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Metrum Acoustics Octave

post #1 of 610
Thread Starter 

Just read this:

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/metrum/1.html

 

Anyone thinking about ordering?  Have experience with the other Metrum DACs?

 

Tried both a MiniMax and Anedio and wasn't feeling the Sabre sound, at least w/ my Edition 8s.  Now I'm listening to an old Ack! Dack 2.0 out of a SinglePower Slam w/ 7n7 and digging it quite a bit.  So perhaps the logical conclusion is to move upward in the NOS DAC world (also eyeing a WA6SE to equally distribute the external PS love).

 

 


Edited by bobeau - 7/7/11 at 1:56pm
post #2 of 610
Thread Starter 

Just putting it out there, placed an order for one today.  Currently has an 8-10 week backlog, hopefully I'll be back here with impressions before the end of Oct...

post #3 of 610

It's one of very few on my shortlist, but I'm edging towards a combined DAC/amp with RCA outputs.

 

I'm also always reticent about basing a judgement on one review, even though in this case some of the equipment that the Octave was compared to (e.g. the Antelope Zodiac) describe it similarly to other reviews that I've read.

post #4 of 610
Thread Starter 

I toyed w/ the combined DAC/amp thing a bit, but in the end decided I'm a hardcore tube/NOS DAC guy.

 

I am reticent too.  Guess part of me rationalizes that as the backlog/anticipation is huge on this, it won't be too hard to resell at a minimal loss.  Reading between the lines, it seems in comments by Srajan on forums and on in his own comments section on 6moons that this device in conjunction w/ the Stello U3 is probably what he is using lately for personal use.  Again just one guy and a guy people tend to be skeptical toward esp. with financial interests at stake, but he probably has far more experience w/ gear than most mere mortals.

 

... and wow look at the internals, looks like something Justin at headamp designed smily_headphones1.gif, unusual for a NOS unit (sorry, had to get that in).  The engineer in me gushes at stuff like that.  Seems like a ton of thought went into this product line.


Edited by bobeau - 8/20/11 at 9:38am
post #5 of 610

I forgot to add that I'd come to similar conclusions about the Anedio and Minimax (and a long list of other DACs that are Sabre based), they're not for me based on the reviews.

 

Wyred4Sound are the possible exception, and Hegel if I can figure out what chip they use; I read somewhere that it's delta-sigma, but not who manufactures it.

 

I think either Wolfson or Burr-Brown PCM 1704 based DACs are going to be more to my taste.


Edited by Paul Meakin - 8/20/11 at 10:21am
post #6 of 610

I'm slow today, too little sleep...

 

RWA Isabellina to cover this? Admittedly it's a hybrid, but apparently very smooth sounding.

 

It is one of the others on my short list (with Rega and Naim).
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

I toyed w/ the combined DAC/amp thing a bit, but in the end decided I'm a hardcore tube/NOS DAC guy.


 

post #7 of 610
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Meakin View Post

I forgot to add that I'd come to similar conclusions about the Anedio and Minimax (and a long list of other DACs that are Sabre based), they're not for me based on the reviews.

 

Wyred4Sound are the possible exception, and Hegel if I can figure out what chip they use; I read somewhere that it's delta-sigma, but not who manufactures it.

 

I think either Wolfson or Burr-Brown PCM 1704 based DACs are going to be more to my taste.



Hegel HD 10 uses Analog Devices AD 1955.

 

post #8 of 610
Thread Starter 

I too toyed w/ a Rega and actually almost purchased on two occasions. The thing w/ the Rega that bothers me a bit is that the Audio-GD NFB-2 and NBB-3 use a higher specced version of the same family of chip for a fraction of the cost.  And w/ the Rega people report a huge change by swapping the power cable.  So I'm thinking, hmm, Audio-GD uses better chip and they take power filtration pretty seriously, just get that.  Could still find that the Rega is better, but I imagine it would be splitting hairs to a degree.  

 

Same w/ their PCM1704 DACs, sure they're wonderful.  _But_, they do perform alot of processing w/ their DSP unit and filtration.  Kinda worried it would end up a bit too 'hi-fi-ish' for my taste. 

 

The Naim... I believe a guy in the Muse thread did a comparison and preferred his lowly Metrum quad.

 

In the end, they're all probably pretty nice.  I've been doing a minor shootout w/ amps (old singlepower slam, DNA Sonett, WA6SE maxxed, WA6SE regular, Anedio, HDP) and it would be cool to do that with some more DACs.  Guess at this point I'm tired of buying and selling and hoping this guy is truly special like 6Moons is implying.


Edited by bobeau - 8/20/11 at 6:04pm
post #9 of 610

I'm hoping to get a demo of the Rega and Naim this week, so I'll report back. There is a local stockist that has both.

 

Regarding the Muse thread, there are very polarized opinions over there, and I really can't take any of them seriously without doing some listening for myself. Of the few hi-fi reviewers that I think has a clue, one does use a Naim DAC. I'll be very surprised if the Naim doesn't outperform the Rega, but whether it offers value for money at four times the price is another question.

 

Power supplies matter; Kingwa has this absolutely right. Rega equipment is among the select group that plays music in time though, along with Naim. Naim are also advocates of strong power supplies, and they definitely make a difference.

 

I haven't ruled Audio-gd out, but I'd want to hear one before spending, and that's difficult in the UK.

 

Prices: the UK and the US are likely to be very different on this. I suspect that in the US, Rega/Naim are more expensive than in the UK. The Rega and Audio-gd prices aren't that far apart here.

