Audio News & Info

Review: MSB Reference Preamp Module vs. D’Agostino Momentum Updated HD PreAmp

Published June 3rd, 2021 by Audio-Ultra

Hi Everyone:

I was asked to compare the MSB Reference Preamp Module against the D’Agostino Momentum Updated HD PreAmp that feeds a pair of updated M400 Momentum Mono’s.

So this past weekend, I pulled things apart and ran the MSB Reference as the PreAmp/DAC, leaving the Momentum HD PreAmp unpowered sitting lonely on the sidelines and perhaps even grinning. All source gear is plugged into the StromTank.

  • Was it good? Yes!
  • Does music sound fine without a mated preamp? Yes!
  • Anything to be embarrassed about? No way!

MSB did a great job with the preamp module, they really did and I am just not saying that, they really have things down checking all the boxes. The tonality is sharp and crisp full of detail, dynamics are carried to the amps with ease. If one wants simplicity, space, cost savings and a good sound, then running this configuration is certainly something to consider.

With that being said, audio is a game of points to shape a sound you are working to acheive, it's what I call the hobby. Now in this case with knowing what I have in a preamp, it becomes an easy choice; the Momentum HD preamp goes to the dance over the DAC direct, but why?

It’s that holographic imaging and tonal qualities that present themselves in a manner of cohesiveness and with more meat on the bone, you won’t go hungry wanting more. There’s no playing around, it just works. IMO a matched preamp and amplifier is simply designed, constructed and voiced together. All the qualities of internal cabling, transformer specs, circuitry and even the case dampening work together in perfect harmony. Of course there is no fight for matching gain and impedance. So with all this plus the options for additonal sources to connect to, it's hard to beat.

In the end this is audio, and it really boils down to budget, sound quality and space. With that, others may experience something different since audio has lots of variables. Soon I will be comparing the combination of the MSB Reference with the S500 stereo amplifier and will see how this works as now it checks some of the boxes mentioned above.

I hope my point of view helps, Stay Safe and Long Live Audio!

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