This unit is the very reason I tirelessly persued the perfect reproduction of music, I have been fortunate enough to assemble some of the worlds best d/a converters, transports, an anti jitter devices. I could go on for pages and pages about how stunningly robust and accurate this unit is. But I will suffice to say ...If you can find one at any cost BUY IT!
I have found that there is absolutley no comparison, this unit shines heads above the rest in almost all ways: soundstaging, detail, timbre, tonal accuracy etc. etc etc.
This is the best $5000.00 I've spent, in an audio system with a price tag of $60,000.00
P.S.A footnote to my review. I tried all sorts of cables from the transport to the M 34. Few made much difference. (The JPS Superconductor 75 ohm cable actually sounded thin and subtracting after it broke in, although that is the cabeling I use throughout, elsewhere in the system. Tried Tara Master Gen II, I think the name was, the top AudioTruth cable, the top D series Illuninati cable, but was finally blowen away when I tried an old 8" length of Brasfield digital cable, I kept around because it sounded the best on the Theta equipment I auditioned along the way to selecting the M-34. I am so happy now with with little Brasfield cable, I no longer fuss with the system. I just listen. It added body and imaging resolution (that's a trick), bottom end and wonderful macro and micro dynamics, as well as depth, a trick with the CAP 150. (System: Karik table, M-34, JPS Superconductor cables throughout (interconnect and speaker) and Classe integrated CAP 150 plus Brasfield 8" cable and doo dads. P.S. Don't ask me why.
Don't even think about buying a top gun DAC til you hear this one. Jerry Ozment does not push this unit into the forefront of the maniac audiophile world by his choice, but I have been on the phone with him numerous times going through his modifications. He is a very humble honest person, two young children and lots of orders for the DAC. I have been through Goldmunds best version of their Mimesis 10+, their 8.4 amps and their mimesis 36. Then the highly acclaimed Wadia 27. Then the Jadis JS 1 symmetrical processor, their tube regulated, two chassis DAC. The 34 is head and shoulders above all. Far less $$$. Jerry believes in music and keeps the chassis plain. My 34 started on the back burner - slow sweet, lacking in attack and definition and air - all of tube virtues and vices of 4 years ago. Plenty of bass for the deep pipe organ notes. Then a power supply mod marked by tube heaters left on all the time, and the red power supply box light always on. $400. Then a new digital board with specially ordered Mullard E88CC buffer tubes and Mullard analogue tubes, using part of the tubes to tube regulate the power supply. Partially multibit and partially bitstream. ( I don't understand these electronics) Presto! Now as fast as the Wadia (lightning speed), gigantic airy sound stage and Oh so much body, emotion and rich tonality in piano, violin, pipe organ with all the complex and rich harmonic overtones. Aural fatigue factors, present in All the other units now gone. One's interest is held glued to the music. Not the slam thrill of megawatt solid state, rather sheets of emotional sheer silk gently caressing or class 5 hurricanes as need be. Effortless. Coherent without some frquencies better than others. No favorite instruments - all equally artistic. Words become poor at this point, so go hear. Changing to the very musical Jadis J1 transport, the latest Cary 805c Signature with WE 300b drivers and NOS RCA 845 outputs did not do as much for the joy of music as did the current audiologic 34. Don Bussmann ABussmann@aol.com
Flash Bulletin! There is a seriously good DAC out there too few have heard of or even know about. I bring a message. As an audiophile since the birth of "high fidelity" in the mid-fifties (a heathkit builder at 12 or 13 years old then), and as a past and present owner of much seriously expensive equipment(many, many, many pieces auditioned in my homes for too many years), I write to urge audio dealers and equipment buyers to audition and consider purchasing the Audio Logic M-34. I have no affiliation at all with the company or anyone with it. I write because I have been on a personal odessey of late to come up with a DAC I can live with and enjoy, after not listening much, for a while (induced by the CD "sound" via most DACs and the messiness of dealing with vinyl). Audition units included several Wadias, a Theta, two of the Mark Levinsons, and several others of lesser note or of good quality but less well known. Except for the Theta which has always had, to my ear, an electronic edge to it (but much improved in recent years and interations), I observe a distinct trend toward a smooth, undynamic, "slick" homogenized sound in too many current processors, most unlike live music, which I have constantly used as my reference -- a sort of elegant background sound for well-off people who read or do something else much more, while listening. The Audio Logic M-34 has macro and micro dynamics like nobody's business, unlike all of these other units. Also, it is not describable as having either a good top end or extended bass, or such, because like real music, that is never how such music is described. Live music is described in terms of tonal balance, timbre and its acoustic, not whether the highs are smooth or the bass is extended. For those raised on processed sound (much of the X generation), or those seeking F-16 rolls in surround sound for their living rooms, or those raised on rock concert speaker systems, I am sure what I am talking about must seem like Greek, but for real, honest to God music lovers and concert goers, you can understand what I am saying. The Audio Logic 34 is not compressed or "smooth" any more than live music is, unless it is rendered in a bad acoustical environment. The Audio Logic ML-34 is much more like live music (on a good CD) than any processor I know about or have heard, and by a seriously good margin. Its designer, Jerry Ozment, who has designed many DACs you know about (of other brands and to a sound), is a lover of cello music I am told, which may be why this unit sounds so good in an area where, in terms of dynamics and resolution, too much audio equipment simply falls on its face - the upper bass and lower midrange, what Wilson gets right on the WAMM, but not his other stuff, and too few others pay much attention to. (The WAMM and an Audio Logic M-34 might almost get the dynamics as right as live music, with proper support equipment.) The foundation to most music is not the middle or lower bass range at all, as most say and believe; its the upper bass and the lower midrange. Screw that up with a lack of proper macro and micro dynamics, proper harmonic structure and good resolution and you have smoke, but no true fire. The flame is out like a camp fire doused with water. I sincerely urge all who love real music, including the Stereophile staff, to get an Audio Logic M-34 and listen to it, after going to a concert. You'll be amazed. I was and am. I have been trying to get out of high end audio recently, by going to a back bedroom system, but the Audio Logic unit has turned my head and is pulling me back in again, kicking and screaming . . . with delight. (Price? about $5K!!!) Kimball Corson