I think nobody auditioned this dac yet ?
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Pani I`ve own the Yamamoto DAC for about 18 months(see my system) it is an excellent sounding DAC.It is very natural with quite an organic presentaion. The dynamics and tone/timbre are honest with a full bodied sound,yet with exceptional resolution and nuance. So far I`ve not heard any other DAC that I`d exchange it for.
However It seems the Metrum Acoustic Octave DAC may be superior. You should read it`s review in the current 6 moons.com. Also read the review of the Totaldac and then read S.Ebaen`s second opinion review.
Please note what the Metrum was compared to for context.I purchased the Yamamoto based on Srajan`s review(he was absolutely spot on). He`s more impressed by the less expensive Metrum. I`ve ordered one and am waiting patiently. This DAC is NOS(no digital filtering) but with R/2R configuration using ultra high speed industrial chips, not the common delta sigma types. It`s said to be sumpremely transparent, organic-analogue like, but with excellent resolution and ease.Much more resolved than most current NOS DACs.
Pani, I have the SS version
and use the PS Audio PWT as transport(ASI Liveline digital cable) this combo has been wonderful.
Srajan used the Yamamoto as his reference for quite a while.Given his very high praise of the Metrum Octave this certainly got my attention. We must hear things very similar as his strong recomendations have so far been 100% accurate based on my own personal listening followups.
Best of Luck,
Pani, the only NOS DAC I heard was the Audio Note DAC 5 at CES 2010. It was for about 20 minutes(show conditions) I could`nt form a solid conclusion, but it did`nt really impress under those circumstances.
The Metrum Octave is quite a different approach i.e. much simpler design(good!)non audio chip(ultra high speed industrial, rather than old Phillips chip). It eliminates seperate I/V conversion and output stages(industrial chip intergrates these functions again very simple-fewer parts) also much effort into the power supply. Based on the differences it`s said to be a better-modern design than previous NOS DACs. We shall see.
Hi Charles, I just went through the review of Metrum DAC. It definitely is intriguing and for the price is just surprising. One thing though, Srajan did not at anytime talk about the Metrum Vs Yamamoto in his review (sonically). He spoke about other players but not Yamamoto. Now that has got me thinking. Did you talk to Srajan personally on this DAC and ask his views about this vs Yamamoto ?
One thing I know without even listening that Burr Brown DACs generally get the tone and timbre very correct. Considering that the YDA01 has been made by a hardcore Vinyl guy I cant think of it as sounding typically digital. Even Srajan had said in his YDA01 review that it just doesnt sound like digital is being processed. Both these factors together gives an amount of confidence on the Yamamoto which can lead me to go with a blind buy without hesitation.
But still, since you are getting a Metrum, I will wait for you to comment on it before taking the next step. How much did you pay for the YDA01 ? Is it switchable between 110V and 220V ?
This is why I suggested you read the Totaldac review for context. That review compared the reviewer`s Yamamoto(which he loved) to the Totaldac and preferred this component. Srajan found the Metrum and Totaldac sonic equals(Metrum is 1/5 the cost!). Pani did you note his comparison to the APL NWO-M? very impressive(more tone,body and presence). As I mentioned before the Yamamoto sounds fantastic(really as good as anything else I`ve heard so far), but this Metrum seems a different level upwards.
He made it a point to emphasize the superior "resolution" and wide bandwith performance compared to typical NOS DACs, yet maintaining a profound analogue like and organic character(mentioned sevral times).He made a point that upper frequency detail,harmonics and decay are very much intact(no rolled off highs). Remember the Metrum is R/2R, based not delta sigma chip(Yamamoto). Srajan obviously thought highly of the Yamamoto(and for good reason) but feels this modern yet simple R/2R designed DAC is quite special. Analogue gestalt and rich tone combined with superior resolution not found in most NOS DACs(weakness of typical NOS DAC). You should read the current 6 moons review of the April Music U3 USB converter where 4 DACs are compared and again note the Metrum comments, very clear opinion.
Forgot to answer other questions.
1)Payed 2500 USD for YDA-1. JAN. 2010
2) No switch for 110/220 volts
3)Srajan sent me an email saying he did`nt directly compare the YDA-01 and Metrum. But said reviewer Joel thought the TotalDAC clearly bettered his own YDA-01. Srajan considers the Metrum and Totaldac as equally great, thus by triangulation he`d say the Metrum would out performs the YDA-01.
Very very interesting Charles....
