Grimm MU1 Streamer - Really "The Best"?


I've recently become interested in the Grimm MU1.  While reviews of top end players from Innuos, Aurender and Antipodes and others are typically all very positive, the tone of the many pro reviews of the Grimm MU1 go far, far beyond, with some reviews resorting to using superlatives and gushing of positive system transformation and not being able to stop listening to material, etc..  HiFi Advice and Steve Huff (actually calls it "magic") have such reviews.

Given the delay in availability of the Innuos Pulsar which I'm told will be better than my current Zenith Mk3 + PhoenixUSB reclocker, I am interested in replacing my streaming setup with a one-box solution that includes a high-precision clock.  The new streamer will continue to feed my Gryphon Diablo 300's DAC module, which I have no interest in replacing.

I'm actually a fan of Innuos, after they improved the sound of my Zenith with firmware updates and after I added their PhoenixUSB reclocker. I appreciate this commitment to improving sound quality which is why I was so interested in the Pulsar.

The trigger for considering an upgrade is not for improved sound, but rather, to solve some issues I have with too many Audioquest power cords coiled and clumped together. I will get to lose one of them and one of my USB cords with a one-box streamer. I've noticed my sound is very sensitive to positioning of my AC cords and find I often need to re-adjust the PC feeding my amp to get proper sounding vocals at center stage.  One of my subs also seems to be picking up AC noise when the crossover is set above 60Hz. The second trigger is simply system simplification, removing one box.  All that said I don't really have any complaints regarding sound, and the PhoenixUSB reclocker truly did improve the sound of my Zenith.

While the Grimm MU1 has it's 4X upsampling up it's sleeve with reviewers absolutely glowing over this feature and it's extreme ability to separate tones to the left, right, front, and back far better than the rest, I don't see that Grimm has gone to any lengths with regard to power supply management in the way other brands do including Innuos. The MU1's ultra-simplistic interior doesn't bug me, but the lack of transformers and power management makes me wonder....

Are there any updates from folks who have directly compared the MU1 vs similarly classed streamers from the competition?  Did you find it to be as revelatory as the pro reviewers found it? And, how does it compare to other streamers with it's 4X upsampling disabled?  Does it sound like it suffers from it's lack of power management?  I do see that the clock should be very good...

 

 

nyev

@johnah5 - could not agree more.  I wish I had a dime every time I heard these statements.  In the NYC area we have heard so much gear and we all scratch our heads every time someone brings a unit of some kind by for a listen and walks away with nothing special.  Plenty of dealers and reviews also.

 

Happy Listening.

i am 73 so my hearing is going.  no point in spending $10000 on a streamer.  the Node 2i is just fine.

@malibu457

but for those still able to hear….there are levels of magnitude more performance available. If you are saying I shouldnt spend more money on an Aurender, Taiko or Grimm because you can’t hear the difference….I guess I would have to disagree with your premise. The Node is a fine streamer and if it meets your qualitative threshold, thats awesome.

what do you get specifically for the extra $9500? and can a streamed file compete with say a hi-res download from Presto music?

I think my experience adding the PhoenixUSB Reclocker to my Innuos Zenith might be a good example of how your streaming performance can be upgraded with more investment. In my case it added precision in the sense of greater focus and clarity for individual sounds, soundstage depth and cleaner separation, and overall more well defined positioning of sounds. It’s not a small difference. I’m hoping that the Grimm MU1 will level these and other qualities up yet again, but the jury is out on that one until I get my unit in my system and broken in. I’ve also realized that I’m seeking a flatter frequency response in the bass and midrange, than my current DAC module seems to offer (coloration is boosted bass or recessed mids - not entirely sure which, or if it matters as it’s relative).  I’m not sure the MU1 will address that issue, as my testing of the outboard Merason DAC 1 seems to address the tonal issues, while being less resolving than my much more pricey Gryphon DAC (albeit with basic RCA cables that limit the DAC1’s performance until I get my new cables in)..

I’ve often wondered about my hearing. Tested about 5 years back, and my higher frequency sensitivity is going down, but nothing that is out of step and normal for my age. Maybe that’s the reason I no longer struggle with “brightness” in my system…. But I doubt it!

I was encouraged when I read that Dave Grohl was stating how he is totally deaf and can’t even communicate when he is at the checkout of a supermarket or out at a dinner in a restaurant. Here is the part I was encouraged by:

"My ears are still tuned in to certain frequencies, and if I hear something that’s slightly out of tune, or a cymbal that’s not bright enough or something like that, in the mix, I can f—ing hear the minutiae of everything that we have done to that song; I really can,"

Which maybe not saying much given their music, but that’s probably mean and unfair of me to say!