More blue may emit from the next five LEDs
as one chooses the active input via the rotary knob. Choices are USB, AES/EBU, S/PDIF 1 or 2 and TOSlink. Finally there is the multi-function knob. It is used to awaken the Liberty from standby with a press and hold. When awake, single presses on the knob loop through the available inputs. Turning the knob will result in 32-bit digital attenuation. When engaged, the five input-related lights combine to display volume by colour. All red means no attenuation - full throttle so to speak. Turning down the volume from bypass has the rightmost LED go from red to orange, then yellow, green, blue and off. Turning the knob further does the same to the next LED until all LEDs are off. Pressing the knob for a few seconds turns the DAC completely off.

At the back one finds the IEC power inlet and an input for an external power supply like a battery or linear unit. When such an external power supply connects, the internal SMPS is bypassed. Next come the four types of digital inputs and finally two sets of analog outputs - RCA and balanced, the latter as 6.3mm TRS aka tip ring sleeve. Did you know that TRS is probably the oldest electrical connector? It was originally used in manual telephone exchanges dating back to the 1870s. Today it is the de-facto standard for electrical guitars and other musical instruments. Mytek sell an optional 1-metre TRS-to-XLR cable. The reason for omitting XLR sockets is obvious; lack of real estate.

This overview made clear where the differences with the Mytek Brooklyn lie. The Liberty lacks the color-shifting M-logo, large OLED display and second headphone output. Also the multi-function push buttons are gone as is the option to select PCM filter shapes. At the back the analog input disappeared and the XLR outputs became TRS. So the Liberty is basically a Brooklyn without preamp capabilities: no analog input including phono, no analog volume. However, the Liberty is still a headphone amplifier and versatile DAC. Digital input signals can be of nearly any format available. Via S/PDIF, TOSlink and AES/EBU, the DAC accepts up to 24/192 and DSD64 via DoP. More choice arises with USB. Here you can send PCM up to 32/384 and up to quad DSD (256). Just like the Brooklyn DAC, via USB the Liberty is Roon ready to enable streamed MQA content from Tidal to be processed.

When we look inside the Liberty, we see the same ESS Sabre 9018K2M DAC chipset as used by the original Brooklyn DAC. Mind you, the new Brooklyn DAC+ is equipped with the ESS Sabre 9028PRO. The clock in the Liberty is not a <1ps Femto clock but still a very clean 10ps specimen that should keep jitter acceptably low. The next step was connecting the Liberty to the rest of our current system. At the moment that consisted of a Sound Galleries SGM 2015 music server, The Bespoke Audio Company passive preamplifier, Hypex nCore 1200 prototype power amps, Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega with additional BAT super tweeter and a pair of Zu Submission MkII subwoofers. This system acts like a magnifying glass. With its high sensitivity, any noise or unwanted artifact gets mercilessly revealed; not always a pleasure. To let the SGM talk properly to the Liberty DAC, we downloaded the latest Windows driver from the Mytek website and installed it on the SGM. Then we configured HQPlayer to use the Mytek driver. This all took less than 5 minutes.