I would have gone with the Total if I had the opportunity to listen to it before buying. Did you notice that Srajan mentioned couple of times that the Metrum tone is darker and richer. Now that sometimes makes me nervous because tonally darker and richer many a times means change of timber towards the lush side. If you would have read, many romantic speakers (JMR, Spendor, Harbeth) are termed as richer and darker sounding, but to me they color the timber to the thicker and darker side. I just hope that is not the case with Metrum.
Anyway, from your explanation of the YDA01 I can see that you too recognize timbral accuracy well so I will take your word on the Metrum when you have it. Please do inform me when you get the DAC. BTW, I read that there is a waiting period for the Metrum DAC. When are you expecting it to come ?
Pani I`ve not heard the Lavry Gold. I must admit the brilliant approach taken with the Metrum is quite exciting to me. I `ve been reading Srajan`s reviews for a long while and by now can sense when he finds a component`s performance exceptonal. He`s very descriptive and clear with his choice of words, If he felt this DAC too dark and or colored, he`d simply say so(he finds the tone natural and realistic, no digital artifacts). The Metrum is a blue moon recipient(as was the YDA-01,but we`re 3 years down the road from that now, things can and do get better).
I`ll put it this way, it you got the YDA-01 I`m convinced you`d love it. My hunch is however given the praise of the Metrum it has taken what the very fine(Yamamoto) does to the next level up.
Yes the wait time is 8-12 weeks( small company, hand built DAC, increased demand now) I`m patient, and the Yamamoto still sounds beautiful.
This is interesting. I wonder how the Yamamoto would stack up now that there is "state of the art" USB-SPDIF converters like the Stello U3. Feed the Yamamoto a near-perfect digital signal and let it use just its converter and discrete analog circuits.
I have Srajan's "other" DAC- the Burson 160-D- waiting to see how he compares it to the Metrum.
Go to 6 moons.com letters page and scroll down to the recent corespodence. A reader asked this very question. Srajan said the Burson160D review is`nt quite finished but right now he prefers the Metrum Octave. Note worthy due to his very high regard for Burson against more expensive competitors. Also see comments on the last page of the Aries Cerat Gladius speaker review in the current issue.There additional comments concerning DACs. See his current April Music U3 review where 4 DACs are compared using the U3.
Hmmm....your comments are very inspiring. One thing is true that digital never sounds like analogue, at least I have never heard that happen. The continuity and liquidity of analogue is something so compelling that after a session of analogue listening even the best digital sounds discrete and thin to me. I attribute this to the absolute "continuity" of music that analogue presents. Yes there are other things like the midrange body, bass and treble presented by analogue is also something very special about analogue but that is something I can compromise a little on. What Srajan says is also true that analogue sounds "opaque" while digital sounds transparent and thinned out. If these R/2R dacs can solve any of these problems of digital playback without introducing a new one I would love to try them out. So, the Yamamoto remains as the DAC to beat when it comes to conventional design !!! Not bad :-). BTW, have you heard the Reimyo ? I used to own the Reimyo DAP777 for 2 years. Nice DAC.
I`ve not heard the Reimyo player. You make some insightful points regarding analogue/digital differences.Music continuity and flow are a high priority for me as is "natural" tone/timbre and harmonics,A good analogue system excels in this vital area.The special ability and uniqueness of the YDA-01 DAC is how sucessful MR. Yamamoto was in obtaining this with his DAC.The flow and continuity is so well done. I do think much has to do with his many years of developing/building analogue and SET tube components, this background is apparent in his DAC.
I feel Yamamoto has near maxed out this quality using the very common delta sigma chip types. My speculation is that ultimately that R/2R DACs implemented correctly can exceed the limits of delta sigma designs(in terms of these "analogue" qualities) This seems to be what Srajan is also suggesting.The R/2R sound is not as "lite up" but is dense,present.3-D and superior in terms of flow,liquidity,ease and relaxation i.e. more similar to well done analogue(which is denser and more filled in).
Further it seems to me the very simple circuit of the Metrum is a major contributor, as many believe(I among them) fewer part count-straight forward design-strong power supply=better sound. Now add the use of a non-audio chip(extreme high speed industrial chip) built by someone who relied heavily on his ears, well good things happen.
Pani, it always comes down to what type of sound you`re after. For me, true tone, natural flow and ease,realistic microdynamics wirh exceptional resolution and nuance is the goal. i`ve achieved that to my satisfaction with my amplifier and linestage. The Yamamoto is very close, I hope The Metrum Octave gets closer yet. I suspect it will.
Superb Charles, it seems that we have similar goals. Apart from Delta Sigma, there is also multibit dacs like Burr Brown PCM 1704, 1702, Philips TDA1501, Analog Device AD1865. Many consider these to be architecturally more correct for music reproduction hence a more natural sound. However I have not heard the better implementations of these DAC chips so cant comment.
