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Meravigliosa Creatura, M2Tech Rockstars series (Eng)

The components here under review:

DAC/Preamp/HeadAmp > Young MkIV

power supply > Van der Graaf MkII

power amplifier > Crosby.

I like to think myself as a guy with few prejudices, but nobody is free of them. In cars for example, I like engines with displacement. Don’t give me three cylinders and a liter. I had a FIAT Punto, with a 1.1-liter engine, and I had a lot of fun with it, but now, I’m almost five decades old and I’ve had enough of playing around, and that’s why both my cars have two-liter engines, each cylinder with half a liter, like Bavarian wheat beer cans. The Alfa Romeo doesn’t even need a car radio, the Bialbero engine is followed by an entire stainless steel exhaust line, without a silencer and with two mufflers instead of three. And don’t even talk to me about the particle filter. When this car was launched, Space 1999 was in the future… For those who understand what I’m talking about, you know that I have a Pavarotti on the exhaust up to 3500 rpm, and Maria Callas is screaming from there on.

In audio, I’m one of those enthusiasts who consider that good sound respects certain characteristics. Among them: three-dimensionality, emotion, timbre richness, emotion, dynamic range, emotion, texture, emotion, brightness, emotion, finesse, emotion, purity and fidelity to the recording. With the right dose of coloring.

Perfect sound is sterile and insensitive, like an operating room after anesthesia. Perfection wear us out. In addition, the lack of coloring is something that does not exist in reality. And the coloring, it’s like seasoning, it should be to each one’s taste.

This is to reach the conclusion that my prejudice, until now, was that, in order to achieve a certain sound, the elements also need to have a certain size and weight, normally capable of breaking our backs. Think big, heavy, class A monoblocks.

The three elements that just arrived from Ajasom, M2Tech’s representative in Portugal, all together, do not reach to half the weight of many class AB integrated components. Nor to its volumetric footprint.

Throughout this text we will find out if the old pessimistic me will break my prejudice with the sound reproduced by these small components coming from Pisa, Italy.

I unpack each of the components.

The first impression you get from this set is the modesty, simplicity and good taste of its design. The brand’s logo is only present at the rear, along with indications of the functions of each of the sockets.

M2TECH Crosby

Behind, space is not abundant, naturally. Example. At the Crosby, I tried connecting a power cable, one of those designed for components with a different type of volumetric footprint. It wasn’t possible without leaning against one of the speaker cable jacks.

One call to Ajasom, and the Furutech Slimline power cable connected. Problem solved.

The quality construction sense of the materials used is also immediate.


The front panel of the DAC, Pre-amp and Head-amp Young MkIV only has a 6.3mm jack input for headphones on the left, central display with white information on the same black background that occupies all the front panels of all 3 elements, and on the right the rotary and push knob for volume and select, and small mute button, both silver, matching the aluminum casing common to all three components. The Crosby power amplifier has a completely black front panel, except for the intense white central LED, which signalizes if it is turned on.

M2TECH Crosby

In the Young, at the back, you can connect an analogue source (or CD player) via RCA pair, it has an XLR input (AES/EBU), coaxial SPDIF, optic Toslink, mini HDMI plug for I2S, asynchronous USB, jack input for interconnection and input for a 15V power supply. Which can be the supplied wall power brick, or the third component of this test, the Van der Graaf. Great flexibility and scalability are granted.


It is possible to install the iYoungMkIV App, and control it from your smartphone. In my opinion everything becomes easier with the app, such as increasing or decreasing the volume, choosing the source, etc.

The app also controls the Balance and Fader functions. Voltage of the balanced or unbalanced outputs, gain of the headphones output, volume control, in steps or decibels, headphones fader, choice between two filters available for DSD, Bluetooth (not tested, I have everything connected via Airplay), timer, standby led, or restore factory settings. The remote was practically unused. I only used it at the dinner table, where there is a ban on using cell phones.

I started by connecting the Young alone to the Crosby power stage, and the latter to the pair of speakers in my living room, the modest Triangle Borea 03 monitors, at least by price comparison.

