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Mutec MC-3+ USB
#1
I wanted to share the very positive experience I have with this small device, which is, in my system, connected between a MacMini running Audirvana+ 2.3.3 (with nice Qobuz integration), and the AES input of the Devialet.

My Devialet being brand new and my final loudspeakers not yet arrived, I wanted to wait for this new installation to set-up or break-in before going for an expensive music server like the d1-server of Totaldac which I am considering.

I read a lot in other fora about the Mutec MC-3+ USB and was convinced to give it a try, as the device is reasonable in price (less than 1'000 EUR), and can always be recycled as an additional rec-clocker (the process of removing jittering from a signal being a cumulative process, two re-clockers have been quoted by various reviewers and suppliers as better than one).

The results are simply amazing in my opinion : compared to the direct input through USB, even galvanically isolated by an Intona filter, the effects of the Mutec MC-3+ USB are a much clearer sound image, especially in terms of location of the instruments/voices on the soundstage.

Here are a few links which might be useful for readers to evaluate the interest of this device, which does not serve exclusively to clean the signal coming out of an USB interface, but has been reviewed as being able to improve some of the best CD transports results as well.

Mutec review by an enthusiastic blogger

Review by a German specialised media

Has anyone been experiencing with this device ?
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#2
The Mutec is certainly an interesting device. I think something like a Mac Mini + Mutec set-up would actually suit myself very well. Without going into too many details, I am actually a big fan of iTunes, plus having been an iTunes early adopter, I have much time invested in playlists, track ratings and so on. I think it is hard to beat a computer based system for streaming, you can use any media player you want, Qobuz, Spotify, internet radio, or whart ever else you want managing files is easy, and if something new like "Roon" comes along, no problem, a Mac or PC will run it. If you are locked into a specific device, such as a Melco or Aurender, you then end up wondering when intergration of the next thing will be implemented and then starts a frustrating waiting game.

There is a big question here though, just how good is something like a Mac Mini + Mutec for pure sound quality? I think this forum has established a basic hierarchy for sound quality, which runs something like this:

1, Standard Mac or PC Via USB.
2, Lower cost dedicated streamers
3, Standard Mac or PC via Devialet AIR. 4 (Listed with respect to sound quality, stability issues excepted)
4, Well specified "audio optimised" PC's & decent dedicated streaming devices Melco, Aurender, Total DAC etc.

So where would a Mac / PC fed Mutec fit into this list?

As far as I know, there are only two people who have tried a Mutec with a Devialet. One is Jan ('Gentleman'), who reports excellent results with the Mutec, although Jan is using a Mutec with a very trick multi-box computer server. I would imagine that this would sound pretty good with or without a Mutec, but it does say something very positive that even Jan's beast of a server can be improved with a Mutec in the chain.

The other user is of course our very own 'Our', the author of this thread. 'Our' reports that the Mutec improves the sound of Mac Mini via USB, this is probably what you would expect based on Jan's experiences.

So what we need is someone to put a Mutec head to head with a Melco, Aurender X100, or similar.

'Our' does of course have the ability to try a back to back test of Mutec vs Devialet AIR, this on it's own would be fascinating. If the Mutec could be demonstrated to edge ahead of AIR, then this puts it in contention with the better dedicated streamers.

Whether or not 'Our' would want the hassle of setting up such a comparison is of course entirely up to him!
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - SOtM sMS-200Ultra Neo - tX-USBultra - Mutec REF10 - MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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#3
(31-Jan-2016, 16:39)Confused Wrote: 'Our' does of course have the ability to try a back to back test of Mutec vs Devialet AIR, this on it's own would be fascinating.  If the Mutec could be demonstrated to edge ahead of AIR, then this puts it in contention with the better dedicated streamers.

Whether or not 'Our' would want the hassle of setting up such a comparison is of course entirely up to him!

Hi Confused,
Thanks for the junior member's assignment :-).
I will give it a try as soon as I can detach myself from the addicition of the music produced by this wonderful new system I just received. 
Also need to give a try to Devialet Air. Just tried for 1/2 hour and does not seem to work out of the box for me. So I need to dig a little bit into the fora to see what is going wrong.
Will keep you posted when I find time to review this and if my English language, which is not often used to express sense perceptions or emotions, allows me to achieve the exercise in a way which is not laughable.
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#4
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your English Mr Our. As to whether you'll get AIR to work, that's another story. Good luck with this, I'll be fascinated as to what you conclude, I'm sure a few others on here will too. (Assuming AIR works ok for you)
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - SOtM sMS-200Ultra Neo - tX-USBultra - Mutec REF10 - MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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#5
I am quite interested in the Mutec MC-3+ USB. It could be used to reclock not only USB but other digital sources (like CD transport) with the caveat that switching sources on the Mutec is not too convenient.
But it would be another box and another cable and my ideal would be a single box for all digital sources
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#6
(01-Feb-2016, 02:31)Music or sound Wrote: I am quite interested in the Mutec MC-3+ USB. It could be used to reclock not only USB but other digital sources (like CD transport) with the caveat that switching sources on the Mutec is not too convenient.
But it would be another box and another cable and my ideal would be a single box for all digital sources

