The REF10 SE120 is a special version of the successful audiophile reference clock generator REF10 that we have further enhanced in terms of signal performance. The exceptional quality of the original REF10 has been confirmed many times since its launch in 2017 – in numerous reviews from specialized magazines and through enthusiastic user feedback. A clock generator from MUTEC significantly increases the quality of digital music playback, even and especially with demanding high‑end systems and studio installations. Because it provides the foundation for perfect signal processing in a digital audio chain: the extremely low‑noise reference clock.
The "tuning" variant REF10 SE120 outperforms the original model REF10 in this regard considerably. A clearly measurable advantage is the result of a special feature of the REF10 SE120: its much more elaborately manufactured and selected oven‑controlled quartz oscillator (OCXO). This oscillator is selected according to the strictest standards in test procedures lasting many hours with the help of exceptionally precise and expensive measuring technology. The use of such an outstanding oscillator is responsible for the fact that the REF10 SE120 from MUTEC currently delivers - to our knowledge - the lowest phase noise, respectively jitter values in the industry. This outstanding technical performance has a noticeable impact on the sonic result. Precision, transparency, spatiality and dynamics of the musical presentation reach an unprecedented level and will inspire you!
Like the proven REF10, the optimized REF10 SE120 is extremely flexible. Because of its versatile connectivity this MUTEC clock generator can be successfully integrated in a wide variety of configurations while maintaining an easy way of operation. If you want to maximize the sound potential of your compatible DA converter, music server or audio re‑clocker in every respect, you need the REF10 SE120 from MUTEC!
The great success of the well‑established MUTEC REF10 has proven the extremely positive, clearly audible influence such a meticulously developed reference clock generator has on the sonic performance of a digital audio system. Despite the worldwide praise of the device by users of all kinds, MUTEC is always driven by the same question: can we do even better?
The positive answer is available in the shape of the REF10 SE120. Because already during the development of the REF10 we noticed how extremely important the selection of the central clock oscillator is. Its quality determines the technical and consequently also the acoustic result of a reference clock generator to a considerable extent. That is why the renowned German developer of the REF10 has been appointed to help improving and optimizing the production processes around the new ultra‑low phase noise oscillator to make it successfully suitable for being the heart of the REF10 SE120.
The basis for this new oscillator is naturally a SC‑cut crystal material, but here it gets very elaborately selected especially with regard to the ultra‑low phase noise specifications to be achieved. After assembling and by using specialized and cost‑intensive measurement technology, the selection of the oscillators continues with three‑stage in‑depth measurements. Thus, after the last measurements individual specimens from large production quantities can be selected successfully as the best oscillators for use in a REF10 SE120.
These oscillators reliably offer phase noise values of <‑120 dBc measured at 1 Hz offset from the carrier frequency of 10 MHz. Values like this have never been reached before! Such technical performance also positively influences the phase noise at audio-relevant measuring intervals of 10 Hz and 100 Hz. As a result, a REF10 SE120 offers uniquely low jitter measured values of an average of <15 fs in the crucial measuring range between 1-100 Hz!
Naturally, only a small number of oscillators complete our demanding test course for selection successfully. That is why the REF10 SE120 will only be available in small batches. The lucky owners of an exclusive REF10 SE120 will gain a fascinating experience. The musical reproduction quality of their high-class audio setup fuelled by this special edition of the REF10 rises significantly – especially in the areas of precision, transparency, spatiality and dynamics. The REF10 SE120 is currently not only the absolute top product in MUTEC's Empyreal Class, but also claiming the industry-leading position in the field of audiophile reference clock generators.
The so-called “atomic clock” is generally regarded as a prime example of extraordinary frequency precision. However, our research has shown that the high clock stability of atomic clocks based on a rubidium or caesium oscillator is limited to the long-term time domain. This long-term stability refers to the amount the absolute clock frequency (10 MHz, or 10 million cycles per second, in this case) drifts over time. While this long-term stability may be useful for some telecommunications applications, it is essentially irrelevant for digital audio purposes. In fact, the accuracy of the time interval from one sample to the next sample determines the sound quality, i.e. the stability viewed in a very short time range. Changes in this short-term stability are usually measured as jitter or phase noise. These are decisive for the sound quality of all digital audio devices.