Fingers are crossed for the Metrum !!!
I'm very interested in the Yamamoto vs. Metrum Octave...These two DACS are extremely high on my list to join my Shindo system. I have not invested heavily in vinyl and hope to find a digital solution that gets me there. I've heard great things about Metrum and also a believer of the KISS principal as far as design goes. Charles, please keep me on your list of people to inform once you've had some time with the Metrum. I'd like to order before the price increase if it ends up being THE solution.
Jcote, given your Shindo system I can understand your interest in these 2 DACs. I ordered my Metrum Octave 4 or 5 weeks ago, with a waiting period 8-12 weeks. I will post my impression in the future. KISS principal, yes I agree with you. Based on circuit layout and parts count the Metrum would be considered ultra simple.
If you would like a primer or just some additional information on chip architecture this is good reading:
I own a DAC with the TDA 154x architecture, owned the Monarchy M24 mentioned in the article that used the PCM-63K, and now have 2 digital sources that use the PCM-1704. The latter 3 use a ladder type architecture. After listening to these sources and comparing them to others using sigma-delta chips, it's quite apparent as to the differences in presentation.
I was, and to an extent still am quite intrigued with the chip architecture of the Metrum. However, when push came to shove I decided to give the Resolution Audio Cantata a whirl. Given its price, I may revisit the Metrum at some point.
What seems so promising regarding the Metrum Octave is it retains the innate qualities of NOS DACs,i.e. organic,relaxation,flow etc. yet offers very high level transparency, resolution and extension that some felt NOS DACs lacked.The numerous comparisons in sevaral reviews on 6 moons to the APL NWO-M at 40x the price is the highest compliment.
Clio09, thanks for the article link I look forward to reading it.
I sent Srajan an email last night and and his reply was very insightful. I thought those following this thread might be intersted.
the APL NWO-M player is considered by many to be one of the very best digital sources, cost no object. What I find astonishing is the equal level of competition from the Metrum Octave mini DAC. The price ratio is an absurd, no make that staggering 43:1! How can that be? Have you ever come across another component that compares evenly performance wise at such a tiny fraction of cost to the other component? How Cees was able to do this is a wonder.
It's a bit of a mind bender. My friend has the same NWO-M. Except his has 24 x 32-bit AKM 4399s per channel (mine 'only' has 20). And he also has the Metrum. And in two recent comparisons of different ancillaries in his system which I attended, he also preferred the Metrum fed from the NWO-M's Esoteric transport. So the real math must add that portion of the NWO-M's price to the Metrum. This begins to shift the 43:1.
Even so it remains exceptional and surprising. Other listeners could prefer the NWO-M but it's certainly true that the Octave performs on the level. The best way I can hypothesize at this achievement is the FirstWatt factor. Just yesterday we compared Nelson's new S2 prototype at my friend's place to amps at 6 times the price, then replaced a $1.500 preamp with one that was 30 times costlier. The best sound came from the $1.500 preamp with the S2. That preamp has the simplest of circuits. It's fully balanced transformer attenuation and nothing else. The S2 amp is single-stage single-ended no feedback. Simple circuits executed well with superior core devices (a silicon-carbide static induction transistor or power JFet in the amp, Cees' secret 'super' chip in the DAC) can outperform far more complex circuits. And simple can mean affordable if the designers of such pieces don't dress them up with bling but apply a fair raw cost-to-build to retail multiplier.
In amplifiers, paralleling output devices as is necessary to obtain high power from a given part is known to incur performance sacrifices without certain extreme measures. In the NWO-M, Alex Peychev parallels DAC chips 'endlessly' and does the related circuit board work by hand rather than robotically. If you look at the size of the parts on those boards (tiny), you begin to appreciate the hand labor costs involved. But are 24 paralleled delta-sigma DACs wired up by hand automatically better than a superior R/2R chip paralleled four times and inserted robotically in someone else's machine - especially if the latter chips include I/V conversion and output buffering to eliminate two stages where the other machine includes a tube buffer stage and output transformers?
If simpler is better (within reason), more complex and far costlier can lose. The Metrum/NWO-M case seems to be a case in point. Which makes the NWO-M no less of an achievement. It's a complete universal player which includes a 24/192 async USB input. The Octave is just a DAC. But here's the thing. You can only write the way you think. Audio designers can only create sound the way they hear. If you like my self-taught creative way of reviewing better than that of a formally trained writer working for a corporate paper who can recite all the rules and regs of grammar to perfection, the latter's credentials don't come to bear. If you prefer the sonic ideals of a cheap machine's creator to that of a super-priced component, the latter's credentials don't factor. There are multiple layers to consider.
