BRINKMANN Nyquist-II DAC/Streamer 32/384 DSD356 Roon & MQA enabled w gran base

BR 01 DC NYQ
NZ$ 25,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Brinkmann

Considered some of the world’s finest turntables out of Germany

New

Digital So Good, Only An Analog Expert Could Make It  Elegance. Precision. Heirloom Build Quality and State-of-the-Art Performance. 

German Stereoplay Magazine: "Undoubtedly, the Nyquist offers a tonal fascination and outstanding naturalness at a level that is probably unique." 

These are the hallmarks of Brinkmann Audio. Now, thirty years after the introduction of their first Digital-to-Analog Converter, Brinkmann Audio proudly introduces "Nyquist", the world's most advanced DAC. Authored by the newly expanded Brinkmann design team, "Nyquist" sets new standards in convenience, sonic excellence and lasting value.  

Although Brinkmann is justly renowned as a designer and manufacturer of State-of-the-Art analog components, the company's first DAC, "Zenith", debuted in 1986 and still enjoys a devoted cult following. For Helmut Brinkmann, the development of "Zenith" demonstrated the importance of analog circuitry and passive filter implementation in the design of high end digital components. Everything Brinkmann learned with "Zenith"-combined with three decades of subsequent engineering experience-has resulted in "Nyquist": the culmination of our vast audio design expertise.  

An entirely new design, "Nyquist" has been optimised to accommodate the latest digital formats including MQA™ (Master Quality Authenticated) streaming and playback, PCM up to 384 kHz/32 bits (including DXD)as well as DSD64, DSD128 and DSD256. Given that future formats will inevitably appear, both the Hardware and Software of "Nyquist's" Digital Module are easily user-replaceable. This field-upgradable architecture assures unprecedented longevity and enables "Nyquist" to remain on the cutting edge of digital technology. "Nyquist" virtually eliminates obsolescence, making it audio's first-and-only "Investment Quality" digital component.  

Proprietary high voltage power supply technology-unique among digital source components-delivers marked improvements in digital circuit performance as do custom filters in the digital domain. In a nod to Brinkmann's renowned "Marconi" Line Preamplifier and "Edison" Phono Stage, the "Nyquist" employs hybrid circuit topology, with tubes used in the output stage due to their instantaneous response to voltage changes.  

Because today's music connoisseurs demand the ultimate in convenience and versatility, "Nyquist" offers outstanding connectivity, including USB, SPDIF, Optical and Ethernet inputs. Balanced, Single-ended and Headphone outputs are all standard. "Nyquist" offers RoonReady™ network playback and music management and supports several streaming services while optimised, pre-selected filters have been carefully tailored for every digital format. A comprehensive remote handset offers control of volume, input selection, mute and phase.  

Thanks to our obsessive attention to each of these details, "Nyquist" achieves a level of user-friendliness unprecedented in High End Audio. Given its ease of use, matchless craftsmanship, total upgradeability and, of course, sonic superiority, "Nyquist" is simply the finest digital component available today…and tomorrow!  

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Awards

Features

The Nyquist includes MQA technology, which enables you to play back MQA audio files and streams, delivering the sound of the original master recording.  or file, and denotes provenance to ensure that the sound is identical to that MQA Studio file, which has either been approved in the studio by the artist/producer or has been verified by the copyright owner. The MQA logo is a trade mark of MQA Limited. Copyright MQA Limited 2017

The Nyquist is modular in design, future upgrades can be done in the field with a simple hardware/software swap. Inside resides a hybrid circuit topology employing tubes in the output stage, leveraging their "instantaneous response to voltage changes."

Digital fInputs include USB, S/PDIF, AES, and Ethernet while outputs include Balanced, Single-ended and Headphone. Brinkmann has loaded up Nyquist with custom filters "tailored for every format."

