Bartok with Mutec MC3+ clock

Hi all, This is my first post here so be gentle please.

I have a dCS classic stack - Verdi/Purcell/Elgar+ all with DSD upsampling capability - and it sounds great. I have been using it foe several years with a Mutec MC3+ clock with excellent results. I am thinking of ‘upgrading’ to a Bartok DAC/Streamer and would like anyone’s experience or knowledge of using it with the Mutec clock - will it work or not? I also use a Naim Uniti Core to play back high res downloaded files and assume it will work directly into the Bartok’s SPDIF input and via Naim’s own app. It runs fine into the Elgar+ DAC.

The wordclock provision on 3rd generation dCS products differs from the 1st generation Elgar+ etc.

With the earlier generations there is only a single wordclock input. The Bartok and other 3rd Gen pieces ideally require two word clock inputs, one for 44.1kHz ( <176.4, DSD and DXD) based formats and one for 48kHz based formats ( <192). If your Mutec has provision to output separate frequencies on two different BNC outputs then the requirement may be met. If not then you will need to manually change frequencies as file types change which is a bit of a pain when using hi-res streaming services.

As you will quickly become aware from reading threads on this forum the best sound quality is obtained via the ethernet connection. However for local file replay this requires NAS with MinimServer UPnP server software. You will need the ethernet connection anyway for the streaming attributes of the Bartok and to use dCS Mosaic control. The configuration that you intend would appear to restrict Bartok to just a DAC function. However using the Naim Uniti Core UPnP output cannot be guaranteed to work correctly with Bartok /Mosaic because AFAIK you cannot load MinimServer to Uniti Core replacing whatever Naim currently use. However worth checking with Naim.

NB: Like your moniker.

Thanks Pete, the Mutec automatically switches clock frequency to match that required of the file sent to it. I guess it would be a try it and see moment? I will check with Naim about the Core.

I have a Bartok with Uniticore and been working via Mosaic previously. Flawless over UPnP.

I have since moved on to Roon. Equally flawless. I just stuffed my entire 600 SACD rips (yes took me 2mths to do so) as DSF flies into UC. Can confirm everything fine too.

Then replaced the U-Clock with the Rossini clock (sold my Puccini/u clock combo, and pocket some $ even after splashed out on new clock). Oh my. The improvement though not leaps and bounds but it is quite something

Thank you Gordon that is useful to me. Are you able to upsample PCM files from the Core to DSD ?

Yes. My Rooncore is ROCK running on a NUCi8+fanless case. Bartok will only accept streams up to DSDx2 (DSD128).

My Roon DSP settings are as followed:

PCM 44.1/88.2/172.4 to 352.8
PCM 48/96/192 to 384
DSD 64/128 to 128

Bartok Upsampling setting to DSD

I tried upsampling PCM to DSD by Roon. But personally I prefer Bartok to upsample this last leg. I feel the presentation is more natural this way.

These settings are what I preferred. I know ppl with Roon like to upsample everything to DSDx4 or off the DSP altogether and let dCS works its magic - do experiment and see which suits you best

Or, as Gordon notes, a Roon server connected over Ethernet.

This seems like a step backwards from the classic series where I can upsample PCM to DSD from the Core via my Purcell upsampler. I guess compromises were made with the Bartok combining a DAC and upsampling engine in one box where as my classic system uses 2 boxes - Purcell and DAC. I don’t stream so Roon would only be of use with my Core.

Yes, I believe that all of the dCS products having network streaming are certified Roon endpoints so that makes sense.

I won’t say it’s a step back - after all Bartok supposed to be the ‘entry’ level product. If you aspire a separate standalone upsampler it would be the 4 stacks Vivaldi combo…

And if one is so inclined, I believe it is possible to set up one’s NAS as the file server for both a MinimServer and Roon, while also being the MinimServer host and Roon Server, so long as it is one of the platforms supported by Minim and Roon. I believe Roon is more demanding though than Minim, so before I went down path, I would check my NAS specs against those recommended by Roon and Minim. I’m not necessarily recommending this, as there can be significant functional and SQ disadvantages as well, depending on one’s system, but we have lots of wonderful options here.

Yes Greg that is the dilemma of dCS imho. Whilst it is the brand that keeps giving - I have discovered many new things I could do with my ‘basic’ Classic set up over the years - but the complexity and many ways to do a simple thing can be a problem too. I can understand you guys who stream, and I had an Aurender streamer on demo for a while but - as an old guy with 7000+ LPs and several thousand CDs/SACDs - the physical media with all its data - not meta but real data - trumps streaming for me.

I am a bit unsure where we have got to with this thread.

I think that we have established that:

  1. The Mutec clock will work and that as it auto switches according to incoming file resolution the Bartok’s need for two separate wordclock inputs will not be a problem in practice.

  2. That your Naim Uniti Core should work flawlessly with Bartok. Alternatively you could use Roon but as you don’t stream that is of no interest to you.

The only thing that i do not understand was your comment that :

Of course the Bartok will upsample to DSD ( or DXD) from PCM files fed to it from your Core. The only main difference is that Bartok will do it better as the algorithms for upsampling have been refined since the first generation and the processing is faster.