These speakers go well above the asking price. And connected to the M2tech system, they cry, scream and sigh with spectacular emotion, and are not left out by the quality of the components present. As soon as I turned on the Crosby, they gained focus, width, height, depth and dynamics beyond what they had shown so far with the usual integrated. This element alone weighs and occupies more than all three M2Tech components alltogether… They also gained refinement and texture. I was surprised by the speakers performance when connected to the Crosby.

Later on, I added some adjustable three-level decoupling feet from Ansuz to them, which made them sing much better than could be expected, given the price I paid for them. They sounded radically different. But the analysis of these accessories is left for their own review in the near future.

With the Crosby, they started to get meat on the bone. But not only. They gained sweetness in the high mids, the ones that usually make my ears bleed. This in the first few minutes. In this regard, I can say that the M2tech system has already arrived singing close to its full potential.

The initial idea was to test a system designed to be used with headphones. I made the proposal to review a head-amp, with power supply for testing, Ajasom promptly agreed, and complemented the set with the Crosby power stage. When the system arrived and I turned it on, I immediately realized why they added the power amp.

Let’s see what kind of Head-amp we have here. I started by connecting the Meze 99 Classics to it. Test passed with distinction. These headphones, like the Borea 03, are great solutions for those who want to have almost everything and pay almost nothing.

Meze Elite

The system sang and enchanted, both with the 99 Classics here at home and with the Meze Elite (full review here). And we are talking about 300 euro headphones for the first one, and 4 thousand euros for the last one. And none of them disappointed, quite the opposite. But it was the speakers that surprised me, as I didn’t expect the difference, the jump in performance they got after connecting them to this Italian system. A true Franco-Italian entente. 

I start with the bass

(in Meze 99 I couldn’t start with another one). The Young pulled the ribands on the Classics! In “The Carny” from “Your Funeral… my Trial”, and “Deanna (Live)” from “Live Seeds” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, the Young turned songs that are sometimes sharp, in a sample of what the Australian poet better brought us in the 1980s. Lulled by the blackness of Cave’s characters, I dug into the darkness of the live version of “Gloomy Sunday”, present in “Malediction and Prayer” by Diamanda Galás. You cannot go darker. It is a trial by fire. Music taken from Dante’s hell! Once again, test passed, the modest 99 Classics faithfully reproduced the reverberation of the concert hall (cave?). Following this experience, “Hurt”, a version of the industrialists Nine Inch Nails, sung by Johnny Cash, had less sharp edges, not losing intensity, but becoming sweeter to the ears.

M2TECH Van der Graaf MkII

Time to turn on the Van der Graaf power supply, after some technical clarifications by Nuno Cristina from Ajasom.

And there was light!, or more specifically, there was silence, between each instrument. Everything became more separate and open, clear and three-dimensional, thanks to the silence, darker. More darkness. Even more.

But don’t get confused. This is not a set that intends to x-ray the sound. Everything remained connected and logical, and then, emotional. We always come back to the same thing. What are we looking for when listening to music if not looking for an emotional experience?

To truly measure the capabilities of this set, one of the devices to be selected to truly show its qualities, but also its weaknesses, should be one of the headphones that have been gathering almost the unanimity in the audiophile community, the Meze Elite.

Meze Elite

And they arrived! Yes, now, a fair duel, with similar fire power.

The Elite arrived with two sets of ear pads, one in leather and another in Alcantara. The way that each sounds is different. As I will publish on an individual test for the Meze Elite. To test the Rockstars set by M2tech I used the pads that, for this system, and my taste best adapt in most situations, the leather pads.

How does the Young, fueled by the Van der Graaf, sound with the Meze Elite? Well, I decided to start in Italy as it couldn’t be otherwise, and with the song that gives title to this review, “Meravigliosa Creatura” by Gianna Nannini (yes, the name is the same as the pilot, who is her brother) on the album “Perle”. The delicate but adult voice, almost groaning, the piano and string ensemble link together beautifully.

– Hold on Moustaches! you ran out of punchline, which then links to the title, right at the beginning of the test?

– Calm down… read till the end. Have you been accompanying the text with the songs? No. So try it that way: “Vesti la Giubba” act I “I Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

– Pavarotti?

– No, it would be too obvious

– Enrico Caruso?

