Deutsch | English

January 2024

The proof: better sound quality through master clock

A dedicated MUTEC customer has proven the positive influence of an external reference clock generator within a high-end audio setup in a thoroughly conducted blind test using the REF10 NANO.

The test system with MC3+ and REF10 NANO

Dr. Jürgen Dinger had previously only used a MUTEC MC3+ as re-clocker in his hi-fi-system. He wanted to know to what extent its performance and thus the sound quality of his entire audio chain would benefit from master clocking by a reference clock generator such as the REF10 NANO.

In his profession, the nuclear medicine specialist, clinical researcher and pharmacoepidemiologist has been conducting experimental, double-blind, single-blind and epidemiological studies on the benefit-risk ratio of pharmaceutical drugs for 35 years. He is therefore highly competent to achieve reliable results through a qualified test setup. These are his insights:

Since some experienced developers doubt the usefulness of external clock generators and nobody should rule out the possibility that wishful thinking or autosuggestion is responsible for the subjectively experienced differences in sound, I carried out a blind test with a friend who took on the role of the supervisor.

The REF10 NANO was tested with the following system in my study (25 square meters, acoustically untreated, high, almost square room): Auralic Aries G2.1 (streamer), MUTEC MC3+ (re-clocker), Weiss 205 (DAC), Gamut DI150 (amplifier), Audiodata Avance (semi active speaker). To rule out the possibility that any differences are only audible on absolute top systems, I did not initially conduct the test on my more advanced main setup in the living room.

For the blind test, 16 different music selections from the styles of singer/songwriter, pop/rock, jazz and classical music were played four times in a row for around 20 seconds in two listening sessions: twice with external clocking by the REF10 NANO [A], twice with internal clocking by the MC3+ [B]. Each music selection was played either in the order A-B-A-B or B-A-B-A. The starter constellation (A or B) was determined by a randomization list generated by a random generator.

I wore a blindfold during the test, I didn't know the starting constellation. The supervisor switched back and forth between the Internal - Re-Clocking and External - Re-Clocking modes on the MC3+ according to the randomization list. After listening to the music example four times within 15 seconds, I had to decide in favour of one of the two sequences. After a music example, the supervisor switched back and forth between the modes several times without a music signal in order to prevent indirect conclusions about the start constellation by counting switching noises.

Overall, I recognized the start constellation correctly in 28 out of 32 cases.

Such a result or an even more extreme result could be achieved in less than 10 cases by pure guesswork if the experiment were repeated hundreds of thousands of times. This test proves with high certainty that the combination of re-clocking with the MUTEC MC3+ and external clocking by the MUTEC REF10 NANO leads to audible changes in sound quality compared to internal re-clocking with the MUTEC MC3+ alone. A reliable indicator for the use of the REF10 NANO was the increased embodiment of voices and instruments and the higher realism of the overall performance, as well as the reduction of sharpness and unpleasant sibilants combined with simultaneously improved resolution.

The REF10 NANO leads to a substantial improvement in good systems at a price that is feasible for most audiophile music listeners. To realize these improvements very expensive high-end systems are not required.

We would like to thank Dr. Dinger for the extensive blind test and are very excited that the positive effect of the external reference clock generator REF10 NANO on the sound quality of a high class audio system has been demonstrated so clearly.

Better sound thanks to master clocking: REF10 NANO

More about REF10 NANO