As paraphrased on its web page, such clock performance serves as "an ideal high-end upgrade for our MC3+USB and as an ultra-low noise high-stability clock reference for the entire digital audio chain at home or in the studio." It outputs a 10MHz square not sine-wave signal on 2 x 50Ω and 6 x 75Ω BNC to gild the connectivity lily for domestic setups whilst being fully prepped for complex studio syncing of multiple digital work stations. Whilst Mr. Peters was a perfect gentleman, I did perceive a subliminal "moo" when he mentioned our industry's fascination with rubidium or cesium clocks whose long-term resistance to clock drift he considers useful for some telecom applications but perfectly irrelevant for digital audio.

"Ultimately it's the timing from one sample to another as digital audio streams transfer from one device to another that for best sound quality must be as precise as possible. Fluctuations of short-term stability are measured as jitter or phase noise and are central to the audiophile performance of any digital audio device. In contrast to 'atomic clocks', the Ref10 is engineered around our handcrafted oven-controlled oscillator made in Germany, featuring highest clock stability in the time domain relevant for audiophile digital audio performance."

For the full hit, read Mutec's product pages on these devices for all their specs and measurements.

For home purposes it suffices to know that the warm-up time for the Ref10's clock generator is below five minutes, not the lazy half hour of certain competitors. Equally, we might simplistically think of these devices as precision motor controllers for digital streams. Just like turntables, rock-solid speed invariability is king also in digital and audible when not in place.

What I had no notion on was the prospective delta of improvement Mutec's kit might make in a simple home not multi-slaved studio environment.

"Your question about clock-link cables is good and critical. I get it almost each time we sell a Ref10. It's why we decided to start our own investigations into cables. I let our Ref10 developer measure some to see how edge steepness and phase noise are—possibly—affected by different cables. So far we made no decision to start offering cables.

"But in the next few weeks we are getting a completely new cable which I think could end up being the best we had so far. If that can be confirmed by the Ref10 developer, I guess we will start offering BNC cables in Q3/4 this year. What I can do for your review is supply you with one BNC cable of our former samples we got from the manufacturer. Thus we you can see/hear whether there are differences to your own cables."

I didn't hear any against my Chris Sommovigo equivalents.

Both products came with comprehensive owner's manuals to help us non-professionals through the many features we might not be familiar with. But first, let's finish the tour of the MC-3+USB, here with its switching power supply…

… followed by the central main board…

… and its far end.