– Very old recordings. Poor quality.

– So, who?

– Placido Domingo! Let’s go.

“You are the clown! Put on your jacket and flour your face, People pay, and laugh they want here. And If Harlequin steals your Colombina, Laugh you clown, and everyone will clap! Turn spasm and crying into jokes. In a grimace the sob and the pain. Laugh clown, on your broken heart. Laugh at the pain that poisons your heart!” – and I cry with him. Broken like him.

Vivaldi’s four seasons. Performed by Rachel Podger & Brecon Baroque. With the volume soaring, like classical music needs to be heard, until your eardrums bleed! The Young imprints a delicate baroque freshness (does this exist?), and on the other hand with a great rhythmic sense and energy. The way the Young, together with the Van der Graaf, analyze and resolve the complex passages, without hesitation when the music pulls from the dynamics of the electronics. I found myself listening to the piece in its entirety for the first time, all four of the seasons! Is there greater praise in this era of streaming and therefore fast consumption, and easy fatigue?

“Lákmé” the floral duet from Délibes, by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca and the Freiburg Symphony Orchestra. The sound embraces me like a silk robe with a delicate touch. Sensual touches.

“Pora Sotunda” and “Ganka” performed by Lisa Gerrard and The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices. The rhythm section is impactful, but without “hurting”, the ethereal soundscape painted in watercolor by the Bulgarian voices and Lisa Gerrard, made me fly, with the help of the Young’s authority.

“Sogna Fiore Mio” by Lucilla Galeazzi, in “Lunario’s” version. Lucilla’s voice accompanied by the acoustic guitar transports us to the landscapes of Southern Italy, and nonas rolling gnocchi, to cook them for lunch with freshly, picked in the cool of the morning, tomatoes. I immediately identify this voice with that of Isabel Silvestre (whom we know from the duet with Rui Reininho from Portuguese group GNR on “Pronúncia do Norte”) in “O Menino de Jesus” by Grupo de Cantares de Manhouce.

The two voices sound like our women. Women who could be Portuguese, Italian, Latin, Mediterranean. They sound like love, generosity, affection, care, from our mothers, our grandmothers, lovers, daughters, or sisters. To the women who care for us, these wonderful creatures.

The Rockstars ensemble managed in one fell swoop my prejudice against class D and mini systems, and at the same time, had this man, with a moustache and ninety-some kilos, with tears in his eye, praising the Woman, this “Meravigliosa Creatura”!

M2Tech Rockstar Series


M2tech Van der Graaf MkII

Voltage: 2 x 9VDC or 15VDC (5.5/2.1mm Jack); 2 x 5VDC +15VDC -15VDC (4-pin XLR)

Current: 50W

Dimensions: 200 x 200 x 50mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 3Kg

M2tech Crosby

THD: 0.005% (60W at 8 Ohms)

Power: 2x 60W at 8 Ohms; 2x 110W @ 4 Ohms; 180W (Bridged to 8 Ohms)

Dimensions: 200 x 200 x 50mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 3Kg

M2tech Young MkIV

Converter: PCM 44.1kHz to 768kHz; DoP 64X to 256X; Native DSD 64x to 512x

Inputs: RCA; S/PDIF; AES/EBU; Toslink; USB 2.0; Bluetooth; I2S (HDMI; PS Audio Standard)

Outputs: XLR; RCA; Trigger (3.5mm)

Dimensions: 200 x 200 x 50mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 2.0Kg

M2Tech Rockstars is available in Portugal by Ajasom

Equipments in the test:

DAC/Preamp/HeadAmp > Young MkIV

power supply > Van der Graaf MkII

power amplifier > Crosby

RCA interconnect cable > Kimber Kable Hero

Speaker cables > Kimber Kable TC line

Power cables (Crosby + Van der Graaf) > Furutech Slimline

Headphones > Meze Elite and Meze 99 Classics

Monitor speakers > Triangle Borea 03

Digital sources > Apple TV 4K + Hisense TV and MacBook Air

USB cable > Ansuz Digitalz

Decouplers > Ansuz Ct2

Power Distributor > Ansuz 8X TC

Power Cable (to the Power Distributor) > Ansuz P2