Seen and not seen. The m2Tech perched atop AudioNext’s Munich High-End stand this year wasn’t so much blink-and-you’d-miss-it but a case of (almost) mistaken identity. The hiFace line and Evo stack looked precisely like m2Tech gear but the branding read ‘Manunta’.
So the story goes, despite offering his range of digital audio products under the m2Tech banner for well over half a decade, Marco Manunta’s trade had come under challenge in Germany by a would be brand squatter. Rather than pony up the cash required to continue with the m2Tech moniker, Manunta stuck two fingers up at the hostage taker and went with eponymous branding there instead. The m2Tech handle remains as is for the rest of the world.
Back to that Evo stack: a second-gen revision of a three-piece suite of components, previewed in Munich and now in full production (according to last week’s press release). Time to disseminate.
The hiFace Evo Two isn’t a DAC but a DDC. Digital goes in and digital comes out, hopefully a whole lot less jittery. Inputs number two: 1) high-speed asynchronous UAC 2.0 USB that supports ASIO on Windows and Integer Mode on OS X; 2) S/PDIF coaxial. Outputs are more numerous: 1) i2s done the PS Audio HDMI way; 2) S/PDIF coaxial; 3) toslink and 4) AES/EBU.
The upshot? The Evo DDC can be used as either USB converter or S/PDIF reclocker with optional sample-rate conversion selectable via the front panel or supplied remote control.
Alternatively, the Evo Clock Two can be introduced as an optional add-on for outboard word- and master-clock provision, thus lowering jitter still further. An optical link between Evo DDC and Evo Clock keeps the latter informed of the required clock frequency (aka sample rate). Alternatively, said sample rate can be manually specified via the up/down buttons on the Evo Clock Two’s front panel. No remote control functionality here though.
Inside the Evo Clock Two, “High stability and low phase noise TCXO’s are routed and divided by a highest precision clock conditioner generally used for digital data transmission over satellite links.” This clocking data is then returned to the Evo DDC over 75 Ohm BNC (presumably to reduce the incidence of interface-induced jitter).
Of course, the Evo Clock Two can be used with any DAC or DDC with a clock data input socket – hello Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC.
For power, the Evo DDC Two can run on the 5V spilling from a host computer’s USB bus; that’ll get you up and running. However, consumer grade USB power provision is notoriously noisy – a problem not entirely mitigated by powering the DDC Two via the supplied SMPS wall-wart and mandatory for a S/PDIF feed (which carries no power).
Here, m2Tech have (ahem) power users covered. Lowering the DDC’s electrical noise infection is the third box in the Evo range, the Supply Two.
Mains power goes into the Evo Supply Two and a trio of clean(er) 9V lines come out, about which m2Tech says, “The three outputs deliver clean current from a low noise, discrete components regulator. Overcurrent protection is included on each output.”
The Evo Clock Two also gets a look-in here. Out of the box it takes go-juice direct from the wall via a SMPS but introduced to the Evo Supply Two it too can benefit from its reportedly lower power noise levels, oh so important to the timing accuracy and stability of its internal clocks.
Three power outputs but only two Evo peripherals? There’s an Evo headphone (‘Headphone driver’) amplifier reportedly coming down the pike.
Not that size is especially critical in this most rarified of digital audio territories but each of the second generation Evo units arrives in a desktop-friendly form factor (105mm x 48m x100mm). Chassis are made from aluminium with the front panel conforming to modern brushed trends.
Pricing comes in at €499 per box.
Further information: m2Tech