Cutie CLiC - Got mine

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
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Ok 24 hrs review:

So I got a message from distributor that the unit has arrived to Malaysian shores on Monday 11th July. So collected the unit the next day. Only 6 units were brought in the first batch which I have booked mine since last year


Came home and immediately set it up into my system. Of course, being my normal lazy self, didnt bother with the manual reading.

What's included?

1. The unit itself
2. 3 pin plug power cable
3. Wifi antenna with extension cable
4. Network cable
5. Manual and warranty card
6. Personalised letter from Anthony Michaelson

Built

The unit is similar to the other M series. Although putting it side by side with M1 DAC, it looks slightly higher. I love the black granite finishing. Adds a sense of class.

Its a compact unit which weighs next to nothing. Very light but sturdily built.

The screen, to me is just the right size where contents can be easily read through.

The power button is of soft touch nature. Press it and the unit will be on standby mode for 10 seconds before it boots up.

Remote: Aaaaahhh this is a bit sad. The remote, although feature packed, feels a bit el cheapo. It reminds me to one of my old VCD player 15 years back that cost 20 quid. The unit can only be operated by remote control, so dont loose it.

Whats the buzz all about?

This unit is an ALL IN ONE digital (7 inputs) and analogue (3 inputs) preamp, music streamer and internet radio. Once connected to the network (wireless or wired), it can detect your stored digital music (and pics) and details will come out on the screen. You can then choose and control your music using the remote.

Inputs:
1. 2 coax input
2. 1 optical input
3. 1 USB input
4. 1 USB/iPod interface input
5. 3 RCA analogue input

For output:

1. 1 pair RCA variable pre out. Can connect direct to power amp and use the CLiC to control volume

2. 1 pair of RCA fixed out. Can connect to any input on your integrated amp/another pre amp.

How does it fair with the claim above?

Connectivity - Superb. I tested the whole day with wireless connectivity. My wifi route is downstairs and this unit is in my hifi room upstairs. It can detect the signal easily. Only 2 bars on the signal icon though. Keying in my wifi password was easy. The remote comes with mobile phone-like keys. Repetitive pressing on button to select the alphabet.number you want. I only had to set it up once and voila, within 5 seconds, its fully connected to my network.

First, I scrolled to media server on the CLiC and found my NAS with over 8000 digital files. All grouped to usual Tracks, Artist, Albums, Genres etc. Next I booted up my laptop, and again within a few seconds after the laptop has been booted up, the CLiC detected it.
For my iMac however, it could not as I have not installed a Twonky Media.

Next I tried the connectivity for internet radio. It automatic goes to Malaysia directory and found 6 stations. Tested all of them within a span of 30 mins and no signal dropout at all. However, these are not the most famous local radio stations. So tried with London and US radio stations. Again, no issues of drop out signals at all.

How about connectivity to iPod/iPhone?

So I took one of my Apple docks and connected the Apple provided USB/iPod cable to the CLiC. The USB/iPod connection is not interchangable with front USB connection.

But, it could not detect my iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS. A note came out on my iPhone saying 'Could not operate 2 connections' or something like that. Ahhhhh this is when I started to open up the manual hehehehe.

Sooooo, I cannot connect it to a dock. Thats what went wrong. It can only be connected directly to the iPhone/iPod. reason being, the dock also have its own remote. Thats why the note came out cannot operate 2 connections.

Once I connected the iPhone directly to CLiC, it detected all my the songs on it and also the playlist within seconds. Its just then a matter of choosing the music you want using the remote.

On the screen, the song, album and artist is shown together with and also any picture/art cover attached to the song. It can be easily readable from about 3 to 4 feet away.

How about the other features?

1. I tested one of the coax connection using my Wadia 170i transport. It definitely produced a different sound compared to my previous connection via MF X-DAC that does not upsample. The sound is also different compared to the direct digital connection to iPhone. Definitely more uplifiting and airy I would say.

2. Also connected my BRIK Audio BT stage to one of the analogue connection. It does inject a sense warm and mellowness to the music.

The listening session

I connected the CLiC unit to my M6i using the fixed output with Cambridge Audio IC.

Now that everything has been set up, its time to play the music.

I first tried the digital files I have on my NAS which most of them are ripped to either 320kbps MP3s at 48kHz or Apple Lossles. I also have a few FLAC files.

This is where the CLiC really excels. These digital files which previously was played via Airport Express fed into my old but trustworthy MF X-DAC, sound very very alive. The presence of tracks played was definitely more involving.

Changing tracks manually in shuffle mode will take about a 2 seconds pause. But if you just leave the unit to shuffle on its own, there is no gap in between changing tracks.

