DAC Reviews

MICROMEGA M-ONE 150 Review: Life on M.A.R.S.?

MICROMEGA M-ONE 150 Review: Life on M.A.R.S.?

Martin Pipe will get to grips with French agency Micromega’s M-One 150, an upmarket ‘all-in-one’.

Micromega’s M-One 150 machined aluminium case has a low profile, with vibrant monochrome shows set into the entrance and prime panels. Inside sits 150 Watts per channel of Class A/B amplification supported by twin switch-mode energy provides; the amp will get heat in use.

Inside its modest dimensions, Micromega has managed to cram in a reasonably spectacular array of options.

A CD transport could also be absent, however the M-One 150 is endowed with a phono stage that handles MM or MC cartridges, line inputs (XLR and phono), three digital inputs (coaxial, optical and AES/EBU), a USB port for pc DAC use, Bluetooth and an Ethernet connection that permits the unit to play music saved on networked units.

The M-One 150 is suitable with DSD (as excessive as 11.2MHz,or DSD256) in addition to PCM (all the best way to 32bit/768kHz) materials.

A three.5mm rear socket accepts the enter from a provided microphone.

It’s related to an internally- developed M.A.R.S. (Micromega Acoustic Room System) RoomEQ function that, along with greater energy output, delineates the M-One 150 from its physically-identical M- One 100 brother. To offer digital room equalisation all alerts, together with analogue inputs, are transformed to digital via an ADC, a system utilized in home-cinema AV receivers, Micromega’s RoomEQ perform being comparable in the best way it’s arrange.

Additionally on the M-One 150’s busy rear panel – which isn’t labelled – is a pair of USB sockets, however they’re just for replace functions and may’t play music contained on storage media. There are additionally two HDMI sockets – however these are proprietary I2S digital audio hyperlinks for different Micromega gear.

The M-One 150 can drive an lively subwoofer and in addition has preamp outputs, which lurk in balanced XLR type between the loudspeaker binding-posts. There’s a barely-visible front-panel three.5mm headphone socket that – with but extra Micromega magic – might be given a binaural sheen.

Utilizing the M-One 150 is straightforward sufficient, though the tiny buttons

Plenty of connections, arranged into logical groups. They are however awkward to get to, being recessed and bunched together. Furthermore, they’re not labelled - and Micromega has used HDMI-type connectors for its incompatible I2S digital inputs.Plenty of connections, arranged into logical groups. They are however awkward to get to, being recessed and bunched together. Furthermore, they’re not labelled - and Micromega has used HDMI-type connectors for its incompatible I2S digital inputs.

Loads of connections, organized into logical teams. They’re nevertheless awkward to get to, being recessed and bunched collectively. Moreover, they’re not labelled – and Micromega has used HDMI-type connectors for its incompatible I2S digital inputs.

of the slab-like distant management handset solely cowl enter choice, quantity, muting, what info is displayed – and standby. Setup features require buttons which are set into the highest of the unit, on both aspect of the show. There’s nevertheless the Micromega M-One app (Android/iOS), which is straightforward however efficient – and, in my case, important because the M-One 150 distant occurred to function my Cambridge CXN v2 streamer too!

SOUND QUALITY

I partnered the M-One 150 with Quadral Aurum Wotan VIII ‘audio system, a Rega Planar three/RB300/Bias vinyl combo, the aforementioned Cambridge CXN v2 and a community on which additionally dwelled a Synology NAS containing music. Neither the M-One 150 nor the M-One app make provision for choosing music from such repositories. As an alternative, you must use a separate uPnP app – I used the freely-available BubbleUPnP – to ‘push’ music to the M-One 150

Some of the M-150’s internal operating system (’firmware’) can be upgraded over the network. Updating the core firmware - which we tried in a last-ditch attempt to get M.A.R.S. working on the review sample - involves copying the downloaded file to a USB stick. This is transported to one of the M-150’s rear-panel USB ports.Some of the M-150’s internal operating system (’firmware’) can be upgraded over the network. Updating the core firmware - which we tried in a last-ditch attempt to get M.A.R.S. working on the review sample - involves copying the downloaded file to a USB stick. This is transported to one of the M-150’s rear-panel USB ports.

A number of the M-150’s inner working system (’firmware’) may be upgraded over the community. Updating the core firmware – which we tried in a last-ditch try and get M.A.R.S. engaged on the assessment pattern – includes copying the downloaded file to a USB stick. That is transported to one of many M-150’s rear-panel USB ports.

