Newbie - I'm close to pulling the trigger on one of these things, too. Note my thread on USB/SPDIF interfaces, prompted by this whole question of feeding signal into a NOS DAC like the Metrum.
The thread on the Yamamoto DAC evolved into a thread on the Metrum.
" I still need to try it with oversampled music"; I don't quite take your meaning here. As I understand it an oversampling deck takes multiple looks at the data in the recording; a NOS deck doesn't do this; the data is the same whether an oversampling dac or a NOS dac is doing the decoding. I have a Metrum on order myself after my experience with the NOS Rega dac.
I think Newbie meant upsampling not of course oversampling.
Although I ultimately kept my Yamamoto YDA DAC after auditioning the Metrum Octave, the Metrum is very good. I believe that most who try it will be impressed. In its price range it will be very difficult to beat.
Yes, I meant upsampling ;-)
There are other options that I think sound better than the Metrum and that is buying a used Musical Fidelity Trivista DAC you get great upsampling and tubes in the output stage. You can find these for less than 800.00 and my opinion sounds better than the metrum.
Ordered one of those 2 weeks ago to find out what's the buzz all about, but the lead time is 8 weeks.
i have a metrum since 4 weeks now ,replace an audio-note dac 3.1kit and berkeley alpha. at first i was a little disapointed coming from two excellent dac. the octave sounds thin , constricted with an upfront medium. so i decide to mod it with few dollars parts , just replace the little diodes with a shottky bridge , leave out a dozen of tantalum caps and replace it with elna cerafine near the chips. now it"s a keeper , i call it a little berkeley , very relaxing sound with tons off details...
mac mini/ pure music / jkenny hiface/ octave a damn good combo :)
Finest dac I have ever heard PERIOD. I wrote quite a bit about it and my findings but the powers at AGON killed the thread. In my opinion upsampling has NEVER EVER sounded right (even when all the magazine gurus were busy telling us how superior upsampling was) and that includes the 64 bit upsampling in my beloved Pure Music. No other dac has sounded as real or pure as the Metrum. The Concert fidelity dac (USD 10K) is a fine unit and it pales in comparison to the Octave and it has tubes in the output stage; not that that means a thing :) Tubes are no panacea and most times they can obscure purity with a false fattening of the musical event. Now I also have an AMR DP777 with about 11 days on it and I will state that it is nearly equal to the Octave (remember the AMR is NOT yet fully run-in). The AMR is an awesome sounding unit and a huge value for the money.
You absolutely can't go wrong with the AMR or the Ocatave, I have heard a great number of very very expensive dacs and most of them are nothing more than the stock circuit (supplied by the manufacturer) of the dac chip employed with little changed and in some cases it is verbatim. Don't let anyone fool you. A fully run in Octave (minimum of 4 weeks) will go head to head with anything I have heard in 14 years of being involved in this hobby. The only thing I have heard thus far to come close to it is the AMR.
Maybe you should try upsampling, Audiofun, because on a certain Aussie forum, they think the Octave really takes off once you do so.
Also a converter at the level of an Audiophilleo is needed to really unlock its potential.
Tannoyd: Hi and thanks for the advice. I have tried it extensively and it always sound processed and less real when you go back to native resolution. I admit it can sound nice until one goes back and listens deeply into the music (especially live recordings), it simply sounds processed.
Concerning USB/SPDIF I have owned the M2Tech Hiface and EVO, and I settled on the Kingrex UC192 with the upgraded MKII power supply (fully regulated linear supply with 48V toroidal transformer) and I also own the Sonicweld Diverter HR.
Believe me, the UC192 performs well above where one would think especially with the version 6 firmware installed and the Diverter HR is in a league of its own.
Not everyone is sold on the'superiority' of upsampling rates. Some simply find it more 'hifi' in character and native 16/44.1 to sound more 'natural' YMMV.
As I previously mentioned, I got mine a couple of weeks ago. I have left it connected to my SAT box for the last 3 weeks, and it was only today I put it into my hi-man rig.
All I can say, that I have been listening to this dac the whole evening in utter disbelief. What a gem.
My front end:
PC Server with SOtM USB card installed, running Win 7 64-bit, Jriver 17 and Jplay -> JK SPDIF 3 USB/SPDIF converter.
The unit seems to be extremely sensitive to transport quality. IMO JK SPDIF 3 USB/SPDIF converter is absolute minimum. I have also tried Matrix, V-Link and Halide Bridge.
Mine is sounding better all the time; the best digital I have heard. Bass is especially impressive. Also the digital edge is absent or at least reduced in the case of bad recordings. CDs like the Yarlung are amazing. I was able to remove some of my room treatment panels that I had put up to tame the high end I had been getting. You will also hear things you didn't know were on the recording. Above all it is really NATURAL sounding; not hi fi sounding in the bad sense.
wahhHHAAAA.....I'm still four weeks out.
I received my Octave earlier this week and have been listening to it unburned in. Sensational detail, excellent on winds and percussion, soundstaging seems very good, OK on voice. A lot of presence and major oomph in louder sections. This is a big upgrade for me.
The problem right now is that strings (I am mainly a classical listener) are somewhat harsh. I am attributing this flaw to my piss-poor transport (am in the middle of migrating to a PC-based transport with teh JKenny MK3 reclocker). Have any of you been experiencing some problems with the Metrum and stringed instruments?
No; I am using a Meridian 200 transport, which despite its age is still one of the best out there. Transports do make a major difference in sound quality. Digital cable also makes a difference.
Interesting to hear your opinion on feeding this DAC with Squeezebox directly through optical cable.
K330, also try here.
Thanks, Vicdamone. Had a look of that forum and there is a few mention there. Did not see a thread for that.
What do you think of the Metrum's "musicality"?
I realize that is a loaded and controversial term but I'm interested in Metrum owners' response to the question.
That is where it excels; lacks the "Digital" sound even most very good dacs have. Very hard to get a handle on the sound; which is always a very good sign. When I get a component that is considerably better than my old ones it is very hard to describe the sound as there are no points of comparison. Has great bass WHEN there is bass in the recording. It is relaxed but at the same time has plenty of drive. I cannot really see how it would disappoint you; I use SS but my two tube using friends also like it. Getting it has led me into a complete reevaluation of my system as some of my set up was to correct for defects that are no longer present. It is very impressive but MUSICALLY impressive rather than HI FI impressive if that makes any sense.
I was using an inexpensive optical toslink cable from my Squeezebox Touch to my Octave, and got a glass Sonicwave toslink cable today. Still cheap at $50 on Amazon. I am completely stunned at the improvement . I was happy before, but this was a serious upgrade for the Metrum. Highly recommended!
Thanks for sharing that. Have you tried coax from Touch to Octave, with what cable, what are your takeaways compared to $50 on glass?
It's not clear to me neither on the Octave nor on the Touch which implementation is better, toslink or coax. Anybody else with a point of view?
I haven't tried glass/toslink but I've been happy with my Black Cat Silverstar 75Ohm BNC cable...i'm using specially made BNC-to-RCA termination adaptors but will look to replace the RCA COAX connection with a BNC soon.