Well, I`ll just say this, Srajan and his friend thought enough of the APL NWO-M to purchase it(it is`nt cheap). It takes honesty and character to say a much less costly item is preferred over what you payed a large sum for and not make excuses. Srajan clearly stated some will like the NWO-M more, and he`s right.I simply respect people who call it as they see it, plain and straight. Many reviewers would`nt have the nerve.
OK, you have me really intrigued now. If the Metrum can deliver as much detail as a Bryston BDA1 or Wyred4Sound DAC2, yet be as musical as typical NOS DACs...it might be IT for me. Given the tradeoffs between musical/detailed at these pricepoints, I was leaning towards a Bryston to go with my tube pre and amp, but then I saw this thread.
A good thing is I'm patient too, so will be looking forward to your feedback.
For reference, what has been your experience, if any, with oversampling DACs?
The Yamamoto is an oversampling DAC and as I`ve stated in several posts during this thread it is really an excellent sounding DAC. It is very natural,dynamic, liquid yet with very good detail/resolution. The Metrum Octave Takes these attributes and raises(significantly) them is my suspicion.
It takes honesty and character to say a much less costly item is preferred over what you payed a large sum for and not make excuses
True, though it is all personal and very much dependent on the rest of the audio components used for the evaluation, especially when it comes to a digital front-end, dont you agree?
We did some quick research; for those interested in some specifications, here is a datasheet link to the DAC chips used in the Metrum: DAC8580
Check out the distortions (THD) and compare to some older audio DAC chips such as TDA1541A, PCM1704 and AD1865 also used for NOS DACs. Not to talk about the fact that the DAC8580 used in the Metrum has a built-in Digital Low Pass Filter, OpAmp I/V converter and output sections.
Please dont get me wrong; at EUR800, the Metrum is probably a very, very good value (price/performance) DAC, and without a doubt it will make many audiophiles who like this type of sound very happy, but to even try comparing it to the NWO-M is rather funny, IMHO!
"It`s all personal", Alex, always has been and always will be.Of course not everyone will agree with Srajan`s conclusions, you can`t get audiophiles to agree on anything in an unanimous fashion, it is`nt going to happen. Pointing out measurements don`t impress me at all, they`re a ton of components the look great on paper yet sound can sound like total crap, no need going that route again.
Srajan owned the NWO-M and earlier this year and declared it the "best" digital playback he`d heard to that point(would you question his system or ears based on that?).
to this day he still admires the NWO-M and feels it`s one of the very best. Obvoiusly they`re qualities with the R/2R Metrum Octave that he found better(personal opinion).
Another thing, if one is`nt into trophy audio gear and judges instead on pure sonic criteria, there is much in high end audio that`s over priced. Conversely there`re many reasonably priced components that perform briliantly.
I`d would never use the price of an object alone to determine which is better if there`s the opprotunity to compare directly, which both he and is friend did in this case.
Interesting, not saying that this isn't indeed the DAC used in the Metrum however find it odd that the spec sheet mentions tv's as a primary use candidate when the Metrum site argues these are not used in conventional consumer industry.
Unless you reverse engineered one of these I'm curious how you were able to identify the chip in use since that was supposed to be known only to the manufacturer and is a reason (competitive advantage) the Identifying marks are removed.
Good observation Jcote, the same thought cross my mind. In the end it does`nt matter and does`nt alter the fact that Srajan and friend feel the Metrum sounds fabulous(regardless of price or pedigree). They relied on their ears, and preferred it in their respected audio systems, In this context the specs and measurements are a very distance second in relative importance.They compared the two DACs "directly" and heard what they heard.
These R/2R chips could be sourced from Walmart, who cares if it "sounds" better than NASA approved parts/chips.
I didn't realize my email to Charles' inquiry would end up here but why not. It remains my understanding that the chips Cees is using (good for 24/176.4 streams) remain unidentified. In my exchanges with him he stressed that to his knowledge this chip has never been used in hifi before and that it took him two years to sort through his non-audio chip sources to 'discover' it.
The more important point Charles makes here is listening and listener preference/bias. Dan and I have quite different systems and rooms. Each of us has both a NWO-M (Dan gave me mine as a gift) and a Metrum. If we preferred the NWO-M, why would we listen to the Metrum?
And if we prefer the Metrum, do we care about specs and claims that the NWO-M is wildly superior?
