The CoolerMaster Musketeer 3 -
Page 2 - Features and Installation
Here we have the Musketeer 3 in its packaging, which is very adequate. It comes in silver or black.
Installation is a little tricky, as you have to make sure you get all the right in-cables and out-cables matched up. That's about it. CoolerMaster includes all the hardware necessary to hook up the Musketeer 3. The drive bay insert and the PCI slot cover gizmo have just enough cable to reach each other in my Lian-Li PC60 case. Any larger cases, and you might have to break out the soldering iron. I'm guessing that CoolerMaster tested it with its own cases, so if you have one of those, never mind.
One big issue is the heat the tube will put out. However, the tube is surrounded by a metal shield, which seems to throw the heat out the window. The window itself gets hot to the touch within a few minutes, but the shield itself is not as hot as I expected.
CoolerMaster gives few details about the Musketeer 3.
- 5 ¼" drive bay insert
- VU meter
- 2-channel vacuum tube sound
- 0.3% THD
- 600 Ohm impedance
- Runs off of PC power supply
I don't know how well the VU meter is calibrated. It probably doesn't matter because VU meters are not peak level meters, but total power meters. Because of this it won't really dance to the beat.
The vacuum tube appears to be a 12AU7 dual-triode vacuum tube. I'm not going to explain what that means, because your head would implode if I did. It is not a power tube, though.
This is a tube most commonly found in pre-amp stages. It should be good for headphones and amplified speakers. The 12AU7 has a lower output, but higher fidelity, than its close cousin, the 12AX7. The 12AX7 is found in guitar amps where it can drive the power tubes into greater distortion. The ultimate, according to some, is the 6SN7 which has all the harmonious tube qualites in glorious quantities.
The Musketeer 3 is CoolerMaster's foray into the bygone analog era passed. It puts the tube back into your computer, reviving the retro stereophonic sound. The Musketeer 3 is smooth, classy, and well made, but it also comes with a few flaws.