In contrast to these atomic clocks the REF10 SE120 is engineered around MUTEC’s extremely elaborately selected, handcrafted, oven-controlled quartz oscillator (OCXO) made in Germany. This OCXO offers a standard-setting frequency stability in the time domain relevant for audiophile music playback.
MUTEC has created an optimal environment for the exclusive OCXO within the REF10SE120.
It starts in an essential segment for every high-end component: the well designed main power supply. Therefore, a double linear power supply is used, based on a toroidal transformer made in Germany. It provides a dedicated transformer winding for the sensitive OCXO that is completely isolated form the surrounding circuit. Networks of lowest-ESR (equivalent series resistance) capacitors made by prestigious manufactures ensure best interference suppression for the supply voltages. Hereafter, sub-Hz optimized, lowest-noise voltage sources arranged in multiple stages independently supply every part of the circuit to avoid mutual interference.
For the heart of the REF10 SE120, the handcrafted OCXO, we went even further by developing a voltage source with exceptionally low noise. In line with this, extremely low-noise clock distribution and amplification circuits ensure that the reference signal of the quartz oscillator in the audio-relevant measuring range of 1-100 Hz distance from the carrier frequency (10 MHz) is transported loss-free (!) to the eight outputs of the REF10 SE120.
Phase noise of the REF10 SE120 as a function of frequency
Based on our knowledge of the importance of a clock signal’s rise time (steepness of the edge) for the digital audio performance, the REF10 SE120 delivers square-wave signals with very high slew rate and lowest ripple at the outputs.
In contrast to the low slew-rate sine wave signals used by competing brands, this leads to superior lock precision in terms of speed and stability and therefore minimized jitter at the receiving end. This fact is i. e. largely responsible for the sound quality improvement of connected DACs and audio clock generators.
The exceptionally high slew-rate, lowest ripple square wave signal of the REF10 SE120
An often discussed topic among audiophiles is the negative influence of RF (radio-frequency) interference in digital audio playback. In order to shield the REF10 SE120 from such RFI and other interference we are placing the circuit boards in a 1.5 mm thick steel enclosure. In contrast to the commonly used aluminum housings, the shielding of the electronics and thus the insulation against external disturbances is significantly improved hereby. Therefore, any external high-frequency interference does not have a detrimental effect on the noise and jitter freedom of the generated clock signals.
RF interference can also enter the circuitry via the mains power connection. To avoid a power line interference as best as possible, we have equipped the REF10 SE120 with one of the best premium brand-name power entry modules currently available. This module offers enhanced low frequency filtering and superior EMI immunity. As part of its mechanical design there are no open unfiltered power cables inside the unit. Another aspect where the REF10 SE120 distinguishes itself from many other products on the market.
In order to minimize the susceptibility to hum caused by ground loops all output stages of the REF10 SE120 are galvanically isolated. Each BNC reference clock output can be switched on and off individually, so that only the required outputs have to be active. This special feature of the REF10 SE120 also helps to minimize high frequency interference as much as possible.
The REF10 SE120 is a reference clock that fills the term “reference” with meaning in two ways. First, because of its function: it generates an optimized master clock to which all subsequent devices in the digital audio chain refer to. Second, because of its quality: as the top product from MUTEC, the REF10 SE120 also represents a new standard in this specific category of audio components. This master clock generator sets new peak marks in the key areas of phase noise, respectively jitter.
The amazing sound performance – based on superior technology – can be easily realized in many different audio setups. Because the REF10 SE120 is straightforward and extremely flexible to use. You do not have to worry about system integration at all - instead, you can fully enjoy the best possible music playback straight away. With the help of a REF10 SE120 the audiophile sound quality of compatible D/A converters, music servers and audio re-clockers will be increased to the highest possible level.
The REF10 SE120 is the perfect match for devices with a 10 MHz input, such as MUTEC's MC3+ and MC3+USB Smart Clocks as well as the iClock and iClock dp.
