Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Hands, Oct 11, 2015.
Better than the Mutec 1.2?
Sorry as I'm very new to all this. I just checked my motherboard and it has an optical SPDIF out available. From what I gather the difficulty with this is that optical tends to introduce quite a bit of jitter, especially if the cable is cheap or bent (damaged)? In other words, this isn't a good way to bypass USB?
Well, big thanks to @Artasia for getting me off my ass to try the Mutec in some different configurations, namely, straight USB into Mutec or with a Wyrd in the chain.
I tried a different computer this time, a bit more optimized for audio, and started with straight USB into Mutec. Things sounded better than I remembered when I compared against the D100. And then I added the Regen...
I will just get this out of the way, that I do not like the Regen with the Mutec 3+ USB. Well, not as much as the other configs, at least. It has a tendency to make things sound softer and fuzzier, collapse the stage into more of a line that extends from left to right (i.e. reduces height and depth), adds what sounds like slightly colored warmth, etc. Some upsides is that it's easy to listen to, which can be a plus on some material, and probably does have the widest stage of anything in these comparisons. For what it's worth, sometimes the extra width worked well. Details were still there, just not the sense of an almost 3D realism. Not engaging for me.
Ah, well, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Didn't seem that the different computers or OSes were making that much difference, just the stuff in the USB chain leading up to the Mutec.
With just straight USB, the Mutec sounded MUCH more similar to the D100. Compared to feeding the Mutec with the Regen, it gained height and depth, became more lively and dynamic, became clearer and sharper sounding...wow, on some materials, it was very tough to tell a difference between it and the D100. If I could sum up the difference between a plain Mutec 3+ USB vs the D100, it would be that the Mutec sounded a bit more muted in most aspects I could find. Dynamics didn't seem like they had as much range. Edges tended to bleed together just a bit more, less sharply defined, and overall just not quite as "there" sounding.
Adding the Wyrd in front of the Mutec brought it even closer to the D100. On some tracks, it was close enough that I started to get incredibly fatigued trying to do comparisons. Other tracks did still highlight differences.
Again, things just "pop" on the D100. When someone comes right up to the microphone and starts singing, they are there, singing right in front of you. You can hear more of the tautness and texture of drum heads. Acoustic guitar strings have a more realistic, metallic timbre to them. Piano took on a nicer level of resonance, harmonics, and in general sounded it had a real presence to it. The D100 was closer to "you are there" vs the Mutecs "they are there." Is that some 6Moons saying? Stereophile? I can't remember. It makes sense when you hear it. Think of the D100 as sounding less like a recording.
But, I must say, these differences were not major. In terms of how much things changed or sounded different with/between with the Mutec and D100, for better or worse, in order of least audible to most audible:
Mutec reclocking D100 (a stupid small difference, if even there at all) < Mutec + Wyrd < Mutec << Mutec + Regen
Oh, look, that's also a chart of my preferences, in order of most preferred to not as most preferred!
Don't get me wrong, sometimes the less "there," less aggressive, very slightly more muted sound of the Mutec (sound of USB? aliens?) did some tracks a favor. I know some think I always prefer a warm, thick, dark, gooey, slather-my-ass-in-honey sound. While I'm not a sort of dead-neutral, uber-flat, sterile sort of guy, I also prefer clarity, sharp-yet-smooth edges, speed, dynamics, and in-your-face-when-called-for characteristics without sonic abnormalities and digital nasties. The source helps me get there, and everything else in the chain lets me fine tune some of the tonal and timbral aspects I prefer.
Now, that's not to say the D100 is faultless. The stage has good width, height, and depth, but sometimes it can be almost too "there," too in-your-face. I only wish it would just take that extra step and finally pick my nose for me. The D100 does a better job at gripping your balls, but sometimes that isn't what you're looking for. (I mean, c'mon, is it really that hard to pick my nose while gripping me downstairs too? Can't multitask? Is that where vinyl comes into play?)
As I said before, the next step is to have other individuals try the D100, both on my rig and their rigs. They can be the panel to judge my level of insanity.
Oh fuck. Do I need to buy a Wyrd again?
