The Mytek Brooklyn DAC has been on my radar ever since I knew that it was to incorporate a number of features that caught my eye when I first read about it, which now seems an age ago. Those features are representative of something that is rather special and for the price it could be one of the best priced DAC’s on the market. The performance to price ratio is quite spectacular and I know it seems a little enthusiastic from my side but it really is rather good and the more I listen to it the more I like it.
Mytek have deep roots in Pro Audio and after the release of the top end DAC the Manhattan the Brooklyn comes in to play with all the right ingredients to make it one of the most desirable DAC’s to come out of the company in recent years. With the Manhattan directed clearly at the high end this DAC hits at a price point which is much more accessible to everyone. With a price tag just shy of £1,600 and $1,999 in the US, it hits a point which not many companies are going for from such a versatile product such as the Brooklyn. The Brooklyn DAC is striking to look at with its name and logo splashed and impregnated on top of the unit and even a front M logo which can be changed to a multitude of different colours with the flick of a dial it really is a good looking DAC. The front is the same machined aluminium as the Manhattan but features a much better user interface which is controlled by one volume dial and four small buttons underneath the main display, which is very comprehensive in the information that it gives to the user. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the design of the Brooklyn and it really is a breeze to use and understand. Although it might seem rather complicated at first due to so many different configurations that this unit can be set to. There are four main parameters on the front of the unit that can be altered with the press by one of the four small buttons which sits just underneath the main display. The volume dial also plays a part in functionality by acting as not just only the main levels output but by depressing the volume dial as an on and off button which also scrolls though the various menus on offer too.Features and Quality of build
The build quality of the Mytek Brooklyn DAC is very good indeed with a lot of the design taken from its bigger brother the Manhattan although as mentioned I feel that the user interface is a lot nicer than the more expensive Manhattan DAC. Just looking at how the display is laid out it gives you the user a much better indication of what the DAC is doing and it is a lot clearer and easier to understand. The unit is built out of what I believe is a steel chassis and aluminium facia plate so it is certainly looks like it is from the same family as the Manhattan. On the front of the unit is sports two headphone jacks which are placed just below the M logo. At the rear is where it really gives you an indication of what this DAC is capable of. With a multitude of inputs and outputs, which also include XLR outputs with the normal RCA type too. There is one analogue input but the digital side is what the majority of people will be using. The analogue input is there for a purpose as this DAC features a phono stage which is great for vinyl junkies. There are the usual USB 2 and S/PDIF inputs which consist of optical, two RCA type and a BNC connection. It also has a BNC out as the Brooklyn can be used as a master clock to feed other Mytek DAC’s for multichannel DSD operation.
More or less every format is supported with its native DSD all the way up to DXD which can be used using the USB type 2 connection but also via the S/PDIF connections. A great feature and I believe it was the first DAC to support this is MQA which stands for (Master Quality Authenticated) the new Meridian format which has been getting rave reviews recently including by myself, please see my review of the Meridian Explorer 2 USB/DAC for my insights into that extraordinary pocket sized DAC. The Brooklyn is such a versatile unit as it can perform so many functions that it really is such good value for money. You can use it solely as a headphone amplifier which will drive even the most demanding of headphones, a stand-alone DAC, which is what I am primarily using the Brooklyn for. Then it can also operate as a preamplifier feeding power amplifiers and also a great phono stage which supports both MM & MC cartridges. It also has a dedicated 12v input in which an external linear PSU can be used which will elevate the performance even further as a direct and steady DC current feeds the unit for critical listening pleasure.
For listening I am using the bridged external PSU which is designed specifically for the Mytek Brooklyn DAC and adds a further £600 to the total cost, so taking it over the £2000 mark. It has to be said though that even without this add on the Brooklyn DAC is a stunning performer but adding the linear PSU elevates this performance and it digs even deeper into the recordings.Sound Quality and Performance
For my review I am using my Wilson Audio Sophia 2 speakers with the Prima Luna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated amplifier powering them. I also have the new Aurender N100H Music Server feeding into the Brooklyn DAC and a new Cyrus CD Transport for CD playback.