Specifications

Inputs
USB 2.0, SPDIF, AES-EBU, TOSLINK, RJ45 ETHERNET for Streaming

Formats
MQA and PCM up to 384 kHz (DXD), DSD 64 and 128 via DoP (DSD over PCM), DSD 256 natively

Digital module upgradable
THD/IM distortion:  <0.01%
S/N ratio:  >100 dBA
Gain adjustment:  0...+10 dB
Output voltage:  maximum 3,5 V eff.
Output impedance:  10 ohms balanced
Headphone output:  30-600 ohms
Dimensions:  420W x 95H x 310D mm (with granite base);
Power supply 120 x 80 x 160 mm
Weight:  12 kg; granite base 12 kg / power supply 3.2 kg

Reviews

BRINKMANN Nyquist DAC receives Rave Review in March 2019’ “Mono & Stereo.”

Alex Gorouvein of “Mono & Stereo” reveres the Brinkmann Audio Nyquist Mk II Streaming DAC as “a prime example of how to properly handle digital formats without sacrificing sound quality and presenting music with a natural uncolored sound that would appeal even to the most zealous analog proponent.” He highly recommends Nyquist as THE choice for those looking to upgrade their digital source or to “Take the digital plunge” without the fear of losing the warm and natural sound of analog.

For the full review, please visit:
https://www.monoandstereo.com/2019/03/brinkmann-audio-nyquist-mk-ii-streaming.html

High End 2016: Brinkmann and Vandersteen and MQA
Panagiotis Karavitis in Munich 2016

MQA is becoming a reality; the company has a new partner under Brinkmann Audio who despite being a world-class leader in turntable design has a history on digital audio as well with the “Zenith”, a DAC introduced back in 1986!

In Munich they presented the all new MQA ready, tube output Nyquist DAC, capable of 32bit/384KHz PCM and dual rate DSD, available as of Q4 2016. Paired to the in-house electronics (Brinkmann produces a complete line of quality electronics including mono power amps, pre, stereo, integrated and the fabulous Edison phono stage) all sitting on top of HRS racks while speakers were courtesy of Vandersteen, his second from top Model 5A carbon (US$29.900) along with the dedicated M7-HPA amplifiers (US$52.000).

Bob Stuart gave us a demo session comprising of various tracks in MQA, sourced mostly directly from the original masters, and I must admit, there is something to this new format. Not saying it is better than the same files in hi-res PCM or DSD; my experience is still very limited and in order to draw any conclusions I would like to do some proper A-B in my system, preferably with less than 30 folks sitting in the room. What I am saying is that it sounds a bit different, and given the huge advantage of a lower bit rate, chances are it will be the next logical step in quality streaming for the not so distant future. Still, I am not sure how it is going to do as a format; discussing a bit further with Bob, I came to understand that we are talking of a lossy compression, only that with MQA the vital 20-20KHz range remains untouched (protected is the word he used) and the lossy part of the compression happens at higher frequencies, inaudible for the human ear.

I must give credit to Brinkmann’s new Nyquist DAC
MHES 2016 - Key Kim

Year after a year Brinkmann always manages to produced outstanding sound and it was no different this time. Actually, the digital medium sounded better than ever. 

I must give credit to Brinkmann’s new Nyquist DAC. Brinkmann is mainly known as a manufacturer of State-of- the-Art analog products, not digital. However, did you know that the company’s first DAC “Zenith” debuted in 1986, 30 years ago? 

Helmut Brinkmann’s development of the Zenith demonstrated the importance of analog circuitry and passive filter implementation in digital components. Everything Brinkmann learned from Zenith, and three decades of experience has culminated in the “Nyquist”. 

The Nyquist has been optimized to accommodate the latest digital formats including MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) streaming and playback, PCM up to 384 kHz/32 bits (including DXD). The Vandersteen Audio 5A Carbon loudspeakers (US$29,900/pair) sounded impressive driven by their M7-HPA mono amplifiers (US$52k). 

