Whether used as a headphone amp, as a preamp or just as a DAC, fed from a Mac mini computer or via Ethernet using Roon, the Mola Mola DAC was never anything short of a total cracker.
Simply, the sheer musical flow and vitality were spellbinding, as was the impressive of a total lack of artifice: there’s nothing mechanical or ‘technical’ going on here, but rather just great performances pouring from the speakers, drawing the listener in and making the temptation to listen more all but irresistible.
The low end here is deep, tight and fast, but just as able to bring out the resonance of a pluckedor bowed double bass, or the furthest reaches of the left-hand end of a keyboard, and this flows through
An expressive, unforced and highly intelligible midband to a high frequencies both wide open and detailed and yet sweetly controlled.
Best of all, it does all this in a manner that more or less redefines the term ‘seamless’: just as you really don’t listen the bass, midband and treble when you are sitting in aconcert-hall or wherever enjoying live music, so it is here. The music is delivered complete and intact, allowing the listener to concentrate on a detailor enjoy the whole, again just as one might while attending a performance, and does it all with such ease as to make a lot of higher-end equipment sound notonly artificial, but as if it is clearly having to work very hard to create that artifice into the bargain.
Orchestral sounds were natural, distortion imperceptible, and vocals communicative and expressive.
With a powerful variable signal output built-in, it can feed a power amp directly and I found that it sounds at its most commanding in this mode.
The headphone amplifier benefits from a short path internal link to the DAC eliminating the usual external interconnect cable employed from a headphone amp to a source.
Here the standard was very high, and this facility is clearly no afterthought.
It also sounds as if it offers very good headroom overall, an excellent dynamic range confirmed by the exceptional maximum output reaching studio levels, up to 18dBu or 6.2volts, for both line and the headphone outputs, just like a great preamp.