I’m ordering one today. Going from a Metrum Pavane level 1. I was ready to send it for a level 3 upgrade. I’m glad I looked around first.
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I have not listened to it. I was about to send my Metrum Pavane for a level 3 upgrade and read about the Morpheus. I’m trading the Pavane and a preamp towards the Morpheus so it’s only costing $350 cash.
Last year I got the Pavane and one of Metrum’s Forte power amps. The combination is astounding, much cleaner and more detailed and musical than what I was using. I decided to go with the genius designer’s new line instead of staying with the people marketing his older designs.
I’m in the USA.
The Morpheus is here. I spent about three hours listening to hi res files, music loaded from cds, and Tidal hifi. Everything had more space and lots more detail than I’m used to. It sounded fantastic out of the box. I was wondering if it’s using the old Metrum driver so I checked the JRiver audio device thing and it was set on the default driver. The Morpheus automatically loaded wasapi and direct audio drivers when I connected it. I switched to wasapi and it opened up even more. I’m ecstatic.
Congratulations for your purchase! Please write a detailed report once you've burned it in and got to know it better. I'm especially interested in the presence / absence / degree of the HF roll off that is typical for the NOS dacs and the soundstage width (as it's been described as fairly narrow in the Metrum Onyx' case, a close, less accoplished relative of the Morpheus). Thanks!
I am also interested in reading a more detailed review of what you are hearing from the Morpheus after you have burned it in. I am particularly interested in any comparisons you can make to the Metrum Pavane you previously owned. Having owned the Pavane, Pavane L3, and Adagio, I am very interested in a DAC that delivers the resolution, natural tone, and dynamics of those upper level Metrum DACs while bringing just a touch more 'weight, body, tonal richness, and a more natural sense of the space of the recording" as stated on the Sonnet website and seconded by Srajan in his 6moons review of the Morpheus.
While I have had no soundstage issues whatsoever with those upper level Metrum DACs listed above, I also own the Jade (Onyx with volume control) and I can understand how @donquichotte might be used to a "bigger" sound. The Jade is a good-sounding DAC for the price but the additional DAC modules and larger power supply in the upper-level Metrum DACs do seem to provide more of everything.
I haven’t noticed any high frequency roll off. Does it not occur in the ultrasonic range? The soundstage fills the room. The Pavane did to a lesser degree in depth but not width. I’ve got layers of instruments and vocalists side to side and from in front of the speakers to the back wall with each player/vocalist occupying an identifiable space. The resolution is remarkable. I’m hearing musical passages and vocals that I haven’t heard on recordings I’ve been listening to for fifty years on everything from a Rheem mono playing a Monkees record from the back of a cereal box to twelve pieces of Bel Canto REF with decades of Linn and the Naim upgrade path to dissatisfaction in between. The bass response is now tighter and deep enough to make my subwoofer redundant. The treble and mids are crisp and clean with no harshness at all. Lots of air, lots of space. This is after about thirty hours of continuous play. I’ll have a chance to play with it again tomorrow with about seventy-five hours on it. I had only used the supplied usb cable with the Pavane so I tried the supplied cable on the Morpheus, too. It did not sound nearly as good as the Chord I started with on the Morpheus. I had forgotten about the Chord or I would have used it on the Metrum. I’ve read the expression “removing a wool blanket” many times. The Coffee peels away the last layer of shadow and what’s left is really good music. Definitely worth the $200.
I’ll be installing the MQA and I2s modules when they’re available. Tidal has MQA Gang of Four, Dr. John, New Order, and Sisters of Mercy already. Maybe there’s more on the way.
The designer’s claim about the Morpheus fleshing out the music is accurate but it does it in a big, big way. I couldn’t be any more pleased with the Morpheus. I think I found about it on Audiogon. So, thanks.
Don’t think the Sonnet-Audio Morpheus is on the audio radar screen yet.
But I know 6Moons doesn’t throw awards around very often and
that tweaked my curiosity.
If anyone knows an audio reviewer maybe you could drop a hint for a DAC shootout between the Morpheus, Bricasti M3 and T&A Series 8.
Could be very interesting.
