From our latest vinyl raids in Antwerp, we selected Edgard Varèse’s Offrandes/Intégrales/Octandre/Ecuatorial and Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Inori & Formel. Already early into playing from these, the DAC+’s improvement for phono was obvious. Just like with the Tonian CD, these modern classics rely on subtle sound effects which were nicely present now. But there are two more capacities which the Brooklyn DAC+ offers. One is MQA support, the other headfi. Though we used the DAC+ in combination with Tidal and Roon since it’s already Roon tested—though not officially Roon ready yet but working flawlessly— and can thus be used with MQA, we did not assess this option. Neither did we explore the headphone option in depth. We briefly used our Sony MDR F1 but being no headphone buffs, left it that.
What we did try was the volume control. With our highly sensitive loudspeakers, input attenuation is key. But digital attenuation when power amplifiers output 15 watts or more into 109dB loads is not recommended. The volume now has to be turned down so much that it causes loss of data. Too many bits fall on the cutting room floor. Choosing ANLG in the menu’s volume settings enabled full analog control over the output. This worked without any signal loss but we went one step further. Popping the cover of the DAC+, we changed four jumpers as per the owner’s manual to attenuate the output signal by a global -6dB. The combination of these jumpers plus analog volume offered enough attenuation for realistic SPLs without damage to our precious hearing. In our companion review of the 300wpc Brooklyn Amp is more on this combination.
In the owner’s manual, Mytek state that even better results come from an external 12V power supply. We knew that Mattijs de Vries of Pink Faun fame was working on a line of external power supplies with extensive use of Supercaps. When we contacted him, he was more than willing to drop off a pre-production Basic3 retailing at ~€350. First we used this Farad brick with the non-plus DAC. That was an easy improvement. The stage illusion was far more realistic in all three dimensions while the Zu Submission subwoofers were now properly set to work. When we swapped the silver DAC for the black DAC+, the external power supply proved its added value again and lifted the sound to another level. In our case the gap between the far more expensive T+A DAC8—which is a pure DAC without any extra functionality—and the Mytek/Farad combination was at least halved.
We lived with the Brooklyn DAC+ for some time and grew really fond of it. For the asking price it offers everything the Brooklyn DAC did on versatility and features plus a little more on sound quality. Adding an external power supply puts a juicy cherry on this already very musical cake.