A homegrown streamer… that’s always nice to see. A streamer from Grimm Audio… even more beautiful, because that is almost a guarantee for very high quality reproduction. And in the case of the Grimm Audio MU-1: also a very high quality finish. What a beauty. But we’re ahead of the game. First, let’s see what the MU-1 is.
The Grimm Audio MU-1 is a development by Grimm Audio with a few external parties. For the optical design, for example, help was called in from an industrial designer and the software and DSP programming were co-developed. (It’s in a separate FPGA, on a separate board.).
But the print designs, clocking, low-noise power supply and of course the project management and strategic choices… that has been handled by Grimm. It’s no sinecure, we understand.
What’s the MU-1?
The Grimm Audio MU-1 is a streaming bridge. For ROON to be exact. Now it’s also running ROON server. Two in one so to say. But back to the bridge: that’s a streamer without dac. There will also be a MU-2 and a MU-3. The ‘2’ has a dac, the ‘3’ also has amplifiers. So there’s gonna be some kind of all-in-one. And yes: the next step: the MU-X in an LS1? LS2? Who knows?
What makes the MU-1 special?
We asked this question directly to Eelco Grimm (see the video). According to Eelco Grimm, the MU-1 is special because of its extreme precision. The DSP and samplerate conversion is so good that it is not audible. In fact, it can improve the flow of music. Partly because some dacs work better on a specific sample rate. By converting everything in such cases, the final display will be better.
But if you are going to convert (both in samplingrate, and sometimes in size; pcm to dsd, or vice versa), it has to be done very well. If that doesn’t happen quite right, it will always be at the expense of playback. The mission at the MU-1 (and MU-2 and MU-3) was to do this extremely precisely. Tricky… because in cases like that, everything plays a role. From the power supply, to the clocking, to the last resistance.
In terms of connections, the MU-1 of course only has digital connections: AES, spdif, optical, usb (for usb-sticks, hard writing and ssd’s with music), ethernet and … a coaxial antenna input. Quirky!
Price and availability
The Grimm Audio MU-1 will cost about 9995 euros. That might take a little swallowing. But if you realise that – according to Grimm – this is the best streamer in the world, and then look at the competitors, it’s still reasonable. And it sets high expectations…