As I listened I heard sound that was open, transparent and very natural with nice musicality. 

a rave review of our Nyquist Streaming DAC.
Jeff Dorgay

Tone Audio Nyquist review:
Tone Audio has just published a rave review of our Nyquist Streaming DAC. Publisher Jeff Dorgay’s first paragraph closes “…Brinkmann Nyquist has magic, in spades.” Not only does Jeff admire Nyquist’s performance and versatility, he also loves the “One-Box Simplicity” of our digital source component and deems it “…an incredible value proposition.” We agree. We also wish to point out that Tone Audio reviewed the original Nyquist. We’re sending Jeff a Mk II which, we expect, he’ll love even more.  

EXTENDED REVIEW: HiFi reviewers and enthusiasts often talk about “analog magic,” but that term is seldom if ever used when discussing digital gear. Considering the progress made in the digital arena, it’s somewhat puzzling. I submit the Brinkmann Nyquist has magic, in spades.

Joni Mitchell’s voice (and self-backing vocals) in her classic “Car on a Hill” are smooth and scrumptious. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was listening to vinyl – and that’s the point.

Some of us have been arguing about the validity of digital versus analog for about 35 years now. Granted, those first compact disc players sounded pretty harsh, but things have come a long way since then. Despite the sniping of analog aficionados, digital designers keep improving the breed, and though often fashionable to bash digital, it’s pretty damn good.

On one level, who better to make an incredible digital to analog converter than a man who makes great turntables? Helmut Brinkmann is that man. I’ve been using his Bardo turntable (with optional RoNT power supply) for over a year now and couldn’t be happier with it – deciding to purchase the review sample took all of about 30 seconds worth of listening.

Mr. Brinkmann’s DAC is equally engaging and impressive, even more, when the tubes stabilize thermally – usually about 30 minutes. Prepare to be impressed. Really impressed. The Beatle’s “Penny Lane” begins this magical mystery tour, as it’s a well-worn demo favorite. McCartney’s bass line comes through with an unmistakable strength – the pace is fantastic. The sonic picture presented is so natural, it reminds me of the Bardo/Koetsu Jade Platinum combination, which offers an equally organic experience. The music escapes the speakers with a level of depth, texture and ease not reached by the other digital hardware in my three listening rooms.

Say What?

I’ve been intrigued with mega-digital playback for over a decade now, and as much progress continues to be made in the analog world, I’m equally stunned at what the world’s finest audio engineering minds continue to extract from the 16/44.1 files that we’ve all been told are unacceptable. DSD and high res PCM files are certainly intriguing when the content lives up to the hype, but really, how many albums in DSD format do you own? 50? 100? 3?  Me too. The few hundred albums in high-resolution format reside on my NAS, still compete with about 12 thousand CDs ripped over decades, and thousands more streaming from TIDAL.

The Nyquist unfolds MQA files and is a ROON endpoint, so there is no digital scenario you are unprepared for. There’s nothing worse than a five-figure component requiring excuses. None are necessary with the Brinkmann Nyquist.

The Nyquist does a fantastic job decoding high resolution, audiophile files. If that is your quest, you will not be disappointed in the least, but if you are a music fan wanting maximum musicality out of your legacy digital collection, I suspect you’ll value the Nyquist even more.

The ins and outs

The Nyquist offers inputs for every digital source imaginable: Toslink optical, RCA/SPDIF, XLR-AES/EBU, USB, and Ethernet. With a combination of a Mac Book Pro, OPPO 205, dCS Rossini and even a Sony PlayStation, rest assured the Nyquist works well with anything you can throw at it. After auditioning a number of transport options, the bulk of my listening was done via the Ethernet connection and a 12TB QNAP NAS.

Again, thanks to the Nyquist being Roon compatible, it makes combining the digital files in your library, with anything you’d like to seek out via TIDAL (or whatever music streaming service you happen to use) a seamless experience. Thanks to the Nyquist being a single box solution, a plethora of extra cables aren’t required. Balanced XLR and single-ended RCA outputs are also available and have no issues driving 30 feet of interconnects so that you can place the Nyquist on a rack with the rest of your gear, or in a remote location with ease.

