Majestic Multi Input DAC Digital Preamp

 

No More Digital Fatigue!

Sounds so wonderful it fully immerses you in your music

You could pass this one by on technicalities but doing so could be your biggest mistake...

Graham Slee has put in every bit of his famous and sought after analogue audio technology making the music from this DAC as dreamy as ever. What it might lack in technical specmanship is more than made up for by the way it communicates your music with you. Isn't that what high fidelity is all about?

For more information continue reading after the purchasing options below.

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Price: £1600
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Specification Reviews

Honestly, It Does What We Say

And when we say it sounds wonderful we really mean it — we won't let you down there. We're committed to making music come alive in your home and the Majestic pre DAC will never stand in the way of your music. It might however give you a clue as to what the rest of your system should be, because, when teamed with Graham Slee Proprius amps you'll discover what music is really about.

Majestic DAC preamp rear panel

Hand made by true craftsmen in our Yorkshire workshops, the beautifully compact Majestic pre DAC is perfectly engineered to sit unobtrusively in your home and deliver great music on demand.

Connectivity:

The Majestic has inputs for three optical (TOSLink) sources (up to 96kHz 24 bit) and three coaxial S/PDIF sources (up to 192kHz 24 bit) for use with digital music servers and streamers as well as TVs, set-top boxes, games consoles and CD transports having TOSLink or coaxial S/PDIF outputs.

The Majestic USB input is suitable for CD quality FLAC and WAV files, MP3 and YouTube audio from a PC, Laptop, Android tablet or phone via an OTG adapter, and iPhone via a lightning (camera) adapter (up to 48kHz 24 bit).

It also has a stereo input for analogue audio such as the output from any of our phono preamp stages.

The Majestic pre DAC has a fixed analogue unbalanced line-out suitable for connection to a preamp, integrated amp, or any of our analogue headphone amplifiers. And to special order this output can be placed after the volume control making it variable.

It has stereo balanced main outputs which can feed any power amplifier balanced or not. Using compact TRS jack plugs, cables can be made up to suit your amplifier with a choice of lengths. See our CuSat50, Lautus and Libran cable ranges and choose TRS for the source end connector.

Graham Slee chose adaptive isochronous for USB because it is time sensitive, and importantly, music is time sensitive. Asynchronous simply isn't time sensitive and data retries introduce glitches and even stop-start playback which ruins your musical interest. 48kHz, the original professional digital audio tape (DAT) sampling rate, might be classed as "old-hat" but higher resolutions suffer processing noise you won't see declared in specifications. Resampled or upsampled 96kHz is only empty bit stuffing so there's nothing added to the music apart from digital artifacts that may make it sound different. It might look good on paper, but you hear with your ears, not your eyes!

Majestic DAC

Free From Harshness

What really sets the Majestic apart from similar pre-DACs is the lack of harshness in its sound.

It's what makes it sound so naturally musical: Its digital chipset is run 2dB below full-scale to prevent the harsh sound of "clipping"; and its analogue filters work differently to other DACs.

Its analogue filters sound more natural in five ways:

1. their inherently fast slew-rate captures every part of the musical waveform
2. their inverting* topology does away with common-mode distortion
3. the filters operate balanced to complement the DAC chip balanced output, cancelling noise
4. they use our ultra-linear technique which gives true 180 degree local negative feedback at the most sensitive hearing frequencies
5. the filters won't "saturate" and distort on the loudest passages

This means you don't get harmonic artefacts - alien noises - embedded in your music.

Those noises are the very thing that makes digital music sound so-digital and unatural. And is why you should compare how a DAC sounds with real music...

Direct comparisons between the Majestic and others reveals that something is missing - with the Majestic you don't get the harsh sounding artefacts!

* absolute phase is maintained by phase inverting in the balanced filters

Swipe down for Specifications and Reviews.

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Frequently purchased with...

Proprius Mono Block power amplifiers Solo Ultra Linear Headphone Amp Libran Balanced Interconnects Lautus 1.5m RCA/RCA interconnect

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Specification

Rated Output

Balanced, variable via level control:
+8dBu/1.95V rms (into 22k Ohms); +2dBu/975mV rms (into 600 Ohms)
Single Ended fixed low-level:
-8dBu/309mV rms (into 22k Ohms)
(Single Ended variable via level control:
+2dBu/975mV rms (into 22k Ohms), *optional to order*)

Sensitivity for rated output

Digital:
-14 dBFS
Analogue:
-8dBu/309mV rms
0dBu
= 774.6 mV rms

The following measurements taken at 24 bits and sampling rates of
Coax inputs: 192kHz
Optical inputs: 96kHz (192 kHz to order - optical input 1)
USB input: 48kHz

Frequency Response (-3dB points)

Coax input:
11Hz - 36kHz
Optical input:
11Hz - 31kHz
USB input:
11Hz - 20kHz

Distortion (THD @ 1 kHz)

Coax inputs:
0.002%
Optical inputs:
0.003%
USB input:
0.0025%

Distortion (THD @ 10 kHz)

Coax inputs:
0.002%
Optical inputs:
0.003%
USB input:
0.0025%

Intermodulation Distortion (SMPTE)

Coax inputs:
0.006%
Optical inputs:
0.014%
USB input:
0.008%

Dynamic Range (AES17)

Coax inputs:
98dB
Optical inputs:
100dB
USB input:
96dB

Signal to Noise Ratio (A wtd.)

