Country of Origin


Liberty DAC 2

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Sonnet Pasithea, Soundaware D30Ref SD card transport & USB bridge; Preamp: icOn 4Pro S w. hi/lo-pass filter; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 mono, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Aurai Audio Lieutenant w. sound|kaos DSUB 15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator +; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro + 4th-order/40Hz hi-low pass; Amplifier: Goldmund Job 225; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Final D-8000; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl SD-9 transport; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Simon Audio; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: €1'295 [incl. VAT]

Reboot. I like that word. Ever since first living in Taos/New Mexico, I grew fond of Western boots. So 'reboot' suggests a new pair. If you know how your size translates to various brands—my favorites are Mexican—online shopping nets the perfect fit; guaranteed.

For many years, Mytek's perfect production fit and guaranteed design contractors were Poland's HEM. Last year they launched their own brand ferrum. Then word spread that Mytek would reboot their lineup and change European assembly house.

Today's Liberty DAC II is from that new crop. Of just 1/3rd width so 14cm by 22.5cm deep and 4.4cm tall but still 2kg, it's unusually stacked on features: twin coax plus AES/EBU, optical and USB2 inputs; RCA/XLR out; 6.3mm headfi; and Apple-based remote control with an LED circle around the chassis knob to show volume from the distance. Also displayed by LED are sample rates up to PCM384 and DSD256 plus MQA and bit depths of 16, 20 and 24.

Then forget an external switching brick or internal SMPS. The necessary 60-watt power supply is linear so toroidal. Forget a 115/230V switch and attendant fuse fumble. Liberty DAC II includes intelligent auto switching. 0.5dB-stepped volume is on Sabre's ES9038 converter chip. The familiar metal wand even interacts with Qobuz, Spotify, Tidal and Youtube for pause/skip commands.

The machine is also firmware upgradeable. Then its ¼" headfi jack sees a 3W/0.3A driver of 0.1Ω output impedance. Even harder-of-hearing cans should fully alight into SPL orbit. It's really quite the pocket rocket and the new entry DAC into the rebooted kingdom of Mytek. In keeping with designer Michal Jurewicz's Big Apple residence, his four product families go by Liberty, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Empire line. Designed in New York City. Built in Poland. Sold worldwide. For a look at how the other half lives in their uptown penthouse with the endless views, there's this:

From the same mind and ears, the Liberty DAC II is for the other other half. If we crunch their math, the Empire's budget would actually be good for 16.7 units of today's mini. How much of the sonically decisive stuff did Michal manage to trickle from his empirical plateau down into his new entry-level converter with headfi? For the dedicated ear-speaker amp in the Liberty line which is based on an ultra-low distortion circuit licensed from THX, Michal has this:

If but hastily, we've now caught up with Mytek v2.0; or as I called it, the reboot. Chuang Tzu famously said that when the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten. How would this reboot fit my ears? While there are many more models to sample across Michal's renewed portfolio, starting modest on the ground floor seemed the ticket. So let's kick off with the Liberty DAC II.