From Metrum Octave to Lynx Hilo or exaSound e28?

I'm looking into making significant changes into my two-channel system and would very much appreciate input from those who have experience with Metrum Octave, exaSound and Lynx Hilo.

My current setup is a highly optimized Windows Server 2012 server into an Audiophilleo with PurePower into a Metrum Octave mk.I into a Lamm LL2, into a McIntosh MC275 into B&W 804S speakers and a pair of Rythmik subs.

My end game in mind is adding a DRC/DSP software on the server, a multichannel DAC with volume control and actively crossover to drive 2 or 3 amps to drive the speakers without the passive crossovers, and the subs. A huge change. But my question today is more limited to 2 pieces I can chew at this time:

1) How does the Audiophilleo+Metrum Octave compare with the Lynx Hilo and the exaSound e28 sound-wise? Would that be a lateral move?

2) How good is the volume control in the Lynx and the exaSound? Is it competitive with a good preamp? I will likely miss some vs the Lamm, and this is probably what's bothering me most.

Lynx uses FPGA, which is getting a lot of buz mainly around Chord. Seems like path into the future, whatever that means! :-)

ExaSound is up there with native DSD, femto clocks, and 8 channels instead of the 6 the Hilo has.

Both do what I would need them to do. But which one sounds better in terms of DAC and volume control?

Bumping it up a bit. For whatever reason it took two days from posting to this thread to show up, so when it did it already looked kinda old.

Anyone has input?

The Hilo has 6 independent DAC channels only if you are using USB or thunderbolt as input. However, that seems the case in your system. (The SPDIF and AES inputs use a single digital receiver.)

The volume knob can control any of the outputs, but I don't know that there is a way to gang it to control all at once. And it doesn't offer analog-domain control on the line (highest quality) outputs, but it does offer digital-domain control.

I have a Hilo and love it. I am using it in a computer based desktop system with JRiver Media Center and powered speakers. In my system, I found it very easy to implement a crossover in JRMC and drive the (single) sub with the Hilo's monitor outputs. (Just as easy with two subs.) The mains are driven with the line outputs. I use the knob to set relative level of the sub by changing the monitor volume. I use JRMC to set system volume.

I have not heard the exasound.


Thanks Mike.

I was aware the line out was fixed volume and the highest quality output in the unit, but was not aware the volume control could not control all 6 channels at once. Then the only option is using JRMC volume, as you do.

What kind of powered speakers are you running? How revealing would you say your speakers are of the quality of the volume control?