Another DAC suggestion a step above Metrum Octave

I currently own a Metrum Octave and looking for a dac that is clearly a step above the Metrum. Tube or SS, new or used, budget is $3k.

Utmost importance is more refinement than the Metrum. I also use a reclocker with my dac.

Please choose one from the list or add if you feel you must.
AMR DP-777 (maybe a little out of range)
Audio Research DAC8 (very very curious over this one)
PS Audio Perfectwave MKII (in my Oppo-95 days, did like Sabre 9018 sonic signature)
Berkeley Alpha I or II (don't really know what to expect)
Chord QuteHD (seriously don't like it needs a separate quality linear power supply to sound its best, why can't Chord use standard IEC connection like everyone else)
MyTek 192 DSD dac
Having owned a Metrum and owned or heard quite a few of those DAC's as well as comparing them with other Audiophiles I can assure you it is purely a matter of personal opinion if any of those is better than the Metrum - with the possible exception of the AMR - but even there its not certain - I know people that think the Chord for example is better than the AMR.

If you feed the Metrum with an Off-Ramp and direct connect it to your amp it is a very hard to beat transparent bit of gear.

To best it I would look at the AMR and Playback Designs.

A Killer DAC and PDX are better as well but unless you are in Australia they will be hard to come by.

BTW the reason Chord supplies a cheap PS is to keep costs down. It only costs a few dollars so chucking it away is not wasting much.

What exactly does "refinement" mean in audio terms?
The Metrum Hex is an obvious suggestion. Perhaps the M2Tech Young + Palmer combo, also.

Might help to describe what you like / don't like.
Thanks everyone for the info.

Hi Bill,
What I meant is I wish Chord QuteHD comes with IEC socket that I can simply use with my aftermarket powercord. But instead, with QuteHD, I'll have to get a quality 12v linear power supply. :(
When you say "some people think Chord > AMR", you mean Chord + linear ps?
I've read many of your posts and let me say here that I appreciate the info you share on various forum. For some of us, these are very valuable.

Hi Loftarasa,
I have not tried many dacs. My previous d to a conversion devices include electrocompaniet ecd-1, oppo-95 and currently metrum octave. Each of these have certain characteristics that I very much like but none had made me completely satisfied and forget about the equipments while listening to music. I'm not very articulate in describing my musical taste, but in short, I like airy top, glorious midrange, controlled and powerful bass (so do other people lol) Detail is not as important as non-fatiguing sound that I can listen to for hours. My system consists of Focal Electra 1028Be, Pass XA30.5/XP-10 and an Empirical Audio reclocker. Cabling is all HiDiamond.

I'm also looking at Esoteric D05. Never heard of device with 32-bit AKM chips but it seems very interesting to me although D05 is 6-7 years old.

Kzhtoo, I had the Esoteric P3/D5 combo and it is typical of the Esoteric sound, very detailed and airy. Like you, I prefer a "glorious midrange, controlled and powerful bass...non-fatiguing sound". To this end, I found my Luxman D-06 cdp/dac to be exactly what I like. Of course this is not stand alone DAC but Luxman just released their DA-06 DAC. If I didnt also want a cdp and if I had any interest in playing hi-res I would have purchased the DA-06 instead but I got a very good deal on the D-06 cdp so I went this route. Unfortunately, the DA-06 DAC retails for $6K which I think is way overpriced. Perhaps wait a bit a look for something used or get a D-06 cdp and get a transport and DAC in one!
There is an Ear Acute DAC up for sale right now. It is definitely easy to listen to, non-fatiguing and, IMO, beautiful sounding. Those Focal speakers you own can get a bit spitty at times and I think the EAR would be a great match.
Again, thanks for the inputs guys. At the moment, it is coming down between Chord QDB76 HD and Esoteric D-05. Any comments?

Not clear to me if you are using a usb converter before your Octave. Maybe it was in the posts and I missed it. People claim a huge difference between having one good such converter before the Octave. Like Bhobba mentioned above.
Yes, I do use a reclocker.
I think you really would love the Resolution Audio Cantata - it's got a beguiling, high-end, lovely sound. The Chord is mighty impressive but it's more about dynamics and a muscular, modern, propulsive presentation. Auditioning with your gear is a must.
KZhtoo, I think you will find those two choices to be more alike than different. I don't think you can go wrong with either. Of course an audition would be ideal.
Hi Kahtoo

Yea mate - its a fully tricked out Chord driven by and Off-Ramp and Linear power supply. Otherwise its really not in the race - and its not much cheaper than an AMR that way either.

The Metrum is a hard to beat bit of gear - make sure you audition any contenders in you system to ensure it does best it before forking out you dosh.

I'd wager a LampizatOr money that a LampizatOr Gen 4 Level 4 would sound better than anything else mentioned in this thread. I moved to one directly from a Metrum and could tell in less then ten seconds (without burn in) that the Lamp was a MUCH better DAC.

I also have friends who sold AMRs in favor of it. Keep an eye on the used market as you won't do better, but keep in mind I wasn't a huge fan of the Generation 3 DACs (my former Metrum replaced a LampizatOr Gen 3 Level 3 in my system).