Wyred 4 Sound Mini MC 7 Channel Amplifier Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 1 Old 03-02-11, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Wyred 4 Sound Mini MC 7 Channel Amplifier Review

Wyred 4 Sound Mini MC 7 Channel (MMC-7) Amplifier Review



Though not quite as well-known as companies like Rotel or Parasound, Wyred 4 Sound is a fast growing name in the audio industry, and for good reason. EJ Sarmento, founder of Wyred 4 Sound, hails with a background at Cullen Circuits where he started as an assembler and eventually moved up as production manager. During his time working at Cullen Circuits EJ proceeded to attend night classes in order to study electronics while still maintaining a busy work schedule. During this period EJ began to design a small amplifier based upon the ICEpower modules originally developed by Bang & Olufsen. From these humble beginnings, Wyred 4 Sound was born and began to grow.

If you follow the online AV community, Wyred 4 Sound customers are a vocal bunch having found their personal amp nirvana at such a reasonable price. With much critical acclaim accompanying their earlier products, I was pleased to be given the opportunity to review the Wyred 4 Sound Mini MC 7 Channel or MMC-7 amplifier. The MMC-7 is compact measuring in at 17"W and 13"D with a height of only 4". The amp has a multi-mono design and features fully balanced operation from input to output. Thanks to the ultra-efficient Class D ICEpower amplification used, the MMC-7 can pump out 221W per channel at 8 Ohms and 368W per channel at 4 Ohms with a THD of 0.2%. With an efficiency of 80% at 4 Ohms and 86.4% at 8 Ohms, the amplifier also runs extremely cool for its power output and the size of the chassis. After running non-stop for over 8 hours at fairly high volume the unit remains only warm to the touch.

Another excellent design feature incorporated into the MMC-7 is an input impedance of 60.4kOhms, which allows a much greater range of preamplifiers due to the ease of driving the amp. Founder EJ Sarmento approached the design of the Mini MC series of amps with one goal in mind - to bring high quality multi-channel amplification to the home theater market at a great price point. This is not to say that the MiniMC doesn't deliver great music performance, I was astonished by the neutral, uncolored and powerful sound this little amp could produce. The multi-mono design used in the MiniMC means that each channel is entirely discreet from input to output. The MMC-7 also features separate balanced and unbalanced inputs on the rear of the unit for each channel which are easily selected by flipping a switch. Every component of the MMC-7 demonstrates careful design, from the layout of the inputs and binding posts on the rear to the sleek chassis.


The Review System:

I was fortunate to have a complete 5.1 system on loan from Paradigm for review when the MMC-7 arrived. The system consisted of the following:

Mains: Paradigm Signature S6
Center: Paradigm Signature C3
Surrounds: Paradigm Signature ADP3
Sub: Paradigm SUB1


Interconnects: BlueJeansCable BJC LC-1 Multi-Channel Audio Cables
Pre/Pro: Onkyo TX-SR805
Sources: Sony Playstation 3, HTPC

The room used for the review measures in at 11x15 and is treated with bass traps and acoustic panels throughout. The system was calibrated using XTZ Room Analyzer, RoomEQWizard, and Audyssey MultiEQ XT.

The Results:

After getting the MMC-7 situated in my rack and spending a good dozen hours getting the new review system dialed in, I decided to start some burn-in. I allowed the Paradigm's and the MMC to burn in for about 5 days at moderate volume before critical listening began. After listening to the Paradigm's directly powered by the AVR for about a week, I connected the MMC-7. Firstly, the MMC-7 produces zero hiss or hum, this amp is dead quiet and was a refreshing change from some other amps I have reviewed.