Eight simultaneous available clock outputs at both 50 Ω and 75 Ω impedance allow you to use the REF10 SE120 in combination with not just MUTEC products, but also 10 MHz compatible components by other third-party manufacturers.
|MUTEC||MC‑3+ Smart Clock||75||Audio Re-Clocker, Clock Generator|
|MC‑3+ Smart Clock USB||75||Audio Re-Clocker, Clock Generator, USB Interface|
|iClock, iClock dp||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|Antelope Audio||Zodiac Platinum 384 kHz||75||DAC|
|LiveClock||75||Audio Clock Generator|
|Isochrone OCX, OCX HD, OCX‑V, Trinity||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|Goliath HD||75||Audio Interface|
|Orion 32||75||Audio Interface|
|Orion 32+ | GEN 3||75||Audio Interface|
|Orion 32HD | GEN 3||75||Audio Interface|
|Audio Design||SyncroGenius HD‑Pro||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|Audio-gd||DI-20, DI-20HE||50||USB Interface, DDC|
|R-7, R-7HE (both as 2020 versions)||50||DAC|
|Aurender||W20SE, N20, W20 (discontinued)||N/A||Music Server|
|Brainstorm||DCD‑12 (discontinued)||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|DCD‑24||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|DXD‑8||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|DXD‑16||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|CH Precision||C1 (with SNYC_IO board)||75||DAC|
|D1 (with SNYC_IO board)||75||SACD Transport, DAC|
|I1 (with SNYC_IO board)||75||Universal Amplifier|
|dCS||Vivaldi Master Clock||75||Audio Clock Generator|
|Paganini Master Clock, Scarlatti Master Clock (discontinued)||75||Audio Clock Generator|
|Esoteric||Grandioso G1||50||Audio Clock Generator|
|Grandioso K1||50||SACD Player|
|Grandioso P1/D1||50||SACD Transport, DAC|
|K‑01X, K‑03X, K‑05, K‑05X, K‑07X||75||SACD Player|
|P‑02X, P‑05X||50||SACD Transport|
|N‑01, N‑01XD||50||Network Player|
|G‑01X, G‑02X||50||Audio Clock Generator|
|Evertz||5601MSC||N/A||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|Gustard||DAC‑A26||50||DAC, Network Player|
|DAC‑R26||50||DAC, Network Player|
|U-16||50||USB Interface, DDC|
|iFi Audio||Pro iDSD||N/A||DAC|
|LHY Audio||SW 10||50||Network Switch|
|M2TECH||EVO DAC TWO PLUS||75||DAC|
|HIFACE EVO TWO||N/A||DAC|
|Rostec||ASD16HD||75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|DSP‑010EX, DSP‑030EX||50||Network Player, DAC|
|Silent Angel||Bonn N8 Pro||50||Network Switch|
|Sound Warrior||SWD‑CL10||50/75||Audio Clock Generator|
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
(with sCLK‑EX Expansion)
|Studio Technologies||M5401 Dante© Master Clock (discontinued)||75||Network Master Clock|
|Tascam||CG‑1000, CG‑1800, CG‑2000||50/75||Audio/Video Clock Generator|
|NT‑503, NT‑505||50||Network Player, DAC|
|UpTone Audio||EtherREGEN||75||Network Switch|
Disclaimer: Compatibility of the REF10 with the above listed products is assumed based on the specifications published by the respective manufacturers and subject to change. MUTEC is not liable for compatibility issues with third-party products operating outside of industry standards.
Within the Empyreal Audio Class series, MUTEC offers special digital audio devices dedicated to the demanding users of top-quality hi-fi stereo systems. These unique products benefit from MUTEC's decades of expertise in the field of professional studio technology. This knowledge flows into the development of audiophile tools that have outstanding sonic abilities.
A MUTEC Empyreal Audio Class component always focuses on features most relevant for authentic sound reproduction in a high-end audio system. Decorative accessories or cluttered front plates are alien to these devices. Therefore, the operation is designed to be user-friendly and convenient. On the outside, the series is characterized by functionalism combined with simple elegance. Internally, the highest level of technical precision can be found based on best available materials. Both aspects support the conceptual goal of the Empyreal Audio Class: pure concentration on what is technically essential.