A wide range of inputs and outputs is one thing, but there’s more. The Nyquist is a modular DAC so that it can be easily upgraded as technologies change, and in essence, future proof. This is an excellent thing when you are spending USD $18,000 (excl sales tax) on a DAC. For my money, there are too many expensive DACs built around a fixed architechture. The Nyquist’s modular design is field-upgradable, making  it a much safer bet as a long term digital investment.

Finally, the Nyquist has a level control to help match its gain to your other sources, and it acts as a full volume control for the built-in headphone amplifier. More on that later.

The MQA issue

Some will (and have) argue that the Nyquist lacks the final few molecules of resolution that the top dogs from dCS, Gryphon, and MSB offer. That may be true, and again this is a complete matter of personal taste. None of these other DACs are rubbish in any sense, yet the Nyquist has a way of pulling you in just a little bit further, allowing your fussy audiophile gland to shut off that much quicker. It’s almost hard to describe this complete lack of fatigue that the Nyquist offers.

There is a fairly high amount of vitriol in the discussions surrounding MQA these days, so I tip my hat to Mr. Brinkmann for including MQA capability on the Nyquist. Grooving on David Byrne’s latest, (In MQA) American Utopia sounds inviting, though I have no non – MQA file to compare it to. Unlike a few DACs I’ve tried that make audible clicks, or pause when switching between resolutions, the Nyquist fluidly skates between formats effortlessly, with no audible glitches. Personally, I fear that the MQA format is misunderstood, (and that’s all the further I’ll go down this rabbit hole) so as a big TIDAL/Roon user, I’m glad I can stream MQA on the Nyquist. All of the MQA files played sounded fantastic.

Awesome 16/44.1 performance

Thanks to what amounts to a separate DSD decoding section, DSD files are not converted to PCM in the Nyquist. DSD and high-resolution PCM files are handled separately and with equally high fidelity, as you would expect with an $18,000 DAC. But again, cool as that is, the Nyquist does such an incredible job with standard CD-quality digital files, this is what will keep you in the listening chair for days on end.

CD quality files played through the Nyquist offer the same analog-like ease and presence that high-resolution files do. So much so, that it was tough to tell at times what I was listening to. I can’t think of higher praise for a DAC. Taking this approach a step further, streaming performance of low-quality 320kb/sec files sound better than they have a right to. The lack of air, dynamics, and tonal richness inherent in these files is well managed in the Nyquist.

Finishing touches

The Nyquist would stand on its own, even if it were just a premium DAC for $18k, but it’s streaming capabilities make it an incredible value proposition. Mr. Brinkmann takes this further, including a massive granite base to place under the Nyquist as well as a high-quality power cord – the kind you’d probably pay a third-party vendor at least a thousand dollars for. Brinkmann suggests plugging the Nyquist directly into the AC line, eschewing power conditioning. He’s never steered me wrong in the past, so that’s how we played it for this review; directly into the AC line with zero regrets.

Personal audio fans will appreciate that the Nyquist includes a top-notch headphone amplifier as part of the package. We’ve been reviewing a number of top headphone amplifiers; and feel the one built into the Nyquist delivers such a high level of performance you will never need an outboard headphone amplifier.

Finally, this all comes wrapped in a single box solution (other than the outboard power supply) which doesn’t require a loom of cables to go about its business. If you have room for a two-four box design that a few other manufacturers offer, no worries, however, if you want high performance only requiring a single rack space, the efficiency of the Nyquist cannot be ignored. Oh yeah, it has a transparent glass top too, so those of you that appreciate the sheer beauty of the internal design can bask in it, daily.