I decided to start the listening off with one of my favorite CD's for testing, Michael Murray's "An Organ Blaster" (BWV 565), which is a great test of dynamics and imaging while also challenging the ability of any system to reproduce low bass. Immediately I was floored by the difference in the sonic signature - where my Onkyo was warm and laid back the MMC-7 was startlingly neutral with excellent resolution and clarity. When I reviewed the Pioneer SC-37 late last year, I was impressed by the Class D ICEpower amp modules used in the unit and had a fairly good expectation of what the MMC-7 would deliver. Allow me to set the record straight, if the SC-37 sounds good, the MMC-7 is great. No matter how I look at it, the MMC-7 should be, and is - much better than the SC-37. Where the SC-37 was tonally neutral and transparent, it did sound somehow more digital than the MMC-7 does. The sound stage and dynamics that the MMC-7 produced were startling - I soon found that my definition of "too loud" no longer applied. Where a setting of -15 on my AVR used to leave me wincing on occasion, with the MMC-7 there was zero distortion at any listening level I attempted. Bass was weighty but not bloated and in comparison to the Onkyo (which has always had tight bass) the low end was even more controlled and punchy.


This amp does a great job at music, but where I really found myself appreciating it was with lossless Blu-Ray audio. True to EJ Sarmento’s design goals, this is first and foremost a killer home theater product. In the time the Paradigm speakers spent in my theater along with the MMC-7 I was continually impressed by the effortless presentation this amp delivered. Some of my favorite demo moments across Blu-Rays I have reviewed in the past two years came alive for me as I found myself listening again and again, each time cranking the volume that little bit louder.

I would like to add a note to this review that my wife is very very angry at EJ Sarmento and the folks at Wyred 4 Sound for finally allowing me to win a years old debate. For the past two years I've often been asked by my wife to "turn it down" when we are watching a film in the theater room, even at moderate volume levels. I have always contended that this was an issue of distortion and not SPL, while my wife simply thinks that I listen "too loud". With the MMC-7 in place I invited my wife to watch a film without telling her about the new amp. I chose to turn the volume up substantially, from about -30 on the AVR to -22 (measured reference level). We made it through the entire film and the only comment I received was "Wow that sounds really good tonight". When I informed my wife about the stunt I had pulled she grudgingly admitted that I might have a point - no small feat when it comes to an issue of listening levels.

While I like to think I have very good hearing and an ear for sound quality, my wife has what I affectionately term "dog hearing", as she can hear test tones right up to 20kHz with ease. When performing critical listening tests I like to pull her into the room just to see what her hearing reveals. I'm happy to report that A/B comparisons between the Onkyo and MMC-7 were also extremely noticeable for my wife. She found the MMC-7 "much clearer and easier on the ears" as compared to the Onkyo, and even went so far as to give me a delighted smile when playing back some of her favorite tracks.

Conclusion:

While this review has rambled on and on and used plenty of adjectives thus far, some of you are probably just hoping for a nice little summary paragraph so you can give your eyes a rest and get the answer. Here it is folks:

Like most of you, I am not the sort of individual who easily parts with 2400 dollars for an amplifier - though reasonable in the high end, this is no small sum of money for most of us who pursue this hobby. After having the MMC-7 in my system for the past 10 weeks I can safely say that I was wrong, 2400 dollars isn't too much money for an amplifier when it performs like the MMC-7. Wyred 4 Sound has delivered a product that resides squarely beneath the price/performance inflection point where your dollar doesn’t buy you better sound. The MMC-7 delivers effortless dynamics, a huge sound stage and excellent imaging with the sort of sound quality and lack of noise you’d expect in a top end stereo amplifier.

If I could provide you with an analogy to compare this amplifier to your typical A/V Receiver, this is like the difference between driving a Toyota Camry and a Lexus IS350 - the MMC-7 is more refined, more powerful, and better built. The MMC is just plain better at being an amplifier. Your friends will envy this fine piece of engineering you have acquired, all the while scheming to outdo you without breaking the bank. In the case of the MMC-7 your friends are in for a challenge, outdoing this 7-channel amplifier at any price point below three thousand dollars might be doable, but competitors have a lot of work to do before they can give EJ Sarmento and the fine people at Wyred 4 Sound anything to worry about.

Highly Recommended

Please use the Wyred 4 Sound Mini MC 7 Channel Amplifier Review: Discussion Thread for Questions and Comments.

Res non sententia.

Last edited by Dave Upton; 03-02-11 at 11:41 AM.
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