One thing that you certainly will find different to the Classic series is that the 3rd generation is far easier to use than the Classic stack. It is also controlled by an app ( Mosaic) on your phone or tablet unless you want to pay extra for the universal remote. When you use the app you will see that as well as control, the streaming of local files and providing access to streaming services ( subject to subscription) it also provides internet radio. For me in the UK that is important as it allows access to the HD version of BBC Radio 3 which has the best audio quality.

If you are to buy a Bartok I would say that it would be a shame not to use the streaming services facility. I too am old and have thousands of hard copy discs, silver and black. Of those there are hundreds that I do not play. Why? Because I had to buy them to hear them. All I had to go on for the purchase was a hunch or a review. Many turned out to be just hear once and file away for ever. Now with streaming I can listen to almost all of the new releases that interest me before committing to a purchase.

Of course Bartok cannot play those CDs and SACDs that you have . So you will have to keep your Verdi although, frankly, I would not rely on its longevity unless used very infrequently as its Sony transport mechanism does not have a great reputation for reliability ( I went through 3 of them, or rather three OPUs, while I owned a Verdi, so that’s approx one every three years) and spares are generally NLA. That is on the open market. Perhaps dCS could comment on whether or not they still have stocks. However sooner or later you will have a big choice to make regarding those optical discs. I just did for my collection by buying a Rossini Transport.

In any case why not just accept streaming? Owning lots of one type of thing does not stop you enjoying another. BTW with Qobuz you get a lot of the full data too as for many albums you can read the full CD booklets online. Even Mosaic app can show information including the artists, composer(s), producer, engineer , date of recording etc. subject to the raw information provided by the record label. I think that you will find streaming enhances, not diminishes, your musical life.

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I have an Mutec MC-3+ Smart Master Clock / Re-Clock with 0,1ppm pullrate laying around, but it does not make the sound better in my opinion, it more makes the sound syntectic slight robotic in my opinion if you use the Re-clock function, but as an pure master clock it is okey with Mutec ref 10 mhz clock.

So i would not connect it to the Bartok’

Buy a NWB streamer for the old line up instead, and use the streamer in Bartok as it is instead.

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Thank Pete for your obvious patience.

Thanks everyone for ‘solving’ points 1 and 2 for me.

As I use the Naim Uniti Core with the Naim app I am used to playing back albums from the Core via the Elgar + DAC. Also I had an Aurrender NC 100 hard disk streamer an demo and used it with Qobuz and Tidal and it couldn’t keep my attention - sound was great but physical media is my mantra and always will be.

Things I would like to do is playback my DSD downloads - which I can only do via my Korg MR2000S DSD recorder, and upsample all my high res files stored on the Uniti Core to DSD. I can only upsample 16/44.1 files to DSD with my classic stack and am limited upsampling 24/96 PCM to 24/192.

Streaming per se involves investing a lot of faith in the streaming company’s ability to source the best recordings to stream. As we know through examinimg Discogs’ database there are many reissues of the same music and Qobuz sells downloads where there are often multiple versions of the same music. Provenance of music is very important to me and I can’t just give that away to a streaming company most of which are just making money and have little interest in the ultimate quality of the music they serve.

We all tackle our passion for music in a different way and get pleasure from the end result.

I forgot to mention that I recently replaced the laser in my Verdi transport and have a second new laser for later on. dSC’s service department supplied both lasers and provided fitting instructions and couldn’t have been more helpful.

Yes you can play back your DSD downloads on a Bartok. I do mine. My DSD files ( together with all of my PCM rips and downloads) are all stored on a Melco streamer which I basically just use as storage pretty much along the same lines as your Core. I checked the Korg website and it looks like it caters for all common file formats. However the website is a trifle ambiguous. Nevertheless you should be able to copy files from the Korg to other media and also convert the files to other formats if required. There should be lots of flexibility to find you a better solution than being trapped inside your Korg ( so to speak).

I have never yet found any example of an album on Qobuz where I cannot identify -from Qobuz itself- which recording of any available multiple it is. Yes there is a provenance issue at a deeper level e.g. is this a new digital remastering or have they used the production master that was used for an earlier digital issue? However at that level there is no advantage with a hard copy as the supplied data that accompanies it is usually the same as the virtual copy of that is supplied with the download or can be accessed online through Qobuz ( some box set material excepted) as all comes from the record label itself. A download from Qobuz is the same as a download from, say. Presto Classical. There is no intervention from Qobuz either with streaming or with the download store. They just provide what the record label sends them. I don’t know when you last tried it but if before mid 2017 you may have been listening to MP3s or at best 16/44.1 and not <24/192 as is the current case.

I won’t go on and on but I still think that you will be missing out and that all of your objections which may have a technical basis can be overcome.

Anyway good luck and please let us know how you progress.

How do you set up the Mutec to automatically switch output clock frequency?

Thanks,

Phill

It only does this when using reclock mode.

Interesting.
I’ve been using the Mutec with my Network Bridge, Purcell and Delius.
I reclock the Bridge AES output to the Purcell.
but have to leave the word clock to the Bridge disconnected otherwise it shows no external clock lock.
In my setup this is fine as the Bridge AES signal to Purcell will have the Mutec clock embedded in it.
One consequence of this setup (I believe) is that I have to manually switch the Purcell upsample frequency to a whole integer multiple of the source sample rate.
So for 44.1 kHz => 176.4, 48, 96 kHz => 192 etc