We first played the MQA decoded stream, then disabled MQA and hit play again. In non-MQA mode, the PCM input displayed  as 24/48. To us, the non-MQA version had lost some of its sparkle and gestalt of being there. While switching back and forth, we also played the Cohen stream via HQPlayer's DSD256 conversion into the Brooklyn. This version offered the same sparkle, tonal richness and snap transients as MQA. So while we can't say that HQPlayer or MQA were better, we can say that both sounded much better than 24/48 PCM. Further MQA experiments are needed to come to a definitive judgment. For now, a simple fact is that HQPlayer can convert any of the tens of millions of existing Redbook albums plus the far smaller catalogue of hi-rez files to DSD256 or higher whilst today's MQA library is still barely a blip by comparison. The Brooklyn of course doesn't care. It handles both.

The low-gain jumper posts are circled red.

We still hold on to some actual discs, CDs that is, and to experience a few of them, we commissioned our PS Audio Perfect Wave transport. To recap, this uses a computer CD/ROM not exclusive audio drive. Once data are read in from the spinning polycarbonate, the transport buffers it in a chunk of memory, functionally decoupling the analog part of the CD playback chain from the digital part. For the connection between PWT and Brooklyn we used AES/EBU. After dialling in the correct input on the DAC under scrutiny, we hit play. The sound wasn't bad but we realized that we had been spoilt by higher quality playback. Many of our favorite CDs have been ripped with Exact Audio Copy and are stored on hard disk. From there they are 'enhanced' by a customized computer/server running software like XXHighEnd or HQPlayer. Although the raw content is the same, reworking it with a powerful computer and not just upsampling DAC extracts much more musical information. Next.

Headphones are not our thing as we prefer a group over solo affair*. So just as with the T+A DAC8 which also sports an integrated headphone amp, we left that alone to hone in on a feature that makes the Brooklyn truly unique: its analog phono stage. Why would one add a phono stage to a DAC? We guess that designer Michal Jurewicz wanted to bundle complete media playback. When it comes to vinyl, the purest remaining analog media outside the small current revival of open-reel tape, it needs the most babysitting. A proper phonostage is key. Kudos to Michal for going the extra mile. It now was time to move the Brooklyn to the other side of the room where our analog setup resides. The output of a Dr. Feickert Blackbird MkII table with Zu DL103 cartridge fed to the RCA input of the Brooklyn. Its output fed the same setup as used for the digital assessment. According to specs, the MC phono stage we used is loaded at 1KΩ with a gain of 69dB. With this, our Zu DL103 was not expected to complain.

* Headfi aficionados will be interested to learn that the two 6.3mm ports are wired in opposite polarity. Via a special adaptor (not supplied), this allows balanced operation.

Initially we intended to play only a handful of records but the sound was so pleasing and undemanding that we spun a lot more of the black stuff. That latter should be qualified. We also played a red 45rpm pressing, the latest M.A. Recording Será una Noche sampler. Speaking of which, that recording can put a phono stage to the test. A simple 2-mike setup captured the ensemble playing in a vast church in the South of France. All the musical and acoustical information is emitted from the cartridge at a very low voltage to be highly prone to distortion whilst in transit through the phono stage where it is very significantly amplified. Next to the introduction of noise which the Brooklyn kept to the very minimum, the musical signal can lose spatial information which the Brooklyn again kept to a very minimum compared to our Trafomatic Reference Phono One tube phono stage.

With his Mytek Brooklyn, Michal Jurewicz offers music lovers a competitively priced do-everything to mine their analog and digital music collections. The small box bundles everything you need to process streaming and all types of spinning media plus adds the bonus of MQA decoding. Though there is a plethora of possibilities, exploiting them is intuitive and easy by means of a well-executed menu structure. For those who want even more, there's that, too. Of course you can play with the PCM and DSD filters. We think though did not try that there is a possibility for even better sound. That lies in the external power option. Instead of the built-in switch-mode power supply, an external battery can override the SMPS. As long as the battery outputs 12V and 2-6A, the Brooklyn will happily oblige. A car battery should offer a long time between recharging.

Mytek Digital website