For clarity, I believe the Pavane used for comparison by the OP was the original version and not the Level 3 Pavane. The Level 3 is basically equivalent to the Adagio, sans volume control, and both of those were clearly superior to the original Pavane to my ears and in my system. My recent communications with the designer indicate the differences between the Morpheus and the two top Metrum DACs may not be large but to play at the same level as the Adagio and Pavane L3 and get there at about half the price is quite an achievement.
Do any of you Morpheus owners know whether the I2S and MQA boards are available from Sonnet yet? Also, do you know if the I2S cable implementation is identical to that used by Metrum.....so that I could run I2S from my Metrum Ambre endpoint into the Morpheus?
Mitch2,Check with HiFiHeaven, they have the Morpheus with the MQA card listed @ $199.99 and the I2s card @ $99.99.
Don’t know whether they actually have them in stock, you’ll have to check with them.
BTW: Sonnet-Audio has 3 products listed on their net site, the Morpheus, Hermes and Kratos.
Has me wondering what the Hermes and Kratos might be.
@ducatirider - The Sonnet Audio Morpheus (and the Metrum DACs) only decode PCM, no DSD support at all. In order to play DSD files you would need to convert them to PCM either before playback or on the fly.
DSD over PCM (DoP) is not PCM, but is the DSD data encoded into PCM frames for transmission. In order to support DoP playback a DAC must be DSD compatible, but instead of converting native DSD it first recognizes the PCM frames as being DoP and then converts the data back to the original DSD to then be converted to analog. So PCM only DACs do not support DoP playback.
When DoP data is decoded back into DSD by a DAC which supports it, the recovered datastream should be identical to the original DSD. Therefore if there's a difference in the sound quality of DoP compared to the original DSD it's not due to a difference in the data, but could be cuased from additional processing required to decode the DoP back to DSD and potential noise that the conversion might create.
I've got a Morpheus. We've been playing it probably 12-16 hours a day for a week or so, including white noise (ocean waves) overnight. My previous DACs were a Metrum Octave, then a Metrum Musette, so that is my basis for comparison.
To my ear, the Morpheus really opens the music up. Individual instruments and voices are easier to distinguish. I'm hearing stuff I haven't noticed before. Instrumental and vocal timbres are reproduced in a very accurate and life-like way. It's got kind of a round sound, for lack of a better word, like the Octave did, but is much much more detailed. It's accurate like the Musette was, but with a much more full-bodied sound. Things that sounded reedy on the Musette - strings, saxophone, some vocals - sound fleshed out on the Morpheus.
It's got a volume control, which we don't really need because we have a pre-amp, but if you are happy running all digital end to end you may not need a pre-amp.
It's a really, really good DAC.
Thanks for the heads up @rja .
I read the review and like every other reviewer who has heard the Morpheus so far, he liked it. The reviewers have all commented on the excellent performance to cost ratio and end up concluding the Morpheus is at least equal to but in some ways better than the Pavane L3 or Adagio, although the reasons given are not always consistent. The Sonnet website promotes, "more weight, body, tonal richness, and a more natural sense of the space of the recording" but I am not sure about "more than what?"
I would like to hear the Morpheus side by side with my Adagio and may decide yet to try one. As a test this morning, I reconnected my Adagio directly to my new amplifiers, played some music, and then reconnected them through my SMc buffer and listened to the same music. I found exactly "more weight, body, tonal richness, and a more natural sense of the space of the recording" when running the Adagio thorough the buffer, compared to amp-direct. This observation is consistent with my previous attempts at going amp-direct.
I read this comment in the Mono&Stereo review:
So for those of interest a pricier, upper echelon Sonnet Digital Audio DAC is already in the pipeline, although it's not coming so soon.It will be fun to see what Cees comes up with that will perform at an even higher level than the Morpheus.
I bought a Morpheus back when it was first released, unfortunately haven’t had all that much time to "play" with it due to other priorities but can say it was a step up all around from my Metrum Menuet.
Back when I was purchasing I spoke to Cee’s about the possibility of a top of the line model & he did say it was likely but some time off (the streamer & mono amps to be released first). My guess would be looking a year down the road. Obviously not set in stone (& a lot could change) but he ballparked around a 70% price increase vs Morpheus.
