The Playback Designs Music Playback System 5, also known as MPS-5, is a product that competes with some of the finest analog setups and comes closer to the original recording session and master tapes than anything we have heard. The MPS-5 is really two products in one single box: a world class CD/SACD transport combined with a DAC that can also receive a variety of external digital sources, including PC or MAC based music servers â not only a unique and powerful combination, but also versatile in applications.
The Playback Designs MPS-5 starts with a modified Esoteric transport mechanism. Although there are quite a few very good mechanisms to use for a lot less money, the chosen transport delivers excellent stabilility and reliability. The build quality is excellent and being the work horse of the player, we decided that the substantial increase in our cost to use these devices was well worth it, especially for the long term.
While the MPS-5 is a world class CD/SACD player, its internal DAC can also be used with external digital sources through a multitude of digital inputs. In particular it can be connected directly to a PC via the USB interface, whereby the MPS-5 becomes the soundcard of the PC or MAC and converts all the digital audio from the PC to analog via the same processes used for the transport. Unique to Playback Designs is the ability of our products to playback super high resolution music files of up to 24/384kHz PCM and 6.1MHz DSD through USB off of either a PC or MAC. This is 32 times the resolution of players with the ability to playback 192kHz high resolution files.
If you have a large CD collection, through the use of our newest apodizing upsampling filter for 44.1 and 48kHz sample rates, CDs or PCM music files never sounded better or more analog like. Apodizing filters are special upsampling filters that compensate for some of the ringing effects caused by brickwall filters in the Analog to Digital Converters (A/D) used during recording. Depending on the recordings apodizing filters can provide audible improvements. This is not a new technology and is used mostly to improve reception signals from the edge of dish antennas (satellite). Since brickwalls in A/D converters are akin to edges on dish antennas the same principle holds for digital audio and similar filters can be used in DACs with noticeable improvements.
Finally, you can expect the same, or in some cases, a much higher level of sonic performance from your PC then you can from the SACD / CD transport. The MPS-5 automatically recognizes any source (such as a PC, MAC, IPod, Discman, etc.) and uses new technology we have developed called PDFAS (Playback Designs Frequency Arrival System) to completely eliminate all jitter.
Another reason for the increase in performance is our newest addition to the 5 Series products: the USB Extender Box (USB-X) which now is included with the purchase of either of our 5 Series products. This external device gives our 5 Series products the ability to playback the super high resolution files we mentioned earlier of up to 24/384kHz PCM and 6.1MHz DSD. Our USB-X technology is deliberately built into a separate chassis to properly isolate the asynchronous clock from the analog circuitry. Our 5 Series products remain the ultimate digital playback device.
The Playback Designs MPS-5 will challenge what you have come to expect as the limitations of digital playback!
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|Specificatii||The goal at Playback Designs was an easy one to set and incredibly difficult to achieve:
Most people consider digital playback to be sonically inferior to analog playback, whether tape or vinyl. We wanted to match or better the critical areas where we felt analog had superior advantages without losing the benefits of great digital playback.
Most digital playback systems produce high frequencies that tend to sound processed or harsh. It is commonly referred to as âdigititusâ or âdigital hashâ. It is an unnatural sound that can cause listener fatigue and irritation during long listening sessions.
There tends to be a much more visceral experience when listening to analog. Listeners tend to be less analytical and just accept and enjoy the musical experience more so with tape or vinyl playback.
Sonically there is less immediacy that one tends to experience with analog playback.
System flexibility and modularity to meet various customer needs.
Playback Designsâ˛ philosophy is very simple, but again, very difficult to achieve. In order to achieve the best possible sonic performance it is vital to understand all the details of the theories behind digital and analog signal processing. Relying on component manufacturers to solve signal processing challenges generally ends up in compromised performance. Playback Designs embarked right from the beginning on a path where it applied its vast technical expertise in analog and digital signal processing to design solutions that give âdiscreteâ a new meaning: where standard chips for digital signal processing were not good enough, Playback Designs uses general gate arrays that can be programmed with their own discrete and proprietary algorithms, where standard analog integrated amplifiers (OpAmp) were not good enough Playback Designs uses discrete analog components to better the overall performance. Playback Designs did not leave any step untouched in the theory of Digital to Analog Conversion nor did it leave it to 3rd party vendors for any solutions.
