This element is one of two that separate the Platinum from Signature transports. The Platinum only has conventional digital outputs (which are present on the Signature too). The other difference is a metal loading drawer, which gives the impression of higher build quality although the rest of the mechanism is as per that in the Platinum. MSB doesn’t divulge which CD-ROM drive it selected for the Data CD IV, but says engineers listened to all the options before making a final selection. Conversely MSB also points out that because of the buffered nature of the output, drive quality is considerably less of an issue in sound quality terms.
The Data CD IV’s interface is pretty basic but if you delve into the menu you will find the upsampling on/off switch, an output sample rate limiter, display brightness on/off and dimming and something called inter-sample harshness correction for use with non MSB DACs. You can choose to apply upsampling to the signal prior to output and this is encouraged where the DAC is not from MSB; in that case the upsampling is apparently best left to the converter.
Creating data discs containing WAV files proved slightly challenging. There is undoubtedly a logic to the way tracks are numbered, which will let the transport play them in the order you put them on the disc, but my first attempt at this was not a complete success. I made a compilation with various titles, all of which had track numbers but not in the same style, so the order of play was unpredictable. It did however play all the tracks, including some that were in a separate folder. When it comes to driving the transport, there is no actual stop button on the handset (just a play/pause), and this leaves the disc spinning quite noisily and apparently ad infinitum. Not so good if you want to switch to another source without removing the disc. The only way around it is to eject.