(described by the app as a ‘native Tenderer’).

This combo labored effective with MP3, CD-derived FLAC and hello­res 24-bit PCM materials, however DSD tracks launched to the M-One 150 by way of the uPnP community route have been flagged on the front-panel as ‘ 192kHz (PCM) and both stuttered or refused to play outright – a ‘community’ firmware replace, carried out over an internet interface, made no distinction (transcoding was switched off on my media server). Might it’s that DSD is unique to the USB port (Home windows drivers from the Micromega web site)?

One other drawback I had associated to M.A.R.S. I couldn’t get it to work in any respect. The REQ choice wasn’t there on our review-sample. Updating the firmware didn’t assist. A disgrace, as I used to be wanting ahead to evaluating the distinction in sound presentation that it makes.

Even with out M.A.R.S. although, the M-One 150 has at its core the idea of a really succesful music reproducer. CD-sourced FLACs and hi-res PCM information streamed to the ‘LAN’ enter have been very credible certainly. Born Beneath Punches (The Warmth Goes On) from Speaking Heads’ Stay in Mild sounded very important and appropriately-driven, thereby doing justice to the complicated polyrhythms contributed by Chris Frantz. There was nonetheless loads of room for different parts – Tina Weymouth’s basswork was punchy but tuneful,

Micromega’s remote handset has an excel- lent range and is machined from a solid block of aluminium. The buttons are tiny and can’t access certain functions - setup- related ones, for example. They are at least labelled, though. An alternative is Micromega’s free M-One app for Android or iOS - you’ll need a smartphone with DLNA app, if you want to try the M-One 150's worthwhile network playback.Micromega’s remote handset has an excel- lent range and is machined from a solid block of aluminium. The buttons are tiny and can’t access certain functions - setup- related ones, for example. They are at least labelled, though. An alternative is Micromega’s free M-One app for Android or iOS - you’ll need a smartphone with DLNA app, if you want to try the M-One 150's worthwhile network playback.

Micromega’s distant handset has an excel- lent vary and is machined from a strong block of aluminium. The buttons are tiny and may’t entry sure features – setup- associated ones, for instance. They’re no less than labelled, although. An alternate is Micromega’s free M-One app for Android or iOS – you’ll want a smartphone with DLNA app, if you wish to attempt the M-One 150’s worthwhile community playback.

whereas the sterling efforts of vocalist David Byrne misplaced nothing when it comes to their distinctive character and supply.

A capability to convey environment, depth and natural tonality additionally made the electronica of Mogwai’s Remurdered (Rave Tapes, 24/96) a pleasure to take heed to.

One in every of my favorite classical recordings of current years, conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the London Symphony Orchestra performing Britten’s Struggle Requiem (24bit) was rendered with a naturally-expansive stereo picture. The daring dynamics of this brooding piece fall properly inside the M-One 150’s capabilities, but the subtleties – low-level devices, and particular person singers inside the Eltham School Choir and London Symphony Refrain, could possibly be singled out.

Bluetooth might lack the last word constancy, however it’s straightforward to make use of and has sensible (i.e. celebration) ‘sound reinforcement’ purposes.

And analogue? Preliminary vinyl listening was marred by a faint ‘buzzing’ that wasn’t right down to any earth loop. A lot head-scratching adopted, till the turntable was moved away from the M-One 150.1 then received clear and detailed playback of my LPs. There I discovered that the bass synth of Kool and the Gang’s Road Youngsters could also be tight, however lacks impression.

Nevertheless, on the different finish of the size the tracks brass parts don’t lack chew. Subsequent got here Mike Oldfield’s

This condenser microphone, complete with tripod, is an essential element of the M.A.R.S. (Micromega Acoustic Room System) RoomEQ feature that is built into the M-One 150. Unfortunately, M.A.R.S. didn’t work on our review sample.This condenser microphone, complete with tripod, is an essential element of the M.A.R.S. (Micromega Acoustic Room System) RoomEQ feature that is built into the M-One 150. Unfortunately, M.A.R.S. didn’t work on our review sample.

This condenser microphone, full with tripod, is a vital component of the M.A.R.S. (Micromega Acoustic Room System) RoomEQ function that’s constructed into the M-One 150. Sadly, M.A.R.S. didn’t work on our assessment pattern.

