Musetec Audio MH-DA005 ES9038 Pro x2 DAC VS the Lab12 dac1 reference Tube Hybrid Dac

Has anyone compared the Musetec Audio MH-DA005 ES9038 Pro x2 DAC to the Lab12 dac1 reference Tube Hybrid Dac and care to share their opinion?

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No experience with the Musitech but the LAB 12 is a great sounding DAC.    I have until June to trade it toward something 2x the price and I am pretty sure I will hang on to it for a while .    It is good.

The Musetic is a slight warm and slightly smooth DAC. If you have a very warm system, it may be too much of a good thing. I have 2 Musetec 005’s so I like it, but I use it wth neutral gear. Two Benchmark LA4 preamps, Benchmark AHB2 amp, and CODA #16 amp (a bit warmer).

With my tube-based headphone only amp it was too much of a good thing and I switched out the 005 for the Benchmark DAC3B. I love the DAC3B in that setup but do not like it as much as the 005 in my 2-channel setups.


Notwithstanding my respect for @yyzsantabarbara I disagree and find the Musetec 005 neutral, though I agree with slightly smooth. In that regard it is unlike the conventional wisdom of DACs using an ESS chip. It is, though, very revealing of the details inside the music for it resolves low level detail really well. It is, as we always say, very dependent on the designer implementation and on the system in which it is used. I use it with a Rogue tube system.

For some agreement on the neutrality see this, a review comparing it to the Holo May.


The only comparison that I seem to remember was by username(s) DBB or technorob over on the head-fi board. Whomever it was said the Lab 12 lacked dynamics (had all the slam of a wet noodle..), so he dismissed it from his auditioning comparisons fairly quickly.

I would agree that the Musetec is just ever so slightly to the warm side of neutral, but tonally accurate, detailed, dynamic, and dimensional in all directions - while staying cohesive, full bodied, and atmospheric like the best tube dacs.  Think Tambaqui with an SET output stage.

I'd expect these two dacs to sound quite different from each other. I'm with melm on this, 005 neutral voiced, I'd expect the Lab 12 to be the warm dac here.


I've compared the 005 directly with LKS 004, Okto Dac 8 stereo, Auralic Vega, been partnered with three different amps, EL34 push pull, 845 SET, 300B SET, and two pre's, Schitt passive and Coincident Statement MKII, also with a number of different streamers. I've never detected warmed over sound, I consider warm to be somewhat fat or resonant bass, somewhat veiled, rolled highs, none of that here. If I heard anything off neutral its been opposite of warm, therefore, just a bit analytical. Okto and Vega warmer, 004 far more analytical.


005 is a great dac, recently spent $16K on analog upgrades vs using those funds for another dac. Highly resolving, transparent, capable of analog like sound, ie, refinement, ease, harmonic development.  005 will simply expose existent sound qualities of one's system with greater resolution, transparency than dac its replacing. I can't fault this dac in any way, not just a value piece, its fine dac at any price.  Check out the comparisons to other far more expensive dacs, yet to see it considered to be out of its league vs any of them, has been preferred in some cases. Taking into account those comparisons and my own experience I don't feel need to replace this relatively cheap $3k dac.