I went from a Metrum Octave to a LampizatOr Gen 4/Level 4 DAC and couldn't be happier. It wasn't until I put the Lamp in that I realized how unnatural and unmusical the Metrum was. The two DACs are NOT peers.
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There is a brief comparison in this review:
You may be able to correspond with the author about the comparison. You should also check out the PS Audio forums about the problems with getting the Perfectwave Dac to work as part of a server based system if you are interested in that.
Any update on your DAC decision?
I'm a two chassis Octave owner thinking of reconfiguring my digital front end and the Metrum's limited I/O has me looking around. At the time I immediately bonded with the soul of the Octave and am very apprehensive to look elsewhere.
The HEX is an obvious choice but I was hoping they would have included some type of word/bit rate indication. With so much different media out there I'd like to know what I'm listening to.
My other concern with the HEX is the quality of the sourced USB receiver since USB may play into my reconfiguration.
I would highly recommend the following, in no particular order; The Lynx Hilo, exaSound e20 MKIII and the Antelope Platinum. The first two I have heard and cost around $2,500-$2,900. The Antelope retails for around $4,800.
The exaSound is a great choice based on price/performance/DSD.
The Lynx is a little limited on DSD but also has an ADC if one has a need for it.
The Antelope should be a killer DAC for the price but I can only go buy the specs so make sure you get a home demo.
Also till about a month ago I owned the PSA PW DAC MKII. I was one of the first to own the PW MKI and bridge option.
As good as it was others have surpassed it. I own the exaSound e20 MKIII. I am exchanging mine for the new clock option. Right now it is only $100 extra over the base clock in the MKIII.
One thing more. I believe that any up-sampling/over-sampling, filtering, etc should be done in the computer and not in the DAC. That is one reason why I did not choose the Vega DAC.
Well all the "data" is processed in the computer. You are actual sending less not more. And most computers today (64 bit, quad-core, 16gb ram) can easily handle all of it plus more at the same time vs the most modern DAC chips. Plus the computer and the software can be easily updated vs the DAC chip inside the DAC. And why add more and hard to do tasks for the DAC Chip to perform.
And the speed of the USB connections in the most current DACs can easily handle the flow.
I am not saying you have to up-sample etc, just that if you wanted to that to do it in the computer is IMHO the better way.
So by your statement all the data is being sent to the DAC because the DAC IS up-sampling all the time. Now maybe there is a small computer in the Vega. But why would I want a small under powered computer that is noisy inside my DAC. If the Vega gave me a choice to up-sample or to not then maybe I would consider it. Assuming there is no internal computer in it.
And yes I realize that all/most DACs have a sort of computer in them. Just not the type I mean.
Well yes and no. what I meant was the computer is doing all the data/computational processing of up/over-sampling (and any filtering, etc) and the DAC is not so it is not being asked to do more, it is doing less processing. So the DAC can use all of its capabilities to just play back the "native" audio file. Otherwise the DAC would have to do both/all at the same time. So then the DAC is processing the up/over-sampling, filtering, etc and playing the file so that is more data not less.