Going by his past designs I would expect a doubling of the DAC modules, installed in a larger format, higher end case.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that the Morpheus makes notable sacrifices in drive for a smidge of delicacy, particularly with its single-ended outputs lacking the output transformers of the Pavane, which in guises from the L1 to L3 sounds considerably better to me than the Morpheus. I also do not notice a marked decline in resolving power between the Morpheus and Pavane L3, but would argue it is modestly higher in resolution than the L1. I have only used the balanced outs on the above DACs, and - as ever - ymmv. I welcome the cost benefits of the Sonnet line , and I’ll be excited for Sonnet to release a flagship DAC that reconciles the best of both worlds but am sticking with the L3 for now.
Your comment in another thread about Metrum Acoustics closing shop is correct according to this....
Like a marriage, when SHTF only those involved in the marriage can figure out what really happened, and there are usually two sides to the story.
However, as a former Pavane L3 owner and current Adagio owner (and Jade, and Ambre, and baby Ambre) I can say without reservation that my dealings with Cees Ruijtenberg have been some of the most pleasurable I have had in my years in this audio hobby. I am also glad Cees said he would help support Metrum Acoustics products if needed.
The posting on Metrum's website sounds like sour grapes and was probably more of an emotional response than a tactical marketing response, which is usually a bad idea. They had an excellent component line-up, solid customer base, and probably could have ridden the wave for awhile if they had only continued providing the stellar customer service I had received from Cees. However, my great customer service experiences with Metrum were all with Cees directly. If he was designing the products, overseeing manufacturing, and taking the lead on customer service, I can see where that would lead to overload and a need for a change in venue. Pure speculation on my part.
Whether the Morpheus is better than the Pavane L3 or Adagio, I wouldn't know since I unfortunately have not heard the Morpheus. I have been trying to decide whether I need a DAC in my living room, which is mostly set up with unobtrusive HT gear. Actually, I am trying to find an excuse to purchase a Morpheus but haven't reached that point yet. I do know the Pavane L3/Adagio are the best in digital that I have had in my system, which includes some very good CD players and DACs by Lampizator and Ayre. They are quite natural sounding and have excellent drive. However, I have consistently preferred the Adagio through my SMc Buffer rather than amp-direct. I would really like to hear the Morpheus since some have spoken about how it fleshes out the sound more than the Pavane L3 or Adagio. It is difficult for me to get my head around how the Pavane/Adagio have clearly superior chassis, more substantial power supplies, and use of separate boards, yet the fairly pedestrian Morpheus apparently at least matches if not improves on the sound of those two former Metrum flagship DACs, designed by the same person as the Morpheus. However, all the positive reviews can't be horse hockey pucks so there must be some truth. I am content to keep my Adagio until I can try and directly compare a Morpheus or the next higher level DAC Cees may reportedly be working on in his spare time.
@mitch2 i share those sentiments entirely. Cees has accomplished so much with both Metrum and Sonnet. I simply wanted to weigh into provide a user’s direct experience, which tends to contradict the gushing reviews regarding the Sonnet’s purported sonic benefits. While it is a stupendous DAC offering a feature set and value proposition that outdoes what Metrum provided, I don’t yet feel that the sound is a universal improvement. I do feel it is better sound per pound and would recommend it for those seeking support from a solvent company. I urge everyone to hear what the Morpheus can do (which is quite extraordinary) but as a Pavane user who has explored the Sonnet Morpheus, and is willing to spend more and wait, I am anxious to see Cees scale the new heights I am certain Sonnet will achieve as it develops to a higher price point. Even now the Morpheus competes with Lampizator, PS Audio, and others, but I find the Pavane to be, bar none, the best digital audio converter I have ever heard in my system. Cees is a genius.
I appreciate your comments on this thread.
I have never heard a Metrum DAC. For the last fives years or so I’ve been enjoying an Aesthetix Romulus Eclipse w/volume control and decided to try something new just for fun. So I purchased the Morpheus after researching as much as I could about it. As far as I know there are no dealers near me for an audition.
These two DACs have quite different sound signatures but I like them both. The Morpheus definitely has the upper hand in resolution and weight/punch, especially in the low end, while the Romulus has much better finesse and grace.
I’ve rolled the pairs of 12AX7 and 6922 tubes in the Romulus to my taste.
I’m currently using a Wadia 270SE transport with both DACs although I have other transports yet to try. Connected with 1.5m Shunyata Sigma XLR digital cable. Redbook only for now.
If Sonnet releases an upgraded DAC I would definitely consider a purchase.