All MUTEC devices of the Empyreal Audio Class series represent long-term investment because of their highest quality at all levels - of course "Made In Germany".
Phase noise of the REF10 SE120 as a function of frequency
|1 Hz:||≤ -120|
|10 Hz:||≤ -148|
|100 Hz:||≤ -162|
|1000 Hz:||≤ -167|
|Noise floor:||≤ -170|
1-100 Hz: ≈ 15 fs
Jitter performance of the REF10 SE120
Disclaimer: All measurement figures represent average values. Minor production related deviations will be expected.
As soon as you work digitally it is inevitable to clock the system synchronously. For this, the REF10 SE120 is a real winner.
The MUTEC REF10 SE120 elevates digital sources to a higher level.
I am really impressed with the REF10 SE120! It unleashes so much energy in the transients and enlarges the three-dimensional appearance of the recording so much that I would love to reprint all of my masters of the last years. Through the diminishing of distortion and jitter it also sounds louder which is a dream for mastering. The sound of the analogue-to-digital converter clocked with the REF10 SE120 becomes cleaner, bigger and deeper. As a result, I get where I want to go faster.
In its latest selected SE120 reference version, the MUTEC REF10 clock generator, which is elaborately manufactured in Germany, provides a remarkable sonic gain in sound systems with digital components.
I really struggle to quantify and qualify the extent of the changes I heard, as there were always a few keys to push betweenwith and without reference clock generator. In several runs, I heard variousinconsistenciesthat, however, told me in their entirety,damn, I've got to have this!
There is not the slightest doubt about the extraordinarily convincing performance of the REF10 SE120. [...] The REF10 SE120 impressively demonstrated to me how sensitively the human ear reacts to the tiniest errors in timing (jitter). [...] The REF10 is already great. But the REF10 SE120 is something very special - with it, the sound experience reaches a new level. Rarely does a clear recommendation come so easily to me!
I am really surprised, I would not have imagined such a big difference with the REF10 SE120! The sound becomes once again much rounder and at the same time more delicately resolved. The last tad of harshness disappears, in addition the spatial imaging becomes deeper. My compliments, you've done a good job!
The unit makes a clear audible difference. What was recorded with the REF10 SE120 radiates now a high-class aura, it sounds more elaborate, more expensive. The spatiality increases to a significant degree.
The reduction of phase noise has positive effects on jitter and provides a more realistic sound. With the REF10 SE120, the glossiness, resolution, signal/noise ratio and extended dynamics became more audible. The spatial imaging has increased, too. I feel that even more details of the performance become discernible.
The overarching advantage of the REF10 SE120 over its predecessor was one of tighter articulation and focus, or greater coherence and resolution. It all added up to an uptick in realism - a more palpable sense of being there, of instruments sounding more fleshed out and dimensional. To be honest, I was not expecting as big an impact as I heard.
When I received the newly released REF10 SE120 product, I was very impressed again at the moment of monitoring. The music is delivered more delicately, and the mid, low-end performance has been upgraded to an incredibly high degree. I have no doubt that the REF10 SE120 will play a big role in upgrading my sound to the next level.
This is exactly how digital audio should sound, with all the zeros and ones in perfect formation. All the digitally encoded information was decoded, producing the most wonderful sound quality. The optimized music playback achieved thanks to the expertise and skills demonstrated by the SE120 created a shift in the space-time continuum. When I found myself still sitting in front of the system the following morning, I had enjoyed a full 10 high-res albums and was still wide awake. I tip my hat to the impressive REF10. It`s a prime example of how exceptional engineering can produce top-quality music playback - and turn night into day - at the flick of a switch.
We at Music First regard the MUTEC digital re-clocking components as indispensable in any digital setup. In the show system we used two MUTEC MC3+USBs each clocked with a MUTEC REF10 120SE in a configuration we like to callThe Stack. We still haven’t found a DAC or digital audio source that doesn't benefit from MUTEC components, regardless of design or cost.
Anyone who has a DAC with a 10 MHz clock input or a MUTEC MC3+USB can make a serious upgrade with this. This is, in effect, theultraclockfor an ultradac.