It can also handle all the types of files listed above with no issues.

I am not comparing these with CD player SQ as it is different approach to music. I love the idea of accessing all my digital files with ease and without the need of turning on the PC/laptop.

One improvement that I would suggest is for the unit to show the rate of the signal coming through, similar to the M1 DAC.

I dont have much comparison to other similar units. The ones I can think of are Bryston and Olive. I have listened to both. IMHO the CLiC provides the most flexibility, multiple format adaptiveness and its feature packed. For that price, I didnt think twice to pre-ordered it since last year.

Now, where is that credit card of mine?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi El Hefe, I'm thinking to buy Clic. But I want to use as standalone unit without network connection (only USB hard drive). However I found a German review where listed the USB connection has a limitation: Clic can play music files with 16bit/48khz as maximum via USB. Can you please check/confirm this?
 

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
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Hi ugyes,

I think you got it the other way round. Its the rear iPod USB port is limited to 16 bit/48kHz. The front USB is up to 24 bit/192 kHz.
 

Singslinger

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Jul 31, 2010
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Great review - thanks for posting!

PS If I'm not mistaken, the Bryston player is really a digital transport (running Linux software) that requires a separate DAC, which means it's significantly more expensive than the Clic because you need two boxes...
 

crusaderlord

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Apr 29, 2008
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The Clic looks like a great piece of kit - just wondered if you were running it through the M1 DAC or whether the DAC in the Clic matches up on its own and makes the M1 superflouous to requirements. I find the M1 Dac is superb so the Clic is tempting but then it wont add that much for me as i find the wadia 170i plus M1 Dac sounds excellent and gives me internet radio and ipod usage anyway. Does this mean you dont need the wadia dock any more i wonder ?
 

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
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crusaderlord said:
The Clic looks like a great piece of kit - just wondered if you were running it through the M1 DAC or whether the DAC in the Clic matches up on its own and makes the M1 superflouous to requirements. I find the M1 Dac is superb so the Clic is tempting but then it wont add that much for me as i find the wadia 170i plus M1 Dac sounds excellent and gives me internet radio and ipod usage anyway. Does this mean you dont need the wadia dock any more i wonder ?
One of my contemplation indeed. CLiC DAC topography is similar to M1. Before purchasing the CLiC, my Wadia is connected to my old MF X-DAC which was aready giving good sound. I use my M1 with my CDP, MDP and Laptop.

I think the question for me is more:

1. For iPod - which one sounds better - Wadia+CLiC via Coax or Direct iPod over USB connection? Given the latter is limited to 48 kHz, not sure whether I want to use that connection. But, the files on iPod/iPhone is at 48 kHz max anyway.

2. For CDP and MDP - by right, connecting them to CLiC should give the similar SQ but, I do like the XLR connection on the M1 DAC which injects a certain balanced and transparent characteristics.

No rush....will take my time enjoying the music.
 

crusaderlord

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Apr 29, 2008
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Yes using the balanced M1 Dac connections would sound worthwhile if you have that option. I think i have to accept that while i want a Clic i dont really need one - the Wadia plus M1 DAC enables me to play all my PC based music via the itouch anyway and also i get internet also via the dock. My main source is CD - it would only make sense if i ever want to rip all my CD to a NAS - but in fact i dont really. Another question for you is your thoughts on the M6i - i dont know what else you have had as an amplifier but this is also on my list to try if i ever feel my Arcam needs updating.
Finally i wonder if you upgraded the wadia power supply - i recently bought a Russ Andrews supply upgrade and classic mains cable and i felt it really made an improvement to bass and vocals - worth a try under a guarantee money back anyway.
 

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
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Crusaderlord,

The only problem I have with Wadia is to choose the song. Cant really do it with the remote except to just change tracks. Now with CLiC, all the songs are clearly displayed similar to the one on the iPhone.

On M6i, I must say its another well worth MF gear that I have purchased. I only have experience with Marantz and MF amps where for the past 11 years, I was using MF X-A1 and X-A50 monoblocks. Never really went into any other amps.

Before purchasing the M6i, I comapred it M3i as well. And I do think the extra dough on M6i is worth every penny.

My reviews below:

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/musical-fidelity-m3i-integrated-amplifier-review

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/musical-fidelity-m6i-integrated-amplifier-review

Aaahhhh I have not tried upgrading the power supply on Wadia. I am not sure whether Russ extends the money back guarantee to international buyers.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the review. I'm also looking forward to reading Andrew's review in Gramophone.

I have a question though about this unit. I currently play Spotify / iTunes through my Airport Express which is connected to my MF Tri-Vista DAC, controlled via either my iphone or ipad. The only weakness I can see here is the connection between the Airport Express and the DAC (the audio out on the Airport Express could not be described as top quality).

