Using a Mutec +3 USB Reclocker

bencat

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Right this may not be the best section to place this and perhaps if in two channels it may get more replies but for me at least this is really a Computer Audio thing and not just a two channel subject.

Right after the Wam Show @Lurch let me take home his Audio GD reclocker to see what it does and if I wanted to buy it . In a very quick time I knew that I did really like what it does in a system and bought it . Now John was only getting rid of the Audio GD because he had bought a used Mutec USB from the classifieds and after using it thought it was enough of a step up to keep it and let the Audio GD go .

I trust Johns opinion having heard a few of his systems and while they are not fully my taste he knows what good sound is . Well Mutec USB are expensive and frankly that is even used so too much for me . I was happy in isolation with my Audio GD and would have happily bought a second one to insert in my main system as the current one is in my active three way that was at the Wam . I set up an e-bay search for Mutec and this morning one came up at a very decent buy it now price . So I hit the button and bought it .

So now I am going to put the Mutec in my three way active to start with and see how it compares to the Audio GD . Then I will be adding it to my main system but I am not sure were in the chain is going to be best . I can feed an AES / EBU in to the Mutec and then feed that treated signal from that to my MiniDSP DDRC 22D for DIRAC Live treatment and then that feeds signal to my dCS Purcell and Delius DAC / Upsampler and out . Or I could feed the straight signal to MiniDSP and then feed the DIRAC treated signal from the the MiniDSP to the Mutes via AES / EBU and then from the Mutec to the Delius for sending to the Purcell DAC . There is one final option but I do not think it is possible and that is to take the two AES/EBU signals from the Delius in to the Mutec and then feed the two AES/EBU out to the Purcell . So what I am asking is were is the abilities of the Mutec going to best used as early in the digital stream as possible or further down the line ?
 
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TheFlash

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Hard for me to answer the Q directly Andrew as I don’t have as many options. Mine is both immediately after the Node and immediately before my dCS DAC. I take SPDIF out of the Node into the Mutec and ditto from Mutec to Puccini.

My original rationale was post-Node: I understand that while the Node is a great streamer, using SPDIF out means that the signal is clocked by the Node - if my Node 2i actually had USB out like the newer Node does, I’m not sure I’d have bothered with the Mutec. So mine is there to “remediate” the shortcomings of the Node’s clock as soon in the chain as I can.

The argument for putting it later in the chain is perhaps unrelated. Tuga amongst others has argued that the positive impact most Mutec users report may be in good measure because it’s acting as a break in the “analogue noise” chain which accompanies many digital signals, and minimises the amount of this reaching the analogue circuitry in the DAC. That makes sense.

For me, the one position does both. For you, I think you’ll need to experiment with it being first and last in the chain, exploiting slightly different aspects of its design.

Not sure this helps but it’s all I have!
 
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Lurch

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Andrew, I would suggest between MiniDSP and dCS chain. I would also run separate word clocks out to the dCS units (if possible) so they are fully syncronised and would then act as slaves to the Mutec.
My reasoning for putting the Mutec between the MiniDSP is that the signal will have been messed with via the dsp so would send a cleaned up signal to your dCS chain.
It may also be worth trying it between the 2 dCS units so that all signal manipulation is done before being sent to the DACs. Have a listen and see what you think is best.
For the word clock out use 1 pair for 44.1 (or multiples) and the other for 48 (or multiples) so 1 a&b for both units as 44.1 and then 2 a&b as 48. If only 1 clock in per unit then all good just use say 1 a&b out on the Mutec.
 

bencat

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Thanks chaps for the input , John what in the hels name are talking about I lost it after betwen the DSP and DAC . Sadly my dCS units are very early and they do not have a clock in so that option is just not available . If they did I also think that they work on different clock rates so I would need two different and seperate clock outs which I am not sure is possible with the Mutec but will need a bit of reading the manual to see . I do remember Coherent Audio who I met at a DAC off saying that it would need extra work on the Mutec to get it to work with dCS so think that one will have to go on the back burner .

As with all things I suppose I will just have to give it a try and see what happens . Will report back when things are in place .
 
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Andrew, I would suggest between MiniDSP and dCS chain. I would also run separate word clocks out to the dCS units (if possible) so they are fully syncronised and would then act as slaves to the Mutec.
My reasoning for putting the Mutec between the MiniDSP is that the signal will have been messed with via the dsp so would send a cleaned up signal to your dCS chain.
It may also be worth trying it between the 2 dCS units so that all signal manipulation is done before being sent to the DACs. Have a listen and see what you think is best.
For the word clock out use 1 pair for 44.1 (or multiples) and the other for 48 (or multiples) so 1 a&b for both units as 44.1 and then 2 a&b as 48. If only 1 clock in per unit then all good just use say 1 a&b out on the Mutec.
+1

I would expect maximum impact after the minidsp :)
 
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bencat

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The only thing that makes me wonder about this as I fully agree that it seems to make sense to have the cleanest signal going in to the DAC so in other words as late as possible in the chain is that I use a Wave Audio cable . This is at the very start of the digital stream between the Player and the Audio GD unit with that then feeding the DSP unit . I have tried it the other way round and found that the sound is edgy and a little bright . This my well be a red herring as the Mutec and the Wave Audio cable are doing two very different things and so may well not react in the same way .
 