With the REF10 SE120 the improvement was quite dramatic. I can describe it as addedglory. [...] With the REF10 SE120 the sound from the speakers didn't just seem to be left and right - there seemed to be a sudden, new dimension, namely - height. It seemed to create a semi circle between the speakers that felt about 4 or 5 feet tall. It was eerie/spooky! [...] So in my listening tests albums like Roxy Music’sAvalon- which have a lot of AMS or Eventide harmonizers in use and very profound reverb - or classical choral albums recorded with a stereo pair of mics in a church, the sound was upgraded. The wide stereo/spatial elements soundmore gloriousand a byproduct of that is also an eerie, 3Dheightand aded spatialdepth. You could hear thereverb cavein mixes better. It made me want to put some old Frank Sinatra on to hear the Capital Records Studio echo chamber!
Out of the box I was blown away by the lack of grain and glare, sense of air around the instruments, resolution, three dimensional soundstage and quiet noise floor. It is a great time to be in our hobby now with all the available choices we have. Our passion for music links us all together to keep on searching and improving our system to bring us closer to the real thing. With the REF10 SE120, realism was taken to another level.
Enormous. Unheard to date depth of field and soundstage width. Absolute freedom of grain, ultra-clean presentation. 3D spacial rendering of details and distances vastly enhanced, like never ever. We often cry in front of the system from emotion. This is fully 'analogue' sound - without the analogue worries (wow, flutter, static, scratches, wear, bad channel separation, poisons in manufacturing, etc.). Ultra deep, 'black', silence, total intertransient silence. Unheard bass response. Far out... Thank you, MUTEC!
Already after powering it up for the first time, there is a clear difference in sound compared to my previous REF10.
With the REF10 SE120, not only are the low frequencies drawn more precisely in their depth, as can often be read, but in general the whole room with its detailscomes towards you. You are really immersed in the musical events and have the feeling of being in the middle of the music presentation. Such extreme resolution could not be heard with the REF10. My recommendation for those who are in the position to realize this is to play back their piece of music to be tested using a parallel mix. Doing this properly with the highest quality equipment reveals all the vividness that the REF10 SE120 and MC3+USB re-clocker make possible.
The resolution and holography that the REF10 SE120 brings to my system is quite stunning! Especially how it resolves special and out of phase mixed information to provide a full 180 degree sound field outside of the stereo speakers.
The combination of the SE120 with the MC3+USB gives clearly better results. The summation of a mono signal in a classic stereo speaker configuration sounds as if there was a third one in the middle... You can't hear *any* sound from the left-right any longer. Phase coherence is clearly improved. This test carried out with ATC monitors is very representative of the quality and precision of the conversion, but also of the shaping of the signal. The precision and the localization of the stereo sources are also better with more smoothness and density of the sound mass. Hats off to you guys!
Thank you very much for the update. There is a significant and distinct sonic improvement that covers the entire musical spectrum. Congratulations. A great new development that inspires.
Thank you for your advice on the REF10 SE120! This clock generator has improved the sound of my system quite significantly! I think I can talk here about an improvement of about 25% to 30% over my original system. The bass, musical clarity and depth in my music have been more than considerably improved.
I can only confirm what the reviews and many user comments say. Yes, it is unbelievable how this REF10 SE120 raises the sound to a level previously thought impossible in digital audio reproduction! Congratulations, this is world class!
The REF10 SE120 has pushed my system to new heights. The improved sound stage stretches far beyond the speakers, and the instruments within the track are separated further apart, each easily and accurately pinpointed. Another pleasant surprise is the additional details that emerge to the fore with precision and clarity. Low frequencies couldn’t be more defined, and overall lucidity is increased. The economy is there too, as my REF10 SE120 feeds six different devices over its battery of 75 ohm outputs.
After powering up the REF10 SE120, I let it warm up for about 30 minutes before listening to it. The first thing I noticed was that I had to lower the volume, to get the same sound pressure as without the REF10 SE120. I can’t explain why, but that is what I heard. Then it was obvious that everything got much tighter. Less glare, more room information. Blacker background. Now, this is the first impression. I would have to say that the difference appears to be substantial.