What would I get if I considered something like the MF CLiC? Would it just be the screen on the unit showing what is playing? Would I still be able to use Airplay from my iphone and ipad?

Any help much appreciated!

Ed
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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EdJ said:
I'm also looking forward to reading Andrew's review in Gramophone.
Thanks, but you may have to be patient: the Gramophone review will be in the Awards issue, which IIRC is on sale on October 6.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Andrew Everard said:
EdJ said:
I'm also looking forward to reading Andrew's review in Gramophone.
Thanks, but you may have to be patient: the Gramophone review will be in the Awards issue, which IIRC is on sale on October 6.
Thanks for managing my expectations! Enjoyed your review of the Naim product in this month's issue, although the same question applies really. Would I still need to use an Airport Express to play music directly from my iphone or ipad?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Andrew Everard said:
EdJ said:
I'm also looking forward to reading Andrew's review in Gramophone.
Thanks, but you may have to be patient: the Gramophone review will be in the Awards issue, which IIRC is on sale on October 6.
Thanks for managing my expectations! Enjoyed your review of the Naim product in this month's issue, although the same question applies really. Would I still need to use an Airport Express to play music directly from my iphone or ipad?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Andrew Everard said:
EdJ said:
I'm also looking forward to reading Andrew's review in Gramophone.
Thanks, but you may have to be patient: the Gramophone review will be in the Awards issue, which IIRC is on sale on October 6.
Thanks for managing my expectations! Enjoyed your review of the Naim product in this month's issue, although the same question applies really. Would I still need to use an Airport Express to play music directly from my iphone or ipad?
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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No: either the Naim or the Musical Fidelity will give a direct digital connection to the iPhone or iPad using a standard USB dock connector cable.
 

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
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EdJ,

Airplay cannot be connected to CLiC (well at least for now). Once the CLiC is connected to your network and if your music is on your PC, it will detect the files even without opening your iTunes. This is if you are running on Windows. If Mac, need Twonky Media. Then you can control and choose music directly from the CLiC. Dont need iPhone or iPad.

This CLiC feature is very useful for hi res music. If you have ripped your music to FLAC etc. If you ripped it to 320kbps, 48kHz MP3s or Apple Lossless, then you might not benefit much from the hi res streaming capabilities of the CLiC.

And like Andrew mentioned, your music on iPhone or iPad, can be digitally connected straight to CLiC, bypassing the onboard DAC of iPhone and let CLiC DAC do the precessing.
 

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
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Wow...MF really hit it big this time. Just found out that they won EISA award for Network Music PLayer 2011-12. I wonder how did they carry out the evaluation and against what other players.
 

Andrew Everard

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El Hefe said:
Wow...MF really hit it big this time. Just found out that they won EISA award for Network Music PLayer 2011-12. I wonder how did they carry out the evaluation and against what other players.
Such matters are a source of constant wonder for seasoned EISA-watchers...
 

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
259
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18,895
Andrew Everard said:
El Hefe said:
Wow...MF really hit it big this time. Just found out that they won EISA award for Network Music PLayer 2011-12. I wonder how did they carry out the evaluation and against what other players.
Such matters are a source of constant wonder for seasoned EISA-watchers...
And I too shall continue to wonder.........:rofl:
 

El Hefe

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Jun 21, 2008
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Musical Fidelity have just released a software/firmware update for the CLiC. Quoted from their website:

An important feature of the M1 CLiC, is the internet software update. Periodically, we add extra features and enhancements to the M1 CLiC and it is important to regularly check for available updates.
The current available update improves FLAC performance and better quality album artwork and display, as well as general performance and operational improvements. Please consult your manual or dealer for instructions on how to download the update.


So, being curious on 'how a software improves FLAC playback' I downloaded it over Xmas weekend and updated the machine.

But not before I listen and listen and listen again the FLAC files I have...mainly Ella Fitz, Louis, Stan Getz, Metallica, Eagles and Nirvana.

Once I have updated the machine, I rebooted it and replayed the songs by the above artists. And whats the verdict?

YES. Software makes a DIFFERENT. Not necessarily improves but I can hear some emphasise on low end which makes it unbalanced on certain tracks especially on Stan Getz.

What software was updated on the CLiC? I dont know. No details were given.

So, who among all the digital masters here can explain this?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi to everybody !

I consider changing my Meridian equipment ( 561 + 500 ). One idea was to buy M1CLIC. On net I found that DAC is almost the same like in M1DAC, but....

I didn’t find any data about USB DAC INPUT on M1CLIC, is it Asynchronous or no ?

Thanks in advance !
 

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