Title: The everyday joy of music
Content: I ordered the MC101 because I really liked the V3, and because my interactions with the company created a positive impression about their products and service. Please see the attached images for a sense of my set up(s) and use context. -- BUILD & AESTHETICS: Solid build, good non-shiny polished metal, smooth knobs for volume, treble, and bass. Nice old school switch for power - bluetooth - rca inputs. Binding posts are robust, as are the rca inputs and the power cord slot. Of course, the VU meter! It looks nice with a sweet orange glow (see images). Excellent build. -- USAGE: I've got a few speakers, and I've tried the MC101 with all of them. Speaker model and sensitivity: Sonist Concerto II 97db JBL Studio 580 90db Klipsch R-51m 96/97db JBL Studio 530 86db I use Tidal Lossless and Apple Music. I did not use bluetooth on the MC101. I'm not going to bother you with DAC, cables, etc. etc. for the reasons below. -- PERFORMANCE: First off, I'm an objective-subjectivist. I believe that good engineering is important, and then it is a matter of personal preference what speakers you like. I don't believe in DACs having different "voicing." A simple, well executed DAC should have no sound of its own. I don't believe "tubes are better" by any objective metric. But I really like having a couple of tube amps. I think A/B vs. Class D is a non-factor as far as my listening set ups and needs are concerned. I believe that a well made amplifier should provide power, and that's it. I believe that having lots of power is good. I detest the term "audiophile." I don't think cables do anything beyond a basic level, I don't think cable risers are money well spent, I don't care for power conditioners, I don't think I need to spend thousands to listen to the sound of silence, which is what a load of subjective audiophiles seem to be into. I have vinyl, but I find streaming simpler. I would like everything to be 24/192, but I'm perfectly happy to listen to CD quality 16/44.1. There, that is my "good audio" credo. Now on to the performance. Genres: Rock, Folk, Rap, Jazz, Blues, Classical, R&B. The MC101 works very well with all my speakers, and works exceptionally well with the Klipsch and the Concertos. The power is plentiful, the sound is clean and as loud as I want, and the VU meter works and is pleasing to look at in the evening. Most important, the MC101 gets out of the way and lets me enjoy listening to the music. There is no audible distortion at loud volumes, no channel imbalance at low volumes, and the tone controls help to dial-in the sound for certain songs or artists when I feel like. The Klipsch set up includes a subwoofer from the Bluesound Duo 2.1 set up, and I use the 3.5mm out on the MC101 with a passive attenuator to connect the subwoofer. The MC101 could do with a pre-out so you don't need an attenuator, but most subwoofers come with crossover and volume controls. The pre-out does help controlling amp + sub volume simultaneously, but this is not a big issue for me. This system is in my study, and it fills the room happily. The Concerto II is a 2.0 setup, and it is in the living room. These are poplar oak floorstanders. Beautiful dynamics, and lots of fun listening to Folk/Americana, Rock, R&B, and hip hop. The Studio 530 and 580 are in the largest room. Studio 530s are not very efficient, but the MC101 (and the V3, for that matter; you'll see it in some of my images too) have not had any issues driving them. They sound great. The Studio 580s sound fine with the MC101, but it is a large floor stander with two woofers, so one just feels the need to have loads of power. Thing is, I have two way more powerful amplifiers (Cronus Magnum II by Rogue Audio and a Crown monster), and have gotten used to playing those in this room. -- IN CONCLUSION... What do we want from our kit, eventually? Musicality with no obvious distortions, artefacts, ground loops, etc.? A few minutes or hours of focused or casual listening? Occasional moments of joy that music—one of the few things still recommending us as a species—can provide? Spontaneous instances where the singer or the drummer or the guitarist or the violinist or the damn triangle player takes our breath away? The MC101 can join your kit in doing these things for you. RECOMMENDED WITHOUT RESERVATION.