This is probably one of my very best upgrades to my audio system at all. It is difficult to understand how the REF10 SE120 can provide such a great improvement in the sound, but it is very easy to hear. Thank you.
Congratulations to your team on an amazing design and achievement. The sound quality improvements of my digital system achieved by the REF10 SE120 has been one of the most fascinating and wonderful surprises I've ever experienced in this hobby and believe me I've been through some very expensive components. I don’t think my digital system will ever be without this clock again. It truly is the reference master conductor for my digital system.
Own one and LOVVVVVVEEEEEE it !!!!. As great as the REF10 was (and I had it also) the first song played thru the REF10 SE120 I knew I had something even more special. Live music in my man cave!
The most impressive component is its special oscillator, that reaches -120dB/c @1Hz – after having passed through demanding tests. The predecessor REF10 is known already for an extremely low phase noise and the stability of its clock signal provided by a remarkable discrete circuit. Now this update give us an impression of extended space and depth of the sound. It also sharpens the start of every single note. The REF10 SE120 can realize precisely how the musician does perform.
With the REF10 SE120 everything sounds noticeably more detailed (a little brighter) and at the same time finer (smoother), more dynamic, more spatial. Overall, it all sounds much more real (almost tangible). I would not have expected that. What is astonishing is that with a jitter of almost -120 dB already, further improvements are still perceptible. Otherwise I would have assumed that the regular REF10 was already an overkill in terms of human perception. In my view this is therefore refuted. With the REF10 SE120 you may now have a new reference for evaluating the jitter sensitivity of the human hearing.
It sounds exceptionally good with the REF10 SE120!
I have now been using the REF10 SE120 for a month now. It really started to shine after around three weeks of burn in and with constant power on. Wow! The REF10 SE120 must be counted as the best investment so far in my rig. I wasn't expecting the stunning performance I have got now. The definition of instruments, voices, their placing in the room, the rooms size, micro details. A complete new level of realm and effortlessness. The bass is now free from anyboomyness. I use all dipole speakers, Quad ESL's with Gradient subwoofers. The sound is now pure realism. The REF10 SE120 is contributing with a performance lift far beyond what I could imagine. Thanks MUTEC for such a great product!
I listened to my upgraded REF10 and the result is amazing: the separation between instruments, harmonic richness and spatialization are much better than before. Of course, the more complex the music is (like with orchestral pieces), the more clearly audible the improvement is. Well done!
I want to thank you all at MUTEC for that product! I have made a serious investment in my audio system and the REF10 SE120 is likewise a significant investment and I can say for me it was certainly a very good choice. When we are at the high end spectrum of audio sometimes we make significant investments to gain an incremental advance in sound quality. In the case with the REF10 SE120, my sound quality has made a great leap forward ... much more than an incremental improvement!
The reference clock increased the depth and width of soundstage. I really like the lateral sound on the back of speaker and lateral in front of the speaker, rendering the whole soundstage more believable like live music because of the quiet noise floor. More minute sound can be heard and the old music become new to me. Even the ambience which is the fortitude of my music room is enhanced. The mid bass and low bass are also more tonal in quality. Great piece of equipment indeed!
I didn't thought that the difference to myoldREF10 would be so huge. A real blast!
Resolution is impeccable with improved clarity and resolution. I’m once again enjoying all of my music library as if I’m listening to brand new albums. An incredible and gratifying experience!
|Review||Logo||REF10 SE120 info sheet|
|RGB & CMYK|
|REF10 SE120 Manual||REF10 SE120 black/white front||REF10 SE120 black/white back|
|CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB|
|REF10 SE120 black/white left||REF10 SE120 black/white right||REF10 SE120 black/black front|
|CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB|
|REF10 SE120 black/black left||REF10 SE120 black/black right||REF10 SE120 aluminium/white front|
|CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB|
|REF10 SE120 aluminium/white left||REF10 SE120 aluminium/white right||REF10 SE120 MC_3+USB black/white|
|CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB|
|REF10 SE120 MC_3+USB black/black||REF10 SE120 MC-3Plus context I||REF10 SE120 MC-3Plus context II|
|CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB||CMYK RGB|
|REF10 SE120 MC-3Plus context III|