Home > USB AUDIO > …And the Musiland 03 USD

…And the Musiland 03 USD

Retail: ~1000 RMB [link]

1 ppm frequency stability

Got to wait for Soomal to see what is inside…


Soomal just did that: [link]


The 1ppm clock replaces the 24 MHz clock that feeds the USB controller. The audio-frequency clocks are derived from this clock by the FPGA exactly as before. The new clock brings frequency stability but not necessarily lower jitter because the resultant jitter is still determined by the cumulative jitter of the clock management modules inside the FPGA.

However, there is a new power section consisting of a different LDO regulator (can’t figure out who makes it) and (I think) additional LC filtering?. No doubt this new supply section has lower noise and thus can improve jitter by minimizing power-related jitter inside the FPGA.

Update: The PHKI is an adjustable switching regulator from TI: TSP62200 switching regulator. Thus the use of large inductors. This is certainly an innovation. Switching regulator technology has developed tremendously especially driven by by mobile device industry segment. But I am not sure whether this is better than linear regulators especially the newer breed of ultra low noise regulators. If indeed this configuration is more effective and lower noise to what they were using before, then the jitter performance can be somewhat improved by providing cleaner power to the FPGA.

But, since there is no analog part in this device, it is very likely the I2S lines have been disabled. There are no traces where the I2S lines are located in the other devices. Thus NO I2S lines to tap.

Compare the above photo near C33 (Musiland 03 USD) with the photo below near c34 (Musiland 03 US which has an analog section). Notice that the I2S lines are missing

There is still some more good things: every time Musiland releases a new model, there are improvements to the layout. Notice that in this version that data lines are shielded by ground lines (I marked with blue lines). I believe there are additional improvements in the layout that are not readily apparent.

On the balance, the improvements are positive but I was expecting separate oscillators for the generation of the audio-frequency clocks. I am also not sure about the switching regulators. Seems some of the  newer low noise linear regulators would had been a better choice.

For the diy’er, it would be more fun to start with the Musiland MINI and mod the clock and power section.

  1. Gunnar
    March 28, 2012 at 10:13

    I was hoping that Musiland would give us a 32bit/384 (i2s) output on one of these models. But as long as there is no i2s external standard to follow….

    • BlogGeanDo
      March 29, 2012 at 19:12

      Musiland “standard” for I2S transmission is their MULINK interface. I have not found any information on that protocol. I think I’ll have to get a logic analyzer and figure out how that works.

  2. Gunnar
    March 29, 2012 at 19:59

    Interesting to see that this Mulink add-on board support 2ch 32bit/384 or 8ch 24bit/192


  3. Gunnar
    March 30, 2012 at 16:56

    Let us know what you find 🙂

  4. Anonymous
    May 23, 2012 at 16:08

    I am confused about the different versions of this unit. The one pictured above “Musiland Monitor 03 USD” appears to have a SPDIF and a BNC output connector, and it looks like a USB 3.0, Toslink and MULINK input on the other side

    But the units I see advertised on E-Bay “Musliand Monitor 03 US” and the new “Dragon 03” don’t have a SPDIF or BNC output but have two Headphone outputs and a pair of RCA outputs.

    Are these different units? Different models of the same unit?

    I have a Musiland 02 Dragon that has both the SPDIF digital output and a pair of analog RCA outputs as well as the two headphones.

    This makes it really convenient to switch between an external DAC (fed by the SPDIF) and a direct connection to the Pre-amp from the Analog outs.

    Since SPDIF can not handle higher resolution then 192K, I can run my 352,4K DxD recordings directly (and boy do they sound incredible!). On standard redbook my external tube DAC is better then the 02 analog outs (it should it cost 5x more then the 02).

    I want to buy an Monitor 03 for comparison but they don’t seem to offer the same flexibility – or do they??? The Musiland site is not much help!

    • BlogGeanDo
      May 23, 2012 at 18:26

      Yes, Musiland 03US has digital and analog outputs. Musiland 03USD (notice the “D”) only has digital outputs.
      If you want and upgrade from the 02 Dragon, get the 03US Dragon (just released). The 03US Dragon is an upgrade from the regular 03US

      However, if you want to output digital in 352K, then you need something with a MULINK (so far only Musiland own DACs) or hack the I2S signals as I did.

  5. June 18, 2012 at 20:15

    Hey I am really looking for a the best Musiland DAC to use on a PC. I don’t care about digital and my speakers are analog only. My question is this, I need to know which Musiland Monitor can output TRUE 32 bit sound and 384khz. I read here that the Dragon 02 is the only card with a TRUE 32 bit DAC chip. This makes me wonder why I should buy a newer 03 or 03 Dragon model. If anyone could help shed some light on this I would greatly be appreciative. Like I said all I want is a Hi-Fi Hi-tech Sound Card/DAC for my PC. I want TRUE 32 bit sound and 384khz sample rate PLAYPACK. thanks!

    • BlogGeanDo
      June 19, 2012 at 16:57

      You can probably NOT go wrong with any of the models. I studied the 03US and it does pass 32-bit, the DAC takes the most significant 24 bits and discards the rest.

      If you look as specifications, the 03US Dragon has the best specs.

      • June 19, 2012 at 18:09

        I can get a 2012 Monitor 01 for 80 shipped. or i can get the Dragon 03 for 220. which would you get?

      • BlogGeanDo
        June 21, 2012 at 19:19

        I would likely get the 2012 Monitor 01

      • June 19, 2012 at 21:01

        I guess my main worry was the fact that some DAC chips are not TRUE 32 bit chips. I want true 32 bit sound through my PC. Right now I am leaning toward the Monitor 01 US 2012 32 bit/384khz edition for 80$. Maybe the Dragon 02 for 150$ ,but I read it has clipping issues? Is that when sound gets cut off during playback? I respect your opinion more than my knowledge. What unit would you get? All I care about is getting good 32 bit 384Khz sound playback at a good price to ratio.

      • BlogGeanDo
        June 21, 2012 at 19:22

        The so called “clipping issues” will be the same for both devices as they use the same chip. Since I don’t have any one of those devices, I have not experienced it myself. If you really worry, then get the 03 Dragon. It has the best specs of the bunch. Even thought the chips are not true 32 bit, they accept 32 bit and discard 8 bit. The chip in the 03 has better specs than the chip in the 01, thus even thought they are 32 bit, they can’t really resolve all 32 bit and in fact, less than the chips in the 03

  6. June 18, 2012 at 20:21

    Also I saw this card thats a newer 2012 model Monitor 01. It SAYS it has 32 bit/384khz support too… and the SNR/Dynamic Range Ration is good too. I still am not sure if I should go with THE TRUE 32bit Chip DAC DRAGON Monitor 02 or something like this that has a physical 24Bit DAC chip. Any help would greatly be helped. Love your Reviews man! They have helped me learn ALOT about Musiland Products and specifications.

  7. June 18, 2012 at 20:22

    Heres the link to that 2012 Musiland Monitor 01 Newer 32Bit/384Khz reported model.


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  1. August 30, 2012 at 06:24
  2. October 7, 2012 at 14:58

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