Mutec USB Interfaces: MC-1.2 & MC-3+ Smart Clock USB

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Luckbad, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    Mutec is a German company that primarily deals in the professional A/V sector, but they've recently started gaining traction with audiophiles.

    I picked up both options to check them out, and some of the wilder sections of the Internet have been raving about these interfaces.

    http://www.mutec-net.com/usbinterfaces.php

    Mutec MC-1.2
    [​IMG]

    The MC-1.2 is a high-performance USB audio interface which converts from USB to AES3, AES3id and S/P-DIF signals, and vice versa.
    • Uni- and bi-directional signal conversions
    • Asynchronous USB operation
    • USB audio stream isolation and conversion to 5 digital audio interfaces
    • Low jitter audio clocks combined with ultra-low noise PCB design
    • Regenerates and improves USB audio streams
    • High-compatible USB audio class 2.0 driver for Windows supports ASIO, MME, DirectSound, WASAPI, Kernel Streaming, PCM 16Bit, 24Bit, 32Bit and Float-32Bit at all clock rates between 44.1kHz and 192.0kHz
    • Individual lock indicators for USB and the digital audio inputs
    • USB, AES/EBU, AES/EBUid and S/P-DIF interfaces in one box
    • Status bit analysis for the S/P-DIF inputs
    • S/P-DIF interconnections via BNC, RCA and optical interfaces
    • Input sampling rate indicators, separated for USB and the digital audio inputs
    • Bus-powered operation for mobile use
    • Built-in, international power supply
    • Available with aluminum- or black-colored front panel
    • Compatible with Apple Macintosh and Windows PCs
    Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB
    [​IMG]

    The MC-3+ Smart Clock USB is setting a new benchmark for clocking technology and the reproduction of digital audio by uniquely combining an audiophile USB interface with an audio re-clocker in perfection! Particularly designed for the demands of high-end consumer audio, the device expands a new sonic universe with increased musicality, clarity, and precision. As such, the MC-3+USB will prove its worth in many audiophile listening rooms around the world.

    [​IMG] Offers unique externally referenced re-clocking, locking to Rubidium-/Cesium atomic clocks or GPS receivers
    [​IMG] Audiophile, asynchronous two-channel USB interface with ultra-low noise audio clock oscillators and total galvanic isolation of up to 2500 VRMS, respectively 4242 VPK, for suppression of high-frequency interferences
    [​IMG] Converts DSD/DoP streams (64-256) to PCM audio with selectable output clock rate
    [​IMG] Locks to Rubidium- (10 MHz), Cesium- (5 MHz) and GPS clock references
    [​IMG] Improved, next-generation REVIVE re-clocking and 1G-Clock technology by MUTEC

    Additional Features:

    • Serves as a flexible digital input switching matrix, audio format converter and master clock
    • Compatible to Apple Macintosh and Windows PCs
    • Intuitive user interface and easy installation
    • Update-capability via USB
    • Available with black- or clear aluminum front panel
    • Galvanic isolation up to 2500 VRMS in accordance with UL1577, respectively 4242 VPK in accordance with DIN EN 60747-5-2 (VDE 0884 part 2)
    • Converts DSD/DoP streams (64-256) to PCM audio with selectable output clock rate
    • Transfers USB audio streams into AES3 and S/P-DIF and outputs those to five digital audio formats simultaneously
    • Converts between USB PCM audio, USB DSD/DoP audio, AES3 and S/P-DIF, as well as between AES11 and Word Clock
    • Highly compatible USB audio class 2.0 driver for Windows supporting ASIO, MME, DirectSound, WASAPI, Kernel Streaming, PCM 16Bit, 24Bit, 32Bit and Float-32Bit at all clock rates between 44.1kHzand 192.0kHz
    • Ultra-low jitter Word Clock generation with clock rates up to 1,536.0 kHz
    • Scalable to FS1x512 clock rates, 22,5792 MHz & 24,576 MHz, for e.g. high-end audio interfaces
    • Locks to Rubidium- (10 MHz), Cesium- (5 MHz) and GPS clock references
    • Generates Word Clocks, Super Clocks, AES3 + S/P-DIF blanks simultaneously
    • Uninterruptable, fail-safe clock generation in all operation modes
    • Eliminates so-called digital "clicks and pops"
    • Individual lock indicators for the clock or audio reference and the re-clock reference
    • USB, AES/EBU, AES/EBUid and S/P-DIF interfaces in one box
    • S/P-DIF interconnections via BNC, RCA and optical interfaces available as in- and outputs
    • Front panel lock-out for preventing of misuse
    • Rack-space-saving 9.5" housing
    • Built-in, universal power supply
    First Impressions
    I'll do detailed reviews of both units as soon as I am able to do so.

