If Google brought you to this page directly, click here to go to the start of the article here: https://www.headfonia.com/musician-pegasus-review/
Box & Accessories
For the price you’re paying for the unit, the packaging and unboxing experience to me is very basic and not really on par with the modern and high level we see and get nowadays, even at lower price points.
You get a functional, very basic box in which you find the unit, a power cable and a manual. And that’s it. I would have loved to have seen a USB cable, a short pair of ICs or an optic/coaxial cable to get you started. If this is your first desktop sized DAC, it’s not so sure you have these cables laying around, so take that into account. Anyway, the presentation and extras at this price imho could have been better in order to give the unit a more luxurious feeling. That being said, the Pegasus was one of their very first units. I don’t know if that’s an excuse and maybe the newer Musician Audio units have a different packaging, I don’t know.
Is it important? Yes, as we pay good money for it. And no, as the build quality and sound is a lot more important. So let’s have a look at that.
Design, Build Quality & Lay-out
I really like the Pegasus’ design both in grey as in black. Where the packaging isn’t very impressive, the unit itself oozes luxury and it has that typical high-end vibe. The form factor in my opinion is perfect for office use and the modern lines and angles really make it stand out on your desk. They even paid attention to the 3 feet on which the Pegasus rests on your desktop. Top marks for the design team.
The unit stands steady on your desk and it doesn’t take up too much space. The front plate design with the LEDs also makes it very easy to see what’s happening. The Pegasus measures 280 x 250 x 50 mm and weighs 3.9 Kg. The build quality also is really good. The finishing of the case as well as the quality of the buttons and all of the connectors is excellent. Everything feels solid and the Pegasus gives you that “built like a tank” feeling, which we always appreciate.
Lay-out wise the Pegasus is simple but easy to work with and only the front and back matter. On the front you from left to right have the (LED) indicators of the input in use: coax, optical, AES, USB and I2S. In the middle you have input selector, power button and NOS selector, all with their own LED. Right of that you have the 44K1 and 48K LEDs, and below that the 1x, 2x, 4x, 8X and DSD indicators. It’s very clean, clear and simple.
On the back of the unit you find a multitude of connectors. From left to right we have the: RCA R output, XLR R output, XLR L output, RCA L output, I2S input, Coaxial input, optical input, AES input and USB input. Right next to that is the power socket. The connectors are rather close to each other, but I haven’t experienced any issues with that. The only thing that others me a little are the balanced XLR outputs, so let’s get on with the part on usability.
The burn-in time of the Pegasus – according to Musician Audio – is around 300h, which is pretty easy to achieve.
The Musician Pegasus is a very versatile unit as it offers all the in and out puts you will ever need. Musician Audio does not recommended using the RCA and balanced XLR analog outputs at the same time, even if the units are not in use. It does work but it highly degrades the sound quality as these outputs are “shared” as it is called. It’s very obvious when you’re using the unit, and you will notice right away that you can’t leave all the outputs connected when using the unit.
Musician Audio strongly recommends to use the balanced XLR outputs as it delivers the very best sound quality and that sounds reasonable and logic to me. Why would you buy a fully balanced DAC to use the RCA outputs? That being said, I do use the regular RCA out as well with many of my tube amps, which don’t have a balanced input (such as the Headonia and Euforia AE).
I love using and working with the Pegasus in my office setup and it is very simple to use but I do have three small points of criticism. First of all the balanced XLR output connectors on the back. They are located below a part of the case which sticks out on the back, and that makes it rather difficult to remove the XLR connectors. If you don’t need to often switch outputs, that’s of no importance, but for people like me who are testing units all the time, this is a bit annoying. Second point are the tiny LEDs on the front plate. These LEDs are so small and they aren’t the brightest and that results in me forgetting to turn of the DAC most of the time after I have used it. But maybe that’s just me. Third point is the fact that it distorts the sound on regular occasion when I use the Pegasus in online Team meetings. I haven’t experienced any bleeps and cracks when listening to music, but in meetings it does tend to stutter for a couple of seconds. I’m not sure why it’s doing this, but it must be Microsoft Teams related.
Note that Windows users need to install the Pegasus driver before using the unit. You can find the correct driver here. The Pegasus’ user manual is right over here should you need it. Do note that there is no remote control. Personally I don’t need it as the unit is right next to me on my desk, but a remote could have been useful in a living room setup, in example.
Sound – Intro
Musician Audio describes the Pegasus’ sound as follows:
“Excellent fluidity and striking tonal balance. Layered, open, deep voice performance”
In this part on sound, take into account that it is a description based on using the USB-input. After this chapter we will describe what changes when using the other available digital inputs. I have used many amplifiers with the Pegasus and I in all confidence can say that this DAC works well with both solid state as well as tube amps, no matter if they’re warmer/smoother or more neutral/analytical sounding. The R2R tech inside the Pegasus works really well with all sorts of amplifiers. The ones I have used most are the Auris Audio Headonia, the Feliks Audio Euforia AE, the Chord ANNI, the Violectric DHA-V590 and the nimbus US4+. It also works incredibly well with the new Feliks Audio Envy, which arrived only a few days ago.
Before the Pegasus arrived I was mostly using the Flux Labs Acoustics Atlas as DAC in my office setup but that unit unfortunately has died on me in the meantime, and I still need to repair it. Other DACs I have been using are the internal DAC of the Violectric V590, the Earmen Tradutto and the Violectric V850 but none of these are as good, special and refined as the Pegasus is. Apart from the DACs used in the L&P P6 (Pro) and the Cayin R01 motherboard, I unfortunately don’t have any full sized R2R DACs to compare the Pegasus to.
One thing is for sure: if a new DAC wants to take the Pegasus’ place in my office desktop setup, it will have to be incredibly good.
The part on sound continues on the next page of this article. Click here or on the jumps below.