Coax inputs:
<102dB
Optical inputs:
103dB
USB input:
96dB

Jitter

Wideband:
100Hz corner (AES 117): 140 ps

Dimensions

Width:
174; Height: 57; Depth: 188 (mm)
Weight:
2.6 kg packed - with PSU1, DC and power cords

Specifications subject to alteration without notice in keeping with our continuous improvement policy.

Reviews

. . . I tried running the CD42 direct into the S/PDIF 192k input. Holy crap what a difference... This was really a 'I can't believe this' moment. The thing sounded like the speakers had been taken out from their hiding place 1m apart on a shelf and set-up 3 m apart on proper stands – I can think of no better description – a system that really serves as background only became analytical and musical in one moment.

. . . I'd been using my beloved and modified Micromega Solo as CD player along with the Oppo - both using their on-board DACs. But then I swapped to using the S/PDIF output on both and once again I was simply taken aback by the improvement in sound. DACs make a difference it's true, but I can honestly say that I've never heard one that offers such a shift, and a positive one to any digital source I tried. With both (excellent) sources the sound opened up, the space between notes expanded and a level of detail and ambience - natural, never pushy – flooded out.

Doing back-to-back tests with the Audio-Note Zero DAC was very interesting because there was a certain similarity. Both were open and energetic, the Zero majoring on the latter, but the GSP had it beat on sound depth and spacial awareness generally. Bass was similarly handled with the GSP being a little lighter and more defined. The Zero did more wall-of-sound where appropriate, the GSP clearly superior with something like 'Take Five' in both 'space' and the definition of leading edges. The Zero is just a simple DAC – the Majestic a full function multi-source preamp, that they went toe to toe says an awful lot and I have to say that as a DAC alone the Majestic took the contest by a head.
Geoff Husband, TNT-Audio July 2015

Hi Fi Pig

This is a Rolls or Bentley with real wood veneer not carbon fibre, and super soft suspension, not spine shattering hardness. This product oozes quality and musicality with a useful analogue input thrown in. Yes, there are cheaper DACs out there, but this one is musical where many out there might just be telling you fibs
Janine Elliot, HiFiPig.com

I used a Clearaudio Performance DC turntable for analogue duties and my trusty Sony CDPX 3000ES on both the analogue and coax inputs to compare the DAC in the Majestic against Sony’s excellent own on board DAC. I have to say it was a close call between the two showing how good Sony’s original design was and how natural sounding and sweet the Majestic was with no digital nasties. My friend came over to hear the units and was mightily impressed. You could play anything digital through the DAC and it would sound very natural, dare I say analogue like.
Ian Ringstead, HiFiPig.com

Rendering of treble sounds is particularly notable. From new the treble sounded a little bright for my tastes, but it soon settled down to be clear, crisp and free from any “digital glare”. High percussion has a sparkle that’s never overdone and orchestral violins have a sheen underlined by the rich midtones that’s very appealing. In fact, much like a good moving coil cartridge. Speaking of which – as I mentioned in an earlier post – vinyl reply using the DAC as an analogue pre-amp was totally transparent and as good as you’re likely to get.
- forum member: morris_minor

When I first listened to it I was overwhelmed by the clarity, detail and vibrancy of the sound that it produced. I couldn't believe that so much extra detail existed on familiar albums. why hadn't I been able to access this before? When you already think that you have something you think of as close to perfection just to know there is more available makes one very excited! I wanted to play all my old music to see what I've been missing!
- forum member: msphil

Firstly, at the risk of repeating what has already been said, my impression is of a very ‘grown up’ musical signature without any trace of digital harshness. I have not experienced that before from CDs or digital files. Dynamics, attack and timing are also spot on, nothing is overblown or lacking. It is extremely ‘realistic’ sounding Comparing to what I had previously, it is as if an enthusiastic shouty teenager has transformed into a full range adult performer. It doesn’t mean the former was bad, however the Majestic is much more listenable and absolutely without fatigue over extended listening sessions. The biggest surprise has been with lower resolution MP3s where the improved smoothness is really noticeable. That is a nice little bonus
- forum member: Drewan77

Overall I would describe the sound as smooth, valve like perhaps, but with considerable extension in the lower registers. It is not over bright in the upper registers, manages to tame the harsh sounds experienced from some poorer digital sources, but maintains clarity particularly with female voices and the leading edge of cymbal and snare drum strikes are really sharp. The bass extension gives good definition to each note, good articulation and no smearing of bass notes one into another. Detail retrieval is exceptional, as others have similarly observed with the Reflex. Previously unheard details such as noises in the audience or background become apparent. Soundstage is quite wide and realistic sometimes appearing to extend beyond the physical limits of the speakers and with well defined, stable imaging.
- forum member: BackInBlack

Nearly a week in to using the Majestic as preamp in addition to DAC. It's changed. Not enough "o"s in smooth to describe it (thanks for the line, Sherman Potter). Bass is tighter and a little deeper, but the extra texture (I use that word a lot in describing this thing) is a winner.
- forum member: Aussie Mick