craft superior components without inflating costs.  This is another way vertical integration passes on value to our customers.  The many stainless steel accents incorporated on the Cascade DAC are individually handled by a robotic arm that removes, washes, and dries each component from the CNC machine. This type of lean manufacturing results in consistent and beautiful finishes every time.


Refined finishes


Starting with either a silver or black anodized unibody chassis, the Cascade is accented with stunning stainless accents.  We also offer a unique collection of custom accent finishes for that personal touch. The Cascade DAC will fit right in with your system and look like it has always belonged.


Superior streaming


The MSB Renderer was developed using an in-house hardware design running an ultra-low noise A5 processor for optimal audio playback performance. Over the air updates will ensure that your renderer always has the latest capabilities and ultimate convenience.


– Up to 32 bit – 768kHz
– MQA decoding
– Roon Endpoint
– Up to 4X DSD
– UPnP Protocol
– DLNA Protocol


A better USB solution


The Pro USB was developed to offer a multi-part USB solution that features complete electrical isolation and all the performance of MSB’s proprietary Pro ISL input. The Pro USB is offered as a stand alone module for users who already have an MSB DAC that is equipped with a Pro ISL input as well as a starter kit with a Pro ISL input, plus everything you need to get up and running.


– Complete electrical isolation
– Up to 24 bit – 768kHz
– MQA decoding
– Up to 8X DSD
– Up to 1km lossless transmission


The MSB Remote


When we set out to make the MSB remote, the design was built from the ground up. An array of stainless steel buttons around an elegant volume wheel yields an optimized performance and response. Crafted in-house, in California, from an aluminum billet, the enclosure feels solid yet refined. Tailored for both the transport and the DAC’s daily use, our remote brings you closer to the music you love.




Reviews & References





TRADE-IN PROGRAM





While MSB is committed to long lasting products that hold their value, They realize audio systems are always evolving. That’s why they’re thrilled to offer high trade-in values for existing MSB products when upgrading to a higher performing series. If you currently have an MSB DAC or amplifier that you love–but are looking to experience more from your system–please reach out to your local dealer. They’ll build a personalized offer for your existing MSB products that count towards a new DAC or amplifier.  Let us do the work of refurbishing and finding your current electronics a new home–they’ll continue to be enjoyed for years to come.


This program allows you to buy the DAC you can afford now, instead of forcing you into a higher price point you’re not ready for. But in a few years time, you can trade that DAC in for a newer DAC without taking a large financial loss on your original purchase. While this program is here to help you experience more MSB products at a lower risk, you should still be starting with the most suitable DAC for your system. Buying the right DAC from the start will help with losses along the way, such as production lead times, shipping to and from, import duties, and dealer service.


We start with an offer. We keep extensive records of original sales and will give you an offer based on the original purchase price, even if you’re not the original owner. If the unit was certified refurbished from MSB, it’ll be based on that refurbishment price. When discussing with your dealer, they’ll l need the serial numbers of all products, product upgrades, and a description of the product condition to give you the best value possible. Please also share what system you’re looking to trade towards and we’ll do our best to make that possible for you! You’llbe surprised what your ten-year-old DAC is still worth.


With our commitment to reducing our environmental impact, rest assured the product you trade in won’t  be left to waste. Any current models will be allocated into our demo fleet, making more in-home demos possible for more people. Meanwhile, any models that predate our current offerings will be brought back to the factory for refurbishment. With updated hardware, the newest firmware, and a thorough inspection, they will be resold within the MSB dealer network. The products we put through the certified refurbished program will come with a refreshed 1-year warranty, alleviating some of the risk from buying used electronics. Dealers will be notified as refurbished products become available for purchase. Lastly, even products that have broken down with age will still be eligible for partial trade in credit.  For that category, if they cannot be repaired, they’ll be disassembled with the batteries, electronics, metals, and plastics being properly recycled.


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