I really like mine.
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You will find that it changes quite a bit over time, it is very punchy and visceral out of the box but it becomes a lot smoother over time.
Still very dynamic and musical but the character definitely changes.
I would give it a good few weeks before taking it too seriously but it definitely impresses out of the box.
I acquired the Octave this year and recently inserted the Audio GD DI-3 into the chain. The DI-3 is making a big difference although my transport is rated as more jittery than the Squeezebox so you will probably hear less of an effect. What's interesting about the DI-3 is that it actually has decreased the volume of my system, which is puzzling as the Octave is still outputting at its 2.1v level. Accordingly, I'm attributing some of my system's "loudness" before the DI-3 was inserted to the jitter, which is not something I would have expected. With the DI-3, the sound is softer, darker, more relaxed and simply more musical. (My theory is that the increased musicality is caused by the reduction in noise around the initial attack in sounds.)
There are some surprising effects from all of this but I'm very much enjoying the combination.
AudioJedi, The metrum stays on all the time so it will be interesting to see if the sound changes with time.
The first CD player I tried in 1983 was $700 and sounded very synthetic, especially the symbols. I keep it for 3 days any returned it for a $1500 Sony player that sounded much more real. It seams that high frequency jagged waveforms have been the most difficult for DACs to reproduce accurately. I also believe that all instruments and vocals have a high frequency component to them that the latest higher end DACs and especially the metrum are able to reproduce with amazing accuracy.
jult52, your comments along that others make me very curios about the DI-3 (I got the upgraded clock version). I hope it's as good as I'm reading it is...
I'm on vacation for the next 3 weeks so I'll write more in a month or so:)) Thanks for your responses, everyone.
On day 2 of a Metrum Octave ownership. So far so good. Hasn't exactly trounced my electrocompaniet ECD-1 dac. Hopefully it will, I was told Octave should even be better than a modded ECD-1.
What was your experience in Octave right out of the box vs. fully broken in? How much more goodies can be expected? From what I can gather on A'gon it will get smoother and opens up more. So far, on day 2, I would say an ESS Sabre dac I had before has slightly more ability to resolve complex passages. Will Metrum improve more in that regard as it burns in more?
I had the Metrum and a ESS DAC (Modified Eastern Electric DAC +) in parallel for a while and your impressions mirrored mine. The Metrum was smooth and very musical. The Sabre based DAC had more detail and resolution - especially at the top end. Which you prefer will be a matter of taste and synergy with the rest of your equipment.
Seen several threads on the Metrum - many comparing the unit to others - but I don't have much experience with *dedicated* high-end D/A's so "first impressions" seems like the right place for my comments.
I've now had the Metrum in my system for about three weeks... mostly broken in - run for several hours every evening.
BEST D/A converted I've ever personally heard - by a wide margin. Recent D/A's have included mid to high-level AV processors, such as those from Emotiva, Parasound, and Anthem... and more significantly, a few lower-end, but over-achieving dedicated units from abroad.
Most Significant, and worth mentioning, because these lower-end units are also both NOS (non-oversampling) designs - just like the Metrum, and it is my experience with these units that completely changed my thinking about digital audio:
The first unit of this type I acquired is an early generation Valab NOS (acquired in early 2008) deploying 4 early-generation philips chips (about $200), the latter, named "Vintage DAC" is an NOS based on a single early generation philips 1543 chip (about $100).
It was actually the Chinese-made Valab that first opened up my ears to the difference between an NOS design and ANY other DA converter... a difference that I'll characterize (just as others have) as "organic" versus "synthetic". I have to admit that I immensely enjoyed those units - the Valab a bit more than the Vintage DAC. Of course, each had issues, the Valab seemed to have high distortion levels - lacked clarity and had somewhat limited dynamics and bass - but it always sound musical and enjoyable. And the Vintage DAC, for all that's been said about it, didn't quite live up to its expecations - dyanamics and bass were even more limited than the Valab, but it too, always sounded musical.
And it was this experience toggling back and forth between several oversampling DA's... and my two NOS's DA's (my "reference" units) that left me convinced in the correctness of the NOS design concept...and which ultimately led to my search for a high-end NOS unit such as the Metrum. As a side note, I'm also left with the impression that the NOS concept originated with the chinese made DA's (although I could be wrong about this)
The short of it is, I couldn't be happier. The metrum is clear, detailed, neutral, natural sounding, "organic" etc. Voices, in particular sound errily real with perfectly natural textures and character. And this experience - hearing digital audio sounding an order of magnitude superior to what I've come to expect over the years - compels me to seriously re-think the conventional wisdom (and marketing talking points) that accompanied the introduction of digital audio in the middle 1980's (I'm dating myself here)... "perfect sound forever" and generally consistent and uniform sound reproduction from device to device. IMHO, hearing digital audio through the Metrum also compels serious re-thinking of the concept of over-sampling altogether.
What else can I say?
I'm a big fan of the Metrum.