    Let me first say that The MC-1.2 is outstanding. I currently have an Audio-GD DI-U8 and CI Audio Transient MKII, It clearly bests the Audio-GD and, in my system, narrowly beats out the Transient MKII to my ears (note that I don't have the optional linear power supply for the Transient). The Mutec MC-1.2 isn't cheap at ~$460 street, but it's less than the CI Audio.

    It does nothing wrong, and provides a very clean BNC signal to my DACs (I also tried RCA). It can be powered by USB, but it's better to plug it into with a power cord unless you simply cannot do so.

    The MC-3+ Smart Clock USB has a street price of about $1030. At the price, it's actually more expensive than the MHDT Labs Atlantis DAC that I'm feeding a BNC signal.

    But I must say, this is the first USB interface I've ever used that I immediately thought, "Oh..." That thought can roughly translate to, "oh my gosh I'm actually sure I hear improvement." That lead to some A/B testing between the MC-3+ USB and the stock USB of my DAC. I was able to identify it blindly as my wife switched them every single time.

    "Crap," I thought. "I'm about to keep a USB -> S/P-DIF converter that costs more than my DAC." Further, I decided to buy a second MC-3+ Smart Clock USB. One for home, and one for work. Thankfully I overpaid on my taxes all year so I didn't destroy our entire bank account.

    Anyway, discuss! Peruse the various other forums that have been commenting on these in more detail. I'll update this thread as others engage and I spend more time with them.

    They are highly recommended.
     
    Alcophone, Sqveak, Vastx and 2 others like this.
  2. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    574
    Dislikes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Singapore
    Luckbad likes this.
  3. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    I have @Hands CI Audio Transient MKII stacked on top of the Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB. It's feeding BNC into the Mutec and the Mutec is feeding BNC to my MHDT Labs Atlantis DAC.

    I swear I hear even more improvements... But I can't actually do a great A/B so it's probably placebo. Or maybe not.
     
    Wfojas likes this.
  4. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,771
    Dislikes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Ah, using the 3+ as an SPDIF reclocker, eh? Kinda like people daisy chaining USB decrapifiers together. :)

    Given the CO guys have heard subtle improvements putting, say, a Regen in front of these devices, I'm not surprised running it like you are now improves things.
     
  5. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
    Alcophone likes this.
  6. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,484
    Dislikes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    CO
    well, the other evening my chain+ears couldn't tell any difference with LPS+Regen right in front of Mutec 3+USB. (AES into Yggdrasil eventually to BW1).
    might give it another A/B session sometime, but probably selling one of my Regen Ambers and stick with Mutec3+USB (and eventual LPS mod) .
    (will keep another Regen on Gungnir Multibit)

    so like we all keep saying, it all depends on the entire audio organism chain.
     
  7. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,771
    Dislikes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Correction: Some CO guys. :p (To be fair I was thinking more 1.2 and Transient w/out LPSU, and going of MisterRogers's comments with 3+.)
     
  8. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    I think I'm on crack. It takes about 5-6 seconds to swap between the USB input and BNC input on the Mutec MC-3+ USB, so it's not super easy to swap, but I'm not 100% convinced I'm hearing what I think I am.