Cables are from Transparent, Crystal Cables and some from the Chord Company. I also have Nordost power cables and a QX2 power purifier connected which uses Quantum Resonance Technology, and the benefits are very beneficial in a Hi Fi system, or any AV system come to think of it.
For music I am using mostly streamed music into the Brooklyn DAC via my new Aurender N100H Music Server. I also have some MQA material which I will be using from an artist that has adopted the MQA format into his library of music.
First up I have an album which I like a lot and it is from Lana Del Rey who has a wonderful sound to her music. The album is Honeymoon which is being played at 16bits 44Khz through the Aurender N100H Music Server.
The first track which is the same as the album’s title Honeymoon is a beautifully performed piece of music with Lana’s sweet sounding voice which has a soothing sound. An orchestral backing is the perfect combination to this talented singer. The soundstage is vast and the imaging is so precise, more so than I have heard before installing the Mytek DAC into my system. It has a wonderfully musical sound which until now I never realized how musically different my Chord DAC was. The Brooklyn has really opened up the music revealing even more detail and musicality in my system which was clearly missing. The bass in parts of the track is so solid and has huge impact but with a gorgeous tone and has a lovely texture to it.
There seems to be so many layers to the music which seems to flow and unfold as it plays.
Track five really impressed with its sonic presence as the bass in High by The Beach has some serious low end grunt which until now my Wilson Audio Sophia’s had been hiding and the Mytek DAC has opened up a totally new and aural listening experience which the Sophia’s are loving and so am I.
Next up is an artist who is new to me but he has a site which offers different flavours of his music which can be served up in the various formats of DSD but also the brilliant new MQA format which I listen to often via my headphone DAC, the Meridian Explorer 2. Mytek were the first other company to introduce MQA decoding into their DAC’s and it sounds superb.
David Elias is the artist and I have downloaded a couple of his albums and the one I am listening to currently is Windows recorded in MQA 24bits 352.8Khz through the Brooklyn.
It is an acoustic album which can be described by its genre as Folk / Country music. This album was originally released in 2003 and in multichannel SACD format, so it has been mastered nicely into this new format which the Mytek DAC exerts a finer quality and authentic sound to his recordings as they are exactly like the original recordings. It has been a great addition to my library of music and hearing through the Brooklyn you really connect with the sound, having a wonderfully organic and analogue feel to the sound even though it is a digital recording. The Mytek excels in all areas of performance and that is dynamics and detail which it picks out exquisitely and the spatial effect of the recordings are of the highest quality that I have heard in my system.
Track 4 The Old King is an intimate track which sounds so fluid and each instrument is defined perfectly in the space around David Elias who is central in the recording. Each instrument like the percussion and strings have such a tangible effect that I really just sit back and forget about everything else but just enjoy the music, which is what this is all about. You get lost literally within the music as it sounds so melodically good. With tracks like Transcendental Deprivation Part III you really get to hear into the acoustics, the Brooklyn reproduces the music with such clarity that it is an absolute pleasure to behold.
Track 13 Vision of Her it sounds like the acoustic guitar is being played live such is the quality of the recording. I used to play the Acoustic guitar and the tone of each pluck of the strings you feel them resonate through you such is the clarity.
Listening for several hours to many recordings of different songs it is quite clear that the Mytek Brooklyn DAC is something special and it replicates the music to a level which is beyond reproach. Adding the Bridged PSU elevates what was already something great to another level of performance which a lot of pricier DAC’s would surely be behind.Conclusion and Final Thoughts
The Mytek Brooklyn DAC is masterpiece in design and flexibility as it performs so many tasks that many other manufacturers are lacking. It is an excellent pre-amp and Headphone Amplifier with all the connectivity you could think of, but most of all it is the implantation of the DAC’s inside and how well it performs as a stand-alone DAC that wins me over. The closest rival I can think of is the Chord Electronics Hugo TT which I have reviewed at The Speaker Shack and it is slightly more money but the Brooklyn with the Bridged PSU has it beat, not just in its performance but its GUI and interface which is just fantastic in comparison. The build quality may not be as good as the Chord but the performance really is better and you would need to spend some serious money to get better results.
Highly recommended. Mytek websiteDavid Elias website