Ommadawn, and right here the M-One 150 got here throughout as insightful; I might make out the person instrumental layers that Oldfield had so rigorously assembled.

CONCLUSION

On the entire, the M-One 150 has a lot to advocate it – I can think about that my issues with M.A.R.S. and DSD playback have been right down to points with our early and seemingly incomplete assessment pattern; if not, maybe firmware updates will save the day. There are some annoyances – for instance, top-mounted buttons and a scarcity of labelling – however they’re greater than outweighed by a strong and energetic efficiency and a selection of smart options.

NOEL SAYS –

Our Globe score assumes the assessment product is an unrepresentative early pattern, M.A.R.S. RoomEQ being avail­in a position and efficient in remaining manufacturing.

MEASURED PERFORMANCE

The Micromega M-One 150 measured 162 Watts into eight Ohms and 290 Watts into four Ohms – simply above that quoted. Damping issue was 49. It’s highly effective and can ship managed bass.

Distortion was low at zero.01% from low energy to full energy (1kHz), into four Ohm and eight Ohm masses (by way of Line in). At 10kHz, 1 Watt (a measurement of crossover distortion) the determine was once more low at zero.02% – as our evaluation exhibits.

The M-One is a low distortion design.

Frequency response (Line in) measured flat from a low 2Hz as much as 30kHz into eight Ohms and four Ohms, chopping off sharply at 48kHz, our evaluation exhibits, on account of 96kHz pattern fee inner processing.

Enter sensitivity was very low, 1.7V for unbalanced enter the place zero.3V is widespread, and 1.6V for balanced (XLR socket) inputs, with Sensitivity set at 0dB. Setting Sensitivity to -f 6dB made no distinction, so no additional achieve is on the market, however setting to -6dB halved achieve – this perform didn’t work correctly on our pattern.

These inputs go well with silver disc gamers solely (2V output), not low achieve exterior Phono levels or such like. Enter overload margins have been low for CD, measuring 1.8V the place 2V is required and three.5V at XLR socket line in the place 4V is required.

Measuring the ADC-DAC loop from XLR in to XLR (Preamp) out, at -60dB in (three.5mV), EIAJ Dynamic Vary was a good 105dB. Distortion was low at zero.12%, making this a comparatively top quality digital conversion system, albeit of 48kHz bandwidth.

Frequency response of the Phono stage was dominated by an IEC warp filter that rolled off achieve under 80Hz, measuring -1 dB at 50Hz, on each MM and MC. That is extreme, not often used as a result of it audibly lightens bass from LP.

Sensitivity of MM was very low at 15mV (5mV is regular) and overload simply passable at 32mV; equally MC was low: 1.6mV and 3mV. Low achieve provides low typical noise figures relative to full output (MM -93dB, MC -82dB) however equal enter noise (ein) of zero.three muyV for MM and zero.12 muy V for MC have been good if unexceptional. Hiss isn’t a problem; the phono stage is comparatively quiet.

The electrical (co-axial) and optical digital inputs (S/PDIF) each accepted 192kHz pattern price PCM, frequency response measuring flat to 30kHz (- 1 dB) earlier than roll off to a pointy 43kHz restrict. Distortion from 24/96 hi-res PCM measured a fairly low zero.04% (CD zero.22%) while EIAJ Dynamic Vary was on the low aspect at 114dB with 24bit the place 115dB or higher is widespread. The balanced AES/EBU XLR-socket enter gave similar outcomes to optical and electrical (coaxial) inputs. The digital efficiency was unexceptional.

The M-One has limitations, together with very low enter sensitivities (low achieve), low overload margins and a phono stage with weak bass. Digital dynamic vary was mediocre and RoomEQ unavailable for measurement on our pattern. Enchancment is required.

AMPLIFIER

Energy                                         162W

Frequency response (-1 dB)

2Hz-30kHz

Distortion (10kHz, 1W)            zero.02%

Separation (1kHz)                      94dB

GOOD – value auditioning.

VERDICT

6 Complete Rating

Potent package deal spoilt by sillies.

PROS

  • highly effective but refined
  • covers all key sources
  • analogue and digital
  • versatile and pleasant

CONS

  • vinyl replay lacks slam
  • prime mounted ‘dust-trap’ controls and mini distant buttons
  • rear-panel socketry bunched and unlabelled
Consumer Score: Be the primary one!

The place to purchase?

SCV London (UK distributor) +44 (zero)3301 222500 www.scvdistribution.co.uk

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