The weak link of all analog-to-digital recorders (and digital-to-analog decoders) is their ability to handle extremely low-level signals. According to Robert Stuart, “MQA’s target for temporal blurring is to do no more harm to sound than passing through a couple of meters of air—it seems trite, but it is actually a profound concept. Simultaneously, but separately, MQA uses advanced sampling and playback methods that particularly stabilize low-level signals and the recording ‘noise-floor.’ This uses advanced insights from sampling theory and neuroscience.” MQA removes the distortions that were added during the recording process.
If you have a digital recording device that uses an analog-to-digital converter, try this test: Record something at maximum levels that peak just below 0dB, and then record the same track at the lowest settings possible. The lower-level recording will have far more additive distortion than the higher-level one. Even when a recording is done at correct volume levels the quiet passages and accompanying background noise will inevitably have higher levels of distortion than the loudest sections. This is not debatable—it’s science. If you can reduce these low-level additive distortions the results will be a better-sounding recording. It is really that simple.
Anyone who doesn’t understand how digital recording functions may have problems comprehending why MQA works, but even if you don’t get the tech, if you critically listen you will hear the audible superiority of an MQA-encoded file when compared with the PCM or DSD original.
As I learned from my mentor J. Gordon Holt, reviewers have a tendency when confronted by a new medium that reduces distortions to be over-enthusiastic in their praise. One of Gordon’s regrets was that he wasn’t more critical of the first CD player he heard, the Sony CDP-101. The Mytek Brooklyn and its MQA capabilities placed me in a similar situation. So far I’ve been unable to discern anything sonically negative while listening to MQA-encoded files through the Mytek Brooklyn. My natural tendency would be to write a spittle-flying gobsmacked rave, but that would be giving in to my baser instincts.
Even without MQA the Mytek Brooklyn offers exceptional value due to its versatility, flexibility, ergonomic elegance, and overall high level of sonic performance. Once you throw MQA into the equation, I have to say, “Game over” for any DAC or DAC manufacturer that can’t keep up.
SPECS & PRICING
Conversion: Up to 384k/32-bit PCM, native DSD up to DSD256, and DXD
MQA hi-res decoder: Built-in, certified hardware MQA decoder
Digital inputs: USB2 Class2 (32-bit integer, OSX, Linux driverless, all formats), AES/EBU (PCM up to 192k, up to DSD64 DOP), 2 x SPDIF (PCM up to 192k, up to DSD64 DOP), TosLink/ADAT 2 x SPDIF (PCM up to 192k, up to DSD64 DOP), SDIF-3 DSD up to DSD256
Clock: “Mytek Femtoclock Generator” 0.82ps internal jitter
Analog outputs: RCA, balanced XLR, simultaneous, 50-ohm impedance
Headphone outputs: 500mA, 6W, dual headphone jacks
Built-in attenuator: Choice of 1dB-step analog attenuator, separate for main out and headphones, 1dB-step digital 32-bit attenuator, and purist relay bypass
Built-in analog preamp: Line level input or phono mm/mc input, relay controlled
Audio interface function: All digital inputs can be routed into computer via USB2
Weight: 4 lbs.
148 India Street, 1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Source devices: 2013 MacPro Desktop with a 3.7 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor with 16GB of memory and OS 10.11.5, running iTunes 12.4 and Amarra Symphony 3.3, Pure Music 3.0.1, Audirvana+ 2.5, Roon 1.2, and Tidal 1.3
Analog sources: VPI TNT III w/Graham 1.1 tonearm, ClearAudio Victory II cart, VPI HW-19 with Souther SLA-3 ’arm and Denon 103/van den Hul cartridge. Vendetta 2B and Rossi LIO phono preamps
DACs: PS Audio Direct Stream Jr. DAC, Cary Audio DMC-600SE Music Hub
Amplifiers: Pass Labs X150.3, April Music S-1 monoblocks, NuPrime ST-10
Speakers: Spatial M-3 Turbo SE with two JL Audio Fathom F-112 subwoofers. Audience 1+1, Role Audio Sampan FTL, Dali Opticon 1, ATC SCM-7 II, one Velodyne DD 10+ subwoofer
Cables and accessories: WireWorld Silver Starlight USB cable, WireWorld Eclipse 7 balanced interconnect, AudioQuest Carbon USB cable, J-Cat USB cable, AudioQuest Colorado single-ended RCA interconnect, Kimber KCAG single-ended and balanced interconnect, Audience Speaker AU24e speaker cables, PS Audio Quintet, Dectet, Octet, and Premier power conditioners