Keep in mind for your reference; my own bias is for overall system balance to be ever so slightly on the warm/natural/neutral side of straight-up neutral. I like as much detail as I can get without the overall presentation getting harsh, yet I crave as much warmth as possible before things become slow, or sloppy. Tracking through the original Chicago Transit Authority, the enormous sonic landscape painted is tremendous, with a smoothness to the layers of drums and percussion incredible.

So it goes with Brinkmann’s Nyquist; named after the famous digital engineer Harry Nyquist. This elegantly built DAC has a sound, unlike any other DAC I’ve heard – it’s more analog. Using a pair of new old stock Telefunken PCF803 tubes for the output stage, which Brinkmann claims “were built to last ten years in color TV applications,” should last even longer in the Nyquist. A quick search on eBay reveals these tubes to be very inexpensive, so I’d suggest buying a matched set from your Brinkmann dealer so that you are prepared. Long life be damned, we both know you’re going to lose a tube on Friday night, just when you planned on a weekend’s worth of listening. Be a good Eagle Scout, buy a spare set and rest prepared.

If after all these years, digital has still left you slightly cold, I assure you the Brinkmann Nyquist will not. It offers top digital performance for about what you’d pay for one of Mr. Brinkmann’s Bardo turntables with a top phono cartridge. But you never know, a few days listening to the Nyquist and you might not even want to be bothered spinning those black discs! It’s that engaging.

BRINKMANN was One of the Five Best-Sounding Systems at High End 2012 in Munich

Munich 5This year, Germany’s annual High End show was held May 3-6 at the Munich Order Center, a beautiful, modern event facility that’s well suited to the display of high-end audio gear. Jeff Fritz and I were there for all four days -- our report, on SoundStage, covers most of the highlights, but missing from it are my five picks for the best-sounding systems at the show. I spotlight them here.

German electronics manufacturer Brinkmann Audio shared a spacious, brightly lit room with the US’s Vandersteen Audio, Harmonic Resolution Systems, and Shunyata Research, who respectively make loudspeakers, stands, and cables. The last link in the playback chain was Vandersteen’s Model Seven speakers, which I’ve heard sound good at other shows -- but never so good as in Munich.

Although the bass frequencies were strong and deep, and the highs well extended and very clean, what floored me was a combination of smoothness and detail in the midrange that was nothing short of spectacular. Then there was the imaging -- the best I heard at High End 2012. When Helmut Brinkmann played an LP of Ry Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club, I sat there slack-jawed for several minutes, listening to how wide and deep the stage was, and how tangibly present the musicians and their instruments were in that space. Companies often complain about not being able to create great sound under show conditions -- this room proved that it’s possible.

Vandersteen room

Awards

Nyquist Mk II Streaming DAC receives “Reader’s Choice Golden Ear Award, 1st Place” in the DAC category of German magazine Stereoplay

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Munich High End 2016: Robert Harley on Analog and Digital Sources - Most Significant Digital Products

Brinkmannn Nyquist MQA-Compatible DAC

Turning to digital sources, the press conference announcing the MQA-compatible Nyquist DAC from Brinkmann was preceded, by a matter of minutes, by the announcement by Warner Music that the label would be supporting the MQA format. The timing added a dramatic twist to the Brinkmann event. Warner is the first major label to announce support for MQA.

Although Brinkmann is known today primarily for its turntables, the company introduced its first DAC in 1986 and has been making digital sources since. In addition to decoding MQA, the Nyquist DAC is compatible with PCM up to 384kHz/32-bit and DSD128. 

The modular design includes user-replaceable cards and provides for firmware updates to accommodate future formats. The output stage is a hybrid design that combines tubes and transistors fed from very high voltage supply rails. The two-box unit offers balanced and unbalanced outputs, a headphone amplifier, and Roon-ready network playback. The Nyquist will be available in Q4 2016.

The system in which the Nyquist was demonstrated sounded fabulous—Vandersteen Model 5A Carbons driven by Vandertsteen’s own liquid-cooled power amplifiers.