 

PCM 1704 based DACs. Based on the research I've done, I doubt if they'll sound like hi-fi. 'Hi-fi' is the impression that I formed of both the Anedio and EE MInimax (and a very long list of others), which is why I ruled them out. I sold hundreds of Rega turntables (20-25 years ago) and have owned Naim amps for as long, and they both play music rather than being 'hi-fi' sounding. Admittedly, this is not to everyone's taste.

 

Having said all that, I also find the Metrum and Hegel units to be intriguing; and the Metrums may turn out to be an amazing bargain, especially within the EU.

 

My concern is that while Srajan's review is consistent with much else that I've read, and contains good insight, he does write in a way that uses a lot of 'hi-fi' language. That makes me nervous based on my experience of some other hi-fi journalists. I realize that this is probably unfair to Srajan.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

I too toyed w/ a Rega and actually almost purchased on two occasions. The thing w/ the Rega that bothers me a bit is that the Audio-GD NFB-2 and NBB-3 use a higher specced version of the same family of chip for a fraction of the cost.  And w/ the Rega people report a huge change by swapping the power cable.  So I'm thinking, hmm, Audio-GD uses better chip and they take power filtration pretty seriously, just get that.  Could still find that the Rega is better, but I imagine it would be splitting hairs to a degree.  

 

Same w/ their PCM1704 DACs, sure they're wonderful.  _But_, they do perform alot of processing w/ their DSP unit and filtration.  Kinda worried it would end up a bit too 'hi-fi-ish' for my taste. 

 

The Naim... I believe a guy in the Muse thread did a comparison and preferred his lowly Metrum quad.

 

In the end, they're all probably pretty nice.  I've been doing a minor shootout w/ amps (old singlepower slam, DNA Sonett, WA6SE maxxed, WA6SE regular, Anedio, HDP) and it would be cool to do that with some more DACs.  Guess at this point I'm tired of buying and selling and hoping this guy is truly special like 6Moons is implying.



 

post #10 of 610
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Meakin View Post

My concern is that while Srajan's review is consistent with much else that I've read, and contains good insight, he does write in a way that uses a lot of 'hi-fi' language. That makes me nervous based on my experience of some other hi-fi journalists. I realize that this is probably unfair to Srajan.

 


As a writer I am sure Srajan gets paid due to his 'verbage', however the review of the Metrum has very little 'meat', lots of aroma and hints of flavor with some juicy bits of fat here and there...but still it takes reading the whole review just to get a good flavor of what you have just consumed.

 

Having said that, I find it concerning that there are so little reviews and impressions of Metrum Dacs by regular users, seeing how long they have been in the market place.  Not to insinuate anything bad or negative about the Octave or other Metrum Dacs because I know plenty of outstanding products that get barely a word on the Internet.

 

 

post #11 of 610

Metrum do need to market their product a lot more strongly. If it delivers its potential based on Srajan's review, it has to be one of the biggest bargains around. As you say, they are not alone in this respect.

 

I completely agree about reading Srajan's whole review, and probably more than once. Also read reviews of the other products that he compared the Metrum with.

 

From what I've gathered most of the user reviews are in Dutch; they're terrific people, but they don't speak an internationally understood native language. I suspect that this is holding Metrum back, as they seem to be focused more on engineering than marketing. Both have their place.

 

Metrum: Get a sample to Jude, and Mike at Headphonia, and to Malcolm Steward in the UK. If the product is as good as Srajan thinks it is, you'll be even more overwhelmed by demand for purchases than you already are from Srajan's review. That is a nice problem to have in business...

.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynobot View Post

As a writer I am sure Srajan gets paid due to his 'verbage', however the review of the Metrum has very little 'meat', lots of aroma and hints of flavor with some juicy bits of fat here and there...but still it takes reading the whole review just to get a good flavor of what you have just consumed.

 

Having said that, I find it concerning that there are so little reviews and impressions of Metrum Dacs by regular users, seeing how long they have been in the market place.  Not to insinuate anything bad or negative about the Octave or other Metrum Dacs because I know plenty of outstanding products that get barely a word on the Internet.

 

 



 

post #12 of 610
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys, really great feedback.

 

Guess I can't say much regarding some of the doubts, probably would be best for user reviews to roll in first.  I'm at the point where I just really want to get a new DAC and sometime soon, so even this wait is killing me.

 

How long have they actually been around, thought it was less than a year?  With a 2+ month backlog seems like they would be more concerned with expanding production at the moment.  For the most part it sounds like a similar story to Anedio, they haven't had a DAC to sell for a couple months now.

post #13 of 610

Yes they are new to the market, I thought they had been out for awhile.

 

Anyone know what Dac chip it uses???

 

 

post #14 of 610
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynobot View Post

 

Anyone know what Dac chip it uses???

 

 

It doesn't sound like it would matter even if we knew, it's definitely not a regular chip used in the consumer audio sector.  It's unusual in the crazy high sampling rate + no need for output buffers.  Guess he's keeping mum on this for IP reasons:

 

"Instead we wanted an ultra high-speed part such as you'd find in industrial applications. After many years of experimentation we finally identified an extremely fast chip that's useable for 16 or 24-bit audio but handles sampling rates up to 15 Megahertz. "


Edited by bobeau - 8/23/11 at 7:51am
post #15 of 610
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobeau View Post

 

16 or 24-bit audio but handles sampling rates up to 15 Megahertz.


Wow!!!

 

Ok now I am interested again....

 

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