Both the audiophile and recording industries have adopted SACD (Super Audio CD) as the premier format for both recording and playback. At Playback Designs we wanted to go much further. We decided to convert all digital audio to a format that has twice the data rate of SACD before converting it to analog. Most companies are upconverting 2, 4 or 8 times while we are doing it 128 times. You will hear greater resolution and detail, an improved sense of space with more precise imaging with much faster transient response. With a Playback Designs component your system will sound more alive!
Playback Designsâ˛ players and DACs employ technology never previously utilized in this industry. Our PDFAS (Playback Designs Frequency Arrival System) is a ground breaking technology developed by Andreas Koch, that eliminates the need for conventional PLLs, also known as âPhase Locked Loopsâ. PLLs try to control and minimize jitter while our PDFAS completely eliminates it out of the audio signal. Regardless of the source, whether it is an external transport, music server, personal computer, portable MP3 or disc player, the connection to the Playback Designs is effortless and jitter free.
Most standard off-the-shelf DAC chips introduce unnatural frequency effects (âbrick wall filter effectâ and others). With its discrete approach Playback Designs has control over every little step and algorithm inside the digital-to-analog conversion process and was able to address the fundamental flaws of the off-the-shelf chip solutions that other manufacturers generally use.
The visceral experience is obtained by Playback Designs by using very unique technology to prevent the common side effects associated with digital signal processing.
Through a combination of unique analog and digital signal processing technologies Playback Designs was able to achieve a sonic performance that maintains the character of analog playback and combines it with the advantages of digital.
We know that every customer has different needs and different setups. With this in mind Playback Designs has designed the product architecture for the greatest flexibility and modularity. The modular architecture of the Playback Designs MPD-5 allows it to be upgraded at any time to a MPS-5. The MPS-5 can be expanded to a full 6-channel setup or a 4-channel system with center channel mixdown to the front L/R channels. Also, some applications require a multiroom distribution of the same 2-channel program. No matter what your requirements are, the Playback Designs system approach will be able to meet it.
Most educated audiophiles and studio professionals would agree that with digital playback the noise floor is substantially lower than with either tape or vinyl. This is hardly the only difference. By shifting some of the signal processing that is generally done in analog to the digital domain Playback Designs is in a better position to control phase shifts, filter accuracies and non-linearity issues than if it was done in the analog domain. This off-loads the analog stage and burdens it only with what it does best: give us this natural and undisturbed sonic performance that we all find so appealing.
Playback Designs Frequency Arrival System (PDFAS) â Playback Designsâ˛ players and DACs employ technology never previously utilized in this industry. Our PDFAS is a ground breaking technology developed by Andreas Koch, that eliminates the need for conventional PLLs, also known as âPhase Locked Loopsâ. PLLs try to control and minimize jitter while our PDFAS completely eliminates it out of the audio signal. Regardless of the source, whether it is an external transport, music server, personal computer, portable MP3 or disc player, the connection to the Playback Designs is effortless and jitter free.
Playback Designs Super High Resolution USB â All series of Playback Designs products have the ability to playback, what we like to call, âSuper High Resolutionâ music files. These are files that go far beyond the resolution that most companies are attempting to playback. Currently only a few companies can achieve, 24/192kHz. Our players and DACs can playback music files up to 24/384kHz PCM and up to 6.1MHz DSD through a USB connection to either a PC or MAC. This is up to 32 times the resolution of players with the ability to playback 192kHz high resolution files.
Playback Designs 8FS USB Interface â While there may be a few companies that make claims that they have an 8FS USB interface, they likely have to downsample the data inside the DAC because they use a standard off-the-shelf DAC chip set that is limited to 4FS. Due to our discrete DAC technology, we, truly do 8FS. In fact it is designed to receive any PCM sample rate up 6.1MHz. This technology makes our products future proof for many years, if not decades.
|Tip player||CD/SACD Player|