To test resolution and detail retrieval in the upper octaves, music with energetic percussive workouts is telling. Take "Cameron the Wise", a cut on the Charles Owens Trio's 10 Years where Mutec's clock contributions really surprised. Rather than any virtual in-yer-face antics which quickly get tiresome, I'd characterize their calm clarity as absence of any nervy hype. Resolution increased and with it, my ability to effortlessly 'see' the outlines and bodies of various struck objects. Yet this had no impact on tonality. Nothing shifted into the bright or lean regardless of SPL. No hardness or sharpness crept in. Only detail density and richness of tonal hues went up and even the smallest rhythmic changes clarified.

Female vocals and acoustic instruments are popular assessors of the midrange. Not long ago Tara Nome Dolye released her album Vaermin. Don't ask me why but I'm still fascinated by the wealth of variations its somewhat morbid atmosphere contains. Here the SE120 acted like a distiller of truth. Liveliness and a natural teasing out of even the finest nuances all went up noticeably. A brief temporal restraint or fading tremolo gained in emotional emphasis and had the vocals embed more harmoniously. That made a big difference. Without the Mutec, "Leeches I" and "Leeches II" had undue vocal presence. That could get trying to enforce lower volumes. The SE120 corrected that imbalance. Something similar occurred on "Ayrilik Hasreti" by Turkish Jazz maestro Erkan Orgur [Kimse Kalmadi] where the late-entering piano seems to breathe more deeply yet remains soft and fluid. The SE120 showed just how its tones unfurl, ebb and flow. The piano's contributions also took up more space and felt more assured. This heightened its separation from the surroundings. Meanwhile improved tracking of decay trails enhanced the silky tone textures.

This individuation of discrete sounds was the clock generator's special talent. Take Schönberg's "Verklärte Nacht" on Pierre Boulez's 1973 reading with the New York Philharmonic. It's a timeless symphonic masterwork which can carry away any listener willing to surrender to it. With the Mutec image specificity benefited. Clearer venue cues had me perceive the concert acoustics as broader and deeper. Depth of field increased as well for better focus of the farther reaches. Without the Mutec, those blurred a bit, atmospheric density reduced and with it emotional persuasiveness. I also noticed how a certain inner agitation resurfaced. With the Mutec instruments had more room to blossom into. This not only registered as a escape from compactness but in particular, freedom from any hectic hustle when things got busy.

Superior separation powers again factored in the bass. It stood clear if you will. With the earlier mentioned Charles Owens Trio, the upright locked in with far crisper focus. It banished what had felt like playing shyly behind the band. Now even very low impulses occupied equal aural importance as the foreground. Already without the Mutec, the Emerson Digital had managed to show the sonorous qualities of the double bass. With the superior clock signal, control and tautness improved as did tonal balance across the band. The bass felt neither too cautious nor dominant. It embedded in the overall picture yet stood clearer of it, too. That was a special trick!