The Muse Erato II Modular Digital Player

Disc players
Muse Erato II Modular Digital Player
The Muse Erato II Modular Digital Player

Kevin Halverson, the man behind the Muse electronics, represents one of the unsung luminaries of digital development. Starting out nearly twenty years ago with a range of innovative amplification, many of the concepts that debuted in those products underpin his later digital designs. Whilst other companies and personalities have higher profiles (and bigger marketing budgets) the Muse products have consistently set superior standards of performance in both the audio and video fields, a duality that has reached its apogee in the MAP system architecture that characterizes the current range.

The acronym stands for Modular Audio/Video Platform and when Mr Halverson says “modular”, he means it. So, just as the casework, feet, and front-panel elements employed in the Erato II are identical to those of the Polyhymnia reviewed in Issue 54, the output configurations and options are also user definable. One glance at the back panel will show a series of terminal plates that constitute a card-case arrangement so that purchasers can incorporate the output modules they require – and only those. So, in the case of the Erato II, which is basically a CD and DVD A/V replay platform, the unit can be configured to offer fixed or variable, stereo or multi-channel analogue output on balanced or single-ended connectors. There are also digital video output options, including HDMI 1.2. So, you can include (and just as importantly, exclude) all the facilities that you do or don’t want. But even better, the machine’s capabilities can be adapted or extended to accommodate changes in your system (maybe a move from stereo to a multichannel, decoder based set-up) or its redeployment in a different role or situation. Finally, the output cards can be updated to reflect advances in technology or changes in standards, making the Erato (and the SACD capable Polyhymnia) effectively future proof, requiring minor hardware updates rather than wholesale replacement to stay abreast of the game.

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