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The only thing that makes me wonder about this as I fully agree that it seems to make sense to have the cleanest signal going in to the DAC so in other words as late as possible in the chain is that I use a Wave Audio cable . This is at the very start of the digital stream between the Player and the Audio GD unit with that then feeding the DSP unit . I have tried it the other way round and found that the sound is edgy and a little bright . This my well be a red herring as the Mutec and the Wave Audio cable are doing two very different things and so may well not react in the same way .
Sounds like another combo to try! I’d by default have thought a noise-minimising cable would have more impact later in the chain than earlier, but that’s theory for you…

So much fun to have experimenting, Andrew! Take your time and enjoy 😊
 

bencat

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Much to my surprise the Muted turned up today and it proved to be a bad day for it . My Kitchen amp went awol and after lots of true it was not coming back .

Then I tried out what I was thinking about replace the audio he with the Mutec but failed miserably to get it to work just could not get any audio out . Tried AES in and out but could not get the right lights to come on . Then tried SPDIF with RCA and BNC as it was on the audio gd still nothing . Starting to stress now and thinking that the unit was faulty.

Got some help and advice from current users and decided to put the Mute c in my passive system . Took great care in getting the connections all correct . All AES via XLR for this system and this time it all seemed to just work got all the right lights on nothing flashing best of all the audio light was glowing bright red then really special sound out of my speakers . So finally music but due to all the stress and false starts not in the best mental state to relax and listen . Instead left it running for about an hour then switched off . Will come back to this tomorrow in a more peaceful frame of mind .
 

orbscure

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Not sure if this helps in any way Andrew, but this is how my MC3 looks with it connected via USB from my NovaFidelity streamer… the MC3 is then connected to my Topping DAC via AES…

1AC4A578-1831-4FE4-AF27-2AF2340526B9.jpeg
 

bencat

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Thanks @orbscure that is exactly what mine looks like as well the two red lights at the end show that the stream is 96 kHz who's as it should be .
 

orbscure

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What’s your source into the Mutec Andrew? The settings in my photo are for USB input only and the Reference settings would need to be different for S/P-DIF optical or S/P-DIF bnc inputs… I have a CDP attached to the bnc and change the Reference setting so that only the S/P-DIF bnc LED is lit…
 

bencat

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Sorry am using AES in our and output and so the n the reference column the two bottom lights are on instead of the top ones like yours .
 

orbscure

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Understood… as I have an AES out on my NovaFidelity, if I get the time tomorrow, I’ll hook it up via the same connection as yours to replicate the signal path and report back with what happens 👍
 
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bencat

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As I say this now works in my passive system but the same connection set up in my active three way does not
 

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orbscure

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Ahhh, I see Andrew... so the unit is working... can you remind me of your active set-up please?
 

bencat

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@orbscure My system is the same one I took to the Wam Show .

Rasberry PI 4 8GB - Running stand alone as Logitech Media Server
Allo Digione Signature - Running Moode Audio Distro BNC Spdif out
MiniDSP DDRC 22D DIRAC Live DSP unit SPDIF in SPDIF out to
Audio GD DI-2014 Reclocker SPDIF on RCA in and out to
MiniDSP 10 x 10 HD Digital Crossover feeding
2 x NVA P30 Power amplifiers 1 per channel with Bass and Mid plus 1 x NVA P20 Power Amplifier feeding left and right treble in to
4 x KEF 103 Speakers stacked lower pair no treble unit connected and doing Bass , upper pair doing Mid and Treble .

As from the DDRC 22 D you have the option of AES / EBU in and out this is how I used the Mutec unit . I also just to see if it made any difference used the same SPDIF in and out as described above and in both set ups the Mutec would not produce any out put . Putting the Audio GD unit back in place and it just worked again straight away .
 

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just out of interest what is the reason for the use of old KEF speakers in your active setup? You seem to have a nice list of hardware. Have you considered building a pair of speakers using modern drivers and tweeters? Given you clearly know your way around multi-active setups :)

Something open baffle for example.



No offence intended :)
 

bencat

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Sorry Nigel unit is now in and working in my passive system and not going to go through all the rigmarole of unplugging then connecting it up to the active system again . It was only going in there out if interest and was never going to be used in that system anyway .

@Psilonaught no offence taken there are a couple of reasons why the KEF 103 which are that they are my favourite passive speaker that I have owned and i used them in that way for a number of years . In the first instance I made a single pair active using a MiniDSP DDRC 24 HD unit and a pair of Fidele Audio upgraded Quad 405 power amplifiers and they sound in my view at that time pretty spiffing . @Tony_J then suggested that one on top another would put them at just about the right height for a floor stander without any stand and with the addition of two granite plinths he was spot on . KEF 103 are a sealed baffle design and because of the strange arrangement of the drivers can be turned in different ways so I was able to orient the lower unit with the Bass at the top so as close to the Mid unit as was possible for a more even sound .
Being sealed baffle they work best when hard up against a back wall which as they play in a small bedroom is ideal and also the way I like things as well . I also like the bounce and very crisp bass sound you get with this loading .

Then probably the real reason covered by the waffle above is I have zero practical skills and no work space were I could construct anything even if I had those skills . I have tried and aside from finding out that I an aptitude for stained glass and copper foil glass work I am just not gifted with the abilities to produce lovely items like thos in your picture . Sadly to get someone with your gifts to construct something to my ideas is costly and understandably so off the peg speakers it was . Frankly could not be happier with the final results as regards sound quality .
 

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orbscure

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Sorry Nigel unit is now in and working in my passive system and not going to go through all the rigmarole of unplugging then connecting it up to the active system again . It was only going in there out if interest and was never going to be used in that system anyway .

In that case I'll stand down at this end Andrew... :)

I know its early days, but what are your initial thoughts about the Mutec in your passive set-up?
 
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