MC = Music Culture Technology
I ended Day 1 of RMAF with my first visit ever to the MC room. Although the MC-501A CD/USB player ($3995) and MC-701 integrated amplifier ($4595) were initially driving MC’s RL-21 loudspeakers ($3495/pair) too loud, generating an unwelcome host of small room interactions, the system did an exceptional job, at more realistic volume, playing a recording of a traditional jazz trio. Not only did the music sound very alive and in the moment, but the piano also had a special illumined quality absent from many systems that cost far more than this one.
After learning that the system was wired with Synergistic Research’s Basik Active SE line, and included a Synergistic Research Power Cell 4SE, I had an opportunity to test the MC-501A by comparing the sound on CD of Diana Krall singing “Jimmy”not JimmyR, just Jimmyto the sound of my own USB stick burn of a CD transfer of soprano Eileen Farrell’s analog recording of an aria from Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. (People familiar with both artists may raise at least one eyebrow, but there you have it.) I’m not sure why, but the DK track sounded far more alive and compelling until, just as I was about to leave, upsampling was engaged on the USB’s EF burn. At that point, it too came alive.
I would have liked to have been able to stay for more comparisons, but it was just about 6pm, and the show was shutting down. Acknowledging how much I had enjoyed the sound in MC’s room, thoughts turned to how wonderful it would feel to take a pre-dinner nap.