At the end of the day other listeners present to hear either system could have a different preference. The *thing* that got us was simply that to our ears these converters perform on the same level. We preferred the Metrum (in some configurations in my home I prefer the NWO-M as I did in a recent review of Nelson Pass' SIT amp), someone else might prefer the NWO-M. But I'd be quite surprised if anyone in these sessions would point at the cheapie and call it "not even close".
That's really the only point of my email to Charles. I can understand that Alex might be disappointed in such an opinion but to wave spec'ular superiority claims in the air as thought they prove we couldn't possibly be hearing what we do (or respond to it the way we do) is simply silly.
And even if engineering *could* prove it (which it can't) - there's no arguing personal taste -:)
Can you provide us with some insight as to the original question in this thread. When you take a DAC with a beautiful analog section- the Yamamoto- and feed it an uber-clean digital signal from the Stello U3, how does the sound stack up against the newest computer digital greats. Is it in the same league?
I passed on my Yamamoto to Joel Chevassus on staff so I don't know how the YDA01 would stack up to the current crop of DACs I've had through.
What I do know is that Joel compared his Yammy to the fully discrete French R/2R DAC by Vince Brient. Vince sent me the same DAC for a 2nd opinion. There I had a chance to compare it to the Metrum. It was very much the same flavor but the Frenchie perhaps had the slight advantage. That makes me think the Metrum surpasses the Yamamoto by triangulation - but that's just an (educated) guess.
The U3 improves upon the OEM hiFace built into the NWO-M; upon the USB receiver of the Burson DACs; and even the Zodiac Gold (arguably the least on the latter but still audible).
There will probably be DACs that *won't* benefit from the U3. And there probably are other USB-to-S/PDIF boxes like the Audiophilleo, KingRex et al that match the U3's victory lap of improving high-quality DAC with good USB implementations.
I'm not sure yet *why* the U3 works as bloody well as it does. The XMOS chip inside is apparently very trick. But the real 'magic' could be that, A/it's external and B/ that it's bus powered. I noticed that designer Simon Lee didn't integrate the U3 into the mother board of the Eximus DP1 I currently have in for review but left it separate (piggy-backed) though obviously in the same enclosure.
I'm usually more in favor of integration and less cables. With the U3, I stand corrected. The Yamamoto of course has no USB input so the U3 or something like it becomes required for streaming files. I was simply surprised that the U3 would be superior to what's inside machines of NWO-M/Zodiac Gold stature (i.e. *everything* I've got in house).
There's probably something going on we don't know yet. Other listeners have posted similar findings elsewhere with Steve Nugent's equivalent interface...
I think the upsampling would be best done at the computer, then sent to the Metrum. An option for upsampling out of a CD player could be an Esoteric G25. Over at computeraudiophile a member has been trying with upsampling at the computer and he claims it is an awesome DAC.
Maybe you are asking how would the sound be with a 16/44.1 feed from a CD player. I am wondering about that too.
I myself, am very much looking forward to Charles1dad experience with it.
Got my Metrum Octave yesterday and compared it cold out of the box with my benchmark DAC1. The Octave is a glass of red wine, whereas the benchmark's more like a gin tonic. Soundstage opens up considerably vertically and horizontically but not so much in depth, bass is deeper (!) but less defined, sometimes even a bit one-note, midrange sounds lovely natural and voluminous, treble is still a bit nondescript like pink noise but that's very much exagerated from my side. Detail seems even better than from the benchmark which might be a function of the Metrums ability to reproduce timbres. The differences are certainly more pronounced than I anticipated.
Most importantly, it's already very enjoyable
Hope that helps
Thanks for the very early impressions. Cees said initial sound is bright,and it needs about 3 weeks to settle in.I`m still waiting for my delivery. How long was your waiting period?
I`m really looking forward to the natural tone and timbre that 6moons touted. It seems already you`ve noted high level detail/resolution, that`s encouraging.
I ordered mine on the 8th of August.
The amount of resolution was unexpected but "more developped timbres" is probably the better description and this is the kind of "resolution", that was missing from the benchmark. Please keep in mind that we're comming from different directions: you from the Yamamoto, me from the benchmark, so your findings might be different.
I expect this to develop into a long thread so its a pitty, it runs under the Yamamoto lable.
8th of August! Darn, I ordered mine in mid July! Cees says he shipped mine 2 weeks ago, for some reason it has`nt cleared customs(sigh).
Yes, this has unintentionally become a Metrum Octave thread due probably due to my mentioning the Octave while answering a question about my Yamamoto. But really, someone interested in the Yammy will most likely be attracted to the Metrum.
Staehli I look forward to more of your impressions once the Metrum is fully broken-in.