    In any case, I don't think I can justify a Mutec stack.

    That said, I did just nab an MC-1.2 (silver) at a great price from the interwebs. Once it arrives, I'll see who wants it here. I only bought it so one of the SBAF crew could get it. Maybe it oughta go on tour?
     
  9. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    93
    actually I'd be curious to compare with my waveio + lps. And I know that sorrodje would be curious too
     
    sorrodje likes this.
  10. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    Cool. Once it arrives and I verify it works (because I got it for ~50% off including shipping + fees--what kind of audiophile gives good prices?!), I'll probably ping @velvetx to get it on tour.
     
    Wfojas and sorrodje like this.
  11. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,791
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dijon / Burgundy / France / EU
    Yup. Definitely interested to test this. !
     
  12. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    I can't hear any improvements with the Regen in front of the MC-3+ USB either. I might hear improvements with the MC-1.2 and Regen.
     
  13. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    Anyone else try the stock Mutec cables? They're pretty skinny. Just swapped out an AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cable to try the stock.

    I'm largely cable deaf. This seems at least as good as the AQ cable. Guess I'll stick with it.

    SCRATCH THAT

    The stock cable friggin' sucks. After a few minutes I start getting clicks and pops with it. WTF?

    Swap to the AudioQuest or Belkin Gold and they're gone, even without powering the unit down. Switch back to the super thin stock cable, clicks and pops.

    What?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  14. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,755
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Was that Mutec 1.2 a one time deal or care to enlighten us? PM?
     
  15. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    The Mutec MC-1.2 I have on the way is used. It might go on tour. I'm waiting for it to arrive later in the week to figure out if it's touring or just being sold to someone at a great price.
     
  16. RAZRr1275

    RAZRr1275 Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Likes Received:
    84
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I asked what the differences between the MC3 and the MC3+ USB were for those who were considering going with the cheaper model due to lack of need of the USB I/O and they responded with this

    "The MC-3+USB is a new design and incorporates much better power supplies
    than the older MC-3+ design. We also modified some other parts of the
    circuitry. This should lead to a clearly audible sound improvement when
    using the MC-3+USB over the MC-3+. That is at least what all customers
    stated which were able to compare both devices. But of course I cannot
    guarantee for the situation within your specific set-up, I hope for your
    understanding. But I don't see any reason why it should not be the same with
    your devices.
    Let me know if you need more information."
     
    LauSing2, dubiousmike and Luckbad like this.
  17. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,925
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Laguna Hills, CA
    Home Page:
    That is very useful. I considered chaining a 1.2 into a 3+ (non-USB) but it sounds like that's not a great plan.
     
  18. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    939
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    CA
    A Wyrd in front of a 1.2 would be interesting, though why that would even work would be really, well, weird.
     
  19. abernardi

    abernardi Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    188
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Interesting discussion. For the price though, why not step up to an Auralic Aries and avoid USB all together? Of course, you're locked into the Aries ecosystem if you do that, but it is definitely one of those "Oh..." moments when I'm comparing the Aries via S/PDIF to my Yggdrasil to my optimized Mac Mini/Audirvana+/Stello U3 via AES/EBU to the Yggdrasil. Actually, I'm going to try the Aries AES/EBU today, but now I'm floating a bit off topic...
     
    Wfojas likes this.
  20. Wfojas

    Wfojas Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    939
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    CA
    Actually, while slightly off topic, is actually the core of it. When you add up the band aids (PC with USB card, USB cable, USB to SPDIF, Regen/Intona/etc) versus a net based streamer to a Dac, its functionally the same. I'm trying to figure this out also, and more info always helps. I've been looking high and low and can't find a comparison between the Berkeley Audio USB and the Mutec 3+ USB. And from one of these, an Aries direct to a Dac, an Aurender to a dac, etc. What I've been seeing though are people selling their Berkeley Audio USBs because they bought a Lumin, but that's getting into crazy money for blink and you'll miss it state of the tech.
     

Share This Page