As you mention, one can use it also for CD transports and it has been reported to be useful even for relatively expensive devices, due to the fact that multiple reclocking is better than none, or even one :-). In my own experience, the impact of using the Mutec for watching digital media (TV from the digital receiver or DVD/Blueray) is also very pleasant as far as the definition of the voices is concerned.

But changing the source is not such a cumbersome task. The device stays in its menu where you left it. So if you left it in the source selection menu, you just have to press the menu button once, and then the selection button as many times as requested to select the other source. But you're right, it's an additional box, and there is no remote control to it, which transforms the switching of source into an easy exercise :-).
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#7
(31-Jan-2016, 23:36)Confused Wrote: There is absolutely nothing wrong with your English Mr Our. As to whether you'll get AIR to work, that's another story. Good luck with this, I'll be fascinated as to what you conclude, I'm sure a few others on here will too. (Assuming AIR works ok for you)
Thank you for reassuring me on my English writing. My problem with that is just to be able to describe perceptions and emotions in English, which is not so easy for me. In the same way that I am able to taste wine, but would have difficulties wrting a wine tasting report in English :-).

Thanks also for your encouragement for Devialet AIR. I will keep you posted.
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#8
(31-Jan-2016, 23:36)Confused Wrote: There is absolutely nothing wrong with your English Mr Our.  As to whether you'll get AIR to work, that's another story.  Good luck with this, I'll be fascinated as to what you conclude, I'm sure a few others on here will too.  (Assuming AIR works ok for you)

A very short update before I receive my new loudspeakers.

I succeeded in running with AIR through Ethernet with a standard cable. I did not succeed running through Audirvana. So I did it with iTunes, with less tuning capabilities IMHO.

What seems very clear to me is that both connections, AIR/Eth and USB->Mutec->Coax are of a very high standard. I am lucky enough to own a brand new Devialet, which might be a reason why I am so enthusiastic about it.

Having said that, what appears to me also quite clearly when switching the streaming mode from AIR to Mutec is :
- spatiality : the air becomes full of music, you have literally the impression the singer is inside the room, in front of you ; I had the impression I had invited Marc Knopfler for a drink tonight listening to 'Iron Hand' in 'On Every Street'
- precision in percussions : you suddenly have the ability to notice the tiniest sound, the small hits on cymbals or whatever very tiny sounds which would go unnoticed. It can sometimes be surprising if you do not like percussions that much, because they are so clear, present and well defined...
- tightness of bass ; I am not using SAM (SAM is on but tuned to 0). With the Mutec, and even with the not so high range loudspeakers I have now, the bass are clearly tighter, in a pleasant way. You have the ability to listen to Leonard Cohen 'Live in Dublin' 'Chelsea Hotel' without having a chicken skin :-)

Hope this helps you wait for a more in depth review when I have broken-in my new loudspeakers.
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#9
Thank you for the insightful observations. It is also interesting that you found that the Mutec made a difference even with the Intona before it in the chain.

I may have missed it, and wanted to ask if the Intona is beneficial if used before the Mutec or if the Mutec's internal galvanic isolation is good enough.
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#10
(11-Feb-2016, 05:19)nfnc Wrote: Thank you for the insightful observations. It is also interesting that you found that the Mutec made a difference even with the Intona before it in the chain.

I may have missed it, and wanted to ask if the Intona is beneficial if used before the Mutec or if the Mutec's internal galvanic isolation is good enough.

In fact I did not have the chance to chain both equipment. I received both at the same time, but the Intona I received was not compatible with the Mutec. For obscure (I suspect isolation) reasons, the Mutec was not selectable as an output for the Mac when the Intona was sitting before it in the chain.

Intona made investigations, bought a Mutec, acknowledged the problem and very kindly offered to replace their device with a modified one. But at that time I was already convinced that the Mutec was all I needed, as I had the opportunity to compare both, and asked to return the Intona and be refunded.

My global perspective going for Devialet was to have a minimalist installation. with the minimum number of boxes and cables necessary. So I will probably refrain from going after the Regen, even when they have their new power supply available, and will not go after 'curious cables' or whichever fancy new things.

Devialet is a fantastic concept, not only because it sounds very clear and limpid, but also because it is beautifully designed, all integrated, etc... I want to keep this lean design into my whole music installation.
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