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Kategorie: Hifi Classics

Bricasti M12 Cosmetic Surgery – New Display !

my new „used“ M12 was build in 2022, therefore has the MDx Board installed but it is still on the old red DOT Matrix display. I really like the new disülay and so I send an email to which was answered only hours later on a sunday early monring (us-time) by Brian. As I had contact with them before when I owned the original M1, I was used that I get speedy replies, but on the last day of the year beeing a Sunday? This is the extra mile they walk for their customer.

As with most things they are willing to offer an upgrade path. And here I was offered three different solutions:

  • I can send the full unit from Germany to the factory in Massachussets and get it fully done by the factory including a unit test.
  • Send just my front plate to the factory, get the modified assembly get out CNCd, the display unit fitted and the encoder exchanged.
  • Just buy a new allready equiped M12 front plate.

As shipping costs and custom are high, I wanted to avoid shipping the device so I opted for option 3. I ordered it on a Thursday afternoon, and received the new front plate Monday morning next week.

The update process is as easy as dealing with Brian:

Open the Top Cover with a Torx 8 screwdriver.

I used a ESD wrist strap but most probably that´s jus beeing over cautious.

Enjoy the clean look and find the MDx board .
This is the Software upgrade memory modul wit MDx 1.14 firmware . An SPI connected memory chip.
Make sure the device is switched off via the switch on the back and insert the upgrade flash with the right orientation. Ensure that the pins are aligned correctly it is not full idot proof.
Switch Power On (if you are religous start praying) and it will cycle through different status messages and finally you will receive a PROG OK
Switch off again and remove the upgrade key, and if everything went right Power On and check the software beeing 1.14 via the status key.

Next (without power), gently unplug the ribbon cable from the front panel assembly at the MDx board connector, unscrew the three screw on the bottom holding the front panel and remove the front panel completely.

Put the new Panel in place (comes with a slightly different connector, so use the new ribbon cable to connect to the MDx board:

Old Display
New Display
And here you are !

Some mor M12 porn shot during the exercise:

Return To The Music – back to a Bricasti DAC?

Friends, just my first impression.

Before I parted with my Bricasti M1 4 years ago, It was a long serving member of my main stereo. At that time working together with a Pass Lab X30 & X25 and a pair of Bryston B28SST2 it was a well balanced combination.

Life changes and the last 4 years I needed something smaller which could be moved more easily. So I decided to use a Devialet Expert 1000 pro as a good compromise on flexibility and performance. To make a long story short, I never really felt comfortable with this setup.

To start fresh in 2024, I bought a used Bricasti Design M12 MDx (2022) and a LAB12 Melto 2 for the phono part. The Bricasti is paired with some Hypex Nillai 500 mono amps and a Palthauf ESD to drive my Stax X9000.

The M12 serves is basically a DAC married with a basic preamp.  Like all Bricasti home stereo equipment it is quoting the design language of a classical Mark Levinson series. Having enjoyed an ML380s for more than 10 years, this builds immediate trust.  The build quality is outstanding, and you I wonder how much CNC machine time a single chassis takes to manufacture.

My initial listening session planned for 30 minutes took 3 hours. As always, I started with Arne Domnérus “jazz at the pawnshop” in the 30th anniversary remastered version. It is the Track 1 “Limehouse Blues” which is high on my test playlist but this time I stayed longer.  The dialogue of the clarinet and the vibraphone was breathtaking. I rarely heard this so intimate and full of details.

Now Norah Jones came with “come away with me” to compare the PCM vs the DSD DAC department of the M12. So it was DSD64 vs 192/24. And to be honest, while I was convinced on the multibit section of the Bricasti, the DSD section did the final convincing. Norah being transparent on stage, hearing every single breath. This is quite a step forward from my former M1 and not comparable to the now retired Devialet.

Now it is time for classical music and some vinyl. For me Vikingur Ólafsson has delivered one of the best interpretations of the Johan Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I could not stop before Variation 15. Proven the Bricasti does it´s preamp job fed via the XLR input without an issues. Maybe I was missing a bit Wayne Colburn´s exceptionally designed buffer in the Pass Labs X30 which sound a tiny bit more musical.

Barb Jungr singing Bob Dylan via a Ortofon Cadenza black proofed that the American /Greek /Danish /Japanese combination is harmonizing well. No surprises here and it sounds like it should.

The evening continued with more classical music from huge organs to large choirs. No flaws detected and everything felt balanced and right.


The M12 is a no nonsense masterpiece of engineering while keeping the virtues of a musical instrument. It is neutral as hell without sacrificing the ability to lose yourself in the music.

And finally, my wish list to Brian for an MK II Version:

  • A remote with dedicated buttons for volume control an input control.
  • Allow either to switch off the RCA and XLR output individually or to switch the trigger via the remote to allow more comfortable operations with an external headphone amplifier.
  • Allow to disable unused inputs.
  • Give us a second XLR input.

I keep you updated

I will take a couple of detailed pictures from the internals and will post some more listening experiences regarding the huge variety of offered filters. This will take some time. You will find the final report in my blog end of February.

In addition I orderd an upgrade to the new graphical display with Bricasti in the US. It seems that they really care for their customer and are very responsive to their needs. With this will come an update to MDx Version 1.14.

Test Setup:

Preamp DAC:            Bricasti Design M12 MDx V.1.10

Phono Preamp:        LAB 12 Melto 2 – Telefunken (Ulm)  ECC88

Turntable:                 Oracle Delphi V Anniversary, SME 345, Koetsu Black Gold Line

                                    Denon DP 7000, SME 5009, Cadenza Black, SME M2.9 BENZ ACE S

Speaker:                    Magico V2

Headphone:             STAX SR X9000

Headphone Amp:    Paltauf ESD