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MUTEC REF10

The Audiophile 10 MHz Reference Master Clock

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The MUTEC REF 10 is an audiophile reference master clock generating 10 MHz signals with industry-leading low phase noise (i.e. jitter) to significantly improve digital playback systems. As the conductor of your digital audio orchestra at home, the REF 10 will inspire you with unheard-of clarity, graceful dynamics, and pure music. It is the most flexible, most compatible 10 MHz clock on the market allowing you to spend less time worrying about integration and leaving you with more hours to enjoy blissful playback.

Unlock a more dynamic, more transparent sound stage with exceptional spatiality and level of detail, free from any digital blur. For all music enthusiasts reaching for the pinnacle of signal purity, audio quality, and clock precision, the REF 10 is the must-have expansion to conduct your digital playback chain.

FEATURES

  • Audiophile 10 MHz reference generator with industry’s lowest phase noise
  • Improves and enhances compatible DACs, audio re-clockers, music servers, and master clocks
  • Engineered around a handcrafted, ultra-low phase noise OCXO made in Germany
  • Generates a very high slew-rate square wave signal for superior lock precision compared to the sine wave signals used by competing brands
  • Provides simultaneous reference outputs with 50 and 75 Ω impedance for maximum compatibility with clocks and DACs by other manufacturers
  • Eight galvanically isolated, individually switchable BNC clock outputs
  • Revolutionary, sub-Hz optimized, lowest noise power supply for every circuit section
  • Integrated, highest-quality international linear power supply
  • Highly efficient power line filtering
  • Intuitive user interface with noble aesthetics
  • Rack-mountable with optional mounting brackets for studio use (2 RU)
  • 3-year extended manufacturer-guaranteed warranty

Applications

  • As an audiophile performance enhancement for compatible DACs, master clocks, and re-clockers by any other brand
  • As an ultra-low noise, high stability clock reference for the entire digital audio chain at home or in the studio
  • As an ideal high-end upgrade for MUTEC’s own MC‑3+, MC‑3+USB, and iClock/iClock dp master clocks
  • To stabilize existing audio clock generators

The Story of the REF 10

Currently available digital converters, master clocks, and audio re-clockers perform acceptably when reproducing or processing digital audio. Even so, we at MUTEC felt that existing solutions fall short of delivering the full potential of audio productions. In our commitment to advancing the state of the art and science we set out to investigate the possibilities to further enhance the performance of digital audio systems. To do so, we recruited one of Germany’s most renowned RF engineers to join our R&D team. Together we developed a master clock generator with a technical performance beyond what we thought could be possible. The effects of the technical performance were then verified by a group of experience audiophile beta testers to ensure that the high-end performance translates to best-in-class sound.

The final result of our extensive efforts is the REF 10: a superior 10 MHz reference master clock and our first Empyreal Class product combining uncompromising engineering with the beauty of simplicity and the utmost clock precision.

"I had an Antelope Atomic 10M before, but I did not hear the dramatic difference of the external clocking compared to the REF 10. The immediate effect I heard is an improvement in size, width, depth, details of the reverb & delay tails. The vocal "pops" forward and the overall level is louder than without the REF 10. It is louder and yet, still dynamic. The low-end is insanely tight and controlled! The songs I played back sound like a remix. I love it! It is a life-changing piece of equipment for my work."

Debunking the "Atomic" Myth

Our research has shown that the high clock stability of so-called "atomic clocks" based on a rubidium or cesium 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. Ultimately, it is the timing from one sample to another as a digital audio stream is transferred from one device to another that needs to be as precise as possible for best sound quality. Fluctuations in 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 these "atomic clocks" then, the REF 10 is engineered around MUTEC's handcrafted, oven-controlled oscillator (OCXO) made in Germany, featuring highest clock stability in the time domain relevant for audiophile digital audio performance.

Manual MUTEC REF 10

Exceptional Design

A well laid-out main power supply constitutes the basis for exceptional high-end products. To meet this requirement, we specifically designed for the REF 10 a dual linear power supply based on a German made toroidal transformer. 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 Panasonic 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. However, for the heart of the REF 10, MUTEC’s handcrafted OCXO, we had to go even further.
 
Mutec developed a dedicated power source of such incredibly low noise that even their engineers themselves were amazed by the noise figures and the resulting oscillator performance we ultimately achieved. Consequently, they then developed unique ultra-low noise clock distribution and amplification circuits, which successfully transfer the oscillator’s reference signal to the REF 10’s eight outputs with virtually no losses.
"The REF 10 lends a noticeable tightness to the bass and an increase in presence, but all in a very musical way. It makes everything sound both louder and more dynamic, which for a mastering engineer is the holy grail. Compared to other 10 MHz reference clocks we tried it was definitely smoother and more elegant sounding."

One Clock to Rule Them All

The REF 10 is the most flexible, most compatible 10 MHz clock on the market allowing you to spend less time worrying about integration and leaving you with more hours to enjoy blissful playback. Due to its ultra-low noise characteristics and its unrivaled flexibility the REF 10 can enhance the audio quality of compatible D/A converters (DACs) and re-clockers, music servers, and audio clocks to the highest possible level. It is the perfect match and ideal upgrade for MUTEC's 10 MHz ready products like the MC‑3+ and MC‑3+USB Smart Clocks, as well as the iClock and iClock dp.

Eight simultaneous clock outputs at both 50 and 75 Ohms impedance allow you to use the REF 10 in combination with not just MUTEC products, but also 10 MHz compatible products by all other third-party manufacturers.

A Perfect Clock. Empyreal Sound

MUTEC’s Empyreal Class is our commitment to HiFi in its most sophisticated form. This series combines uncompromising engineering with the beauty of simplicity and utmost precision. Apart from exceptional sound performance these products feature a streamlined interface with fewer parameters and user-friendly operation. Just like any Empyreal Class product, the REF 10 is an investment in highest audio quality "Made in Germany" - an aspiration reflected by our extended manufacturer-guaranteed warranty of three years.

Mutec ref 10

10 MHz Reference Master Clock