Thanks so much @Hands for swapping and testing these devices out once again.
Your impressions of the Regen and the Wyrd in chain closely mirror Marv's and some of my own, and while I didn't mind some of the effects the Regen introduced in the chain, it is helpful to know there is common ground, at least for sanity's sake. It is good to know the Mutec MC-3+USB made a relatively postive and noticeable difference, even if still less engaging and immediate than the D100. I take it yours also had an upgraded power supply that mine lacks.
I would personally love to hear the D100 at some point and am looking forward to the results from you meet.
Also, it seems that the Rednet3 is starting to cause a huge hype-train over on head-fi. Shit is making my head spin, but certainly the prospects for USB solutions appear to be conclusively obsolete for many consumers at this point. Much awareness is changing on this front indeed, even within the last couple months.
Mumbling to myself: There is no common ground, just madness. There is no end, just madness. Get a life HF people. Now about the effects of azymuth and cartridge loading, mwahahahahaha.
Yeah, not even going to bother with that shit. D100 is a one-box solution that does everything I need and sounds pretty damn good doing it. I think they are working on a femto clock version, so maybe I'll consider their upgrades and iterations down the road.
BTW, in case I wasn't clear, the Mutec 3+ USB is still a great device. Definitely the best USB->SPDIF converter I've heard, so worth considering if you are stuck with PC audio for one reason or another. The 1.2 isn't quite as good but has that value factor going for it.
Don't forget the very important Stylus Rake angle. Make sure that you have a good microscope...
Nope, but cheaper.
Further listening to the Singxer F-1/wyrd, definitely like it better than Mutec 1.2 and it's half the price. If Mutec 3 is not a significant upgrade.. cheaping out paid off this time, YMWV.
Glad you like the SIngxer F-1, where did you acquire yours?
Took about 10 days or so.
What does the D100 give you that an Aurlac Aries or the new Altair not give you? The functionality seems similar.
Cost savings. SD card input so I don't have to use an external HDD or network share for music. Don't think the Aries has guaranteed 75 ohm BNC output. If I'm going to be spending lots of money on gear, it damn well better not just have RCA for digital I/O and leave out BNC. (No need for AES on my end as of right now, but have the option on the D100.)
Did I mention cost savings? And this is one case of relatively inexpensive Chinese gear, compared to competition, that has seriously blown me away.
Very interesting and potentially good news. I am assuming you also put the Wyrd in front of the Mutec 1.2?
[QUOTE="Hands, post: 56604, member: 95"Did I mention cost savings? .[/QUOTE]
I was with you at 850 but then the tweaks (femto clocks) made me think it would start getting closer to the Aurilacs, which have femto clocks etc.
I'd be very interested in the Altair but it only has one digital out (USB). Aries has the better output options but fewer input. It's a dilemma!
OK, I get where you're coming from, then. I honestly have no idea if the D100 has femto clocks in it now or not. Very hard to parse through the Soundaware forums and figure anything out...could be upcoming, could be in place already, or maybe only in the "deluxe" D100 (220V only, sadly). But let's assume that's an upcoming upgrade, we could look at the price increase from the M1 to the M1 Pro. I'd imagine the D100 would still cost less than $1500 with full blown upgrades and femto clocks, in my hypothetical/guesswork scenario, and based on SQ alone plus everything it offers features wise (and for my needs, which is key to mention here), I'd still say it's worth it.
Ultimately it boils down to $850 got me a lot better sound than I spent on computer and USB->SPDIF stuff, not to mention the time saved.
I would love to do a direct comparison against the Auralic, Aurender, TotalDAC, D100, and other, similar digital transports. My only hope is that they aren't another big step up from the D100...
Yeah, I'm not a big fan of spending a lot of money on the sort of digital products that can become dated quickly. OTOH, I am in favor of convenience and simplicity. 10 boxes between computer and dac is just not something I'll ever do.
Maybe when you do a meetup, and get a bunch to compare, you can report here. The entry level seems to be at $800, with the D100, the Micro rendu, and the Auralic and Bryston Rpi at 50% or so more.
Correct, the wyrd is always before the F1& Mutec.
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